Does your business need content marketing?
The term content marketing has earned buzzword status, but I talk with business people every week who don’t really understand what it is or, more importantly, if their business needs it. To decide, you must first understand what marketers mean by content marketing.
“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” — as defined by the Content Marketing Institute
Successful brands tend to assume leadership roles, helping guide and create the futures of their industries. They share expertise and opinions to inform customers and influence decision makers. A key goal of content marketing is to position your brand (and its executives) as thought leaders in your industry.
Content marketing has become a widely used tactic supporting overall strategic marketing plans. It is part of the shift from one-way to two-way communication. People no longer want companies to talk at them, they want brands to engage them in a conversation. Content marketing is commonly employed in addition to paid advertising, and is typically handled by in-house marketers or by an outside PR/marketing agency.
Now that you know what content marketing is, you need to know how to develop it. Follow these steps:
- Start with a strategy that supports your overall business goals.
- Define your target market(s) and remain focused on communicating with them.
- Create content that teaches, engages, challenges, inspires or evokes emotion.
Content that gets noticed and encourages action should be:
- Engaging: Aim to truly engage with your target audience by providing them with something useful and relevant. Prove to them you understand their pain points.
- Non-promotional: Effective content marketing is not promotional. The messaging should not sound like an advertisement.
- Authentic: You can’t really fake content marketing. You (or your designee) must be a genuine expert, providing information of value in a well-written/presented manner. With content marketing, you own, house and distribute the content through your channels, so you’ll want it to be authentic.
- Knowledgeable: The content or information you’re delivering should show your expertise and be helpful to your target market. It is created with the mindset that serves them, not you.
- Regular: This isn’t a one-and-done tactic. It takes time and consistency to build a reputation that leads to respect, trust and loyalty – an ultimately evokes behaviors that benefits your brand.
Content marketing platforms are numerous: videos, podcasts, bylined articles, blogs, infographics, social media posts, white papers, original research, case studies, newsletters, etc. Identify the communications vehicles that matter to your audience.
For inspiration and some stellar examples of content marketing, take a look at Neil Patel’s recent article 8 (More) Brilliant Content Marketing Innovations from the World’s Best Brands.
For questions, reach out to us.