Content marketing. It seems like everyone’s talking about it. But what exactly is it and what can it do for your business? Odds are, if you’re doing any marketing at all — you’re at least accidentally dabbling in content marketing.
But, should you be a content marketer? Let’s look.
First — it goes by many names. Some people call it custom publishing or branded content. Other people slap the label of social or digital marketing on. And all of those names are accurate.
Content marketing is a broad term for any marketing technique that creates and distributes valuable, helpful and relevant information that demonstrates that you know your stuff. These tactics draw the attention of people who are already your customers or could be your customers and they consume, share, and value the content.
The ultimate goal of content marketing is to create a sense of trust and comfort that will lead to someone making an initial purchase, making an additional purchase or referring you to someone who’s ready to make a purchase.
The way you build that trust can differ, however. Let’s look at four of the main goals of content marketing and the types of content marketing tactics you can employ to accomplish each.
If you want to entertain your audience, you might:
Make a branded video
- Create a game
- Give them a quiz
- Start a competitions/contests
- Invent a playful widget or app
If you’d like to inspire your audience, you might:
- Open a community forum
- Generate a cause marketing effort
- Encourage customer reviews
- Solicit celebrity endorsements
- Give a keynote speech
- Write a blog
If you would like to educate your audience, you could:
- Write an ebook
- Publish some articles
- Create an infographic
- Generate media releases
- Create guides or how to documents
- Produce trend reports
- Record a podcast
- Send out an enewsletter
In you need to convince your audience, you could:
- Host an event
- Create some interactive demos
- Put on a webinar
- Create useful calculators or checklists
- Share some case studies
This list is neither exhaustive nor is it exclusive. A speech can do more than inspire, it can also educate or entertain. A webinar can do more than convince – it can educate or inspire. The subject matter, the delivery style and the intent will dictate the outcome of your efforts. And hopefully, if you produce quality content – it will accomplish more than one of the goals.
But this isn’t something you should just jump into. Like any marketing strategy – content marketing requires forethought and planning, especially because producing a blog or podcast or even putting on a contest requires a significant amount of time and effort. You don’t want to exert that level of effort and not maximize your gain.
The effort and planning are well worth it. Content marketing allows a business to connect with a prospect long before they’re ready to buy. It gives them a sense of your product, service and expertise. It also lets them “sample” you and see if you’re a good fit. Good content marketing tools communicate not only your expertise but it also gives them a very good sense of your brand’s personality. It will attract the best customers for you and, as odd as it sounds, repel those customers who wouldn’t be a good fit long term.
There are a lot of benefits packed into this marketing strategy. Every business can find a content marketing tactic that is the perfect fit for your industry. It takes some time and effort – but the up sides are hard to ignore.