Content marketing is a great tool for taking engagement to the next level with your audience. Although not as widely adopted in agribusiness as in some other industries, content marketing offers key benefits – including building trust, generating interest and directly engaging customers and prospects – that make it worth exploring for any ag marketer.
Getting Started with Content Marketing
All successful content marketing plans are built on these steps:
Identify your audience's challenges and how you can address them. Audiences love content that is useful to them and solves their problems, so that’s the type of content you need to be sharing in order to earn their engagement. If you can understand and offer some solution to your customers’ needs, they’ll begin to see you as a trusted expert and continue to come back for more of the value you provide.
Arm yourself with insights. Use market research and social media listening to validate your theories about audience needs and help you zero in on the topics that will pique their interest and accomplish your goals. Insights like these can also provide real-time feedback as you iterate and test different types of content to understand what your audiences are talking about and what resonates on different channels.
Understand audience consumption habits. Determine your audience’s preferences for how, where and when they want to receive information. Observing trends across communications channels, among different groups, and around different types of content can offer actionable information about how to adapt your strategies to your specific audiences. Tailoring your content to fit what they consume most will ensure you’re top of mind when they’re seeking answers for a new question or a solution to a new problem.
Developing Content that Compels
To drive customer action, your content needs to have substance. Tap into insights and research to determine the most compelling messages for each of your audience segments and channels.
Tell stories to make your messages more appealing and personal. A classic example of this is The Furrow magazine. Published by John Deere since 1895 (yes, 1895), it has remained relevant by serving as an accurate, unbiased source of information for farmers – not an overly promotional outlet about John Deere itself.
Maintaining Consistent Outreach
Consistency is key to building trust with your audience. Develop and use a voice that establishes who you are as an organization, differentiating your brand from others while showing your personality. Your content delivery rhythm, meanwhile, teaches your audience when to expect to hear from you. For example, you may want to post daily updates on Twitter, weekly blog posts on your website and monthly video posts on YouTube to develop a cadence from an SEO perspective.
Minnwest Bank builds relationships with farmers through regular posts on its blog. It has a section focused on agribusiness, which features posts highlighting women in agriculture, advice on best practices and guest columns.
One Word of Caution
Communicating across multiple channels offers more opportunities to connect with your audience. However, it also requires thoughtful planning and should not be rushed. First, determine where your audience goes for information, and then evaluate your ability to regularly produce the types of content with which they’re engaging. Having this roadmap for content creation will help you make the most of your marketing efforts without having to guess at what your audience really wants.
With proper planning and research, relevant content and a consistent plan of attack, you can engage your target audience and drive them to action.