Everything starts with an understanding of your target audience, says Steve Cartwright. And this does not mean demographic data.
Digital Business Growth Expert Steve Cartwright, founder of FX Digital Pty Ltd, helps companies achieve better content marketing results and become influencers in their niche. Steve is one of the few influencers who utilizes content marketing strategies through the LinkedIn platform for generating leads, with astounding results. He was named number 9 in Onalytica's list of top influencers and brands for 2016.
What initially drew you to the online marketing world?
I’ve always had an interest in computers, from the first tennis type games through ZX Spectrums, Dragon 32 to self-built tower systems. I was also fortunate to be in one of the first ever classes to teach computer studies at school and well, I was hooked. Years later, I first utilized the Internet in 1994 and I instantly saw the possibilities. However, it wasn’t until 1996 that I actually changed careers and embraced the online marketing world.
What are the best aspects of having such a wide social media following?
Everyone can and should have a reasonable social media following, the benefits it gives you are tremendous. Imagine wanting to ask your target audience a question and then utilizing those results within your next marketing campaign, imagine being stuck for ideas or seeking help… a large social media following enables all of this and best of all, it also enables you to help your audience achieve more. I also love the fact that I generate many more visitors from social media than I do from any of the search engines, which not only proves the content I push is engaging correctly, it also reduces my reliance on a constantly changing SEO landscape.
What are your top 3 tips for content marketers making their way in the noisy online environment?
Target Audience – Everything starts with understanding who your target audience is and please don’t confuse this with demographic data. To me understanding your target audience means understanding their problems, concerns, goals and aspirations as they relate to your niche.
Solve Problems – Once you understand your audience simply solve their problems, help them achieve their goals and aspirations without any thought of return. Be original and share your opinions whilst doing so and you will build a following as people will relate to you and your opinions, just like they do in the real world.
Promote your Content – You need to be careful that you don’t move from content marketing over to the realm of marketing your content. However, content promotion is now a necessary part of content marketing.
As I work primarily alone, I tend to use a lot of automated tools that allow me to push content to the various social media platforms, they allow me to automatically generate and send newsletter as well as other things… anyone serious about content marketing needs to give some thought to content promotion.
What's the importance of brands being able to establish human connections with their target audience?
The Internet has revolutionised marketing and world economies, gone are the days when people had very little choice and were in many cases forced to purchase from whoever sold that product locally. Nowadays consumers are in charge, they can not only purchase locally, nationally but also from any corner of the world. This means that those brands that don’t establish human connections with their audience are failing to generate relationships, failing to establish themselves as experts within their fields (which obviously leads to higher sales revenue)… but those that don’t do this are simply marketing to an ever shrinking market using antiquated techniques.
Which first steps you would recommend for individuals seeking to become social media influencers and/or thought leaders?
If you have an audience of one hundred people and you help them, solve their problems and are regularly sharing information that they find useful and interesting, then you are already a social media influencer or thought leader to this audience group. Now simply grow your audience until you’re as successful as you wish to be perceived to be…
You have said that one shouldn't rely on the number of views to determine effectiveness as an influencer. What do you think are the key factors to determining influence?
Influence is often assigned by organisations specialized in data mining, these companies look at page views, followers, interactions and such like… However, the real measure of influence is simple in my opinion: Are you changing people's lives for the better? And from a business point of view, are you generating a suitable return on your investment?