Content marketing is nothing new. However, we see so much “noise” being created on and offline from online and traditional press releases to social media sites and sites set up just for organic search engine optimization purposes that we wanted to take the opportunity (prompted by a recent Cleveland Social Media Club meeting) to revisit why generating truly valuable content for your target audiences is imperative and beneficial.
Content marketing is the process of developing and disseminating relevant and valuable content to customers and prospects. The goal is to engage and ultimately drive an engaged action from consumers. The key benefit for customers/prospects is they receive information that benefits them, and the reward for the business is it becomes a trusted resource when a customer/prospect is ready to take action on a related product or service.
Examples of content marketing include educational microsites, expert blogs, education videos, useful smart phone apps and small bits of information disseminated through social media. Even creating feature articles for magazines is a good example of content marketing.
Take this article that appeared in TFM Facility Blog. It’s providing relevant content for facility managers when selecting LED lighting.
Below are a few tips on developing/distributing content that will truly benefit your target audiences.
Build Content Around Customer’s Pain Points: In order to develop content that is valuable for your customers and prospects, develop a clear understanding of the things that make them tick as well their challenges. Once you understand the type of information your customer needs, it is easy to develop content directly addressing topics they care about.
Identify Channels of Distribution: It is absolutely essential to know where and how customers/prospects get their information. This of course is different for every industry. If your customers/prospects are not using Twitter or Facebook, no matter how good your content is, it is not going to reach them. Don’t know the best way? Conduct a survey.
Develop a Strategy: Develop a clear editorial calendar to guide your content. What exactly will you publish, when and how often? And yes, this even goes for Facebook and Twitter content. Plan topics in advance and then modify as needed based on current events and emerging trends. A little work up front can save time and frustration in the end.
Content Should Change Behavior: The goal with content marketing is to make a connection with customers/prospects that will eventually lead to profitable action. The first step is developing content that is important and relevant to the audience. But in order for the content to be an effective marketing strategy, marketers need to find a way to relate that content to their company’s message, communicate indirectly how a product or service eases a pain point, and encourage a change in behavior that benefits both the customer and the business. Not seeing behavior change? Test new content and delivery methods.
Understand Impact on the Bottom Line: It is simple to track and measure microsite hits, blog visitors, followers, likes, circulation, etc. But go beyond those statistics. When implemented successfully, content marketing should drive profitable customer actions. If your content marketing strategy is not helping to achieve your goals (increasing qualified leads, driving sales, saving money, increasing customer satisfaction, etc.), it is not truly effective and needs to be revised.