Everywhere you look experts are talking about content marketing and why it’s so important to your business. There are convincing studies that show businesses want to track their content marketing effectiveness but struggle with creating engaging content. We also know that businesses are planning to increase their marketing spend on content strategies. What we don’t see in all these analyses is the ‘how.’ Questions abound, such as: How do you use content that achieve your marketing goals? How do businesses use content to build brand awareness? How can content help you drive leads? If you’re asking yourself these questions, keep reading. If you’re not asking these questions, you should be.
What is Content Marketing: Types of Content
Content Marketing is a strategy of creating and sharing valuable information with the intent to build trust and authority with your target audience that drives profitable customer interaction and action. Content Marketing positions your company as a subject matter expert in your space; this aids in building a community of loyal brand advocates. Businesses use Content Marketing strategies to mitigate risk, generate leads, nurture leads and build awareness. The goal of Content Marketing is to affect consumer behavior by communicating with your audience persuasively but without direct selling.
Every business with an online presence should develop, plan and execute a content strategy. A content strategy is fundamental to how your company will achieve its business goals and how your company will bring value to buyers and consumers of your products and services.
There are many different types of content that can be used in a marketing strategy to engage your audience and encourage them to interact with your company or your brand. Here is a short list of the different content tactics you might use.
|Whitepapers||Social Media Posts|
How to Use Content to Support Your Goals
There is no template or standard format for a content marketing strategy because the strategy should be created with your goals at the center; and your goals are not standard or cookie-cutter. That said everyone loves a little help so here are three basic steps to get you thinking about how to use content to support your, unique, goals.
- Define your goals: Start with the end in mind.
- How you are going to get there: Strategies are key.
- What tools you are going to use: Tactics do the work.
Below is an example:
You are a parts manufacturer and your goal is to have 1500 clients by the end of the year. To reach this goal, you will need strategies and tactics. Ask yourself, “How are we going to reach 1500 clients by the end of the year?” The answers to your question will form the basis of your strategy. Suppose you answered the question by stating that you are going to reach that goal by focusing on brand loyalty and generating new leads. Your strategies would be to increase on retention of existing customers (brand loyalty) and recruit new ones (generate leads). The next step is to consider all the content tools available to determine which ones you will use to support your strategies. Perhaps podcasts and videos will help engage current customers and increase your retention rates. To generate new leads, your company decides that they are going to create infographics and how to guides that will develop your thought leadership and move your audience authoritatively through the buying stages.
Connect With Your Audience
Regardless of the type of content that you create it is important that it offer value and not just be created to check off a box. Use the content to create an emotional connection with your audience. Motivate them to do or want something that you offer. It’s been said that people care more about their problems than they do about your products or services. Use content to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. An aggressive content marketing strategy puts your message in front of your target audience without them even realizing that you’re moving them through the sales funnel. When done properly, content can convert a prospect into a buyer yet never directly ask for the sale. According to a recent study done by TrackMaven business to business companies that blog are generating 67% more leads per month than businesses who don’t.
In summary, in order to put content to work for your business make sure it is a resource that provides value to the reader and supports your business goals. If your content doesn’t have impact, if it doesn’t motivate or connect with the audience then it’s not doing its job. It’s not enough to just retweet, share or participate in LinkedIn groups. To really be successful in reaching your goals through content marketing you have to engage and be engaging.