“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on the creation and distribution of valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action” (Source: Content Marketing Institute).

Content is not just information you can distribute. People who buy from you want a solution. They have a problem they hope you can solve, but they also want to feel heard, respected and valued. And, they want to feel good about yourself and your business. You have to give them a chance to get to know you. You want to develop a connection with them.

I want to break down the content marketing trends for 2022 into three segments: storytelling, education, and personalization.

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1. Tell stories

The first thing you need to think about is why you are creating this content. Remember, you are helping people solve a problem.

Remember the old writing rule: show, don’t tell. Telling a customer how great you are won’t make them believe you. Showing them will prove it to them. Weaving a story around your product, your brand and your successes will create an emotional connection between you and your customers. This includes the use of great photos. After all, a beautiful picture is worth a thousand words.

Here’s an example for water treatment dealers: You’ve probably heard me tell this story at one of my conferences. When my son was much younger he played kids baseball. I called the team over after a pizza and soda game. I had put the food and drinks outside for the kids and parents to help themselves. What they did. Then one of the kids came up to me and asked for a glass of water because, he said, my water was so good.

This is the kind of testimonial a dealership dreams of. But how do you use it as content? This is a perfect example of a relevant social media post. He uses storytelling and a photo to make it clear that filtered water tastes so good.

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2. Education

It goes hand in hand with storytelling. We know that an educated customer is more likely to buy. When we talk about content, this is where we offer real information about our product or service to educate the customer. We help them solve their problem. In this case, we educate rather than sell.

Our content should educate by showing a personal connection. Here’s an example: “We bought a water conditioner because it removed rust from our sidewalk. That way, I was never embarrassed when people came to my door on vacation. Not only that, the same water-based conditioner made my hair shine. This is because by removing the minerals in the water it also helped balance the pH of my hair. Now my hair is silky, smooth and healthy. ”

Consumers these days really look for what we call social proof before making a purchase. By social proof we mean the phenomenon that it’s easier to buy things or trust companies if you know others have done so already. Think about reviews and influencers.

Reviews can help educate consumers about your products and services. Critics usually talk about their specific experiences in their reviews. It becomes an easy and respected way for potential customers to find out more about what you are offering. You educate them about your product, not just trying to sell them a service.

3. Personalization

The term personalization can be used in different ways. In the most basic sense, personalization can mean using someone’s name in communications. Example: Dear Dale.

We love it when people know our name (I go out myself, but remember the Cheers TV show? People loved Cheers because it was a ‘everyone knows my name’ place). Of course, the response increases exponentially when you personalize your name marketing. However, it’s not just about the name. You also know something about this person. You know their audience segment. It’s not just Dear Dale –— but it’s Dear Dale who lives in a certain area, has a specific household composition, a particular income level, and a house of a certain value.

Because you know more about “Dear Dale” than her name, you can talk to her in a more personal way. For example, Dale may have teenagers in the household and live in a zip code where you know the water is full of calcium and other hard water chemicals. Because you know it, you can tailor marketing in Dale to focus on providing a smoother water experience for his family. You can use a photo of a happy family with shiny hair. You could suggest an alkaline-free shampoo with a pleasant smell as a CTA (call to action).

Dale isn’t the only person in your dealership’s territory like this. However, by focusing on Dale’s attributes, we can find other people who are similar to him. This is how we use audience segmentation to personalize. This is how we target the right marketing lists and develop our marketing campaign.

This concept works for direct mail, email, and digital marketing campaigns, but it also works in terms of creating personalized content.

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Personalization of content

Let’s think first of all about retargeting. If someone has clicked on one of your ads online and lives in a specific area, you know something about them and can run an ad for a specific product.

Back to Data Dale. She clicked on an ad displayed on a recipe page. You know his postal code and the composition of his household. The retargeting ad that will be broadcast to him will focus on a soft water solution. The image can be a family; CTA can be shampoo without alkali.

Do you blog? Good content is vital if you want your blog to be noticed. Let’s come back to audience segmentation. We break down our universe into different market segments. Can you segment your blog and the content you provide for those segments? When you write with a group in mind it becomes very personalized. It helps you communicate with customers and expand your reach into your potential market.

Great content improves your SERP

Quality content improves the visibility of your SERP (search engine results page).

The SERP is the page that a search engine returns after a user submits a search query. In addition to organic search results, search engine results pages typically include paid search and pay per click (PPC) ads.

When you provide great content, your business will show up when someone searches. If your water treatment business has great, relevant content, you’ll appear at the top of the page, without having to spend all of your advertising dollars on PPC ads.

Final Comment: The value of solid content will become even more important than ever with Google’s new algorithms for 2022. Make sure you’re prepared!