For decades, marketing was about telling customers what you wanted them to know about your company and your products. The Internet changed all that. It gave consumers and business buyers the power to research your company on their own.
Advances in technology have provided incredible tools that allow them to market themselves. Some of these tools are well known — blogs, email and social media — but some are less obvious, like variable data custom publications and marketing automation software.
In the new era of content marketing, these tools give companies the power to control their own story. The question is: Are you telling your story effectively?
Here are three things that could be keeping you from successfully telling your story.
You aren’t talking about what you know
For the most part, customers didn’t like what they were finding — product platitudes, service promises and commitments to excellence — because there was nothing that showed them you knew what you were doing.
It has taken a while, but companies are catching on that what people are looking for is relevant and useful information to make their lives or businesses better. Fortunately, the same Internet era that handed power to buyers also handed new power to marketers in the form of websites, blogs, podcasts, videos, email and social media.
These tools allow you to share not just what you do but what you know. In the age of content marketing, the thought leader is king.
You aren’t using visuals
I’m not going to tell you that we remember just about everything we see and next to nothing of what we read. That myth has been thoroughly debunked.
But there is legitimate data about the value of visual content. For example, visuals have a substantial impact on social media engagement. Twitter reports that tweets with photos average a 35 percent increase in retweets, while videos prompt a 28 percent boost.
And before you tell me that videos are just for millennials, consider this: A Forbes survey of executives found that 75 percent watch work-related videos on business websites at least once a week.
Content is more than words — it’s images, video and infographics, as well.
You aren’t mobile friendly
Mobile phone usage is ubiquitous. My daughter recently went to Paraguay for a 27-month Peace Corps assignment. When she gets to her home there, she will likely have better access to cell service than running water.
Just under half of all visits to Google’s search engine come from mobile devices. That’s enough to lead the search giant to revamp its famed algorithm. As I write this, Google is expanding its use of “mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal” for search results.
For your business, that means that if your website isn’t mobile friendly — preferably using a “responsive design” that adapts to the user’s device —you are likely to see a decline in search traffic from Google.
There’s more good news: These are all relatively easy problems to fix. Simply start talking about what you know (not what you do), share that knowledge with visuals (not just words) and make sure people can find you when they are stuck in line somewhere and pull out their smartphone.
Do those things, and even my daughter can learn your story in the Paraguayan campo.
Michael Marzec is managing partner and chief content officer at SBN Interactive. Marzec has 25 years of experience in content development. He works with clients across a wide range of industries to develop content marketing programs that blend great storytelling with targeted sales and marketing strategies.