Content marketing is about building brand value by methodically sharing relevant, entertaining, and useful information — often without any reference to your company or its products —to attract and influence existing and prospective customers. The idea is to position yourself as an expert in your industry willing to share tips, insights, and relevant information with your readers.
So what should your “content” look like?
Content can come in just about any form: blog posts videos, white papers, eBooks, infographics, case studies, eNewsletters, how-to’s, Q&As, photos, interviews, slide shows …and more.
Starting a content marketing plan from scratch takes time, buy-in from all team members, and a long-term commitment by management. Content marketing pieces can be hard or time-consuming to write. And there’s a cost associated with tapping internal resources to write and produce content instead of working on other revenue-generating tasks. Outsourcing your writing to freelance copywriters is a possibility, but that can get costly and copywriters may not know your business or industry as well as your internal employees do.
Even with these hurdles, it’s essential to use content marketing in your business. Here’s 5 reasons why:
- The effectiveness of “interruptive” approaches to marketing is declining. A recent study found that online display ads have a click-through rate of less than one-tenth of one percent. This phenomenon is often referred to as “Banner Blindness.” In addition, with browser-based ad-blocking technology widely deployed, consumers are now fighting back in the battle for their attention online.
- Long-term, content marketing generates a better ROI than “interruptive” marketing approaches. A combined study from Kapost and Elequa found that content marketing generated 3 times more leads per dollar than pay-per-click advertising did. Maybe it’s time to stop spending your marketing dollars on online advertising that’s 1/3 as effective as content marketing?
- You’ll get a BOOST in your website’s organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) rankings. As all the fresh, new content you develop spreads virally, it creates backlinks to your site, which is one of the key pillars of improving your SEO rankings.
- Content marketing improves your company’s branding and positioning. Effective content can help establish you as an authority and leader in your industry. Your readers come to trust what you have to say, thus your credibility reflects well on your brand.
- You’ll get higher quality in-bound traffic to your company website. When you connect content that resonates with people already in the buying cycle, your chances of engaging and converting your dedicated readers are much greater.
Getting started isn’t as scary as you’d think. I bet there’s all sorts of content marketing “source material” that your company has already generated. (See the list of forms “content” can take above.) Use the content you already paid to produce and RE-PURPOSE it as “content marketing” by re-framing it from the perspective of your customers. Remember:
Content marketing is not about what YOU want to TELL your customers.
It’s about what THEY want to HEAR from you.
Has your business started using content marketing? Share your triumphs and challenges in the comments below.