As of January 2024, there were an estimated 5.04 billion active user identities on social media. Roughly 66% of all people are online and over half the world is on social media, which means that businesses large and small are there too. Connecting directly with customers has never been more accessible and yet at the same time complex!

Content marketing represents both a huge opportunity and challenge for businesses to elevate their brand and connect with potential customers. At LeadPoint Digital, we’re here to help you cut through the noise and get results with our top 5 content marketing best practices.

5 Content Marketing Best Practices to Implement This Year

Social media changes at a breakneck speed and it’s tempting to take a scattershot approach to your content strategy. Rather than haphazardly chasing the next viral trend, the best way to create sustainable, results-oriented content marketing is through planning, user experience, and a healthy dose of data.

1. Create a Strategy 

The first step in any marketing, regardless of the channels, is a solid strategy. To make a content strategy that works for you, get very clear about the goals. How often will you post and where will you publish? What sort of content makes sense for your business? 

Next, clarify how your strategy will support your business goals. Maybe you want your efforts to drive traffic to your website, or generate more leads. Putting these needs down on paper will shape your approach in a way that makes sense for your business.

2. Understand Your Audience

Now that you understand how your content makes sense for you, it’s time to figure out how to connect with your customers. Take some time to put yourself in your customers shoes. Who are they and where do they hang out? What kind of media do they consume, and most importantly what pain points do they have that you’re positioned to address?

Next, it’s time to create a consistent voice for your company that connects. Choose a tone of voice that addresses their needs and reflects your brand personality and then stick with it.

3. Assess Your Existing Content

It’s likely that you’ve been at the content marketing game for a while and it’s important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. If something’s working, incorporate into your strategy! One way to assess this is with a simple audit.

List all the channels you’re using like Facebook, YouTube, or email and then take stock of what’s successful and what’s not. The best barometer of success is analytics (more on that later) but you can also get a sense of what connects with your community through engagement. Be sure to note where people are people clicking and commenting the most and what posts did better than others.

4. Create Content that Adds Value

Creating content takes time, energy, and resources so the last thing you want to do is add to the noise. Instead, give your users valuable content. People tend to use the internet to do one of four things: know, go, do, or be entertained. Use insights you developed about your customers to determine why they show up on your channels. 

This information can also be helpful in determining what format will be most effective. For example, if you’re talking to a primarily “know” crowd, then whitepapers, email newsletters, and informational posts might be valuable to your strategy. By contrast, a “go” crowd might want fast information about events, promotions, and locations.

5. Use Analytics to Measure Performance

When it comes to determining the success of your content marketing, data is key. Nearly all content platforms offer analytics that will give you critical information about how your content is performing. Analytics allow you to measure everything from post views to email open rates and more. 

Now it’s time to circle back to your goals. Having hard numbers on hand will make it easy to see if your investment in content marketing is paying off. You can use this information to adjust and optimize your strategy so it only gets stronger over time. 

Get An Expert Content Marketing Strategy with LeadPoint Digital

One of the fastest ways to get a return on your content marketing strategy is to work with a team of experts. At LeadPoint Digital, we’ve honed our approach to digital marketing so it stands the test of time and drives results for our clients. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you make the most of your content marketing, get in touch! We’d love to hear from you.

LeadPoint Digital won nine awards in eight categories, including Best of Show, in the 2023 Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Blue Ridge Summit Awards. The honors were handed out on Feb. 8, 2024, at a luncheon and were for work done between October 2022 and September 2023.  

The PRSA Blue Ridge chapter is a professional association serving Central and Southwest Virginia public relations practitioners. With awards for eight different client projects, LeadPoint Digital stood out at this year’s Summit Awards for excellence and outstanding contributions to the communications field.

“At the end of the day, we’re a relationship company,” said Brad Timofeev, LeadPoint Digital Managing Partner. “We’re proud to be recognized for the results we drive for our clients because when they succeed, we succeed.”  

LeadPoint Digital, a Roanoke-based marketing agency, submitted client projects in eight categories: earned media, public service announcement, shared media, public relations campaign, internal communications, website, paid media, and special events. Each sample is an example of a results-driven strategy. Here’s a look at each winning campaign.

WEBSITE
Franklin County Economic Development, Gold and Best in Show
Franklin County Economic Development wanted a new website with a modern design that would showcase the vibrancy of the county for both business prospects looking to relocate and people who already live in the region. They also desired an interface that allowed them to continue to add content and resources. The new website includes robust imagery, interactive features, and fully rewritten content with calls to action that has seen increased user activity since its launch in August 2023. LeadPoint Digital did a deep-dive into website content and analytics to better understand Franklin County Economic Development and develop a digital strategy to help them provide information about living and working here. Within the first month of launch, the website saw a 30% increase in traffic.

The website received a perfect score, earning it PRSA’s Best in Show, a premier award from the PRSA Blue Ridge chapter. It is awarded to the entry receiving the highest point total in each category (Campaigns and Tactics). All categories are eligible for Best-in-Show with the exception of the student portfolio category.

EARNED MEDIA
Roanoke Biotechnology Project, Silver Award
The Roanoke Biotechnology Project was the kickstart of a campaign to launch and promote building a biotechnology incubator in downtown Roanoke, a major economic development project involving multiple partners. The campaign included a press release followed by a series of op-eds, search engine optimization and content creation, and social media designed to generate support for biotech development, often through media mentions. Measurable goals were to create media attention while increasing awareness of the project. Our strategy helped generate significant awareness and buzz. Within 24 hours of the press conference, the project garnered 15 local media mentions, with at least one mention a month afterward. The story was also picked up by the national wire and appeared in more than 50 other publications.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT
Buzz4Good, Silver Award
The City of Roanoke highlighted plenty of reasons to move a business here but didn’t offer opportunities to showcase the arts. LeadPoint partnered with Buzz4Good and the arts community to create a song and music video about the city’s vibrant art scene. LeadPoint created a landing page to help showcase information about the thriving Roanoke arts industry with a primary goal of generating awareness, helping people understand “It’s Here” when referring to the arts. The music video has been viewed 37,000 times on YouTube, the Buzz episode was aired on PBS, and the effort was featured in the Roanoke Times. The landing page got a lot of buzz and has helped provide usable collateral for Roanoke Economic Development.

SHARED MEDIA
Byrider Roanoke, Gold Award
The local Byrider franchise in Roanoke is a buy-here, pay-here car dealership in operation for almost 30 years. Once a year they do a weeklong customer appreciation event to thank existing customers and attract new customers. In years past, the customer appreciation event was held in-person at the dealership. This year the week-long customer appreciation event was done completely on Facebook running June 5-10, as a way to help grow their social media presence. The Facebook-only customer appreciation event was a huge success as the likes and follows grew not only during the event, but increased growth for several months post event.

PUBLIC RELATIONS
Cardinal Bicycle, Silver Award
Cardinal Bicycle wanted a renewed presence online to help drive shoppers to their two retail locations in Roanoke, Virginia. The public relations campaign consisted of organic social media, email marketing, content creation, and Google Ads to help drive cyclists – from the beginner to the pro rider – to interact and visit. In seven months, Cardinal saw website visitors increase 60% over the previous year (with 86% increase in visits from SEO).

INTERNAL COMMUNICATION
Carter Machinery, Silver Award
Carter Machinery wanted to communicate to employees about the importance of the Employee Opinion Survey (EOS). The communications campaign consisted of weekly emails sent over a seven-week period starting on August 9, 2023. Each email would touch on different topic such as communication, training, teamwork, collaboration, accountability, and safety. The goal was to maintain the baseline of survey responses from the previous year. Research was done to determine the best day and time for employee engagement and resulted in above-average click-through and survey completion rates. 

PAID MEDIA
Flotrace, Gold Award
FloTrace, a new, up-and-coming provider of heat trace solutions competes with well-established brands in the industry. They partnered with LeadPoint Digital to revolutionize their online presence and drive sales through a meticulously crafted Google Ads campaign. Leveraging in-depth research, creative innovation, and strategic planning, LeadPoint Digital developed a comprehensive marketing strategy, including a new website to optimize the online checkout process. The results of the campaign far exceeded FloTrace’s expectations. As a result of LeadPoint’s efforts, Flotrace more than quadrupled their sales and made over 2,273% return on advertising spend.

SPECIAL EVENTS
RBTC’s TechNite, Silver Award
TechNite is the annual celebration of the Roanoke-Blacksburg region’s technology community, hosted by the Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC). The evening includes a keynote speaker and awards presentation to celebrate leaders, innovators, and companies in the regional tech community. LeadPoint Digital worked with RBTC to manage the event promotion and ticket sales, including social media marketing, email marketing, the website landing page, and registration platform.  Overall, TechNite was a huge success. Registration was closed a week prior to the event because it was sold out. Much of the success of this event was in part to planning and a consistent drip of information to potential attendees.

“We spend time getting to know our clients so we can tailor our strategies to meet their needs,” said Carrie Cousins, Director of Digital Marketing. “It’s an honor to be recognized for the passion we pour into this work.”

LeadPoint Digital is a marketing agency specializing in digital marketing and website design, located in Downtown Roanoke. A deep understanding of online behavior allows LeadPoint Digital to develop and execute practical strategies that drive results. If you are looking for a marketing partnership that is rooted in strategic and operational values, contact us.

You lock eyes from across the room and the connection is immediate. You’re intrigued and want to know more. It’s a tale as old as time and it might surprise you to learn that the plot applies marketing as much as it does to romance. 

Dating and marketing have a lot in common. They’re both aimed at building trust and establishing positive relationships. Whether someone is swiping right to find a soulmate or Googling the perfect smartphone case, the process from introduction to commitment is pretty similar.  

Parallels Between Marketing and Dating

As a business owner, you want to woo your ideal customer. Just like it’s uncommon to get married after a single date, it’s rare that customers make a purchase after their initial exposure to your product or service. Instead, they tend to follow a 5-step decision making process that parallels a great love story. 

1. Awareness: The Meet Cute 

Every great relationship starts with the introductions. Think of your favorite Romcom: the plucky protagonist crashes into a handsome stranger and the rest is history. The same is true of your business and potential customers. Making an introduction is the crucial first step. 

One of the best ways to meet customers is by getting found on Google. With a strong SEO strategy, your business can rocket to the top of the search results making it easy to introduce yourself to customers. 

2. Consideration: The Coffee Date

The next stage in dating and marketing is consideration. Here’s where you want to put your best foot forward but don’t come on too strong. It’s like the classic coffee date. One great way to make a strong first impression is with a beautiful and functional website that’s crafted with your customer in mind. Tell a clear story about your business and you’ll attract compatible customers who are interested in what you offer. 

3. Intent: Define the Relationship

Sometimes a relationship can be full of possibility but it flounders because the two halves want different things. Avoid that problem in your marketing by understanding intent. Intent lets you know what your customer wants, which can typically be broken down into four categories: know, go, do, or entertain. If your customer is seeking information, but you provide entertainment, then your relationship will break down. A strong digital marketing strategy will take the time to research intent and deliver messaging that aligns with the customer’s needs.

4. Purchase: Put a Ring on It

As a business owner, you know your product or service solves a problem for people. After you’ve built awareness, cultivated consideration, understood intent, the last step is promoting a purchase. It’s a lot like getting down on one knee and popping the question.

At this stage, you’ll understand what your customer needs, and provide timely information and incentives. This can look like well-crafted Google ads, elegant email marketing, or compelling social media strategy. When done well, your digital marketing strategy has built trust with your customer so they feel confident in committing to you.

5. Re-Purchase: 1st Anniversary Dinner

It’s hard to resist a love story that ends happily ever after. But unlike fairytales, the marketing story doesn’t stop there. Healthy long-term relationships take careful tending. In the loyalty stage of the buying cycle, customers not only re-purchase your product, but they advocate for you, sending others your way. Developing a thoughtful engagement plan as part of your digital marketing strategy will help you celebrate many happy anniversaries with your customers.

Call LeadPoint for the Beginning of a Beautiful Relationship

LeadPoint Digital is a digital marketing agency that treasures our relationships with marketing departments, businesses, and organizations large and small. We specialize in search engine optimization and advertising, content marketing, and website design. 

We leverage our deep understanding of online behavior to drive results for our clients. Contact us if you want help building relationship-oriented marketing strategy that converts.

By Carrie Cousins

Thank you to Valley Business FRONT for featuring our Director of Digital Marketing, Carrie Cousins, in their January 2024 issue.

Do you like personalized ads?

I bet you said “no” almost immediately. Fueling that response is an understanding that personalized ads mean you are giving up an element of information to big companies such as Meta (Facebook) or Google.

But what happens when you disrupt the algorithm? What if everything you are seeing today, mostly posts about things you enjoy and like, shifts to something else altogether?

Recently, I conducted a little experiment in the offices at LeadPoint Digital. I was trying to find a specific type of advertiser for a product I don’t need or see ads for, in this case a new roof. 

  • Hypothesis: You can change the algorithm so that you start seeing different content in your social media feed. 
  • Step 1: Enter search queries for the topic (roofing, new roof, replace roof) in the Facebook search bar. 
  • Step 2: Talk about roofing openly among a group.

At this point you are probably feeling pretty skeptical about this little game. 

But within minutes, I started getting ads for roofers. So many that my entire Facebook feed is packed with contractors, homes with beautiful new shingles, and even companies trying to sell roofing franchises!

Changing the algorithm destroyed my ideal social media browsing experience filled with shoes, clothing, and puppies and replaced it with roofers.

So back to the question: Do you like personalized ads?

For most of us, even if it is hard to admit, the answer is yes. We generally like seeing things that appeal to us and are in alignment with our activities, interests, and daily lives. 

From a business perspective, more personalized (targeted) advertising experiences help us control budgets and engage with people who are most interested in the product or service at hand. 

Good targeting will generate better results for your business from both a brand awareness perspective and when it comes to sales and generating leads. This is why – you are in front of the right people at the right time. 

Did I mention that I actually missed a sale from a brand I love during the roofing ads experiment because that advertiser was actually pushed out of my feed? In turn, that business lost a sale. 

The good news is the algorithms are smart and will normalize to showing ads that are just for me, mostly in part because I will resume normal browsing behavior. 

But there’s an important lesson for all of us: Targeted advertising and personalization works. It impacts consumer behavior and drives sales. And when you don’t have it, online scrolling isn’t near as fun! 

Carrie Cousins is the Director of Digital Marketing at LeadPoint Digital in Roanoke. For 15+ years, she has helped businesses tell their stories and get better results online with practical digital marketing strategies. She also an active leader in AAF, serving on the local and district boards, and is an adjunct professor at Virginia Tech.