If you’re like most companies you have a fairly active blog, you publish a post once or twice a week and then share it promptly on social media.
Because countless online articles and blogs have convinced you that content marketing is the way to get your visitors to convert to customers. And so you do content marketing, but, you don’t actually see the results that all those resources promised you’ll have.
And you’re forced to think, what went amiss?
Well, in a nutshell almost everything.
Contrary to popular belief, content marketing is not just about writing, publishing and sharing content. That is in fact just half the battle. According to Content Marketing Institute, “Content Marketing is 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.”
You won’t gain customers by just writing content that comes easily to you, no, you need to create original, helpful, engaging content. Something that speaks to your buyer persona and then you have to share it on the relevant platforms. Not only this, you also need to measure which content performed better and stick to that to get the results that you want.
To understand what content marketing really means you need to identify the difference between outbound and inbound marketing.
Advertising has seeped through every nook and cranny, from emails to music videos to movies. Who here admittedly enjoys reading/watching advertisements?
Honestly, no one.
Consumers have now turned a blind eye towards routine advertisements. With the help of certain technologies, like DVR, anyone can simply skip the long advertisement breaks with a touch of a button. And when it comes to surfing online, we all know how ineffective those huge bright slogans and ‘banners’ tend to be. We have trained our brains to filter such information out, and hence outbound marketing has almost become obsolete.
Smart marketers understand this mental shift in the consumer thought process. They know that a better and more innovative way must be applied in order to gain the attention of our fast-paced consumers.
Enter inbound marketing.
According to HubSpot Inbound marketing, is “The best way to turn strangers into customers and promoters of your business.”
Here’s a graphic that explains the inbound methodology quite clearly.
Inbound marketing has been on the marketing scene since 2006 and has proved itself to be the most effective marketing method for online business. Where outbound marketing focused on buying email lists and ads and praying till the cows came home for leads. Inbound marketing allows you to create content that actually helps your customers which then helps you attract them toward your company. This allows you to capture organic leads and convert and close them over time.
And nestled tightly within the concept of inbound marketing is content marketing.
Here’s another definition of what content marketing is. “Content marketing is any marketing that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire and retain customers. This information can be presented in a variety of formats, including news, video, white papers, e-books, infographics, case studies, how-to guides, question and answer articles, photos, etc.” (Wikipedia)
He explains the misconceptions that many businesses have about content marketing in the following way.
And explains the actual meaning of content marketing.
The main goal of successful content marketing is to attract and retain consumers by creating and presenting them with content that is both valuable and relevant, with the agenda of enhancing or altering the consumer behaviour. Content marketing is a continuous and on-going process designed in such a way that it is cohesive with your overall marketing strategy.
To put it simply, we can say that through the art of content marketing, we communicate and convey messages to the consumers without really ‘selling’. Instead of forcing your product on the consumer, you should provide suitable and relevant information to the consumer so they choose to do business with you. Buyers become more intelligent when they receive relevant information regarding the product or service, this information that you would provide to them would encourage them to buy your product at the end.
How would you define a good salesman?
A good salesman is one who recognizes the customer’s desires or needs and aligns those with the product that he is trying to sell. Or in simple words, a good salesman convinces you that the need for the product they are selling exists.
The best salesman, however, is the one that gives the customer a feeling that a sale never gets pitched to them.
When a customer walks away with the feeling that they were never a target of a ‘sales pitch’ and that the decision of buying the product or service was purely their choice. That is when you know you have mastered in the sales arena. If this is how you market your business, then give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back.
When designing your website, content marketing has a huge role in attracting potential buyers.
Do you know why content marketing is so effective? One of the major reasons is because content marketing forms a special relationship between your business and your customers.
This relationship tells your customers that they can trust your company that is what matters in the end. The content marketing journey does not end at the sale, it marches on and makes you keep a close eye on customer reviews and feedback to improve satisfaction and optimize your conversion process.
Let’s sum the information up in a few succulent points.
• With content marketing consumers are not thrown off by irrelevant and complicated information
• People end up sharing your website and content on social media as it is designed to be interesting and not dull or boring
• With the help of social media sharing, more people are drawn to your website where they might stumble upon more content worth sharing. This in turn attracts even more potential users
• The more your content gets shared on different websites, the more it will show up in the search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc..). And this would result in an increase in your website’s ranking
• Content marketing is not just an awesome trick through which you promote your business. It also helps bring your website under the radar and giving it the attention that it deserves.
When in need for inspiration, the following websites will be the perfect content marketing muses for you.
Content Marketing Institute wrote the book on content marketing. Check out all their blog posts and the CMI podcasts are truly insightful.
The HubSpot blog has a lot of actionable posts on it. Plus, you get access to three types of blogs and daily doses of inbound wisdom.
If you still have questions about content marketing, write them in the comments below or shoot me an email and I promise to get back to you within 24 hours.