We’ve all heard of and been exposed to traditional marketing. Billboards, magazine, TV and radio ads, flyers and brochures, salespeople… the list goes on. But what about content marketing and its ability to infiltrate one’s subconscious through cleverly used words, videos and imagery? Well there’s a good chance we’ve all been exposed to that too. It’s just more subtle.
The truth is, when done well, content marketing is a highly effective tool that can truly prove your product’s worth to customers.
The Content Marketing Institute define it best:
“Content marketing’s purpose is to attract and retain customers by consistently creating and curating relevant and valuable content with the intention of changing or enhancing consumer behavior. It is an ongoing process that is best integrated into your overall marketing strategy, and it focuses on owning media, not renting it.”
Let’s take a look at the why’s and how’s of content marketing.
The most important thing to know about content marketing is the fact it provides value to your customers.
Content marketing uses multi-channels to to drive customer engagement while informing and educating in areas of interest to them and their businesses. These multi-channels include the likes of articles, blogs, videos, infographics, podcasts and social sites.
As a marketer your end goal is to turn prospects into customers. By using the aforementioned channels to provide education and relevant information that’s closely related to the product or service you sell, you’ll build trust. And as anyone will tell you, trust is the foundation to any successful relationship.
It ain’t a sales pitch
Don’t think of content marketing as a sales pitch. Remember, it’s about value and telling your audience things they need to know, in order to improve their businesses.
So while it may be tempting to write all about you and your business, you’ll need to resist, and instead speak to the needs of the reader. As an example, if you manufacture PVC pipes, don’t just talk about why your PVC pipe is better than that of XXXXX. Instead, talk about the benefits of PVC pipe, the various applications and how best to install it.
Think of it as an opportunity to get the ball rolling down the sales funnel.
Reward your audience, first
The whole idea of providing valuable content for free might make some eyes roll, but hear us out. If you’re seen as an industry leader, willing to share valuable information, prospective customers will subconsciously be drawn to your products and services.
In order for this whole thing to work though, you need to really know your customers. If you don’t, consider ways to develop buyer personas by conducting surveys, questionnaires and interviews. And remember, content marketing should be about quality, not quantity. Don’t try to speak to everyone. Instead, hone in on your audience and speak directly to them about subjects you’re an expert in.
By delivering consistent, valuable information to your audience (read: buyers), they will be more inclined to reward you back by becoming loyal customers.
Content marketing not only helps attract and retain customers, it also improves the likes of search engine ranking and SEO. Ut also provides the perfect type of content to share on your social channels and e-newsletters. Don’t be afraid to re-use your content wherever you see fit.
Where to start
You don’t need a big marketing budget to get started on content marketing. To get started, brainstorm ideas, create a content calendar and think about the best ways to inform and engage your readers.
Write interesting blogs (keyword research can drive ideas), share content on social channels, engage on LinkedIn and create videos (which don’t need a production crew). Start slowly and build your way up.
If you’re still unsure, engage the help of a content agency to help get you started.