Content marketing 101

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Content marketing. We here the term all the time, everywhere. But what does the term really mean? 

Before we get into the what, let's quickly take a look at the why. In other words, why have many companies and marketing agencies adopted this marketing approach as a key component of their strategy to generate new leads and sales?

First, we need to understand that content is huge part of Inbound marketing, which, in a nutshell, is all about providing value to potential customers in an effort to build trust and help them along their buyers journey.

Outbound marketing like direct mail is intrusive and disruptive; Inbound helps, Inbound nurtures, Inbound delivers something of value even before any sale is made or contract is signed.

In that light, great content is a key part of successful Inbound marketing, which was shiny and new and novel at one point but is now standard operating procedure for many businesses and agencies.

To attract new leads and nurture them into customers, you need to deliver great content that's compelling, solves problems and creates the perception of your organization as a trusted advisor and resource.

That's why it works. Consumers are more educated than ever and have more access to information than ever before; to cut through the clutter you have to deliver the most value, consistently.

Thanks to our friends at SnapApp, here are some interesting stats about the this approach:

  • It costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads (Primary Source: DemandMetric)
  • 67% of the typical B2B buyer’s journey is now done digitally, and 9 out of 10 B2B buyers say online content has a moderate to major effect on their purchasing decisions. (Primary Source: Lenati)

  • 78% of B2B buyers use case studies when researching purchases (Primary Source: DemandGen)

Not convinced yet. Here's what Inbound marketing leader HubSpot has to say:

  • 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. (Demand Gen Report
  • Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts. (HubSpot) 

So, What Is Content Marketing?

The Content Marketing Institute describes it as, “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

Despite various definitions, all come back to one universal point: value.

Value is the holy grail of content. Sure, you might have a beautiful, breathtaking piece of content. But if it has no value, people won't connect with it and certainly will not come back for more of what you have to offer.

Value is the name of the game; providing useful tips, strategies, and approaches that the consumer can apply in their every day business lives is critical to attracting and keeping your audience's interest. 

Forbes states that instead of creating general content, create compelling content your audience wants to consume. In a world where consumers and clients are bombarded with information, their first reaction tends to be avoidance or recoil when it comes to content. Generating consistent, compelling content will help overcome this avoidance reaction, build trust with your brand and ultimately generate new leads and sales.

A great example of a company that's had some recent content success is Wendy’s. In January of 2017, the fast food chain garnered attention for its witty banter with its audience. After a week of rapid, sometimes sarcastic responses, they enjoyed a 35% increase of followers> on Twitter.

You can read these often funny Twitter responses here. 

Content that has no value will not entice your reader to pay attention. On the flip side, when you create content that has value you will attract customers and strike a deeper engagement.

What Makes Great Content?

  • Social Currency. 
    The more valuable your content is the more it will get shared with the next potential customer. Social currency allows for the consumer to interact with your brand or product in a personal form no matter where they are or what they are doing.
  • Emotional Connection. 
    If your content is truly remarkable then the consumer is going to engage with it as soon as they can. The content should be so valued that it resonates deep within the consumer, making engagement a no-brainer.
  • Practical Value. 
    The content you create should not send the consumer through a loop. It should be simple for them to access and provide useful takeaways that the content consumer can turn around and use to their benefit.
  • Tell a Story No One Else Can. 
    This should be the most exciting part for you, the content creator. This is how you shape the product or brand experience around your target audience. You get to make a  tailor-made piece of content for them. And who knows your target audience better than you and your team?

Your content efforts can make a huge impact on your sales. By generating valuable content you’re unlocking the potential for more traffic being delivered to your site. If these new leads browse your site and connect with the content they see, their chances of turning into customers increases. If you provide these potential customers with content for the various levels of the marketing funnel, you’re bound to generate more sales.

Strong content will, ultimately, attract customers and retain them over time, turning them from initial interest into loyal brand advocates.

Some Beginning Steps to Creating a Content Strategy

Develop SMART goals.
Make sure that each goal you set is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. By doing this, you will remain focused, track your progress and make the adjustments needed to succeed.

Perform a content audit. 
Performing a content audit will give you an overview of the content you possess. This will also show you any opportunities that you might have for your content marketing strategy. In addition, a content audit will help you categorize your marketing assets, such as your website, blogs, and other written content. Ensuring that these tools are categorized appropriately will maximize their efficiency.

Identify the buyer’s journey for the buyer persona.
Your content should be able to pull your buyer personas through each stage of the buyer’s journey. If you determine which stage your buyer persona is in, you can personally develop content for that specific stage. This will allow you to easily move your buyer persona from one stage to the next.

Measure and analyze your content. 
Measuring your content gives you the chance to track its performance. If you successfully analyze your content you can see how it works or does not and determine what your next steps should be.

Ready to move beyond content marketing 101? Click the button below to download our Inbound Marketing Checklist for more information about how a solid content strategy can support your inbound marketing goals:

Illumine8 is here to help you out with useful content any time you need it. If you're farther along your journey, feel free to contact us any time. We'd love to learn more about your business and the challenges you face. 

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