According to new research from CMI, 81% of B2C companies are focused on creating content that builds loyalty in 2019.
So what does content that builds loyalty look like? First, let’s think about some of the things that make you loyal to a business or organization:
- Consistent experience. You know that every time you shop at that store or on that website, that you will get a consistent experience. There’s a certain quality expectation that you have, that this business typically meets. And once you are loyal to a particular business, you will typically forgive an occasional sub-par experience where it could be a deal-breaker for a business you are NOT loyal to. The AMA has also found that dependability is one of the key drivers of brand loyalty.
- You can relate to the brand. They hold values that are similar to yours. They prize and promote the same ideals and beliefs that you are drawn to. Patagonia supports the environment and sustainability. This appeals to their customers. Chick Fil-A is closed on Sunday so its workers can attend church. The brand wears its religious values on its sleeve and that appeals to its customers.
- They make you feel appreciated. I love shopping at Publix because the workers there always seem happy to see me and happy to help. When I shop at WalMart, I see a lot of long faces, and no offers to help. If I have to ask for help, they act like I am burdening them. Smart businesses value your business and win your loyalty as a result.
So if you want to create content that drives loyalty. let’s work these same characteristics into that content:
Consistent Content Builds Loyalty
Refer back to the AMA study that found that dependability is one of the key drivers of brand loyalty. It stands to reason, you are loyal to brands in great part because you know that you will have a consistent experience with that brand during every interaction.
The same level of consistency should translate to the content you create. When you create consistent content, you give readers the opportunity to learn more about you through the content you create. This helps develop your readership, which in publishing terms is your equivalent of customer loyalty. So you want to do everything you can to ensure that the tone, quality and topic of your content is consistent so that you can develop and grow a readership for it.
The easiest way to do this is to pick 2-3 Topic Buckets for your blog. These will be 2-3 topics that are related to both your business, and your customers. Think of how Red Bull creates content focused on athletes performing amazing tricks and stunts, not the actual energy drink. Patagonia creates content that focuses on the environment and sustainability, not selling its clothing products. You want to create content that focuses on how the products and services you sell fit into and enhance the lives of your customers.
Also, you want to create consistent content on a consistent schedule. Unfortunately, I break this rule all the time (my blogging resolution for 2019 is to get back on a regular posting schedule). The best way to handle this is to be realistic about how often you can create new content for your blog, and go from there. It is much easier to shoot for one post a month and then write more if you can than it is to shoot for 3 posts a week, and have to scale back to 1 a week. Shoot low and try to build up, that’s easier and will motivate you to keep blogging more so than aiming too high and missing the mark.
As for what days are best to post on, that’s really subjective and greatly depends on the audience you want to reach. In general, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the best days for publishing new content. But you should always experiment, it could be that your audience wants new posts on the weekend, not during the week. Think about who your audience is, and when they would likely have time to read your posts.
Content That Helps the Audience Relate to You Builds Loyalty
What does it mean to ‘relate’ to someone? In general, it means that you understand their point of view. You see the world as they do or you understand where they are coming from.
How does this translate to the content you create? You can help the audience relate to your content by offering examples (real or hypothetical) of how customers could use your products or services in their daily lives. Or by sharing how you use these products or services. The idea is to communicate to your customers that you understand them enough to know how your products or services fit into and enhance their daily lives.
Another way to create content that your audience can relate to is by sharing your corporate values. If your company supports certain charitable organisations or causes, don’t just mention that, tell why you picked those particular causes and how they align with your company’s beliefs and values. Share with your audience what makes those causes important to your company and why. Customers who share your beliefs and support those causes will be drawn to your company and will be more likely to support it as a result.
Communicate to Your Audience That You Appreciate Their Attention
Showing appreciation to your audience is a wonderful way to build loyalty with them. You can do this by encouraging your audience to interact with you, and by responding when they do. If you accept comments on your posts, you can encourage customers to leave comments on your blog. This can be a great way to cultivate customer feedback via the comments section. So it just makes sense to respond to as many comments as possible from your readers as that only encourages them to leave more comments.
You can also use your content to communicate to your customers that you take their feedback seriously. Patagonia often received criticism from its customers about its packaging. Most customers wanted to see Patagonia move away from sending garments in bigger boxes and toward smaller bags with would, in theory, involve less waste and less impact on the environment. So Patagonia decided to take its customer feedback seriously, and did a test run using bags vs boxes as customers had suggested. Patagonia then published the results of the shipping experiment on its blog, The Cleanest Line. I covered the experiment and findings in a past episode of The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show.
By applying these three methods, you can create content that helps build customer loyalty. It’s all about relating to the customer, being open to them, and opening up to them as well.