Attract and retain customers with Frequent, Authentic, Relevant, and Engaging content
So what is FARE Content Marketing?
Over the last 7 years, I have been lecturing regularly at both UCLA and Loyola Marymount University to undergrads and professionals (taking extension courses) on Public Relations, Social Media and Digital Communications.
I coined the acronym F.A.R.E. to make it easy for students (and professionals alike) to understand the keys to success in building relationships online. That success is built upon content that is: Frequent, Authentic, Relevant and Engaging.
Art and creativity are inextricably linked to business communications, and the goal of business communications is to make us move. Move to buy, move to recommend, move to take an action.
So what needs to happen so that we can achieve those goals as marketers and communicators? Create content that is F.A.R.E.
Frequent: The first step in any content marketing and communications program is to know your audience. Assuming you have properly segmented your audience(s) and understand their behaviors (online), their interests, their challenges, their influencers (people and sources), determine the appropriate frequency of your content publishing. In addition to the specific audience preferences, you’ll also need to take into account the relative value (i.e. how impactful your content is) and the channel you are using to communicate. For example, you may Tweet a link to some new published research or survey results that provides significant new findings far more frequently than you might email people about a new client win. So, think about the appropriate frequency by channel, by content piece, and by time of day.
Link shortening and tracking service bit.ly released data on the best and worst times to share links on popular social networks, from Facebook and Twitter to blogging site Tumblr.
Authentic: Today, web audiences are very sophisticated and sensitive to anything that feels forced or fake or inauthentic. Traditional advertising has become less and less effective as audiences shy away from being “sold to”, preferring recommendations from more trusted sources; their friends.
To build long term relationships that will lead to those referrals, authenticity is key. Authenticity builds trust and trust is the basis for all effective relationships. Even when we make misstakes, we can be forgiven if we are authentic in our response. A simple video can sometimes be enough, as the David Neeleman, Founder and CEO demonstrated in his Our Promise to You video in 2007
The web has a way of detecting when you are being authentic and when you are not. As Walmart and PR firm Edelman discovered back in 2006, when their “Walmarting Across America” blog and another, supposedly run by independent supporters of the brand, were penned by staffers at Edelman.
Some tips for building trust and maintaining authenticity:
Relevant: Relevance is the primary basis for how we connect with content and others across the Internet.
"Something (A) is relevant to a task (T) if it increases the likelihood of accomplishing the goal (G), which is implied by T."
It is the goal that Google is continually working to achieve with its algorithm; deliver the highest quality, most relevant information in the search results as possible.
The power of search has made it possible for niche content providers and communities (who consume, share, and discuss) that niche content to connect and grow. Before the Internet, we had top 40 radio. When the Internet began, music industry pundits felt it would work the same on the web. Well, we know that didn’t happen.
Wired Magazine Editor, Chris Anderson’s 2004 The Long Tail what we now take for granted that:
"Our economy and culture is shifting from mass markets to million of niches"
- Chris Anderson, The Long Tail
Tips for improving your relevancy:
Use the above tips and focus your content topics and use the search terms in your content consistently to boost your relevancy.
Engaging: The last letter in the F.A.R.E. content marketing model acronym represents the importance of creating content that is either informative or entertaining or both.
Up to this point, you’ve made sure your content is frequent, authentic, and relevant, but once people start to interact with your content does it add value to their lives? Is it worth their time to consume it?
Ultimately to be valuable, it has to be either informative (can I learn something?) or entertaining (does it make me laugh, smile, cry?) or both.
This perhaps is the most challenging component (and most desired outcome) of an effective content marketing strategy.
So how do we deliver engagement? Here are some tips for increasing engagement: