5 Questions About Content Marketing

Cari Twitchell shares her secrets to great content marketing.

4.06.2016

At 5 by 5 Design we believe it’s possible to change the world by posing the right questions, listening to the honest answers, and following the path that emerges from the dialogue. Today we’re asking about content marketing.

As a lawyer-turned-writer, Cari Twitchell has spent more than eight years focusing her efforts on helping business owners and professionals harness the power of words to grow their networks, define their brands, and increase leads. We’ve tapped Cari to answer these questions for us.

1. How do you think about content marketing differently than others in the marketplace?

I see content marketing first and foremost as a relationship-building tool. It should be used to capture a business’s unique attributes—what it is they do, why they do it, how they do it differently than others—with the goal of actually teaching prospective clients something useful.

Too often, content marketing efforts are focused on promoting the business and not addressing customer needs. The emphasis must move away from the business and toward the customer to build trust and increase engagement, thereby creating relationships. Only once these relationships are in place will prospects turn into actual customers.

2. How does content marketing build brands?

We are inundated with the written word every day. In fact, more than 27 million pieces of content are shared online each day. Content marketing, when done right, helps a brand rise above the noise. To do it right, you must be strategic. You must follow a process. You must track your efforts. And you must be open to adjustments.

3. In your role as a content marketer, what are you primarily trying to accomplish (the most important goal)?

I’m very strategic in my approach to content marketing. I step back and take a holistic view of all efforts a business may be participating in, from websites to blogs and social media to print marketing. I also take a deep dive into learning about a business’s goals, to learn why they are marketing, what they want to achieve, and where they hope to be further down the road. With this knowledge, I then help my clients create and follow a strategic approach that ties all of their efforts and messages together into a seamless marketing campaign.

4. What criteria do you use when evaluating content?

When I evaluate content, I ask the followings questions:

  • Is it accurate? Tactical errors, grammatical errors, and the like quickly break down credibility. If you don’t appear credible, you have no hope of capturing a potential lead.
  • Is it clear? Concise, informative copy is compelling and has a higher rate of conversion than confusing, convoluted content.
  • Is it consistent? The tone, voice, and messaging of copy must be consistent across pages and media to resonate with your prospects. Disjointed content will leave your prospects unsure of who you are and whether you are the right choice for them.
  • Is it accessible? Content must be written in a way that prospects can relate to it. Content that is too passive, is written in a standoffish manner, or is written at a level too high for your audience to understand will push your prospects off your site and over to your competition.
  • Is it usable? One thing I do differently from other writers is that I place a high value on usability, meaning I care not only what the words say but also how the copy is formatted to keep prospects reading.

As a web-based writer, I also look to whether the content is optimized for search bots and web users alike. I look at various aspects, from navigation and page titles to keyword usage and internal linking.

5. What trends do you see in content marketing?

A big trend these days is focusing on the personal and personalization. For instance, automated email campaigns include various personalization tactics (e.g., individual names, clothing preferences, store locators, etc.). The efforts to make individuals feel valued by businesses will only continue to grow.

Businesses are also getting more personal in their own content. They need to be more vulnerable. This means getting rid of the dreaded third-person point of view and incorporating personal details that help them connect with prospective clients. This does not mean sharing your favorite color or your birthdate, but it does mean breaking down barriers of business by communicating in a friendly, personable tone. The more “human” you can make your content, the better off you are.

Finally, mobile is clearly the focus for all businesses looking to market themselves. It is imperative that businesses embrace mobile marketing in all its forms, from responsive website design to mobile email marketing to writing copy specifically for mobile viewers.

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