Content Marketing: What’s in it for you?
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Reddit, Blogger. Where to begin? What to do? Is it even worth it? Maybe it’s easier to just bury your head in the sand. Well yes, that is one choice, but there’s another, more profitable one.
Let’s consider that list. What do they all have in common? They are all just online publishing tools for topics or “content” you want to share. For the average person that content might be seemingly tedious announcements of daily life. But for business owners like you it might be interesting and valuable advice, expertise or offers.
If you’re a business professional feeling the pressure to engage with these tools, here are three words of advice before you dive in:
Motive. Message. Media.
Here’s what we mean:
- Motive. Know what you want. What do you want to happen when you send your message out into the world? How do you expect people to respond? Do you have the capacity for a lot of social engagement? Or are your resources limited? Before you can get out there and say something, it’s advisable to have a sense of your goals.
- Message. The Content Marketing Institute defines Content marketing (which if you haven’t figured it out by now, is what we’re talking about) as “[…] the process of developing and sharing relevant, valuable, and engaging content to target audiences with the goal of acquiring new customers or increasing business from existing customers.”
The first critical piece of that definition is: Develop relevant, valuable and engaging content. Relevant means it matters now. So think about what questions or concerns your audience might have. Some issues are considered “evergreen” because they’re consistently important to your audience, where as messages that hinge on a current event may only be relevant for a short time.
- Media. Let’s consider the second part of the CMI definition: “sharing relevant, valuable and engaging content to target audiences […]” Sharing is the optimal word here. Now that you’ve developed goal driven messages you can determine which channels might be most effective for distributing them.
I’ll be honest; the development of content is the thorn in most sides. It takes a great deal of writing and most can’t find enough hours in the day to get to the bottom of their own “to do” lists never mind write a blog post, white paper or produce a video. However don’t let this derail you, there are many professional content writers eager and ready to assist in this step.
The sharing is the tactical part of the puzzle and is done most effectively by utilizing an Inbound Marketing program. Inbound is the methodology of appearing in front of your buyers at the time they are searching for what you offer. Sounds great right?
In theory, it really is simple. Yet the process is a bit more complex and needs additional explanation to fully understand the whole picture.
First and foremost it starts with an engaging company website. One that is built to speak to your buyers and the questions they are seeking answers to. Truly knowing your buyer is critical to the success of any marketing initiatives.
ATTRACT the RIGHT attention.
Understanding what buyers are looking for when it comes to your products and services is key. It is not what YOU want to say, it is about what THEY need and want to know. Developing and delivering content from this perspective is a must. And the more you can develop and deliver in terms of blog posts, white papers, video, webinars, etc. the quicker your online presence will grow.
CONVERT interested visitors into leads.
All that great content has earned attention and increased traffic to your website. You are answering the search inquiries and have begun to develop a level of trust with visitors. Now it’s time to nurture them with tailored messages, special offers, and calls to action – offering deeper value in return for their contact information.
CLOSE the leads and gain customers.
Your sales team now has an online sales funnel working 24/7 to provide qualified prospects. Imagine that!
It doesn’t end there!
The fantastic part of the inbound process is that it is completely measurable. No more wondering about ROI of your random acts of marketing. Inbound provides the analytics and measurements to determine engagement, progress and goal targets.
Business owners need to understand and recognize the value of Content Marketing and how it relates with Inbound Marketing. At the same time, it’s essential to realize that both are a long-term investment, not a quick fix or magic bullet – investment, consistency and commitment will bring positive results. To learn more about Inbound Marketing take a look at our Inbound Marketing Whitepaper.