Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, just released his new book, Optimize. And a few weeks ago, at a MN AMA event (How to Attract and Engage More Customers with SEO, Social Media & Content), I had the opportunity to hear Lee share his content marketing thoughts and how effective, customer-focused content creation can drive brand engagement. Odden’s focus – in Optimize and overall – is on customer attraction and engagement through SEO, social media and content marketing. He challenges brands (and marketers) to understand the end-customer’s wants/needs, how to best fulfill those needs and to understand the levers that drive customers to act upon and share information. Odden’s recommended approach is logical:
- Conduct customer research to understand their wants/needs
- Develop keyword topics and messages
- Create your content and promotion plan
- Execute, optimize and promote
Sounds simple enough, right? The answer is yes – it can be this simple if you don’t overlook a critical part of this model: content creation. In his book, Odden suggests, “content is the kingdom.” I can’t agree more. Without compelling and current content, this whole model sinks, and brands miss a critical opportunity to engage their customers. To truly engage customers, brands have to create value for their customers. Whether this value is small or large doesn’t matter. It only matters that the content you create customers find valuable enough to need and consume. So how do you create value in content? Deliver a compelling and engaging message.
- Talk to your customers as humans and on an equal level.
- Don’t forget the visual senses – add a photo or video.
- Infuse your messaging and visuals with keywords to help users find the content.
The end result of creating valuable content, brands and customers are able to create meaningful connection across all digital channels; web, search and social media. And now that you’ve created meaningful content – you should be able to watch your business, web traffic and social community grow.