Defining Content Marketing
Content Marketing is one of today’s most popular marketing platforms. This type of marketing involves creating, publishing, and distributing content for an intended audience.
This content could take many forms: blog articles, social media posts, infographs, whitepapers, videos, all meant to educate audiences on a particular topic in the writer’s industry. For example, the owner of a coffee shop might decide to write a blog about the benefits of soy milk over 1% milk in their customers’ lattes. This article will not only show audiences that the writer is knowledgeable about the coffee industry but a call to action placed within the article (i.e. “come try our new vanilla, soy milk latte!”) can help drive new business and revenue to a firm.
Why Businesses Need to Invest in Content Marketing
Building up a content marketing platform takes time and patience. Essentially, you need workers who will research and create the content and managers who will leverage the content across a company’s website, social media platforms, etc. Despite the amount of work that goes into content marketing, there are many benefits to including it within your organization’s business plan.
Content Marketing Attracts Attention and Generates Sales Leads
One of the primary functions of content marketing is its ability to generate attention and sales leads for your business. By writing and distributing a piece of content, you are essentially telling your audience that you exist and have something to offer them.
The beauty of content marketing is that it allows marketers to be creative in how they write and distribute content. Finding new and innovative ways to display ideas helps to generate attention causing potential customers to focus on and follow your company.
By capturing your audience’s attention, you have the opportunity to transform a majority of that attention into sales leads. For instance, when a customer likes or comments on one of your blog posts, you can reach out to that customer. This helps create a more personalized experience where the customers feels like your company is paying attention to them and their needs. This personalized experience also provides marketers the chance to build an online community of loyal followers and customers for their business.
Content Marketing Increases Company Brand Awareness
Generating brand awareness is most commonly done through content marketing. By regularly creating and distributing content you are creating a unique brand voice for your company. By maintaining continuity in your content, customers come to recognize your brand through the masses of competition that exist in the marketplace.
This is useful as the presence of a brand means the creation of customer loyalty. Since customer loyalty is a continuously fluctuating phenomenon, maintaining a consistent brand image and identity is important in order to ensure customers do not lose interest in your product or service. Content marketing is a prime vehicle to grow and foster your brand and company personality and ensure customers keep coming back for more.
Content Marketing Demonstrates Knowledge of Your Industry
In addition to brand creation, content marketing demonstrates knowledge of your business’ industry. As we saw in our coffee example, content marketing gives marketers a chance to demonstrate their knowledge of their particular industry and provides an informal way to show customers that they are trustworthy and know their business.
As customers, we only want to purchase products and services that we believe will benefit us and from companies we trust and who know their industry inside and out. Content marketing provides a great vetting process where customers can see how well the firm knows its industry before setting out to do business with them.
Content Marketing Generates Value for Your Business
At the end of the day, the goal of content marketing is to create value for your business. In a valuable exchange between the marketer and their potential customers, the marketer creates a piece of content with valuable information that is important to their target audience and in exchange for this information, the customer reciprocates the value by giving the marketer their business.
In order to create this win-win scenario, marketers have to focus on the needs of their customers and demonstrate that need within their content. Customers will skip over content they feel does not apply to them. By having a firm grasp on what your ideal customer is looking for, you are able to create the value they want.
Content Marketing Must Be Consistent
An important caveat of content marketing is consistency. You will not be able to realize the full value and return on investment of your content if you do not retain a consistent voice or message. Losing track of consistency could mean losing customers as conflicting messages can frustrate customers enough for them to defect to the competition.
A good way to keep track of your content and consistency is to create a content marketing strategy. A strategy will help you track existing content as it works its way through your platforms and audience and allows you to plan for future content.
Content marketing is something that both small and large businesses can do. It can be as elaborate as a series of videos and whitepapers to a simple blog article extolling the benefits of soy milk in coffee. However you choose to create your content, by implementing content marketing within your organization it will help generate sales leads, build brand awareness, demonstrate your industry knowledge, and create value for your business and customers.
So, don’t delay! The right content at the right time can do wonderful things for your business and it can be as simple as putting pen to paper!
Courtney Rosebush, Content Contributor