What appeals to your audience? What problems does your business solve?
All business leaders and marketing managers want their marketing strategy to run like a well-oiled engine: it hums along steadily without any breakdowns, disruptions or hassles—and it gets you from Point A to Point B, scooping up new qualified leads along the way.
Our 2014 Benchmark Study of Marketing for Manufacturers revealed that nearly one third (32%) of manufacturers’ marketing budgets are focused on lead generation.
Head’s up: A finely-tuned marketing engine fueled by refined content marketing? HUGE asset for lead generation.
Who’s Driving this Thing, Anyway?
Just about any blog post or whitepaper you read on content marketing will tell you to define your target audience before creating any content—and we agree. You should have a clear outline of what your ideal customer looks like (demographics, interests, etc.) and more importantly, you should understand what kind of content will really engage that person at each phase of the buy cycle. Jump right in and experience life through their eyes. The only way to be successful right off the starting line is to engage your potential customers with the intention of creating a long-term, two-way customer relationship.
Exactly what kinds of content (blog posts? infographics? videos? whitepapers?) engages those potential and exciting customers at each specific phase in the buy cycle? Get answers: Download our Growth Cycle Marketing whitepaper.
Fuel ‘er Up with Created AND Curated Content
Your engine isn’t going anywhere without a consistent source of reliable fuel. Content is the fuel that runs your marketing engine. And not just any content, people. It must be tailored content that resonates with, you guessed it, your target audience.
Original (created) content will generate the most qualified leads. Content your team creates can be in the form of blog posts, whitepapers, eBooks, infographics, videos, tip sheets, product specs, PowerPoint presentations—the list goes on, so hey, make it fun! You can use your awesome original content to boost your SEO and as a stepping stone to lead qualification. For example, try offering your site visitors a downloadable freebie that addresses a pain point you know your business can remedy. Use the opportunity to gauge interest and/or to collect contact information for a targeted opt-in email marketing campaign.
Bam. Your sales funnel is filling fast.
Content for the sake of content isn’t a winning strategy—but if you want a dropped transmission and a hood full of smoke: by all means, go ahead. Always focus on quality. To create killer content, always keep your target market in mind…and think creatively. What appeals to your audience? What problems does your business solve? Check out these Cultivate content creation tips for content inspiration.
If the prospect of posting a bunch of original content is overwhelming, hey, it’s going to be ok. There are a lot of outside content-creation resources, from marketing agencies to freelancers, who can save you time by creating fabulous content in line with your big-picture marketing goals. The important part is to create a content creation TEAM and to ensure everyone is always on the same page with your ongoing marketing efforts.
Curated content is content produced by other industry leaders and it should be used only to support your original created content. Relying too much on curated content turns you from helpful industry expert to annoying parrot—and very quickly. That said, curated content that is relevant and helpful to your target audience is definitely worth sharing.
You can find awesome industry content all around you. Look to other industry blogs, LinkedIn groups and industry specific Twitter accounts, or better yet, when you come across great content, sign up to receive emails. Your inbox will be full of great information to share with your target audience. Again, pick the most relevant and helpful materials that will appeal to your target.
Always put yourself in their shoes before you share curated content. (Not sure if your curated content measures up? Check out this handy-dandy Content Curation Scorecard from the Content Marketing Institute.)
The best fuel is a nice mix of original (also known as created) and curated content. Original content created by your marketing team should be the foundation of your marketing strategy. The more original content you post, the more you build customer loyalty and trust and the more your potential and current customers will continue to come back to your website to engage with your business.
To ensure that marketing engine keeps running smoothly with zero interruptions, always keep it fueled with great content. Drive more customers from Point A to Point B with social sharing and email marketing and keep each potential and current customer engaged at each point in the buy cycle.
Remember: one piece of shoddy, subpar content can really muck up your marketing strategy—so always focus on providing your website visitors and social sharers with the best content possible—and you’ll keep chugging along, all the way to Leadville.