The term ‘Content Marketing’ has fairly been doing the rounds recently; it’s the new buzz phrase in online marketing (although in reality it’s been around for quite a while). But what is it? Well, content marketing is about generating relevant, meaningful content about your business or industry and then sharing that content in an attempt to attract new customers and retain your existing ones. It all sounds pretty simple. Let’s break it down:
What’s the main aim of content marketing?
The goal of a good content marketing strategy is to create content that is closely related to your business or brand – in particular what you sell or the service you provide – in a way that shows you are knowledgeable about your industry, your product, and your target market. This in turn will show prospective customers that you know your stuff. You are a leader in your industry. As well as giving customers something free to read, you are offering them a load of insightful content that will encourage them to interact with your brand, trust you, and ultimately like you enough to buy what you’re selling.
Why does it work?
In my opinion content marketing really is the way forward. Most consumers hate the hard sell and as customers become more sales and tech-savvy, the less likely they are to fall for in-your-face advertising and sales tactics. When I browse online I rarely click on Google ads. Why? Because I know they are adverts. If I’m interested in what that ad has to say I will probably search for the company and product independently at a later date. I love social media. But would I buy a product from a post I saw on Twitter? No, probably not. What I would do however, is read some more content on the company’s website; blogs, product pages, testimonials. I might go search for them on Google. But once I know and trust that business I would definitely buy from them in the future.
So that’s the crux of content marketing. It’s not about the immediate sell. It’s about a slow build-up of trust between the customer and your business through multiple content channels. If you’ve got social media accounts I might read what you have to say; I might even share it with all my contacts too. If your content is funny, interesting, controversial or aligned with my personal interests I am more likely to share, ‘favourite’ or ‘like’ it. If your blogs have useful tips or advice, content relevant to my interests and don’t attempt to just sell me a product, I will be more inclined to click your internal links that do take me to products you want me to buy. I like you. I trust you. You’ve taken the time to create content that makes me smile, laugh or helps me out in some way. You’re not trying to steal my money.
What kind of content marketing works best?
- Blogs & articles – some companies I’ve worked with just can’t get on board with blogs; if there’s no ‘Buy’ button at the bottom of the page they just don’t know why you would do it. But in my opinion, blogs are great for SEO purposes, for showing customers your brand is up-to-date and still around, and marketing to customers in a ‘soft’ way that shows you know what you’re talking about.
- E-books – it may seem like a lot of time and effort that doesn’t actually result in a direct sale. However, e-books are excellent content marketing tools. You give it away for free if customers sign up to your mailing list: so it’s great for data capture. Then, within the e-book you talk about your business and how to get in touch if customers need your services. The rest of the e-book has some compelling content that your customers want to read. Data capture, advertising and building up that trust. Killing three birds with one stone thanks to the e-book.
- Social media – it has become instrumental in marketing and advertising these days, but how does it fit into your content marketing strategy? Funny, relevant and interesting content delivered at least once a day to a customer base who actually want to read what you have to say. It really is that simple. Customers like you, they share your content with others, they keep coming back for more. Perfect.
- Video – granted, when videos auto-play on web pages it can be pretty darn annoying. But video is a great way to inform customers about your business or product in a fun, colourful way. It can also be a really good tool for demonstrating how a product works or how a system works in a quick 5 minute format. It appeals to customers who perhaps don’t like reading lengthy content and who prefer to look at photos or infographics more than blog posts and news stories.
Always remember that your content should be neatly tied up in a bow. Your content should relate to recent news stories, new products you are launching, industry developments or seasonal promotions. All this content should be relevant and consistent. It should be spell checked and the grammar should be as close to perfect as you can get. Keep your branding and tone of voice consistent throughout all your content across all your content channels too.
If content is king, think of me as the queen of content. If you need some blogs, articles, white papers, e-books, social media posts or website content written, edited or optimised – give me a shout. I’m ready and willing to take on new clients any time. Send me an email or fill out the contact form. It’ll only take a jiffy.