By Rebecca Bennett
Why You Should Emphasize Content Marketing in Your Marketing Strategy?
Content is essentially a tool you can use to create brand awareness. Content is powerful enough that it can ease the consumer’s transition from brand awareness to brand preference. It provides information to help overcome challenges, inspire, and achieve aspirations, while introducing them to your company, even if they aren’t searching for your product/service. This inbound marketing method returns significant superior results than traditional marketing techniques of interruptible-prone promotional pitches that neither excites nor inspires. Given that 87% of CMOs (Content Marketing Officers) think customer content is very/somewhat valuable according to Roper Public Affairs and Corp Committee and that 39% of client-side marketers have content marketing as their top priority, it shows how important it is to include in your marketing strategy. The reason for this is that when a consumer seeks to be entertained or educated, their shields go down. Once this happens it is easier to build a relationship with them. The best-proven content aims to educate and inspire. It should address a business question (B2B) or a personal problem (B2C).
Here are some things to consider if adding or increasing content in your marketing strategy:
1) Develop Audience 1st.
Make sure your audience exists 1st before creating content. Find out who and where they are so you know how to structure your content. Once you find where they are, develop relationships with those online venues to host your links.
There is already a lot of noise in the market from your competitors, which has sapped the attention economy. Research the content they are putting out there and try to find the gaps – issues not addressed or addressed weakly. The key is to fill those gaps in consumer knowledge as well as to sound different. To make noise just to make noise is futile and not strategic.
3) Build Credibility.
If you do produce your own content, which, of course, is positioned in favor of what you sell, of course you are going to be biased. Consumers are bias sensitive. You want to be sure to include third party testimonials, quotes, or research so consumers can see you are not the only one saying so.
4) Quality Content.
According to Marketo research, there is no direct relationship between more content and a greater number of leads. If you are upping content in your strategy, do it at a 100%, not 50%. What we mean is make sure that your content is well written. Getting subject matter experts (SMEs), search engine optimization experts (SEOEs), writers and editors to collaborate on a piece ensures the credibility, searchability, quality of info, clear and engaging phrases and sparing your consumers from typos and poor grammar. A piece should have multiple eyes on it and be a team effort. Your content reflects on how you do business. Focusing on quality will help build your reputation.
5) Vary the Mediums To Appeal to Each Sales Funnel Stage.
People have content medium preferences, especially depending on their place in the sales funnel. A quick tip post or thoughtful eye-catching pin is ideal for consumers at the top of the funnel, but as consumers get sucked in, they want to go deeper, naturally. Hence ebooks, white papers and video demos appeal to qualified leads further down the funnel.
Case Studies Demos
Live Streamed Events
Product Data Sheets
6) Customize your Content Based on Audience Segment.
(Dynamically if possible)
You can take 1 topic and write several different versions based on industry (found 82% more effective), title (found 67% more effective), company size (found 49% more effective), geography, past behavior, demographics (age, gender), and psychographics (opinions, attitudes, interests). (Percentages are according to Marketing Sherpa and Knowledge Storm). You can change they parameters of your content via an automation system in landing pages and emails.
It’s smarter to focus on 1 topic at the various levels of the sales funnel than to bounce from topic to topic on only 1 level. This is because you want a place for consumers to go next to dig deeper. If you remain on 1 level, it will take longer to get them down the funnel. Work with your sales team to see where to focus your priorities in the funnel.
7) Content Creation Assembly Line.
Once you’ve established your strategy, ensure everyone is lined up and ready to go once you start pushing content orders down the line. Smooth out process flow bottlenecks and clearly spell out a communication plan. Always maintain a schedule for macro and micro processes that stem from your editorial calendar.
8) Scale with Mixed Sourcing.
To produce original quality content takes time. In order to constantly churn out content to keep customers engaged, you should invest in bringing outside content. Think prominent thought-leaders. You should include in your strategy the ratio of content you are going to create versus outsource. The Huffington Post’ strategy, for example, is a 30-30-30 approach: 30% of their content is original, 30% curated and 30% experimental.
You can syndicate your content out to others or even pay news/trade sites to host your content if you have the budget. By doing this you expand your audience reach. Mid-stage content tends to work best in syndication according to Marketo. Content like this would be after you have already made consumers aware of an issue, your solution and your company, and now seek to appeal to their interests and educate them.
10) Don’t’ Forget to Mention What you Really Offer.
It’s one thing to produce great informative content. It’s another thing to get a consumer to buy your product/service. Be sure to place that bridge clear in their path pointing to your product/service so they know where they can go next when they’re ready.
Inbound Marketing Cheat Sheet. Marketo. www.marketo.com/guide-to-inbound.
The Content Marketing Machine: How To Build and Operate A Content Marketing Machine. eBook. Kapost & Marketo. 2012. www.marketo.com.
From Creation to Conversion: Promoting Content to the Right Audience. Marketo. 2012. www.marketo.com.