Are you helping your customers or creating a self-serving empire?
Empowered by today’s digital world, consumers have access to an endless array of content, products and services than ever before. That means as a marketer, it’s critical to create content that provides value and gravitate away from promotional, self-serving content to build strong brand loyalty. One way to design an effective content marketing strategy is applying the 80-20 rule - also known as the Pareto principle.
The Pareto principle, named after economist Vilfredo Pareto, states that roughly 80 percent of any effect comes from 20 percent of the causes. This rule has been applied to different situations across disciplines and industries, but in this case, we’re talking about building 80 percent of your marketing to be informative, educational and entertaining - acting as if you’re a media company. The other 20 percent is made up of promotional material to motivate your customers to learn more about your products and services.
Whether you’re applying this principle to your social media or email marketing, finding your 80/20 balance is crucial for maximizing performance. There’s no quick way to create marketing content to go viral or hit the social jackpot. So what are the qualities of strong digital content? Follow this checklist of 6 things to look out for before you publish.
- Have purpose.
Each piece of content should have a purpose. Whether it’s a how-to video or blog post, each piece of content should have its own place in the larger story. Is it to bring awareness to a common pain point in the industry—one that your product eliminates? Or is it to inform on best practices, helping you establish yourself as a thought leader in your space?
- Answer your customer’ questions.
Learn from your fans. Figure out what content matters most to your targeted customers. It’s a highly valuable indicator of where your focus should be. People don’t care about how good your company is, they want to know how you can help them solve their challenges. Having promised value, the content should deliver on it.
- Pay attention to the headline.
People are bombarded with so much content, find a way to stand out and a great headline is one way to do that. Just like any story you read online, the stories with catchy yet authentic headers have a higher likelihood of drawing people in - whether it be the email subject line of your monthly newsletter, blog article or social media post.
- Add media - image or video.
Build in images or video as much as possible. There are free stock image sites to help you with that search as well as DIY video marketing platforms, like Animoto, to do it yourself.
- Include links to relevant content.
This could be reshares, links to news or inspirational quotes from other influencers whose ideas and insights are in sync with you. When your fans and followers are engaged, entertained and educated, you get their attention and listen to what you have to offer.
- Lastly, be generous.
Foster a genuine respect for your customers and develop content that meet their needs. It’s moving away from being simply transactional to building a relationship with them. Moreover, don’t feel like you’re at a loss by giving content away for free - it’s one of the most effective ways to establish your brand as an expert and give your audience a taste of what to expect when they work with you. The more value you give, the higher your authority status.
Use the 80-20 approach as a general rule of thumb for all your marketing efforts. This will help you draw people in through the 80 percent of valuable content you share, and once they’re hooked, you’ll have an audience for 20 percent of promotional content sprinkled in.