Do you know the average U.S. consumer owns 7.2 Internet-connected devices? Whether you’re selling a service or a product, you’re now competing for customers’ time and attention across a vast digital playing field. How do you get your message into the hands of your customers? Content marketing.
Let’s start with a basic definition from the Content Marketing Institute:
"Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action."
If what you just read is “blah, blah, blah, blah”, just stay with me.
Content marketing simply means your company or brand is giving valuable information away before you ask people to buy anything. That information (your content) comes in a plethora of forms – video, infographics, white papers – and this is the best part: When potential customers find great content, they’re often convinced they want to work with you before they even contact you.
In addition, if you sell a product via great content marketing, your customers will feel more valued and understood. Why? Because your content resonated with them and it provided a connection.
Content must be valuable, relevant, and consistent.
If your audience could care less about your content, it’s not valuable. If your content doesn’t speak to your customers, then it does you no good. You must provide content regularly, or customers will find it somewhere else. Even if your content is top-notch, Grade A, superior stuff, it won’t be seen by the right people, and it will have little impact – if it isn’t part of a solid CM strategy.
Here are just a few of the key benefits to having a great content marketing strategy in place:
Levels the playing field.
Competition is ruthless and the competition will eat into your digital market share. If you have a well-thought-out strategy, a content marketing campaign lets small companies compete with larger ones. And if you’re not reaching your potential customers where they’re browsing, another company will.
Gives you direction and focus
If you’re trying to build a brand and be found online, you need to convey who you are and what you’re doing. Without a written strategy, everyone is working at cross-purposes without ever realizing it.
Helps you build a better customer experience
A content marketing strategy defines what your ideal customer experience looks like and provides the roadmap to get there.
Give the people what they want.
So how do you come up with a content marketing strategy? Open a fresh document and start writing this down. To see great content marketing results, you need to:
Identify your target
Understand their problems, beliefs, and desires (so your content matches and resonates with them)
Create content that resonates with those people
“Content is where I expect much of the money will be made on the Internet.”
- Bill Gates in 1996
A good content marketing strategy doesn’t pursue anyone and everyone, it pursues a specific target audience. You do this by creating reader personas that identify relevant details about your ideal customer or user. We’re longtime fans and users of HubSpot, so we recommend their template for detailed buyer personas.
When your content is targeted to your audience – not generic – it will take on a different focus because you’ll be creating and sharing content based on location, socioeconomic factors, and more.
A buyer persona starts with three basic questions:
- What are your customers struggling with?
- What problem does your company or product solve?
- Where do your customers hang out or look for solutions?
To answer #3, start with some top (niche) sites and blogs and compile a list of 30 places they visit. Look through these sites and note their weaknesses (e.g., not enough visuals, too short (not thorough), too long (too detailed), not enough data support points). While you document these, you’ll start to notice the same things pop up again and again. These are your opportunities!
Go back to your strategy document and create a description of how your content will be more valuable to your audience.
When the World Wide Web was launched, Bill Gates had this to say: “Content is where I expect much of the money will be made on the Internet.” That’s precisely why content marketing is an ideal way to let your brand personality shine through and show people what you offer.
Creating the right content and promoting it to the right people can also grow your online traffic. But results require a plan – one that guides your style, tone, and overall approach.
Need a great content marketing strategy? We’d love to help. Call me directly at 888.904.2168 x101, send us an email at [email protected], or feel free to request your free consultation online, and let’s get started!