What is content marketing?
In marketing, content is any information that is valuable to your company’s target audience. When businesses release content across social media networks, websites, and blogs, with the express interest of influencing customers into and through the purchase funnel they are engaging in content marketing. They share content that attracts prospective customers, and turns current or old customers into loyal ones who come back again and again. Although content marketing is typically referred to as a lead generation technique, it’s worth noting that it can be used to support a wide array of marketing and sales objectives like cross-selling, generating referrals and more.
Regardless of the objective at hand the content you release should, at a minimum, make people trust you. To do so, businesses must consistently deliver valuable information that enriches the lives of their customers and invokes emotions that trigger customer engagement, advocacy and purchasing.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is “the technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined target audience in order to drive profitable customer action.”
The End of Traditional Marketing
Traditional marketing is becoming less relevant in today’s world. It’s much easier to ignore conventional advertising by fast-forwarding through ads on the TV, flipping past glossy spreads in magazines, or simply clicking “X” on your browser. Traditional marketing techniques are more of a one-way conversation where your business is the main focus.
Companies give people information all the time, but it’s rarely useful or relevant. Rather than telling customers to buy your product, content marketing illustrates how your product transforms people like themselves. Instead of making a traditional sales pitch, you’re starting the conversation from the perspective of the customer. Your content is then educational or valuable to the customer. In so doing, you drive awareness not only of your product, but of how to solve the greater issues they are currently facing.
Content marketing builds a trusting relationship with your customers, making them realize they need you before you have to tell them directly. It should be all about the customer – not you.
(What does successful content marketing look like? See how it’s done)
How It Works
Content marketing is just one part of your overall marketing strategy, and should be used with other forms of traditional marketing. Content marketing solutions span across social media (Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc.), search engines, blogs, and websites. Your content must be search engine optimized to gain mass exposure and create awareness at scale. A social media presence similarly drives reach when content sharing is encouraged, as well as traffic to your website. The original content you share across social media should be housed on your website’s blog or resource hub, either calling your audience to share, interact with more content and/or sign up to download more useful content. With such a system in place, your website will capture visitors in the final stages of buying and influence those in the very early stages who are simply educating themselves.
This method of disseminating content can be combined with traditional PR efforts by, for example, featuring press releases on blogs and newsletters. PR can inversely be used to raise awareness of thought leadership aimed content marketing campaigns with leading journalists and industry influencers. Targeted engagement with industry influencers who have large followings on social media can also further your PR and marketing aims of getting your business’ story and content in front of a larger audience.
Successful content marketing is customer-centric
It should be customized to connect with customers on a human level through brand storytelling. Good content marketing perfects the art of “inbound marketing,” or drawing customers to your product or service on their own initiative. Producing regular content is critical to remaining relevant with your customers, boosting your site’s SEO ranking and increasing lead generation potential. Producing valuable content is even more critical to ensure that people don’t feel like unwanted information is being shoved down their throats.
Content marketing is, at the end of the day, a long-term investment that incrementally grows businesses. At its best, it requires quality, relevant content that appeals to the different groups of people involved in purchasing the products or services you offer
Creating content that drives quality leads is easy with the right help. See how it’s done.