In an almost all-digital era, standing out on the Internet is no longer simply an option, it is a prerequisite for attracting new audiences, converting them to visitors and customers, and developing your ability to build customer loyalty and, indirectly, increase your revenues. As a museum professional, it’s also in your best interest to showcase your expertise to as many people as possible in order to gain credibility and optimise your brand image. The good news is that digital technology means you can now communicate using a vast array of media, channels, formats and themes, whatever your goals.
Content marketing just so happens to be an excellent means for your museum to naturally draw a qualified audience by presenting high-quality and carefully targeted content. So what exactly is content marketing? And how do you put in place an effective and long-term content marketing strategy to demonstrate your know-how? We’ve prepared a guide to help you get started simply.
Content marketing: definition, aims, benefits
Content marketing is about creating high-quality content as a response to one or several issues encountered by a target audience in an informative and fun way. Unlike brand content, this type of content does not directly promote the brand, its products or its services (like traditional advertising does), but instead conveys knowledge and expertise that attract prospects and customers by piquing their interest in a lasting way… without ever being intrusive.
The idea consists of designing content for different types of media based on your target and your goals: blog posts, infographics, white papers, issue papers, case studies, webinars, videos, podcasts, etc. These are then published on your website to be disseminated via the most relevant channels, whether that be a blog, a newsletter, social media, or a podcast or video platform, etc.
More broadly, a content marketing strategy aims to attract, convert and win the loyalty of a specific audience by responding to their needs and problems. Let’s take the example of the Musée du Cristal et de la Minéralogie de Paris. The museum could publish a white paper on the different types of crystals, their history and their benefits on the energies surrounding them, in order to establish its know-how and, by extension, boost sales of mini-crystals on its e-store. Without mentioning its current exhibitions and its price discounts, the establishment provides its audience with useful and in-depth information and indirectly (and therefore naturally) accompanies them through their path to purchase and loyalty. A sure-fire way to stand out!
Beyond the information it provides, content marketing is a fantastic springboard to gradually generate qualified traffic to your website, strengthen your conversion capacity, expand and engage your community and highlight your know-how by taking on the role of expert in your field.
Rolling out a content marketing strategy: key steps
1. Identify your target audiences, their expectations, needs and issues
The cornerstone of successful communication primarily lies in the relevance of your targeting. Which means that it’s vital to first and foremost determine your target audiences and their typical profile. Categorise your audience by socio-demographic criteria, centres of interest and preferences by creating fictional characters (known as ‘personas’ in marketing lingo) that best represent them.
Next, put yourselves in the place of each persona and ask yourselves the following questions: what topics related to my activity could interest them? What content formats do they prefer? What communication channels do they prefer? What times of day are they active online? Rather than relying solely on intuition for this crucial step, survey your audience by sending out a questionnaire or contacting them directly; this not only demonstrates your interest in getting to know them better but also brings sharper focus to your segmentation.
2. Set clear goals
Like you would in a brainstorming session, review the goals you want to achieve: boosting your web traffic, expanding your contact base, doubling your number of followers on your social media accounts, increasing the number of views for your videos, etc. Be as specific as possible by qualifying them, which allows you to compare performances achieved with performance goals and to adjust your actions accordingly.
3. Vary your preferred subjects and topics
Taking the subjects that interest your target audience as a basis (sustainable art, art and artificial intelligence, merchandise in the Web 3.0 age, etc.), think about what would be the most relevant content format to talk about them and place them in the spotlight, always making sure to link your subjects to a specific objective.
Here are a few examples: if you want to expand you prospect base, asking for an email address in order to download a white paper is a great way to achieve this. Regularly publishing inspirational blog posts helps attract new visitors to your website and boost your organic SEO. Publishing video interviews and podcast channels will strengthen your brand image and increase your chances of forging new partnerships… And remember, don’t hesitate to take pointers from what the competition are doing.
Keep in mind that the goal of your content is to inform your audience by providing real know-how; so pay particular attention to the amount of information provided, to the quality of your content and to its structure. Use a light tone, avoiding any commercial emphasis.
4. Use the most relevant communication channels
Once you’ve finalised the production of your content, we recommend publishing it in a dedicated section on your website. This is your digital showcase, and should centralise all your output. The next step is disseminating your content in order to publicise it. Whether that’s in your newsletter, on your social networks, or in your dedicated client areas, choose the most relevant means and time to disseminate your content depending on the target audience and objective.
5. Measure the performance of your actions
This last step may seem obvious, but it is essential. Refer to the goals set at the outset and compare them with the results obtained so as to draw up a list of recommendations. For better monitoring, incorporate this information into a table you can regularly consult and update.
And the last key point to remember: the results of content marketing take time to appear. Don’t be discouraged if the first content you publish doesn’t achieve the goals you set yourselves – you can always re-use it or adapt it to other formats!