What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a comprehensive planned distribution of any digital or print asset to potential prospects, existing customers, or the masses for the purposes of enhancing brand recognition, brand loyalty, consumer education, lead generation, and ultimately the sale of a product or service to a consumer. There seemingly is an endless range of assets that make up content marketing. Several of the more popular content marketing assets include blogging, article marketing, white papers, infographics, case studies, ebooks, and videos. The structured organization, creation, and circulation of these varying forms of tactical information provide the power of influence. By creating an authoritative knowledge base on subjects related to a product or service, your company can increase consumer perception that your organization is a trusted source for all things in your relevant areas of interest. In short, content marketing is your tool for earning a reputation as an influencer.
Content marketing is answering the right question at the right time.
In addition to planning the range and distribution of content assets, content marketing also embraces the consideration of timing. In other words, an effective content strategy includes the concept of optimizing the most relevant piece of information to display to the right audience at the right time. For instance, an individual who poses a question like, “what is the best mobile phone?” is looking for information that covers several of the top mobile phone options and explains why one phone is better than another. Before they make a buying decision, this individual wants an expert to answer this question for them. Present this individual with an infographic that illustrates which phone your company feels is the best. Then, direct them to the next steps to gaining more information on that product or how to purchase that item.
On the other hand, a consumer who poses the question, “where can I buy the iPhone 5?” has likely already answered that question and is ready to buy. As a result, this individual is further down in the sales funnel and would like pricing and the option on how to buy that specific mobile device right away. It is important to create content that allows individuals to enter the sales funnel at a stage of their choosing. Then, using content marketing automation, guide them step-by-step through the remaining stages of the funnel and you will end up with a happier more educated consumer as well as increased sales.
Why is content marketing beneficial to my business?
- People want information and an educated opinion. If you give it to them, you gain their respect.
- Being helpful increases your influence and you can earn business from a prospect.
- Search engines want fresh content.
- Insightful information leads to inbound links and social sharing.
- In exchange for advanced information like a white paper or case study, a consumer is likely to barter their contact information with the permission to market to them.
- Content marketing limits the need for customer service resources because the answers are available in how-to videos and/or other formats.
What does it take to plan and execute a content marketing strategy?
Content marketing requires a large commitment to assessments, strategy, time, and the implementation of educated resources. Due to the number of resources that are required, more often than not, it is far more cost effective and efficient to have content marketing handled by an outsourced solution. While all content marketing plans differ from one another, the most common key resources and roles are as follows:
- Content Creators
- Content Strategists
- Creative Designers
- Content Optimization Experts
- Social Media
- Content Distributors
- Internal allocation and posting
- External outreach and cohesive editorial content alignment
Though the resources that are required to create and operate a successful content marketing campaign are extensive, there is no doubting the power or value of content marketing. I encourage you to review the following B2C Content Marketing Slideshare presentation on 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends in North America by Joe Pulizzi from Content Marketing Institute and Ann Handley from MarketingProfs. When it comes to content marketing, these are two of my influencers and the information contained in their three year study is nothing short of compelling.
One small step for marketers, one giant leap for mankind.
As part of a larger inbound marketing campaign that includes search and social, content marketing is a strategy that businesses cannot afford to overlook or under implement. The days of pushing messages to customers are in the past. The present and future of marketing relies increasingly on the creation of content that serves the public. If you want more information on content marketing strategies, we encourage you to contact Pop Results.