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  • Who cares? Your target audience does, once you find them

    What good is a compelling message if doesn’t reach the right audience? Many businesses and organizations make two common mistakes when trying to determine their target audience. The first mistake: believing that the target audience is everyone. It’s unrealistic to assume that anyone and everyone will benefit from your products, services or initiatives. The second: assuming that your target audience is just like you. When you are immersed in one industry, or have been loyal to your brand for a long period, it can be tempting to use your own personal experiences or beliefs about your audience that are possibly misguided. Your target audience may be narrower than you assume. Or, it may be very broad, but contain diverse segments that all share a common interest, attitudes or opinions. In either case, your branding, re-branding or communications strategy hinges upon a solid understanding of your audience. Begin identifying your target audience by asking these 5 key questions: Who is it that you want to reach with your message? Who are they today versus a decade or two ago? Who do you want to help? How can you be their hero; their advocate? Who do you want to educate, influence and motivate? What are the demographics? Where do they live? How old are they? Where or when do they have friction in their lives? How do they receive daily information? Where are they engaging online or in their communities? How does your message benefit them? What motivates them to action? Getting your story across to a broad, segmented audience means tailoring the message to the specific attitudes, interests, worries and opinions of your audience segments. It also allows you to find multiple ways to reach them and a variety of ways to frame your brand messages. The more narrowly and precisely you can identify your target audience, the better you’ll be able to identify compelling messages and deliver them through the right mix of communication channels. Learn more about how to build an integrated communications campaign here.

  • Is Content Marketing taking the throne?

    “Content is King.” We’ve been hearing this phrase since 1996 when Bill Gates first predicted that success on the Internet would be in the form of sharing information and entertainment. This one motto has been a driving force behind the growth of blogging, social media sharing and search marketing. Maybe it’s time to refresh the mantra. How about “Content Marketing is King?” One tiny problem is that many businesses – and even some marketers – aren’t exactly sure how Content Marketing fits into the larger Internet Marketing picture. In fact, some businesses may be confused by the terminology and how Content Marketing and SEO differ. Here’s a quick glossary of Internet Marketing terms: Content Marketing: A marketing strategy where businesses publish web content for the purposes of building their brand, generating inbound leads and nurturing client relationships. This Mashable article features three businesses that are kings of content marketing. The idea behind Content Marketing is to apply solid copywriting and credible sources to online content to inform and educate the reader. This CopyBlogger post is an excellent reminder that great content should be written for the human reader first, search engines second. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): SEO is the process of optimizing a web site so that search engines will find it, recognize it as being an authority on a particular subject and display it prominently in its search results for certain keyword phrases. SEO can have negative connotations, thanks to unethical search marketing practices known as “Black Hat SEO.” If an SEO vendor is selling dirt cheap articles and “guaranteed” page rankings within a matter of weeks, they’re most likely using techniques like keyword stuffing, invisible words, and fake web pages in an attempt to trick the search engines to earn higher rankings. These tactics may earn short-term gains, but the search engines will eventually recognize the site as spammy and penalize it. How can you make Content Marketing & SEO work together? The simple answer is that SEO and Content Marketing inherently work together because SEO should be all about great content. Your responsibility is to create the Content Marketing strategy and the long-term SEO benefits will follow. If your marketing goal is to gain brand recognition or generate more inbound leads through your website, your Content Marketing strategy should map out which online channels you’ll use to publish your content with a plan for building links back to your website and to other credible sources. You’ll be giving your readers valuable information to help them solve their problem and giving search engines links to follow. A Content Marketing Hypothetical: You’re a financial institution selling mortgages and want to target first-time homebuyers. You already have written content and even a couple of videos on your website. Content Marketing involves the entire network of online channels you’ll use to publish your content: your website plus your blog, Twitter, Facebook page, YouTube, LinkedIn profiles, etc. Your Content Marketing strategy maps out a plan for what type of content you’ll publish (weekly blogging with posts on real estate trends that interest first-time homebuyers? Articles on relevant mortgage or home buying tips published via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn? Webinars and videos published on YouTube with links back to your website?) You get the idea. The beauty of Content Marketing is that all of your thematic content is written/produced with SEO best practices, including inbound and external links and strategic keywords to help search engines identify your site as an authority on mortgages in your region. Ready to create “Content Marketing that’s King?” Contact me to learn more about how to reach your marketing goals with a creative Content Marketing plan.

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