You may have heard about content marketing, but you might not be sure what it is, much less how it works. The truth is, folks have been using content to connect with prospects, tell stories, inform, and generate leads and sales for a long time. We just do it a little differently now. Content marketing is the buzzword used to describe any content-centric effort aimed at serving or acquiring customers.
Content marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to generate business results. If you’re ready to boost your bottom line, it’s time to develop a solid content marketing strategy and execute it with zeal.
So, What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing involves offering something of value to your target market for free in the hope that prospective customers will stand up and take notice of how awesome you are. This prime audience may even give you something of value in return, such as hitting “subscribe” on your social channels or giving you their email address so you can continue to engage and one day convert these leads.
The ultimate goal of content marketing is to land sales. The better you become at generating and promoting remarkable content, the more high-quality leads you can capture and the more sales you can land.
What Does Content Marketing Look Like?
Content marketing takes many forms. Blogs like this one, videos, social media posts, podcasts, infographics, ebooks, and emails are all types of content marketing.
Research indicates that the most successful businesses typically use a variety of content formats. Sometimes videos or podcasts work great for making connections, while other times emails, newsletters, or simple image posts on social media will net the results you want.
The purpose of content marketing is usually not to land a sale immediately, though in some cases that is possible. If your product price point is low, you may land sales quickly and easily with less extensive content. For example, a $10 ebook may sell well with only a short post on Facebook or Instagram describing it.
The higher your product price point, the more effort you may need to put into developing content that persuades potential buyers. For instance, a $50,000 product or service will typically require more “audience warming” than less expensive services.
The short-term goal of your content strategy is to increase awareness of your products or services, establish authority, and create trusting relationships with your intended audience.
The “Official” Definition of Content Marketing
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “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.”
Let’s take just a moment to focus on the finer points of that definition.
With content marketing, you offer …
- Valuable content
- Relevant content
- Consistently delivered content
- Created for a clearly defined audience
Many businesses mistakenly assume that all content is more-or-less equal and that “any content’ is always better than “no content.” Neither of these assumptions is true.
If you produce poor-quality content, you’ll likely repel more target customers than you attract. If your content is irrelevant to your ideal client, it won’t convert, which means you waste time and money.
Consistency is also key. You want to produce enough content that your audience misses you when you’re not in front of them, but not so much that you’re irritating content recipients. You can’t force-feed content on people; it’s just too easy for users to “unsubscribe” or “unfollow” when unwanted content arrives in their inbox or social feeds.
The content you deliver must also satisfy the needs, wants, and desires of a specific audience. Before you develop any content for marketing purposes, you want to have a clear picture of who your ideal customer is. Once you have a precise picture of your perfect client, it’s important to reflect that understanding in your content. It’ll pay off big-time.
Content Marketing Is More Effective Than Many Other Forms of Marketing
There are many benefits to content marketing. For example, social media and blog posts are a lot cheaper to create than expensive ad campaigns. Content posted on your website or sites like Pinterest and YouTube can be easily found by people searching related keywords; in other words, you don’t have to find your clients, they find you. Also, while most advertising has the extremely short lifespan of a mayfly, many content marketing efforts can produce results for years.
Another advantage of content marketing is that you can extend the value of a piece of great content by repurposing it in various ways. For example, a single report from an original research study might produce a dozen different blog posts, hundreds of social media posts, and an infographic with the potential to go viral.
Content Marketing Helps You Build Your Business
Content marketing lets you demonstrate your expertise, build your authority, gain trust, and attract your ideal audience. It also helps you convert sales and engage customers for life.
Don’t be afraid to offer some of the best advice or tips in your free content. Dazzling people with remarkable content is usually how you convince your prospective buyers that you’re the solution they’ve been looking for.
There’s so much content that you develop, much of which might morph out of the content you’ve already created for your business. The possibilities are endless.