As a marketer, you may have heard the phrase ‘content marketing’ banded about. What exactly does it mean and, more importantly, how can it help your business grow?
There are various definitions online, but I like to think of content marketing as “the art of communicating with customers, existing and potential, without actually selling to them.”
To some of you, this may seem a bit backward but 86% of B2Bs are now utilising content marketing. Especially as modern marketing is less about the hard sell and more about building a relationship with your customers. This is where content marketing comes in.
How does content marketing work?
To put it simply, content marketing is all about storytelling…
Instead of pitching products and services, the key is to educate customers via high quality blog posts, infographics, case studies and so on.
The idea is that if we consistently educate, over time trust and customer loyalty will be developed. This will then mean that when a customer comes to buy or make a purchase decision, their loyalty already lies with you.
So, it’s all about building a strong relationship by creating highly relevant and consistent content that both, existing and potential customers will enjoy.
Content marketing will take time and dedication though, as it is a long-term marketing strategy, but the results far outweigh the time cost.
Benefits of content marketing
As we mentioned, content marketing is all about building a relationship with your customers. But there are more benefits to your business that you might not have considered.
Firstly, the modern consumer turns to the Internet for answers. So, if you are able to consistently create helpful content that answers consumer’s questions, you will become the ‘go-to’ source for information. This is the first step to building that relationship with your customer. Writing high quality content means that when your target customer turns to the web for answers, your brand name will keep appearing. This will result in increased brand awareness and you will be viewed as an expert, trustworthy source. As well as increased brand awareness, an increased brand preference is also possible through content marketing.
For example, there are two companies, one frequently writes consumer relevant content, the other has a very ‘sales’ driven website… which do you think the consumer is going to pick?
In fact, a study revealed that companies with content-rich websites or blogs received 97% more leads than companies without.
As Google rewards websites with high quality content, those with a strong content marketing strategy also typically see a rise in their search engine positioning. And of course, this means an increase in inbound traffic and leads is also likely.
In terms of cost effectiveness, content marketing far outweighs the costs of traditional advertising techniques. Because of the greater possible reach, a small financial input can still result in high return on investment.
Finally, as content marketing results in an increased audience engagement, you can get to know your customer more and what problems they have. This will help you shape future content, as you know more about your customers and what they need.
Techniques for content marketing
One of the most common and easiest ways to kick-start your content marketing strategy is via a company blog. This can be done even before you launch a product or brand. As said, frequent posts that educate can be so beneficial to your overall brand, especially those with a new product or service.
But you can also use your blog to subtly sell your services too. For example you could embed links to your product or service pages in body text or utilise a call to action inviting readers to get in touch. Alternatively write a case study showcasing recent work you’ve done for a customer, focusing on the benefits to them and how a problem was solved.
These types of content can then be shared with your audience via email campaigns, or better still – your social media channels.
Other common content marketing techniques include Infographics, Guides and How-to style posts. The idea is that by sharing your knowledge in an easy-to-read format, consumers will inevitably return to you for future help and advice.
But content marketing is also about being different; consider running a webinar or podcast. What about user-generated or viral content?
These techniques are just the tip of the iceberg – there is so much out there! But whatever you do, incorporate content marketing in your strategy and hopefully you will be the number one choice when a consumer comes to make that all important purchase decision.
If you’d like more information about content marketing or if you would like me to manage your blog or write articles for you, feel free to get in touch via this contact form.