Content marketing is a relatively new term for the same tactics PR professionals have been using for many years. Creating content that tells a story, engages with the reader and encourages them to share it, is the very backbone of a good PR strategy. Content marketing simply brings the focus of this activity online. I’m going to share with you why, as a pet industry retailer or brand, you should be harnessing the power of content, to reach new customers.
Many brands will already have a social media strategy and even a PR strategy and then a separate SEO strategy. This is exactly where brands go wrong. Start with the heart of your business – your customers. Ask yourself the following questions about your audience. Who are they, what are they interested in, what information do they search for on Google relating to their pets? Which other websites and media do they consume, do they favour Facebook or Instagram? This is the same data needed whether you are a local pet shop, or a global retailer. Utilise tools such a Google AdWords for keyword research, alongside actually speaking to your customers themselves, to build these profiles.
Who is your customer?
Only once you have this data can you then begin to formulate a plan on reaching these customers. Let’s say you’re a pet supplies retailer, your average customer is female, 36-years-old, has two dogs, loves Instagram and reads the Daily Mail (even though she tells everyone she doesn’t). You’ve also found out she’s likely to search for tips on managing her Labrador’s weight, and fun tricks to teach her dogs.
Making PR and social media work for you
You can now bring focus to your content marketing strategy by basing blog articles around what your average customer cares about and wants to read, and ultimately will share with her network online, which will most likely include other dog owners. Some of these articles you write should spark ideas for a PR campaign. Why not run a customer survey to find out exactly how many people struggle with managing their pets weight? Create tips and advice housed on your website to solve their problem, linking to relevant products you sell, then approach the media with your story. Social media should always be used to amplify your own content. Many brands are still sharing articles from other websites and therefore driving web traffic to someone else. Yes, everyone loves funny Cat videos, but that won’t help drive your sales!
Measurement and value
So how do you measure the success of content marketing? Google Analytics. If you are not familiar with analytics, you should be! Every element of content marketing is trackable, from what people search for who reach your website, to what social platform they came from and then what they go on to click and buy. You should benchmark at the beginning, and aim to increase year-on-year. You can even work out how much budget you should allocate to the activity, using your average conversion rate and average order value, against your investment.
The downside to content marketing is that it is not a quick win. It is time and labour intensive, but once you have the customer research and strategy in place, it should replace the need for multiple strategies across the disciplines and offer you a cost-effective solution in reaching new customers. I can guarantee there is an opportunity out there for 99% of brands, it’s up to you to decide how successful you want to be.
About the author: Jessica has over ten years’ experience working on creative PR and digital marketing campaigns for clients including Monster Pet Supplies, Hilton Hotels, Staples, Hertz and MTV. She is also the proud owner of a seven-year-old Doberman, named Lupo, who inspired her personal blog www.velcrodog.co.uk