Build a Content-Marketing Ecosystem
This is the key to turning your business into an empire
If more businesses understood the true potential of content marketing, they’d flourish far more than any expansion strategy allows them to — in a fraction of the time.
Anyone who’s using content marketing as merely a means to gain more short-term sales is trading the potential to have an entire orchard tomorrow for a few measly seeds today.
If they’d just look at it from this angle …
The Very Real Possibilities
Imagine walking into a brick-and-mortar store. Its wares are whatever you want them to be. Before you, there’s more than just soulless aisles packed with products. There’s a free advice center, where you’re provided with relevant and meaningful information about all the products and how they fit your needs, along with buying considerations.
There’s also a carnival where you can pass the time with short games and quizzes. These always have hidden facts about the brand, but that doesn’t detract from the fun.
For your information and entertainment, there’s a fully operational newsstand, and you know you can depend on it for the latest information and reasoned opinions on whatever area of your life the business serves.
There’s a cinema, too, and all day it plays fun and interesting videos that don’t just showcase the brand — they speak deeply to your experiences.
Headsets neatly hung on hooks surrounding the interior of the walls are there for you to pick up and place over your ears, with hours of rich and relevant listening for you to enjoy.
The products themselves are well presented nearby, and you’re never in any doubt which of the brand’s offerings works for you because they’ve given you every bit of info you need to make a confident decision.
You really can’t imagine buying from anyone else. This is the brand for you, the one that’s given you those aha realizations, unexpected laughs, the validation that your opinion matters, and loads of quality content to consume at your leisure.
The funny thing is even though this content is genuinely interesting and relevant to you, it made it so much easier to know what you need and why you need it, so when it came time for you to make a purchase, it was easy as pie.
That, my friends, is what businesses can be. Whatever industry they’re in — e-commerce, SaaS, affiliate marketing, fashion, exotic soaps — that’s something they can achieve.
We all know the building blocks:
- Social media content
- Featured community-generated content
The reason why that makes a business an empire is it now has a much larger and more impactful presence, spread across diverse but interlinked channels — much like what makes anything at all an empire.
The more means there are for a brand to be discovered and for it to communicate, the more people it’ll reach. It’s simple enough, but something essential lies just beneath the surface.
It matters just as much how many of those people stick. And the only way to make them buy into the brand in the long term is to provide value. That’s in terms of the relevance of the content, its overall quality, and its uniqueness. If it strikes a resonant chord, it goes from something someone stumbles on to something they follow, all the while making them a customer.
The odds they’re going to be more than just a customer but a loyal repeat customer increase when the business has its own media empire. If they stay true to the tone that earns them the focused attention of their audience across the content-deployment channels we went over, they can create deep and meaningful ties.
Now their audience can consume their content according to their own preferences and convenience. When they’re relaxing or doing busywork, a podcast is perfect. A video is just the thing for when they’re waiting for a friend who’s running late for a scheduled brunch. The blog is always there to scratch their reading itch.
Never mind the overlap, the catchment is broadened widely considering the audience members who consume one type of content and nothing else. Getting them to read the blog might be a tall order, but they could be the type to binge a huge chunk of a brand’s social media feed.
Beyond just being visible, great content inspires audiences to engage with it. That’s through likes, shares, and comments. These are vital tools a business can use to learn more about their customers and how to connect with them better.
Now imagine those metrics coming from different avenues — the blog, the podcast, YouTube videos, social media posts — and it’s a veritable bonanza. The insights that can be used to improve engagement and reach for a single medium are great, but think about crossbreeding strategies and what that could yield. Or even encourage consumers of one content format to engage with another — and then another.
A business’s content-marketing ecosystem simply offers an incredibly broad range of customers genuine reasons to stay within the business’s orbit, whatever stage they’re at in the buying process. While offering value to the audience, it gives the business unique insights.
The greatest benefit for the brand is it provides the opportunity for it to occupy a sentimental and loyalty-inspiring position within its market, in ways that only a rich interconnected ecosystem can.
The Content-Marketing Ecosystem: ROI Rocketing
A clean, painstakingly crafted article lies on a business’s blog. Maybe it perfectly zeroes in on a prevalent consumer pain point. It might capture the hearts of the brand’s audience and generate great traffic. It might be SE-optimized for some strategic words, boosting its visibility. Perhaps, for reasons unclear, it’ll simply not do well. Either way, it’s losing money.
A truly good blog article is itself a finished product and a raw material with vast potential. The content can be expanded, discussed, questioned, broken down, and prodded in all kinds of ways for a podcast.
It can be stripped to its barest idea for a stand-alone social media post (in addition to the ones promoting the blog article itself). It can be broken down into several parts with each getting a corresponding picture and then posted as a clever Instagram story-panel sequence.
The article can be converted into a dialogue, which is then made into a script, which in turn becomes an animated or even live-acted video.
It doesn’t matter which medium the article starts life as; it can be repurposed into other mediums, with the possibility of using each one to point an audience to another.
For all the content a business produces, it gets more bang for its buck. This is doubly important considering that, despite a rampant focus on evergreen content, rapid tech advances mean almost all content has a half-life. With a content-marketing system, businesses have more methods to maximize their ROI from a piece of content at its peak relevance.
The Content-Marketing Ecosystem: Self-Supporting
Even in the empires of old, some citizens stayed firmly settled in one region, while others were more free-spirited and traveled across various provinces. So it is with a content-marketing empire.
A section that wouldn’t touch one medium is catered to by another, and those who follow the business’s different content-distribution channels might miss, say, the blog, but they’ll certainly catch the same information in another form.
That’s the beauty of content marketing that evolves into an ecosystem. The various elements feed into and support each other, meaning the effort you put into maintaining one aspect manifests itself in the whole.
Over time, the brand will develop streamlined ways of repurposing each piece of content, making for a tighter and more functional ecosystem.
People will have more ways of either finding or keeping up with the business, deepening the relationships that blossom into customer loyalty.
On the internet, the things that matter most for a business’s image are the quality, depth, and reach of its presence. One avenue for releasing content can cause a blip on the radar — or something more every now and again. But if a business wants an impactful, sustained, and ever-growing presence, a content-marketing ecosystem is the answer.
First published on Medium.