Content marketing is a must in the digital age for every industry. Developing the right type of content for users and understanding how to measure the impact can be accomplished through many different tactics.

Here are a few strategies that work in a variety of industries:

Educating Consumers via Social Media

Using social media tools like Instagram and video venues like Youtube provides opportunities for companies to educate their consumers and spread awareness.

Birchbox, a popular subscription-based beauty box service, delivers videos that teach how to create the perfect smoky eye or beach wave curls. While walking their viewers through the steps, they promote specific brands that would be the “perfect” product to carry out each task—brands that users may find in their Birchbox.

The videos both educate and advertise, pushing sales and the company message. Plus, they’re easy to share through a variety of social media platforms.

User-Generated Content

Another approach that can work for a variety of businesses is user-generated content.

For example, asking fans to submit their photos from a concert to Facebook is a great way for bands to get new content with little investment. It’s a win-win for everyone: the photos provide free content for the band, and fans earn a spotlight on their favorite band’s page.

In the Melbourne Mural Project, we have also implemented projects that promote user-generated content marketing. Art is essential for downtowns and provides a means for people to interact with the district and post their own material. I find countless images on Facebook of engagement photo shoots in front of murals, of babies staring up in wonder at them, and of friends using them as a backdrop to their captured moments. These finds give me user-generated content I can pivot to market the ideas and objectives behind revitalizing Downtown Melbourne.

With so much activity on the web, why not take advantage of this abundance of content?

Showcase Your Brand’s Personality

Using content marketing to get personal with consumers is also a valuable approach.

For example, I use my personal Facebook page to promote our downtown district and to guide people in the discourse I wish to cultivate. Posting pictures of me eating and shopping downtown and using hashtags like #mydowntown encourage a sense of ownership and starts the conversation of, “Oh, I haven’t thought about downtown like that before.”

By using my personal account, I can broadcast the goal of the larger project.

Building a Fanbase

Content marketing provides a means for companies to build their reputation or establish their brand. Creating content that “teaches” users how you want them to perceive your product is a powerful branding tool. A company can have their brand viewed by different audiences, widening and diversifying their consumer base. Producing quality-rich content creates brand loyalty and establishes them as an expert in their particular domain.

In the world of community development and revitalization, we use content to create a sense of devotion to a district and to shape public perception.

Recently, I was part of a project that dedicated a mural to a park located in one of the most economically disadvantaged areas of the city. Problems of drug use, poverty, and other issues have long persisted in the park, making it a place people avoided. We posted signs that stated, “We Promote Play” and “Building Parks Together,” in addition to photos from the dedication showing community members coming together to celebrate the park. The initiative not only raised interest in the efforts to revitalize the area but also changed the way people view the neighborhood.

With these goals in mind, we were able to carefully craft our message and plan the content we wanted to create, from celebrating the park to catalyzing enthusiasm for fundraising.

Final Thoughts

Increasing brand awareness, downloads, shares, and purchase intent are all measures that can be used to objectively evaluate if content is meeting the goals of the outlined strategy—and if you are getting a return on your investment.

Content marketing, like anything else in business, needs a strategic approach and definite plan. Creating content for the sake of creating content is costly and not likely to lead to the desired outcomes. Be specific about your intent, while also keeping your consumers in mind.

Your play-by-play guide to B2B marketing strategy.

Jarin Eisenberg

About Jarin Eisenberg

Jarin Eisenberg is the Executive Director of Melbourne Main Street, working to build public-private partnerships to revitalize Historic Downtown Melbourne, as well as an instructor at Florida Institute of Technology. She was the recipient of the Lead Brevard's 2016 4 under 40 award and the Chamber's 2016 Small Business of the Year Award. Jarin sits on the Board of Directors of weVenture, The Melbourne Regional Chamber, and is the Board Chair of the Street to Home Movement.