It’s easy to feel overwhelmed as 2017 approaches, with the social-media landscape shifting and mutating ever more rapidly as you plan a content-marketing strategy for the year ahead. You know your product; you know your worth. That’s the easy part. But how best to get your message out to “own” the minds of clients and potential clients?
Content marketing is so simple and yet so complex. The goal is to create content that is both helpful and relevant. And for that to happen you need to have a plan, a strategy that impels your customers to pay attention. Rayanne Brennan, a 22-year communications veteran based in Moncton, New Brunswick, has been working with cooperative organizations for years and recently judged the 2016 AIME Awards. She offers her insight on making content marketing a less daunting proposition.
1. PLAY THE CO-OP CARD
Credit unions and cooperatives have an automatic advantage. Use it! “We put people and planet before profits. That’s what should be at the base of any content marketing strategy you develop,” she explains. Your top priority is building and reinforcing that brand, however you choose to do it. In other words, play to your strengths.
“There’s zero cost to augmenting your paid marketing with tweeting, Facebooking, and uploading to Instagram” —Rayanne Brennan
2. CAST A WIDE NET
As an AIME Awards judge, Brennan was impressed by how effectively the competing credit unions used a variety of platforms and targeted a wide range of clients. “Marketing professionals really leveraged the power of social media, adding it to more traditional paid marketing such as print and television. The message was consistent, but across a lot of platforms.”
3. KEEP IT SIMPLE
In this fast-paced world, people need information in bite-sized chunks. Once you have a content marketing strategy planned, remember these three words: clear, concise, creative. Use plain language, think outside the box and use tools like infographics. “When you do have to communicate complicated information, distill it: ‘Did You Know?’ and ‘Facts at a Glance’ work well,” says Brennan. Clients will get your point, think about it, then call or visit your credit union to get more detail.
4. AMPLIFY THE EXISTING
Brennan emphasizes that there’s never been a better time to be in marketing. “There’s zero cost
to augmenting your paid marketing with tweeting, Facebooking, and uploading to Instagram. You just have to be smart about it.” Social media is a great way to market your content — if you use it well. If you educate yourself and innovate, you can get your information out on a shoestring.
5. MAKE THE MEDIUM THE MESSAGE
How your clients perceive your message depends very much on who they are and where they see it. “If you take the time to understand what channels attract which demographic, you can really raise your profile and speak directly to different audiences,” Brennan says. Know who’s reading and tailor your message accordingly. She notes that the caring and sharing nature of credit unions lends itself extremely well to social media. “There’s the opportunity to engage and interact with your clients,” she says. “You can let your content marketing emphasize the human side of your credit union.”
6. GO BACK TO BASICS
Remember, content marketing is an ongoing process and you should fine-tune your strategy
as you identify what’s working. Analyze your stats and identify what’s effective and who’s paying attention. And much as everyone understands that social media is a big deal, don’t neglect the tried and true. Having an open house, being visible in the community, holding a much-needed education seminar — these continue to deliver so much value and build loyalty. ◊