If you think content marketing is synonymous with blogging, think again!
Today, brands are producing more types of helpful, informational content for more platforms than ever before. Sure, blogging is a big part of it, but so are pinnable infographics, ebooks, podcasts, website pages, social media campaigns, webinars, quizzes, and shareable videos.
Content marketing is the process of giving people information they need or want as a way of cultivating a relationship with them. It not only builds trust and educates potential customers about your brand; it banks goodwill that pays off in social shares, referrals, and repeat purchases. In the past, marketing that focused on relationship-building and brand identity was subjective and difficult to measure, but that's no longer the case. With closed-loop marketing platforms like HubSpot, connecting content to sales becomes even easier.
Where to Start
Naturally, content marketing functions best when you tailor it to your brand and your customers. It’s straightforward enough to figure out whether your persona would prefer an ebook or a webinar, or which social platforms to use. But what should you write about? How do you establish a “voice” for your brand that will appeal to potential customers? How do you allow different writers to inject their own personality, but maintain that company voice?
Questions like these are where the real work happens—and it's your buyer persona research that allows you to answer them. The buyer persona is the first step in developing or executing a content marketing strategy, and we're here to help you get started. If you've never really thought about your buyer persona before, our free Buyer Persona Master Class will walk you through it.
How to Do It Right
Excellent content marketing is multidimensional. It's the exact opposite of publishing a repetitive string of blog posts about the features of your products or services. Instead, it should address every customer question, desire, and concern on the platform where that information will be best received. Each piece of content should fulfill two goals: 1) lay out a path for person to take a step closer to becoming a customer, and 2) clearly support your overall marketing strategy and business goals.
Fear of missing out on the content marketing "trend" has led many businesses to jump right in, pumping out blog posts and tweeting up a storm without an explicit content marketing strategy. But skipping the strategy can mean that your content doesn’t connect with your buyer personas, leading to subpar traffic and engagement. Content marketing isn't a trend; it's simply how the internet works now. Successful businesses will take the time to learn how to do it well.
Your content team shouldn’t focus solely on publishing good content, but also on how your content fits in with other areas of your inbound marketing strategy and business goals. Because content marketing makes ROI tracking so easy, you can regularly adjust your strategy based on the performance of your content across all of your distribution platforms and how it converts to actual revenue. And don't forget to take advantage of assets you already have, like testimonials and customer services queries!
How It Works
The best reason to use content marketing is simple: people hate advertising and they'll go out of their way to avoid it. Even advertising that people enjoy—say, Superbowl commercials—can fail to inspire actual purchases, becoming just another form of entertainment (not to mention the challenges with tracking ROI).
It's important to understand that content marketing isn't a way of "tricking" people into allowing you to market to them. Instead, it's a trust-building exercise. If you show potential customers that you can help them right now, they're more likely to trust you again when they're ready to buy. If that experience is positive, they'll not only keep coming back, but will refer their friends.
Consistently producing high-quality content is a powerful lead generation strategy. Blogging in particular brings in new website visitors through organic search traffic, especially when you choose topics targeting each stage of the buyer's journey. Since 96% of website visitors aren't ready to buy, content offers help you convert those visitors into leads. Once they've given you their contact information, you are able to nurture these leads with email workflows designed for exactly where they are in the buyer's journey.
There's another major benefit of content marketing: search engine optimization (SEO). Search engines judge websites by their content and how users interact with it, and few things will increase your credibility as quickly as regularly publishing high-quality content. Moreover, when you create a piece of "evergreen" content, you can continually leverage it for more value by repurposing into another form or re-sharing it on social media. Even basic edits are recognized by search engines, so adding value or just updating older posts will help your content appear more frequently in search results.
How can content fit in to your marketing strategy?
Let us take a look during a free, no-strings inbound consultation!