If you’re a business owner or marketer, chances are you’ve heard a lot about content marketing. Well, be prepared because it’s going to be even more important in 2016.
The term “content marketing” covers a lot of territory in your marketing strategy from blog posts and website content to social media and SEO.
Content marketing has become a buzzword, which can be dangerous because jargon doesn’t produce results. I’m not a fan of buzzwords so I want to define exactly why content marketing is the nerve center of your business and how it grows your revenue.
The goal of content marketing is to grow a community of interested buyers, build trust, boost engagement with current customers and establish relationships with prospective customers.
Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced, a comprehensive content strategy is the only way to truly succeed with content marketing. It’s similar to building a house – without the plans first, you end up with an unstable, discombobulated mess.
Starting off with a solid strategy builds your online presence – and your business’ authority and ‘likability’ – with content that attracts prospects, engages buyers in conversation and ultimately converts them into leads and sales.
Content marketing is the kingpin to your online marketing and it requires…oh, dare I say…commitment.
This is tough for many people because they’re expecting immediate gratification (ie: sales) from their efforts. The truth is that while content marketing done right leads to increased sales, there is no magic potion that allows you to skip over laying the groundwork to attract your target customers.
Unfortunately, many companies still experience difficulties with establishing a content marketing plan that grows their business. They start out with the old school tactic of blasting messages to strangers expecting them to respond.
Regardless of how many challenges your business faces, the fact remains that you can no longer afford to ignore the importance of content marketing.
For those commitment-phobes out there, perhaps I can bring you over to the light with these 10 important jobs that content marketing performs to grow your business.
1. Promote your brand.
The choice between brand awareness and lead generation can feel like a boxing match. ‘Awareness’ fights to increase the size of your audience, while ‘lead generation’ limits your audience to a group of people who are willing to trade their contact information for your content.
The good news is your brand doesn’t have to let awareness and lead generation duke it out. When used effectively, the two strategies can complement each other. Brand awareness is often necessary for lead generation to be effective, and content used for lead generation can reinforce customers’ awareness of your brand.
2. Give your customers and prospects something of real value – education, entertainment, inspiration.
Everything you do online or off should be of value to your customers. Social media affords you the opportunity to deliver value on a daily basis.
With a robust network of fans, it’s important to remember that most of them are not in the market to buy what you’re selling. For those people, you can provide helpful, useful, entertaining content.
For those that are in-market and researching, there’s a specific type of educational content to attract them.
And finally, for those that are ready to buy, here is where you content strategy is crucial and should include social advertising.
3. Improve your SEO rankings.
If there were ever two marketing tactics that belong together, it’s content marketing and search engine optimization. Blend them together properly and they’re better than PB&J.
Well-optimized, indexable content drives organic search.
4. Foster an ever-expanding community that mirrors your business’ real life community.
All of us prefer to buy from people we know, like and trust.
Superior content in the form of storytelling connects us all and fosters community around your brand. An integral part of your content strategy is to document the stories happening within your company and illustrate them well through social media.
5. You’re seen as the “Likable Expert”
Are you the likable expert that owns your market?
Your blog and the content you publish on social media can establish authority with your most valued prospects and customers.
6. Compel your fans, followers and readers to share your content with their network.
It’s a fact: quality content get shared.
You know how it works. You see or read something valuable or authoritative and realize that others would benefit from seeing it…so you share it.
7. Turn fans into customers.
Within the parameters of your overall content strategy there should be content created specifically for generating leads and sales.
- Well-developed ideas
- Ad text/copy
- Landing Pages
Turning Facebook fans into customers depends heavily on your ability to promote your content through Facebook ads.
8. Improve employee engagement.
Engaged Employees lead to…
- Higher service, quality, and productivity, which leads to…
- Higher customer satisfaction, which leads to…
- Increased sales (repeat business and referrals), which leads to…
- Higher levels of profit
One of the biggest challenges for business owners and marketers is coming up with enough relevant content that customers either need or want to engage with.
Taking a collaborative approach to these challenges often produces outstanding results and you’ve got your best “brand experts” at your finger tips. Employees possess the knowledge your customers need and their seasoned expertise fosters more trust than any ad you’ll ever run.
9. Allow brand advocates to speak for you.
A brand is no longer what we tell consumers it is. It’s what consumers tell each other it is.
A fundamental part of your content strategy is to leverage the equity you’ve built up from consistently delivering excellent customer service. (NOTE: if you’re not delivering excellent customer service then we know where you need to focus, right?).
Start developing ways to incorporate customer stories, video testimonials, and inclusion of your raving fans in your social media and content marketing.
10. Build and solidify your online reputation.
A lot of businesses don’t consider management of online ratings and reputation as part of their content strategy. But the fact that ratings show up in search results is a evidence enough to start developing an internal process to capture your happy, loyal customers’ feedback.
Content marketing is about getting the right message to the right customer at the right time. If you don’t have a solid content marketing strategy to grow your business, we can help.
A strong house is built on a solid foundation. Don’t let yours fall into disrepair. Let content marketing do its job to improve your reputation and grow your business.