1. What is content marketing?
Content Marketing is the marketing strategy that utilizes relevant information and media to attract, engage and acquire an audience. The ultimate purpose of content marketing is to generate more clientele and drive higher revenue.
From the customer’s point of view, great content should provide meaningful and substantive insight or guidance about what a product or service will do for them. Creating content is much like the way you would have a natural conversation with someone.
What content marketing is not is a direct pitch for business. It provides your audience and target market with vital resources for a subject and industry related information. It educates your audience by providing them with an ongoing stream of content that is valuable to them. In this way, businesses and companies who use content marketing elevate their status as thought leaders in their area of expertise.
Content marketing has been around in various forms throughout history, but with the advent of the internet and web based tools, content marketing has experienced a renaissance. Content marketing is basically a marketing technique. Through the creation and distribution of content you can shift the perception of your company so that it is seen to be relevant, compelling and valuable. Only then will you will attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and larger audience. The objective of course, is converting that curious prospect into a paying client.
Content marketing works because people are actively searching on the web for what you have to offer. Content drives and engages buyers who are spending more time researching their requirements on-line because they’re fed up with being interrupted by traditional marketing techniques. Content marketing is the ultimate SEO strategy.
If your website simply lists your goods and services, then all you have is what amounts to be a digital and static brochure. By developing some interesting content into the mix, you become an engaging multi-media center focused on your relevant industry and client needs.
2. What Makes Great Content?
In trying to define what content marketing is, you will hear people stress the importance of delivering great content. The problem is that this can remain a generic term with no further clarification or enlightenment. Quite simply all great content is, is a combination of two basic elements:
- Relevant to the right people, at the right time. Content that is informative, engaging, helpful, or entertaining will be valued and shared on its own merit.
- High production quality. Content that is well written, researched, to the point, easy-to-read, looks good and resonates well will be remembered and the brands who created them will rise in stature.
3. What Type Of Content Should I Use?
Clarifying this content marketing question we need to look to the foundation of content. A good content strategy will determine the right blend of content for your audience.
Some key points to point out here is that great content is less about you and more about your customer’s needs and desires. Simply featuring many promotional videos to your audience might work in the short term, but in long term it will not sustain as a successful strategy. The key points to focus on are:
- Allow your content to be easily shared.
- Strive to make it unique. Have your own sense of flair and personality.
- Curate topics. Feature top news and how it can impact your clientele.
- Position yourself as reliable and reference where trusted sources can be found.
4. Why does my business need curated content?
Curated content provides better SEO, more traffic to your website and eventually renders to you more ideal clientele.
To garner the attention of your clients and new audiences, brands and companies need to be recognized not only as thought leaders, but as industry experts within their field.
In other words, you need to the source for news, recent innovations, key players, product development, related industries, market trends and other resources and elements that will play a role in a company’s area of expertise.
Companies and brands must strive to position themselves as experts and aficionados relating exclusively to their own product or services. By clearly demonstrating this, you become the ‘go to’ resource for existing clients and potential new customers. To achieve this, you must engage in an ongoing creation unique content. In other words, content that is created exclusively for your company and brand.
Through careful curation of the web’s existing content, comingled with the company’s own unique content, the result is a resource hub that populated daily by dynamic, timely and wide-reaching content. The measurable result of a well-crafted curation strategy is a cost-efficient program that attracts new customers. Moreover, it will keep existing customers informed and engaged thanks to your “thought leadership” via curated content.
5. Why should I use content marketing as part of my marketing strategy?
The concept of content marketing can be complex, even to many veterans who have been involved in PR and marketing for many years. The value of using content as the central core of your marketing strategy can be a difficult sell to those mainly involved in traditional marketing approaches.
The value of content marketing is firmly founded on the engagement between the prospect and your company. With this interactive dialogue, one can measure results with various tools over many different platforms. Through the use of content marketing, a company can set themselves apart from their competitors, developing trust and credibility with their online communities.
Content marketing enables companies to deliver relevant content and build intimate relationships with customers before they even contact them, and long after they become customers.
6. How does Content Marketing fit in with my existing traditional marketing methods?
There are two main reasons that can be attributed to renaissance of content marketing. The first is the reduction of expense, manpower and effort with traditional marketing methods such as trade shows, direct mail, print advertising and telemarketing.
The second reason is the rise in social media platforms. These have increased the ability to have your company found via video, blog articles, podcasts, photos, tweets, eBooks, etc. So much content can be featured on your website, that it no longer is an online brochure. You now elevate to multi-media center, allowing people to engage daily or weekly with fresh content, new experiences and better service.
However many traditional techniques still have their place and must be retained when developing success. Content marketing strategy can flank and support these traditional techniques. For example, targeted email and mailed samples or brochures campaigns to an audience who knowingly gave their address through a content marketing program, can be used as a lead nurturing tool. Print or on-line advertising can work within a content marketing program to help raise awareness and drive more people to a company’s website.
7. What skills do I need to successfully manage content marketing?
To become profitable in any business, you need to have a deep understanding of marketing and marketing strategy. You need to be completely conversant with your target audience and what motivates them in life and in business. You truly need to be passionate with your own products and services. Content marketing represents a crucial and important aspect of the marketing toolkit. While it can be complex, one must continue to evolve through changes in technology to stay ahead of the curve and reap the benefits of becoming a leader.
Content marketing goes hand-in-hand with social media, particularly when you develop the mind-set of a publisher. Moreover, a good overview of the various social media platforms, and how best to leverage them fully, will greatly assist to achieve your revenue goals.
It is also key to associate with the right people to help you achieve your goals. Whether you hire them as your employees, or hire outside professionals (strategists, coaches, designers, PR people, etc.), building the right marketing team will assist you to achieve even more. Moreover, you will tap into the genius and enthusiasm of knowledgeable people who will render to you professional results and higher profits.
8. What’s the best way to started in content marketing?
If you run the show or manage the department then it is much easier to implement a content marketing program. Regardless of where you sit on the company totem pole it is important to get the buy-in or sponsorship from the owner or management. Then it becomes just like any other marketing strategy where you need to:
- Know your audience
- Develop your plan and objectives
- Implement consistently
- Measure results
- Strengthen and/or modify accordingly
If the above know-how and skills are weak within your company, you need to bring in a marketing strategist and leadership coach to take you through the process, training your staff and possibly working with an outside creative agency to implement your content strategy.
9. Can a small business with a very limited budget still utilize content
If you take a look at my 21 Content Ideas page, you will see that you can develop content on a shoestring. While you want to build up and eventually invest 10% of your revenue to marketing, one can begin with some basics.
It costs nothing to email your list with interesting information. It costs nothing to contact satisfied clients and to encourage them to share their positive reviews on Yelp or Google+. It costs almost nothing to start a blog on WordPress.
Even for a few hundred dollars, you can hire people to shoot and produce some simple and quite professional looking videos that you can place on YouTube. These videos can be emailed, placed on social media as well as embedded in your blog and website.
As you company grows, so should the amount of content that you produce and its level of sophistication. Eventually, you can hire full-time or part-time employees to create and distribute content.
10. How do we measure success?
By statistics only. Sales are increasing or they are not. Marketing’s purpose is to generate more revenue through a larger, more active clientele base.
There are many monitoring tools such as Google Analytics or Social Mention, which are very useful to help us see what content is more engaging and successful in driving results. Facebook and Twitter also offer on-line statistics. But in the end, the ultimate measure for success is increased revenue.