Your digital presence and the content you produce and distribute can help you stay connected to consumers and hopefully keep the sales coming in. It is always a great time to hunker down and re-evaluate or, if you haven’t already, develop some sort of a content marketing strategy to support your website. It’s also a great time to get creative.
In marketing, content—which includes any medium for delivering communication, from podcasts to blog posts to videos—is a useful tool for developing a brand voice. It can also be a way to support and inform customers and prospects throughout the year. By sharing meaningful content that offers real value to consumers, you can really engage people and clearly show them what your products can do to help improve their lives.
So how exactly do you go about developing content that resonates?
We have some tips on the fine art of content marketing. Although this form of marketing has been in vogue for several years now, it is continually evolving based on the needs of whatever audience you’re seeking to reach. Which brings us to our first point:
Form Follows Audience
In 2017, we wrote an article that similarly addressed content marketing strategy. At the time, eNewsletters, blogs, print and digital magazines were very prevalent in the sleep products market—and many of these formats still exist and are still popular. But with new generations rising into the consumer spending arena, there are emerging channels to explore. Of course, those new media avenues won’t work for everyone. Finding the right platforms and topics for different audiences will be essential to the success of your content campaign.
For the purposes of this article, we will use Gen-Z as an example target audience. Content marketing remains very popular among millennials and Gen-Zers, two demographics that are both looking for more authenticity from brands. Because Gen-Z encompasses such a wide age range—they are considered to be anyone born between 1997 and 2012—they make up roughly 40% of US consumers. According to this article from INC, “Selling to Gen Z doesn't work. Instead, you've got to give them something of value and prove that your brand is worth their time.” Part of that can be insightful content, while others can be giving back, sourcing products sustainably and other social good initiatives. The purpose of the content you share can be to promote this work and get others involved.
As the most tech-savvy consumer buying group in the market today, Gen-Z also loves customization and feeling like an individual—so you’ve got to up your game with segmentation and targeted media.
This generation is also using different forms of social media and is pulled in by video, more than some of the other generational demographics. This is where form gets more specific—this generation spends time on TikTok, Youtube, Instagram and Snapchat—favoring dynamic media and video formats over more static media like blogs and pictures on Facebook. So, when targeting this group, channels and mediums should be pretty modern—funny YouTube videos and memorable TikToks are key.
Remember that no matter what audience(s) you are trying to reach, you don’t actually have to be all things to all people. Designate two to three target demographic groups and use three to four channels (or the number of channels that you know you can manage well), to develop and deploy content. Research the demographics and understand what types of media and topics are most important to them. Then start creating!
Get Creative With Technology & Be Aware Of What’s Out There
Obviously there are new channels coming into the fore daily and attracting new audiences, but you shouldn't count out older content channels either. In this section, we’ve shared some updates on what’s new, what’s trending and some ways of using old-hat platforms you may not have considered before.
Outside of the bedding industry, we are starting to see more virtual events popping up. And, while it may seem like a stretch for the bedding and mattress business, there are some content marketing opportunities that have to do with video content or even live events and webinars to be had here.
Does your brand or a brand you partner with have a Sleep Doctor? See if you can get that person to do a video conference and invite everyone on your mailing list. Think about what would make you tune in. Ensure you focus the video on a topic that feels pertinent and useful to viewers. Do you have an RSA who has particularly in-depth knowledge about sleep and great presentation skills? Enlist their help! At the end, you can highlight products in your store to address issues that participants are having. Ultimately, a webinar or panel video could offer viewers valuable information and drive them to your website to evaluate online purchases to solve their sleep woes.
If you have a YouTube channel, don’t just throw commercials and branded videos on there. Think about the character of your store, what do you do better than the others in your area? What is your specialty? And, what kind persona do you want to convey? Create animated or even silly in-store videos that represent your style—just be careful not to verge on camp, make sure that even if your video is meant to be humorous it has a clear purpose.
Look at the way publications use their YouTube channels. Typically they have themed videos that fit different styles and formulas—i.e. a Q&A or before and after. Think about templates and categories you can use on your own channel to create compelling videos on a regular schedule. Unboxings are huge on YouTube, same with hauls: these are videos of consumers showing an audience all the things they’ve bought recently and why. Try using an approach like this to talk about new items featured in your store—have your buyer talk authentically about why they selected your latest collection. Think about hot topics—CBD in sleep products, aromatherapy or weighted blankets—and hone in on those.
Voice Search Optimization
Make sure that your content can be found if someone is Googling using Alexa and not by typing into a browser. This Entrepreneur article explains it well, “Content marketers need to focus on anticipating the questions their audience would ask in a conversational manner and create content based on those conversational questions and longtail keywords.”
There are many, many other new technological avenues out there—and many new ways to approach existing technologies. It’s all about how you use them. Don't spread yourself too thin by trying to be all things to all people; select a vibrant mix of content channels that work for your goals.
Are your RSA’s funny? Is your store stocked with mostly organic and naturally made products? Do you consider yourselves sleep educators rather than sales associates? No matter what format you choose, be sure to express the authentic and consistent values of your brand and store. Think about why you offer what you offer and why a consumer might care. Use the strengths and focus of your particular product mix to help you stand out with themed content.
Provide Concrete Advice And Usable Information
Finally, make sure that those who engage with your content walk away with concrete advice, new sleep knowledge or even a funny story. Marketing can and should be more than fluffy ads or smoke and mirrors. Content marketing in particular is a chance to go deeper and impact readers in a lasting way.