08 Jun The Secret Sauce of Content Marketing
Business has moved from the store front and the office onto the web. As a result, providing original content that offers educational value without a sales pitch is an essential tool to use in increasing website rankings, attracting visitors, and converting visits to sales.
Referred to as “content marketing,” this method of soft advertising has become increasingly important in business as the consumer and B2B (Business to Business) market has become more and more web-focused.
Think about it. What do you typically do first when looking for a product or service? My guess is that you do some initial research online to become an educated consumer, sorting through a large selection of articles on the topic of interest.
That’s content marketing at work.
Content Marketing Defined
Defined by the Content Marketing Institute, “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Unlike more traditional advertising channels — billboards, radio and TV ads, direct mailers, and print — content marketing is the art of communicating with your existing and potential customers without directly selling to them.
Examples of content marketing include:
- Newsletters (digital and print)
- White papers
- Social media conversations
- And more!
How Does Content Marketing Make You Money?
Taking someone from site visitor to customer using content marketing is an art that leaves many people wondering “How do you sell without selling?”
Content marketing is based on two main principles, adding value and building relationships. It’s effective because the content is relevant and interesting, not sales based. It helps you build trust with the reader by offering valuable information at no cost, typically leaving them with the question of “What else?” If I get this valuable information at no cost, what else would I get if I became a paying customer? It’s a bit of a WOW factor.
If you consistently provide information that makes the reader more educated on a particular topic as well as that which the reader finds valuable, the belief is that they will ultimately reward you with their business and loyalty.
In fact, 86 percent of businesses surveyed by Content Marketing Institute in 2015indicated that they actively use content marketing as part of their overall advertising strategy, and statistics compiled by Kapost and reported by Smart Bug Media indicate that companies using content marketing have 6 times the sales rate compared to sites that do not—2.9 percent for content marketing adopters versus 0.5 percent for non-adopters.
How Do You Successfully Deploy a Content Marketing Strategy?
Here’s the secret sauce. A successful content marketing strategy has three main components: Planning, consistency and patience. This is not an overnight-success type of strategy.
Your content marketing strategy needs to be documented and integrated with your overall marketing strategy. Think through some of these questions to get started: What is your message? Who is your audience? How can you help them? Where do they hang out online? How will you track success? What are your competitors doing online?
Next, define your goals and determine how your content marketing plans will fit in. Try to find ways to actively engage with your potential customer base through constant, relevant content, not through splashes of information. Think of what you are creating more in terms of journalism than as advertising.
Consistency is key. You need to put out valuable content on a consistent schedule over a period of time. You need to keep up with the strategy you’ve laid out during your planning phase. So here’s a tip: Before you get started, make sure that you have the framework in place to keep it going. You don’t want to publish 4 new blogs a week for 2 weeks and then abandon your blog.
It takes time, patience, and persistence to develop a successful content marketing strategy. You may not see results right away, but if you stick with your plan, track your performance using success metrics defined in your plan and adjust that plan as needed, you will see results eventually. This stuff works!
Content Marketing Is the Present and Future of Advertising
The days of flashy ads have not yet come to a close, but content marketing has definitely established its place at the zenith of marketing models. It has taken a lead in the modern information age and will not likely relinquish its position in the foreseeable future. Thus, smart companies must master content marketing today or they may not find themselves able to compete tomorrow.