It’s old news that content marketing has transformed the relationship between brands and their customers. Content has become one of the most powerful tools brands can use to engage and build relationships, in the hope of turning customers into passionate brand advocates and repeat business.

But the content marketing game has changed. As most brands and organisations have jumped on the bandwagon, the web is now saturated with content in all shapes and sizes and customers are becoming more sceptical about the content they choose to consume. As a result, content marketers now need to work harder and be more creative to ensure their content stands out and engages their customers in the right ways.

Fundamentally, content marketing is all about providing people with the type of content they’re craving – something that’s unique and useful. Here are five ways to create and market content that will drive long-term customer engagement.

1. Position your brand as an industry leader

Effective content marketing is one of the best ways to promote a brand. But what’s sometimes forgotten is the role the brand plays in driving engagement. With the backing of an established and respected brand, content becomes more credible, relevant and newsworthy. Establish your brand as a leader in your industry to ensure your content stands out from your competitors.

2. Tell a story

Everyone loves a good story, and successful content marketing harnesses the power of storytelling to create a narrative that resonates and interests customers. Clever content marketers are able to use content to say something of value, while still maintaining the essence of their brand and product. Storytelling takes customers on a journey and ultimately humanises a brand, creating a more personalised experience.

3. Be personal and relevant

Creating a personalised customer experience through content is something all marketers are now familiar with. We all know personalisation works, yet there are many of us still marketing content with little consideration for individual customer context. Interestingly, a report released by eConsultancy last year revealed that 74 per cent of marketers know that personalisation increases customer engagement. But the same study showed only 19 per cent of marketers actually using personalisation. It’s important to know your customers and tailor content to suit their specific needs and context, and data and analytics tools play a big role in this. Creating personalised content allows you to engage in a one-on-one dialogue with customers, which will only strengthen their relationship with your brand.

4. Embrace multi-channel

The reign of batch and blast email is over. While email is still a powerful tool when marketing content, marketers need to reach out on multiple platforms in order to ensure content is reaching all of their customers. Every customer is different, so it’s important to consider how to use content to communicate with customers via the channels they are active on. Tone, messaging and format should all be considered, as some content will work on some channels and not on others. Content should be created with the objective of being re-purposed and shared on a number of channels to increase engagement and reach a wider audience.

5. Listen and track

Measuring and proving ROI for content marketing is one of the biggest challenges facing content marketers, but it’s also one of the most important elements of an effective content marketing strategy. The key to creating long-term customer engagement through content is to identify what’s working, and what isn’t. Track your content and analyse what’s worked before and what types of content your customers have responded to in the past. Consider lead generation, conversion and also customer feedback via online and social channels.

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