Content Marketing is simply the creating and sharing media or content to attract or keep customers. If you’re on a social network or have a blog – you’re already doing content marketing.
The concept is not new. Long before the internet, companies were giving away free resources such as recipe books to win favour with potential customers. What’s changed is that consumers are now online where “Content is King” and everyone is a publisher.
So is it really just about using Social Media and Blogs?
Not really, and this where things can go wrong. Many businesses have not adapting enough to an ever changing internet. They still primarily see websites, social networks and blogs as new platforms to advertise the benefits of their products and services.
Content Marketing, in contrast, begins by recognising that internet users are primarily concerned with finding useful content to help them better their lives. The user is in the driving seat. They buy and take recommendations from people they find, trust and like … when they are ready.
Unlike traditional marketing which is about getting products in front of as many customers as possible. Content Marketing is about providing valuable content to develop an ongoing relationships with customers.
Or Traditional marketing is about Pushing out messages. Content Marketing is about Pulling in customers.
Okay, but is Content Marketing Successful?
A good starting point is this pdf report: Content Marketing ROI. The main findings here are that Content Marketing generates 3 times as many leads as Traditional Marketing and cost 62% less.
But where’s the surprise? On a personal level always known adverts are annoying. They worked when buyers had to rely of them for information. Now consumers can find what they need and are increasingly blocking advert.
Yes, but I had a blog and it didn’t work.
You can swap blog for Facebook page or any media channel here. It’s common. Many spend a lot of time creating content to no real effect.
There’s no one fix for of course. But more often than not businesses with a traditional marketing mindset don’t spend enough time getting to know their audience. They are used to advertising where the norm is to sell to a mass audience and communicate in the 3rd person.
Expert Content Marketers do not. They produce media with a person needs in mind. They talk to them. In many cases they will have done some research to find out what people are searching for. They will have asked what problems their audience have and what is really motivating their searches. In short, they start by putting themselves in the shoes of the people they are trying to reach.
Another difficulty for those converting from traditional to content marketing is strategy. Traditional Marketers are used to running adverts and measuring their effectiveness in the short term.
In contrast Content Marketers know that much of their content will take months or years to rank well in search engines. Their aim is to accumulative built link connections across multiple channels to raise their overall internet authority. They rely on creating strong calls to actions to build email lists and other ongoing connections. They will have carefully timed content ready to keep the engagement going. Content Marketing is not a buy it once and you’re done kind of thing.
We don’t have the time for Content Marketing
It is a commitment and certainly not everyone will benefit from every form of Content Marketing. This is a post all of its own.
Nevertheless, there’s much to learn from the success of Content Marketing. It tells us that the expectations of modern consumer have changed and businesses who leave it too late to adjust will run into trouble. Whatever your web content is… now is a good time to evaluate it from the point of view of today’s demanding consumer. Are you primarily advertising (pushing out what you want to say about yourself ) or supplying valuable content to consumers (pulling them in by giving them what they are searching for)?
Over to you… have you started Content Marketing. Have you, like me, started blog and abandoned them. Have you struggle to find your voice. I would love to hear your thoughts.