Timing is Everything: Using Relevance to Your Advantage with Content Marketing

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In McDonnell Group’s whitepaper, The Four R’s of Quality Content Marketing, we explored the four key traits that can help content marketers capture the potential of content marketing to achieve goals and demonstrate success. It’s clear more and more companies are using content marketing (in our Annual Energy B2B Marketing Benchmark Survey most respondents called it their “most exciting opportunity”), but are they following all the right steps to get the most out of it? The first step is making sure your content is relevant for readers or customers. You may know your product/service is relevant for customers, but how do you show them that?

Step #1: Know who you’re talking to.

Keeping your audience in mind might just be the key to making your content marketing relevant. Is the target audience for this piece of content for a prospect, a lead or a customer? What is this audience’s pain point? Energy industry customers have many needs and are constantly balancing commitments to safety, security and grid reliability as well as to regulatory compliance, financial management and the environment. Pick from among their key concerns and position your solution in the context of meeting those challenges.

For example, a supplier of distribution infrastructure wanted our team to create a blog to help them sell packaged kits to electric power providers. As we researched the products, we learned that often utilities order the kits to help restore power after storm damage. As it happened, storm season was fast approaching and utilities would be looking for ideas to ready their infrastructure and boost responsiveness. So, we wrote about that – a blog including several ways to approach managing infrastructure before, during and after a storm. We tied what we wanted to sell, the kits, to what the customers care about.

If the content provides credible information, readers will join the conversation, even if they know they’re engaging with a vendor.

Step #2: Do your research and follow conversations.

Stay up to date on what is trending in the industry because this is what customers want to read and hear about. They are interested in the new, not the old. A simple way to do this is by frequently browsing social media. Ask questions to your followers and you might be surprised what comes up! Journalists are using social media more and more to connect with sources and create content – find out what these journalists are talking/reporting about on their Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook account. Tools like Hashtagify can help businesses find the most popular hashtags in their industry, which is a great way to narrow in on the most relevant topics/conservations taking place. Use them frequently to join existing conversations and definitely when releasing your own related content.

Conferences are an especially dynamic way to stay connected and join conversations your target audience is having. During conferences that relate to your customers – whether you’re attending or not - search the conference hashtags (energy conference giants such as #DTECH2018 and #TandD2018 to name a couple), and be sure to interact and JOIN the conversations of your target audience.

Step #3: Plan, plan, plan!

When planning your company’s year, get out the calendar and check for upcoming time periods that will be ideal times for promoting various types content. For example, a non-profit helping the less fortunate pay heating bills knows they need to promote during the winter when the need is greater and the “spirit of giving” with upcoming holidays is in full force. Also, scan editorial calendars of relevant publications every year to see if any upcoming themes align with your company’s product or service.

When appropriate, national holidays can be a great way to bring trending content to your page. For example, National Lineman Appreciation Day on April 18 is an ideal opportunity for a company specializing in transmission and distribution to post or promote content. Try implementing this technique for the next holiday or “national day” and see how your audience responds.

Step #4 Consistency is key.

Consistent content marketing is a vital part of staying relevant and taking advantage of all the opportunities to connect with customers and prospects. Creating a few pieces of content here and there might help someone understand a topic better, but they won’t help you build a meaningful relationship with your audience. Over time as a consistent content creator, you will start to become established as an authority and thought leader within your niche. Also, this gives your SEO a boost, as Google favors websites with fresh, relevant content. Soon, your audience may start depending on you for regular content, giving them more reason to interact with your website.

Learn more about the other four R’s of quality content marketing! Download’s McDonnell Group’s free whitepaper here.

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