In this modern age of the internet and websites we are all looking for ways that we can grow our business and reach out to more clients and customers. The problem is, everyone wants to do and achieve this so it is important to try and reach the people who are relevant to you using unique and interesting content to grab their interest and hopefully make you stand out from the crowd. This is where content marketing can be very useful.
What is content marketing?
Content Marketing is an approach used by marketing professionals that focuses on reaching a clearly defined audience, specific to their own or their client's market by creating and istributing interesting, reliable and most importantly relevant content with the aim of driving customers to make a positive, profitable action.
Of course the intention of content marketing is not simply to gain new customers but to retain the ones that you already have. To do this you must create content that is constantly updating and is perceived to add value that will therefore change and enhance customer behaviour in a manner that is favourable to your business. This is a process that is constantly evolving and ongoing and should be integrated into a business' marketing strategy. The process is often described as "owning media, not renting it."
To gain the most from content marketing your clients and customers should feel that you are communicating with them and not solely trying to sell to them – they shouldn't see it as something that interrupts their lives but enhances them. Your intention is to make these people feel like they are gaining knowledge and in return for doing this we be rewarded with their business and their ongoing loyalty to your 'brand'.
There are plenty of examples of where content marketing has worked for organisations. Microsoft, John Deere and Proctor and Gamble (P&G) use this type of marketing as do many, many small businesses around the globe and there is one reason why they do this and that is because it has proven time and again to be successful and generate the desired results.
Why does the content need to be targeted?
For information to be deemed as useful and for your clients to gain knowledge from it must be firstly something that they are interested in and secondly that is relevant to them. If you imagine a stone mason receiving information on flowers do you think he would take any notice? The answer in 90% of cases would be 'no' so therefore you have gained nothing – in essence wasted your time. Good content makes people want to read it – it is not seen as 'just more advertising' and this is how to gain the business and the brand loyalty mentioned above.
Do I need to concentrate on my content first and foremost?
The quick answer is 'yes'. You can't market anything if what you are marketing it with is just seen as irrelevant rubbish by your clients and potential clients. Quality content is needed in all aspects of your marketing strategy. Think about how you promote your business already.
- Social Media – If you post something on social media such as Facebook will people read it if it is irrelevant? "NO"
- Public Relations – You want your company to be perceived as caring and adding value to people's live. If the content if focused on you will it be seen that way? "NO"
- Pay Per Click – If your content is uninspiring will people click on it? "NO"
As you can see the answer to these questions if consistently "no" therefore you do need to concentrate on your content. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) focuses on quality content because search engines reward quality, consistent content. If you are concentrating on inbound marketing you need the quality content to generate the traffic and leads – without it you will again achieve nothing.
Just think if you had quality content that your clients and potential clients looked forward to receiving how you would be perceived. You would put yourself light years ahead of your competitors and put your company at the forefront of your client's minds.
How do I begin?
As we said at the beginning it is something that everyone is trying to achieve so you need to think 'outside the box.' Look at your business, look at your competitors and most importantly look at your client base. Ask yourself:
- What are you trying to ultimately achieve?
- What point do you want to get across?
- What are my competitors doing?
- What do my clients want?
- What do my clients need?
- How do I make it interesting?
Just by asking these simple questions you will be well on the way to building a successful content marketing campaign. Of course gaining outside input also helps – people who are conditioned to your existing way of thinking and can see things from a different angle. Don't be afraid to ask for help or get professional advice. Thinking differently and imaginatively is what will get you the results that you crave.