You may or may not be familiar with content marketing, but it is high time that you get to know it a little better.
In a world where we are inundated with advertisements, emails and social media updates every waking minute of our day, it is hard to imagine how businesses can successfully connect with their customers in a meaningful way.
I will be honest, even in my profession, I find myself ignoring the many corporate email newsletters and social media promotions I see. There are, however, posts that I take the time to read and pay attention to - and you know what they have in common?
They are specifically tailored to my interests, my needs and my struggles.
The content is well-developed, it is focused on the consumer - not the business it is representing, and ultimately, it is enjoyable to read.
Goodness, that seems like a lot doesn't it? Well, today we are going to try and break it down. We are going to talk briefly about how you can create content that does all of these things and actually works for your company. We will be discussing what content marketing is and how it can help your business.
What is content marketing?
Defined by the Content Marketing Institute, "Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action."
- Content can be either visual, auditory, or written.
- Businesses can create meaningful content through blog posts, articles, website copy, letters to customers, and social media posts, to podcasts, recorded interviews, infographics, photos, and video.
- Most content is created and published with a particular target audience in mind.
- This content is not about selling, it is about sharing value to the customer - people are not on their guard or defensive of being "sold."
- Content marketing pieces are helpful and informative – written with the customer in mind, writers leave behind jargon and too-technical language.
How can content marketing help your business?
One of the most common traps of content marketing is creating content just for the sake of doing it. When we write content simply for the credit of producing something, instead of providing a specific solution to our customers, we end up just taking up space. Our content will fall flat and will not serve any purpose besides wasting time and diluting our brand.
Here are the real benefits of content marketing and the reason it is worth investing the time to craft authentic and relevant messages.
- Building relationships: Isn't this our ultimate goal? To daily build meaningful relationships with the people we serve. We want to be more than a company to them - we want to behave in a way that causes our clients to view us as a trusted partner, an advocate and a valuable resource.
- Creating trust: We know that trust takes time to build. The more often we provide value to our customers and the more consistent we are in our communications with them, the easier it will be for them to trust and rely on us for needed solutions.
- Giving your company a voice: Gone are the days where stagnant corporate brands control the marketplace (we hope!). To stand out, your brand needs to have a voice and a personality that consumers can relate to. Show you care! Take a stand! Be unique! Try to build loyalty with sterile, corporate and ultimately, boring, content and see how far you get.
- Building credibility: Whether you are creating blog posts, sending newsletters or recording video tutorials, one of the motivations behind producing useful and informative content is to build the credibility of your organization. We want people to know who you are, view you as an expert and trust your advice. While the focus of the content needs to be the client, the motivation behind it very well can be to enhance your credibility.
- Sharing on social media: When you create meaningful, engaging and helpful content, people won't be able to help themselves from sharing it with their friends! Your beautifully written content will help boost your business's presence online when you post it on multiple social platforms. Remember, we want this content to serve your customers, to build relationships and to help your business connect with consumers. Be social.
- Boosting website traffic: We know that our websites are our 24/7 salesperson and we need to do everything we can to make them work for us. By creating content worth reading, sharing it consistently and ultimately increasing customer engagement, we will in turn be boosting our website traffic. Be sure that whenever you create content you are linking back to your website and that you have the analytic tools in place to measure your traffic.
All in all, content is king. Not just any ordinary content, but customer-focused, relevant and insightful content that targets a specific audience and provides them with useful solutions. I hope this gives you a better idea of how content marketing can help your business and gives you the motivation to start writing, recording and sharing!
What do you think? What types of content are you creating? How has content marketing helped build your relationships with your customers?
Want to discuss how to create engaging and authentic content for your business?