What is the goal of your content? For some, it's to gain exposure. To others, it's to sell directly. But a major part of any content marketing strategy is to build relationships with your audience.
Relationships are essential online. People still search for information through search engines, but they're increasingly following companies and people they like on different online platforms. What people are looking for are trusted experts who can help them solve their problems. You can become an expert by building relationships. Strong relationships are also a key driver for sales.
Focus on the Customer
Think for a second about how you build relationships in the offline world. You don't do it by talking about yourself or focusing on your own needs. The way you do it is by making an authentic connection, and you can only do this if you focus on the other person.
The same goes with the online world. The best way to build a relationship is to focus on the customer. Offer what they need, and they'll follow you loyally. In order to do this, you have to know your audience well, and this means conducting research and gaining an understanding of their challenges, problems, and questions. If you can help them deal with these issues, you're on your way to a strong relationship.
Create the Best Content Possible
To build strong relationships, you need to offer high quality content. What exactly does this mean? It means creating content that's unique and offers real value to the people who consume it. If you create your content with your audience's best interests at heart and try to do something different that no one else is doing, you'll have quality content. Don't take shortcuts and always emphasize quality over quantity.
The internet can be impersonal at times. If you give your content marketing the personal touch, you'll be more likely to build strong relationships. Be yourself, be transparent, and be authentic. Use actual pictures of yourself for profile images. Tell stories and add personal anecdotes in your content wherever it's appropriate. Connect authentically with your audience through social media.
Monitoring Your Relationship Building
It's easy to see whether traffic is coming to your site, or if a product or service is selling. But how do you measure relationship building? As with any online marketing efforts, you need to choose a few key metrics to watch that will tell you whether your efforts are paying off or not.
Some of the things you can measure to evaluate include:
Email open rates and click-through rates. If you have a good relationship with your subscriber list, they'll open and take action on your emails.
Time spent on site. Measure the amount of time visitors spend on your site. This shows whether it's holding their interest and whether they're reading.
Social media engagement. If people are sharing and commenting on your posts, this shows that they're actively engaged with your brand.
It's important not to promote when you're trying to build relationships. Now isn't the time. Simply be there to help "your people" and it will naturally result in sales.