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The Ultimate Guide to Conversational Content Strategy

conversational content

A business may create content with different goals in mind. Still, one main goal for most businesses is to engage with readers, and push them toward making a decision, whether it is purchasing, downloading, or watching something online. Here is the ultimate guide to conversational content strategy.

Your customers are human beings with emotions like anger, love, and fear. Traditionally, we’ve heard that the key to a powerful engagement is to trigger the emotions, and this purpose is met when there is a two-way conversation between parties.

What Is Conversational Content

The more you engage with prospects, the more they’re willing to act in a way you want. Here is where conversational content comes in.

In conversational content, the goal is to write and address the needs in words customers actually use. You must write something they actually want to read, share, and engage. The messaging should form the conversation in a meaningful way.

Messages should be written in a way that ends up in a two-way experience. In conversational content, the goal isn’t to drive sales immediately but to influence.

If you can influence people, not only will sales happen automatically, but you’ll also build customer loyalty, and they’ll start recommending your business to others.

Why Conversational Content Matters

The interactions between businesses with their prospects, through various channels, are getting more conversational, and this will change the engagement patterns. Consumers expect an immediate response from brands they try to interact with, which will lead to more adoption of chatbots and nascent AI-powered tools.

Here is why you should embrace conversational content, and make sure it is aligned with your inbound strategy.

Collect meaningful insights directly

The first and foremost benefit of conversational content is collecting insights directly from prospects. Through a healthy interaction, they’ll sign up for a newsletter, follow you on social media, and engage through different online channels.

Consumer-oriented insights are vital for brands that are striving for deeper relationships with prospects. Moreover, with rich and detailed data in hand, they don’t need to play guessing games anymore.

The collected data can be used for various purposes, including optimizing future interactions, filling the gaps in product or service support, refining marketing strategy, seizing untapped opportunities, or making more insightful decisions.

Customer journey optimization

The experience you create for customers and the impact you make on them determines whether they purchase from you again or give up the card. According to Salesforce, for 80% of customers, a brand’s experience is as important as its products or services.

From interacting in social channels to closing the deal, is a bumpy road that needs optimization. Don’t forget you have insights in hand, and here is a great chance for optimizing the customer journey and making it customer-centered to add more value. These efforts finally lead to strengthen customer relationships and build loyalty.

Establish authority

Conversational content is a reliable approach to position yourself as an authority in the market. In today’s fast-changing, dynamic business environment, there is a game of trust. Consumers ask: Why should I interact with you? Why should I buy from you?

You need to give them a reason to trust. Those who lose the game of trust must wait for the coming of winter. More customer-centric interactions are key to this.

The Power of Talking Directly to People

As a marketer, you know how important it is to deliver a personalized experience. Look at it as a conversation with a friend, colleague, or family member. Try to stay away from the common marketing and sales tone, and drive the conversation to a friendly atmosphere where a two-sided dialogue takes place.

Here are some quick tips to multiply the effectiveness of your conversations.

Meet customers at their place

Some marketers struggle to figure out what channels do prospects prefer most, and what type of content is more appealing to them. Remember, an effective conversation always happens in customers’ place, not the place you’re expecting.

Finding the right place for conversation is one of the essential components of inbound marketing and determines messaging’s quality and effectiveness.

Just ask yourself a simple question: What channels do my target audiences use? Through well-defined research or a customer survey, you can find the best answer. Also, investigating the buyers’ persona can help find the channels in which prospects operate more.

Collect and integrate data

Your CRM team and customer service reps are currently using technological tools to provide customers with rich and real-time support. Every business needs first-party data about its prospects’ interests and expectations.

The more data you collect, the more fruitful conversations become. The data can be gathered through subscription and registration data, surveys, social media monitoring, marketing analysis, or transaction tracking.

But every data must serve a purpose.

“The ultimate purpose of collecting the data is to provide a basis for action or a recommendation,� W. Edwards Deming.

After data collection, it’s time to integrate. Integrating and sharing the data with the CRM and customer support department brings convenience to the conversations.

You may have several touchpoints with customers, and integrated data prevents customers from repeating the same problem every time they try to interact with you. You know it’s really frustrating!

Let’s dive into how to develop a conversational content strategy and build a solid relationship with customers through it.

4 Steps to a ‘Conversational’ Content Strategy

Keep in mind that conversational content doesn’t overlap with your existing content planning and inbound marketing strategy. Accurately, conversational content is a part of inbound marketing, and they are all in the same wagon toward a common goal, which is increasing engagement.

1. Set the KPIs

The first step to implementing a new conversational strategy is to set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure the effectiveness and performance of conversation efforts over a period of time. The KPIs must be clear, relevant, and scalable. Likewise, they need to be coordinated with the customer journey and conversion funnel.

Here are some KPIs to consider for your conversational content strategy. You can set the KPIs according to the business goals and overall strategy. 

  1. Content views
  2. Backlinks
  3. Mentions by influencers
  4. Comments, likes, shares
  5. On-site metrics like page views, bounce rate, and time-on-site
  6. Conversion rates
  7. Multiple interactions

2. Write in language customers actually use

When writing conversational, you shouldn’t sound like a robot, and every word should convince the prospects that you are addressing them in person, not in a general tone. This way, they feel connected and ready to start the interaction.

The lack of personality is the killer of engagement and leaves you in vain. Your high school English teacher won’t penalize you for breaking some grammar rules here, so break some rules, and write in a tone that entertains, encourages, and engages readers.

Finally, bear in mind that you do not overuse conversational tone in your interactions with prospects. Everything in its moderation is best, and using too much conversational language may alienate the audience. Never sacrifice the brand and business prestige for an interaction. 

Do’s

  1. Use “You� and “I� instead of third-person
  2. Write short sentences
  3. Use contractions
  4. Ask questions to engage
  5. A little formality is needed

Don’ts

  1. Don’t use Passive voice
  2. Remove excessive jargons
  3. Don’t write in the same way you talk
  4. Don’t be rude and rough

3. Go beyond chatbots and messaging apps

Despite the convenience that bots brought to business-customer interactions, they still have a long way ahead to replace humans.

According to a survey by Blue Fountain Media, 47% of respondents prefer human interactions to AI. By the same token, 86% of consumers prefer to ask for human support if the bot fails to meet their request. People out there aren’t just the consumers of your content, and they’re looking for a human-made experience in their interactions rather than just chatting with a bot.

Share empathy

Bots are smart and AI-powered, but even the smartest bots can’t share empathy. Empathy is your weapon to position yourself at the heart and mind of prospects and let them to feel secure and heard. Don’t ignore it.

Don’t forget Offline channels.

Conversation doesn’t necessarily need to happen in an online environment. Sometimes the ROI of an offline channel outperforms online. For more effective communications, you can schedule face-to-face meetings (by respect social distancing, of course) with consumers.

4. Measure & optimize

Finally, it’s time to measure your efforts, see what’s working, what the areas of improvement are, and what should be left. Investigate the data you collected from consumers, and refine the strategies according to the insights.

Great Examples of Conversational Content

  1. Duolingo

Learning a new language through participating in conversations can accelerate learning, but if you feel embarrassed, Duolingo bot is here to be your partner. This bot simulates human-like conversations for learners and constantly updates its core to learn new phrases.

“Students master vocabulary and comprehension skills with Duolingo, but coming up with things to say in real­-life situations remains daunting. Bots offer a sophisticated and effective answer to that need.� Duolingo CEO and co-founder Luis von Ahn said.

  1. HealthJoy

HealthJoy is a healthcare startup that uses an AI-powered chatbot, named Joy, to provide users with doctors’ information, insurance plans, health recommendations, and more. Companies can manage their healthcare costs with HealthJoy, and save a lot of money thanks to its wide-ranging programs.

  1. Whole Foods

Whole Foods uses a bot on Facebook Messenger to help users with recipes. Finding a recipe has never been as easy as it is with the Whole Foods bot. The bot even allows searching for a recipe with emoji.  

Wrapping up

Deploying a conversational strategy isn’t a new concept, and many brands are using it for a long while, but the way you execute the strategy is the key factor. We live in an age that personalization is getting more hit, and consumer’s interactions are heavily affected by the conversational patterns. Every brand needs a conversational strategy to stay on the radar of consumers.  

Image Credit: judit peter; pexels

The post The Ultimate Guide to Conversational Content Strategy appeared first on ReadWrite.

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content creation Content Marketing content strategy content writing Marketing

Content Strategy Not Working? Here are the 6 Reasons Why

content strategy

Click on any blog related to content marketing and you will read “Content is the king� somewhere mentioned there. Content with the right content strategy helps you build your brand, make it visible to your audiences, boost customer trust, increase conversion rate, and even close sales. But does this ‘king’ bring everyone the same profits? Here is your content strategy not working? Here are six reasons why.

Today, we see every one creating content, and over 70% of the marketers are even actively investing to scale content marketing. But the sad truth is — not all of these marketers are happy with the results they see.

In the majority of the cases, it is not the content that is to be blamed. It is rather the content strategy.

Despite putting in all the efforts to make the content work, many still see their content lost somewhere in the deep dark digital abyss.

With minimal views, zero interaction, no engagement, and certainly no conversion, the dream of dominating the world with your content could instantly turn into a nightmare. But there is a ray of hope that will pull you out from failing at your content strategy.

Here is a blog that will tell you the main reasons why your content strategy is failing and how you can fix the strategy to succeed.

Because You Are Writing for the Bots and Not Humans

One of the biggest mistakes that most of the companies make when following a content strategy is that they focus too much on making their content rank than making it interesting. Google bots have become super smart and would automatically rank your content if it is loved by the people.

If your target audiences are not able to connect with what you write — it will be of no value to your company.

You will never be serving your target audience if you stuff your content with keywords, key phrases, and links.

Check for your content strategy.

Is it totally backed by keyword analysis and nothing else? Are you just churning out new content every other day to make sure your keywords rank?

If that’s the case, your content strategy is never going to work. Here are some mistakes in your content strategy that are taking you down.

  • Writing just enough (300 words) to fulfill Google guidelines without covering the complete topic.
  • Unnecessary stuffing the content with long and short tail keywords that make no sense to the reader.
  • Hyperlinking the content with just the service or product rather than linking it to informative pieces.

Quick Fixing Tip:

While writing content, you need to ensure that it is written with humans in mind and only optimized for search engines.

  • Create content that is catering to the needs of your readers and is still optimized for search engines.
  • Make sure it has at least 1,890 words. This way, it covers the complete topic and also makes Google web crawlers happy.
  • Keywords are important. Place them strategically. Primary keyword once in the first paragraph, title, and URL.
  • To avoid keyword stuffing yet ranking for the same, use LSI keywords to make your content look more natural.
  • Link your content but make sure it is linking to both internal and external pages that provide value to your readers.
  • Images are important to keep your reader entertained. You can use these images to gain ranking as well by adding Alt Tags and ensuring it ranks on Google images. When creating top-performing content on Google, you also need to add images with Alt Tags in it.

Because You are Scared of Experimenting with Content Forms

In an age when you are surrounded by content in all forms, limiting your content strategy to just blogs and articles is a sin. You might have a full-blown content strategy in place with a content calendar that ensures your writers churn out content pieces and post them on your website or external platforms. However, it is 2020 and your target audiences have gone far beyond consuming content through just one means.

Each business starts its content strategy from ‘having a blog page.’ And it is great as over 60% of the businesses that acquired more customers had a blogging channel in place. But thinking that that’s enough is where you start failing.

You need to study your buyer persona and the stage they are in the buyer journey to offer them the required kind of content for a successful inbound marketing initiative as well.

For example, a buyer in the awareness stage would like to have blogs and ebooks or guides around the topic. Those in the consideration stage might look for whitepapers, blogs on ‘tips’ or ‘best ways’, etc. And those in the decision stage of their journey would rather look for case studies, videos, industry reports in the niche.

The mistake you are doing is that you are offering all types of buyers in all stages of their buyer journey with the same content. Neither are you looking at the buyer demographics nor on the stage of their journey to create customized content.

If your content strategy is failing even in the times when content is the king, know that it is the time to diversify.

Quick Fixing Tip:

  • The best way to diversify your content strategy is by repurposing your content. This way, you don’t have to increase your team size to create all types of content. You simply need to repurpose the content that’s already available with you. In fact, 60% of marketers use their one piece of content in two to five ways.
  • Turn your content into different forms like videos, podcasts, ebooks, pdfs, infographics, etc., to ensure it reaches audiences in the way they consume their content.
  • Look for content that is already working with the audiences and update in to make it brand new. Add new pointers, create images, and make it eye-catchy, provide new examples, improve the layout, and much more to ensure it keeps the visitors engaged.
  • Create videos from your engaging blogs
  • Make social media graphics to build your community of readers there
  • Offer downloadable content in the form of pdfs, guides, whitepapers, etc.
  • Transform your long-form content into ebooks and send them across to your clients
  • Create a buzz among your audience by creating a post that talks about the best round-up posts.
  • If you have some really good information-rich content, create webinars from them to build your authority in the niche

Because Your Competitors Already Dominate the Niche

Your content is good, you are producing all types of content, and even promoting it right. Yet, you are not able to succeed with your content marketing. Why?

Maybe because your competitors are way too strong.

Yes, one of the main reasons why a majority of the businesses see their content strategy failing is because they are up against industry giants. Many times, businesses are doing nothing wrong, it’s just that they are in an industry or market that is already dominated by big names. In such situations, it is only human to feel that it is not much you can do. But giving up should never be the case.

Think you cannot fight the saturated or dominated market? You can.

Quick Fixing Tip:

If you are also in an industry where your competitors have left no scope for you and no matter what you do, your content is still not working, here is what you can do.

  • Offer problem-solving content to ensure that your target audience can rely on you for solutions
  • Be consistent with your content delivery and never back down. Slowly and steadily, you will reach the top.
  • Start with building a small niche group of followers with your content and start expanding it.
  • Try the skyscraper method of creating content where you find the best piece of your competitor’s content and generate something even better.
  • Look where they are lacking through a thorough competitor analysis. There must be something they are missing out on and that’s where you need to hit with your content strategy.

Because You Are Not Creating Valuable Content

Producing content for content’s sake is not going to take you far. It should always provide some value to your audience. A very prominent reason why the majority of the companies do not succeed with their content is that they get too busy simply churning out content pieces one after the other without considering if it is working for their audiences or not.

You are not thinking about your audience while creating content. It is only the numbers you are worried about. And the same thing has passed on to your writers as well. They aren’t worried about content quality or the value it would create with the readers, they are simply meeting the deadlines and targets of writing x number of words each day.

Quick Fixing Tip:

When it comes to writing valuable content for the audiences, there are many things you can do. Here are some of them:

  • Have a buyer persona and analyze the characteristic of the audience to know what kind of content they like. You need to find what clicks your audience and create content that engages them.
  • Your content team should be experienced and know how to create high-quality content. You cannot expect them to create great content if you haven’t familiarized them with your target buyer personas. Make sure they have complete information about your company’s offering, working process, and the target audience so that they can create valuable content.
  • Make your content stand out by adding some unique qualities to them and offer value in one way or the other.
  • Give a different angle or perspective to your content to ensure that it is creating more value for your audiences
  • Talk to your sales or business development team to know the questions that the customers are actually asking and create content on that.
  • Pay attention to the content type that is not working with your target audience and either stop doing that in your strategy or try to improve them.

Because Your Content Promotion is Not On Point

Content marketing is not just about content. It’s second half talks about marketing and that is where most people fail. Many people have talented content writers who tell the company stories in a perfect manner while also offering value. But they lack in promoting the content on the right channels.

Your content strategy would definitely not work if you are doing nothing about the content once it has gone live on your website.

How do you expect your users to find the content? Do you expect them to type your blog URL to reach the page? No one would do that, of course.

How will they reach your content? They will reach your content when you know how to promote it.

Take, for example, Robbie Richards, a professional that helps growth-stage SaaS companies with their SEO strategies. His page was just a month old with no backlinks or anything. Yet, he grew his traffic by 272% in just 30 days. How?

Having a content strategy that emphasizes on creating great content and promoting it right. He used Buzzbundle tool, weekly round-ups, forum marketing, etc.

Quick Fixing Tip:

There are some simple and quick tips that can help you improve your content strategy through promotion.

  • Send out email newsletters to all your subscribers for your blog posts
  • Share each of your blog posts on social media platforms that best suit your business and audience in a very engaging manner. Don’t forget, over 74% of your users are on social media. But make sure you target your content according to social media platforms. LinkedIn for business posts, Instagram for cultural posts, Pinterest for infographics, Twitter for mentioning industry experts, etc.
  • When sending out emails to your prospects, you can link your informative posts in the email to give them value and get more traffic on your site.
  • Reshare your content on different reposting channels like Medium etc., with your original link as canonical to reach out to wider audiences.
  • Answer questions on Quora, Reddit, etc., while linking to your blog post to get interested readers from there.

Because You Aren’t Tracking Content or Wasting Your Data

Data is imperative in today’s world and you need to make complete use of the data that you have to improve your content strategy. Basically, if you are not backing your content strategy with data, you are simply taking the guess-based approach. And that is not going to take you too far.

It is important that you track each piece of content and know the numbers to not just formulate your content strategy but also improvise it accordingly.

The data collected from tracking and analysis of content, marketing campaigns, and other similar things can be very useful in strengthening your content strategy and making it fool-proof.

Quick Fixing Tip:

  • Google Analytics, Hubspot Analytics, SEMrush, and many more tools are available to help you analyze your content performance
  • Looks at the page views, bounce rates, average session, etc., to see how your content is performing
  • See the referral traffic and make sure sharing content there becomes a routine
  • Have a monthly report to see where the traffic arrives most and from where. Create content and promotion strategies accordingly.

On an Ending Note

Like having a correct inbound strategy is imperative for digital engagement, a correct and fail-proof content strategy is also crucial for your success. In fact, if done right, your content strategy can get you three times more leads than paid search advertising. All you need to do is find the reasons why it is failing and fix them to succeed.

In this blog, we covered all the major reasons that lead to the failure of content strategy and how you can quickly fix them. You can perform content audits regularly and see ho everything is working out. Once done, implement the quick fixing tips and do not forget to include these implementations in your content documentation as, without it, your strategy would not stand.

Key Takeaways:

  • To make your content strategy work, make sure your content is written for humans and well-optimized for search engines.
  • Creating just one kind of content would bore your audience. Treat them with variety and serve them with a mix and match of video, blogs, podcasts, infographics, etc.
  • The content should always provide value to the readers and compel them to take some action.
  • Do not worry if your industry is already dominated. Offering value consistently would help you carve your niche.
  • Just pushing down chunks of content on your website wouldn’t suffice. Promoting the content should take an important part of your content strategy.
  • You also need to monitor all your content efforts. Otherwise, how would you know what’s working and what’s not? With proper tracking, you can create more value-driven content that will resonate with your customers’ requirements.

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