Content marketing. Content is king. “Are you content with your content?” Ok, perhaps not that last one, but there are plenty of these content- and content-marketing related buzzphrases out there.
Each time I hear any buzzphrase, I wonder to myself (depending on how high my general interest is), what the hype is, whether it’s over-rated, and dare I say, if the whole thing is just a gimmick - or even a fad?
Buzzphrases are for capturing something’s essence, for getting some form of message ‘out there’ in a format that’s digestible. What it doesn’t do is give the full picture, tell the whole story. One has to go beneath the surface to get to the nitty gritty.
That’s my intention with this post. To go beneath the surface and give you a useful introduction into what this whole content marketing thing is all about. Quite frankly, content marketing is a concept that’s confusing at best, unknown at worst.
So, let’s get started.
Simply put, content is using content in order to market, right? Duh. Yeah, I know, just bear with me here.
Aka, you are using words to attract interest, to demonstrate expertise and build trust when it comes to your company, your product/service and you. (Sometimes, you and your company are the same thing).
Some would argue that content marketing is as direct as trying to get customers to buy your thing. You can see that there’s a big overlap with sales here, can’t you?
Side note: paid ads, whether old-school (on TV/radio) or new-school (Facebook/Instagram ads) are still a thing, and you can make money this way. Great. I’m not knocking it. To me, though, content should be the bedrock… before you then go out and tell the world about you, which is what ads are essentially doing.
What many of us don’t realise is that content both sets up your stand with your best foot forward and tells the world about you, by the way. That’s the beauty of it.
WHY IT’S SO IMPORTANT
Here’s this ‘content marketing’ lark is so important…
Online, there is no single better way to organically build a relationship with your customer than through content marketing. There just isn’t.
And the core, the bedrock, the foundation stone of all your content is your blog.
What better way to get to know you, to get a feel and a flavour for you, to engage with you, than through the knowledge and personality you can demonstrate through your blog?
Yes, you have a great service or a product to offer. You know what you provide is hugely valuable. Your (prospective) customer has a need. Maybe they’ll hop right onto your website and go straight to that buy or book a demo button. But, the chances are very high that this won’t happen. Seeing as 92% of the traffic coming to your page is from customers not intending to buy anything on that 1st visit, those that do are in a tiny majority.
This is why it is so important for you to build that connection and develop a relationship with them. Or, to use another analogy that I’m particularly partial to, to lead them down your garden path.
And content marketing is the way in which you can do that. It is the best way in which you can do that. Whether it’s content in the forms of words, or audio, or video, there is magic in it.
TYPES OF CONTENT
Your blog is key. Case Studies are key (especially if you are a B2B business) ; these might instead be white papers if you are a B2B, or it might be well-articulated happy customer stories if you are a B2C.
And then there’s the e-book. Blogs are an under-utilised thing, but even rarer than the blog - and a golden egg (akin to the golden snitch if you are a Quidditch fan) - is the e-book. If the blog is the teaser, the e-book is the movie.
Your e-book is an opportunity to show your customer something really special. You can show them your story, provide them with outstanding knowledge and value, weave in some of those customer stories, and gets your customer from near the garden gate to well into that garden of yours.
Oh, and it gives you something else that’s pretty crucial, an email address. Giving you the opportunity - and permission (#GDPR) - you can contact, and start building a relationship with, whether: through direct 1-to-1 contact, an email sequence, a newsletter, even a phone call. Oh the potential is so huge.
A quick note on the types of content:
Words - articles, handouts, flyers, ads (online and offline), e-books, case studies
Others - audio/podcasts, video (courses, ‘intro’s on your page, etc), webinars
Content shows your customers who you are, the value you can bring, and the opportunity to build trust and connection with them, to get those warm and fuzzy feelings inside. To ultimately take them from visiting stranger to invested person and then… paying customer
Even better than paying customer… a loyal fan. Who’ll shout about you and your offering to others IRL (in real life) and online, without you even asking to. This is where the companies that consciously cultivate engaged customer communities will be the ones that reach the moon. 🚀 That’s one for another post, perhaps.
That’s what content marketing is, and that’s why you should care about it.
I love questions. And I really love this stuff; I’ve spent over 7 years selling B2B & B2C, and over 4 years writing content.
Also, if you like what you’re reading and you’re a one-(wo)man-band or small business, you might wanna grab a free copy of the Guide I’ve put together: Honest Marketing for Small Businesses.
email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
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