Content Marketing is a strategy that is at the core of Inbound Marketing and Brand Immersion Marketing methodologies. It lays the foundation for attracting visitors to your website, nurture them into leads and ultimately convert them into customers.
You can find a description of how the old traditional methods of marketing and slowly losing ground and become ineffective in the Brand Immersion Marketing article I have linked above. The next logical evolution of marketing is to help your customers rather than pitch and sell to them. By helping your customers with information and knowledge that focuses on the problems or pain points they are facing, your brand becomes an authority in your field.
To gain authority, you need to show the world your knowledge and expertise in the field of your choice or that of your business. You need to show the world that you are passionate about that field and have spent time and effort in gaining the experience and expertise.
How do you show that you are an expert?
You could write a 1000 words about your experience and how great your brand is on the “about us” page. This is the weakest form of displaying your experience or expertise because you could say anything to your defense and your readers or potential prospects would have no way of gauging the authenticity of your expertise.Or you could showcase your customer testimonials or reviews and ratings. This a much better way of proving that you know what you are doing and have a roster of happy clients who are signing your praises. However, this method also has limited effectiveness because of how some businesses out there use false testimonials and reviews that have been rigged. The audience looks at reviews with suspicion and caution.Or you can create useful resources related to your area of expertise that actually show your knowledge and experience that your audience finds valuable. This is where the concept of content creation comes in. You create the content on your website and then promote your website. If you understand that not everyone who searches on Google or comes to your website is ready to buy from you and has their credit card in their hand, you will understand the importance of how your website should become a resource rather than a sales brochure.
If you understand that every buyer has a journey from the time they realize they have a problem and need a solution to the time they make the purchase then you will be in a better position to understand how you can relate to your potential customer and give them what they are looking for at each stage.
In the awareness stage, they are probably looking to understand what their problem is. They are not ready to buy. In fact, they may not even know they need to buy what you are selling. It is your job to help your prospects explore and understand the landscape of the problem they are seeking to solve.
So how do you create content that helps your prospects?
Here are the main ways you can create content and deliver them to your target audience. Please note that although it is advisable for you to write content by yourself or perhaps other members of your company, if you feel that you do not have the skills or the inclination, you can always hire qualified freelance writers who would work with you to create content that resonates with your audience.
The first place to start your content marketing is your company blog. You should start writing on your blog about topics related to your industry in general, solutions to problems that your prospects are facing, and other educational topics.
You should NOT use your blog for sales or promotional content. Also, remember to go for quality over quantity. A good rule of thumb is to write at least twice a week. You could still get decent results by writing once a week. Any less than that may mean very feeble effect.
Create useful eBooks that would benefit your audience even if they do not become your customers. This is all about the give economy. Do not be afraid to give away information, tips, solutions, ideas etc. The return on investment would not be immediately apparent but has long terms benefits which include making you an authority.
Make sure the ebooks not only contain valuable content but also packaged well. Spend some money in getting some decent graphics for the ebook covers as well as inner pages. Make the ebooks look valuable. This is the branding experience that should be the focus of your marketing.
If your service or products is not main stream and specialized, then you can write white papers on research or knowledge that you have gained over the years in your industry. If you have the budget, you can even hire researchers or freelance writers to create worthy white paper material. Big brands do this all the time.
A growing trend is people consuming audio content while on the go, at they gym or during a commute. If your industry is suitable for this kind of delivery then you can start podcasting. Start with a monthly or fortnightly podcast. Just think of it as a recording made for your friend. Talk about burning issues or advice that you would give your friend.
Once you have the recording, you can use many of the podcasting services including Apple iTunes to host and deliver your podcasts. Once you have that setup, you should start promoting your podcast on your website and social media channels to start getting subscribers.
Last but not least, one of the most effective content delivery systems is the humble video. People consume so much video these days that you will get the greatest return on investment if you can come up with videos that are educational and engaging.
With a decent camera and sound equipment and a well-lit room or space, you can create videos that have a high production value. You can use video hosting services such as Youtube or Vimeo and then embed the videos on your website to create a delivery loop.
Admittedly this topic and the various content delivery methods is quite vast in terms of scope and this article can not do justice to them. I intend to write follow up articles that take each of these topics and explore them in depth. Subscribe to our blog to get notified when the next article is posted.