Useful information must be the center of your marketing strategy.
Around the world, there is a revolt happening. The consumers are waking up to the fact that they have choices. The captive audience of yesterday is fading away as broadcast and print media give way to media on demand in a million different platforms. They skip ads with digital recording and download media commercial free. Ad blockers even make the passive pay per click ads of just a few years ago almost irrelevant.
Smart businesses see that the game is changing. The marketing plans they used to rely on produce fewer and fewer results. They are looking for a new way.
That’s where content marketing can help.
But, the problem is, there are so many definitions of content marketing it can be hard to determine what it is exactly.
I define content marketing as a strategy built around the creation and distribution of intelligent, useful content that is written in a consistent voice and aimed at building a targeted audience, that can be convinced to become paying customers.
The purpose behind content marketing is the attraction and retention of consumers for your goods and services. This is achieved by building and sharing relevant content, with the express purpose of altering, or increasing purchases of goods and services. With content marketing, you are committing to an ongoing strategy, built into your overall marketing scheme, designed to build media that you own, not buy time on someone else’s platforms.
At its foundation, content marketing is the art of conversation. It allows you to speak directly to a targeted audience that wants or needs your products, without selling. It allows you to market to them without interrupting their normal behavior. Rather than begging or cajoling them into a purchase, you educate with relevant information your customer is genuinely interested in. The central belief is this, people want to learn, and if we can consistently provide them the opportunity to learn more about things they love and are interested in, we can build trust and earn their loyal business.
The good news is, it works! Companies like Proctor and Gamble, Sysco, John Deere and Cisco are actively using it to make millions! The concept is so simple, it can be scaled to suit a multi-national conglomerate, or a locally owned corner store.
Looking for examples, here are five that I really like!
- Coco-cola on Pinterest! https://www.pinterest.com/cocacola/ Early in their brand development, Coca-cola started using art to sell, until it became an American icon
- The Disney Parks Blog: https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/ They share information about how to have more fun with your family, including, dropping more than a few hints about Disney parks.
- Go Pro on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/GoProCamera to showcase what their cameras can do, Go Pro curates user created video to inspire the next generation of users.
- Home Depot on Vine: https://vine.co/homedepot sharing tips through low budget, 15 second videos, Home Depot is making their brand accessible and helpful.
- IBM’s resources pages: http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/z/resources/ IBM clearly established their expertise in business machines and systems by compiling an impressive library of white papers, case studies and other helpful documents.
The beauty of content marketing is, yours doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s and in fact, it shouldn’t.
Content marketing is today and tomorrow!
Take another look at my definition of content marketing, but this time don’t read intelligent and useful, instead, just think “content”. This is what separates content marketing from trying to “sell” with tons of information. I get sales pitches all the time, pretending to be content marketing. Instead of feeling I’ve learned something, I generally hit the “spam” button to make sure I don’t waste my time on their sales pitches again. The idea that entertaining, engaging, informative content can also be a sales tool is what makes it different! If your content marketing is good, it makes people pause, and consider their choices, and hopefully changes their actions in your favor, by getting them to buy from a trusted source, YOU!
Around the world, the thought leaders and marketers are learning that this isn’t just an idea that is coming, it’s here!
Great content is a necessary ingredient in the marketing recipe
No matter how you like to market, you should consider adding content marketing to the mix. It needs to be integrated, not just added on. If you think about it, quality information, good content, is a part of all marketing.
· Content strategy is at the heart of every good social media campaign. You need to decide what your content will be, before you can publish it.
- · Search Engine Optimization proves that if you share intelligent, engaging content, not only will consumers love it, but the search engines will help them find you.
- · In Public Relations strategies, the focus is not selling, but building a bridge between public interests and your brand.
- · Content is the central ingredient to Inbound Marketing. Without good content, what will you drive traffic to?
- It should be evident, but content strategy must be laid as a foundation to any marketing strategy. All marketing is built on content, every word, every image, every video, it’s all a part of the bigger picture.
The Content Marketing Flow
- Visitors come to your website, social media, or receive an email.
- Visitors become a lead when they give you contact information, allowing you to market directly to them
- You provide opportunities for leads to become educated, build trust in your products and services, turning them into qualified leads
- As your relationship progresses, sales messaging is introduced through offers, and your lead takes advantage of an opportunity to become a customer
- You supply high quality goods and services, turning your customer into a satisfied customer
- You retain and reservice your satisfied customers by offering them ongoing opportunities to engage with your products and services
- You upsell your customer to bigger and better products and services so that they become a loyal user
- Finally, your loyal users will tell friends and families about what your products and services have done for them, creating a "Brand Evangelist"
Picture this, you develop a killer content marketing strategy that works so well, your customers not only open your emails and read your posts, they look forward to it! They spend their time consuming it, and they share it with their friends! (become brand evangelists, as pictured above)
Now, imagine that happening with your current marketing strategy, if you can’t it’s time to upgrade to a modern method. I’d love to help.
- Content marketing new to you? I’d love to discuss what it could mean for your business and engage to help you develop or implement your strategy.
- Need a content strategy? Check out my step by step guide on developing a strategy, let me know if you have questions, or would like to discuss getting some help.
- Ready to start, but can’t do it yourself? Contact me for a free initial consultation and a proposal on getting your content marketing started ASAP!
Before you start your content marketing, it’s important that you have a method for documenting your strategy’s effectiveness.
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to share the process of building your content marketing strategy. If you’d like help, you can contact me at any time and I am happy to consult, or take on any part of developing and producing your content. Next time, I’m going to give you some important questions you should ask before you start to help you develop a strategy with some parameters to help you gauge its effectiveness.