Guest post by Dick Rossman
I couldn’t resist this play on words to introduce the subject of Content Marketing, which has quickly become one of the most vital parts of any online marketing strategy. Businesses are discovering that they can generate significant returns on their marketing efforts by creating their own blogs, videos, newsletters, white papers and other content.
What is Content Marketing?
“Content Marketing is turning your insight and advice into campaigns that change people’s minds and incite action. Traditional marketing talks at people. Content marketing talks with them.”
Doug Kessler, co-founder of Velocity Partners, a world-renowned B2B marketing firm
Content Marketing is discovering what your customers and prospects are interested in knowing, learning, reading, and interacting with you about, and then communicating about it so you position yourself as an expert. Start by understanding your customers and their businesses so you understand their issues, challenges, needs and concerns. Make sure to tell your customers what they need to know, not what you need to say.
Why should I use Content Marketing?
Here are seven reasons, any one of which should get you started. Content Marketing can:
- Position your company as an expert and set you apart from your competition
- Give your customers and prospects a reason to communicate with you
- Generate new leads and build your database
- Raise awareness of your company and products
- Build trust and credibility with your customers and prospects
- Give your sales team a reason to engage and add value to their customers and prospects
- Boost your search engine performance, your SEO
How do I create my Content Brand?
As you build a brand for your company, so too do you want to create one for your content.
- Build your content around your customers, and write from their point of view
- Write about what you are an expert in – stick to your sweet spot
- Be consistent and persistent – one and done doesn’t cut it
- Write with passion and confidence – have attitude and energy
- Provide high quality content or none at all
- Make your writing worth your readers’ time. Fewer pieces of value and quality beat many lightweight pieces.
Make sure to ask for opinions and thoughts, and acknowledge all that you receive. Also, check your spelling and grammar – people are turned off quickly by writing errors.
More tips for successful Content Marketing
Patrick Whelan, president of Great Reach Communications, suggests that content marketing is a great way to differentiate your company from your competitors, but you need to write about what is new and relevant. He also warns not to let Search Engine Optimization be the tail that wags the dog. By writing valued and quality content, your brand will be enhanced and an improved SEO will follow. And finally Whelan says not to send out content just because your calendar says you are supposed to – take your time and make it worthy of your brand.
How to get it going
Identify content creators in your company – it doesn’t have to be just you. Your employees who have a flair for writing can be perfect contributors, but you will want to oversee their content for accuracy and appropriateness. A 20-something may be able to manage your content and social media distribution but not without oversight. Remember your company brand is on display here. Brainstorm and create a list of topics, and develop a content plan so there is always something in the pipeline – you need to be consistent and persistent. And if you are already wearing 12 hats and can’t wear one more, hire an expert part-time to be in charge of the process.
One more word – mobile
Today 50% of emails are read on a mobile device, so your content must be mobile-friendly or you will lose your audience. Don’t modify your content for mobile – use a mobile solution like iflymobi from InterlinkOne that displays your content properly.
A final thought about Content Marketing
“Content marketing is exploiting your unique position in your markets to generate valuable insight and advice on issues your customers and prospects care most about. It is so much more than creating text. Your blog is so much more powerful than a static brochure for your company. Incorporate video, images, interviews, audio, and more. If you can think of it, create it. Your audiences will be glad you did.” Velocity Partners