Smart business owners and managers are learning that traditional marketing is becoming less and less successful and that creative marketing is now essential to successful growth - in walks ‘Content Marketing.’
So first let’s answer the basic question: what is Content Marketing?
Content Marketing is a creative technique of developing unique and evolving content with the intent of attracting and maintaining the attention of a distinct audience. All of this is done with the intent of drawing profitable attention to your business.
So how do we go about creating content that will change a consumers behavior to the point where marketing becomes an ongoing relationship between you and your current and prospective customers? By creating an open line of communication, you alter the mindset of your audience from one of 'see and ignore', to 'intrigue, interest, and interaction'.
Before we get started talking about how Content Marketing works we need to understand that Content Marketing is not one thing, it is a series of outlets that support and feed each of the others. You cannot have one form and expect to be successful. You must learn how to create a symphony from all of your mediums. We will discuss each one briefly and then quickly show how to combine them all together to create a successful and affordable Content Marketing campaign.
Beginning Content Marketing
Let’s start with the basics. Everybody these days has a website. You can even create one for free on thousands of different “freebie” sites. (Just a side note here, you get what you pay for.) Now you have a domain or "url" (your www). You have your pages, which most likely contain a home page, a "contact us" page, and a few information pages. You sit back and take a look at your new website and you think it looks awesome and you are proud of this great creation you have made.
Consider this, 90% of all text on your website will never be read. The only real value that text has is for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). So when somebody comes to your website and sees your content, they are usually looking for 1 specific thing (usually they are researching target information). If your website has not been SEO’d to that specific keyword these prospective customers will never find you in the first place.
Second, if you don’t answer their question in an easy and user friendly way, they will not stay long enough to search your site for the answer. Let’s face it, they are not going to find your website by accident and then sit and read all the information on your site because they have nothing better to do with their time.
Let’s expand this thought: If they aren’t going to come to your website to just read your pages, then what information can you put on your website that will 1) bring people in and 2) give them a reason to stay and read?
Extend & Have Fun
I have always suggested that every business, no matter what they do, maintain a blog. This gives you a place to have ever-changing content, and show a level of experience on your part and the part of your employees. You can always make this a business wide adventure that everyone can participate in. Now when someone starts surfing google for the answer to a question, the odds of your website being found increase, especially if you keep your blog optimized for search engines, and you have supplied a service to a prospective client by answering their questions. Now the chances of them contacting you for a complete solution have increased. You can increase this even more by offering a way for readers to comment on your article. Now you have opened the lines of communication without ever having face to face contact.
Just the Beginning
With great content showing knowledge and experience we also need to find a way to put that information in front of as many prospective clients as possible. The best way to do this is to know the behaviors of our target audience. Once we have determined these behaviors we can use the power of social networking, newsletters, targeted e-zines, etc.
The difference between Content Marketing and traditional marketing is relevance and information. All other marketing is just spam. Good Content Marketing makes a person stop and look, think differently, behave differently, and communicate differently.
A few more great outlets that I have not covered but are powerful on their own: webcast or podcast, newsletters, videos, mobile apps, and infographics.
Regardless of the type of marketing that you choose to use, Content Marketing is essential to your marketing tool box and should be used to accentuate and support your current marketing plan, it becomes the core marketing outlet that you use, because it is highly focused and local. Quality content is a key part of all forms of marketing - how you use it can determine your success.