Content marketing is a phrase you’re going to hear a lot of around this site. That’s because it’s what I do. It’s what any copywriter does, really. So what is it, how is it done, and why do you need it?
Content marketing: the basics
In a very, very short summary, content marketing is the delivery of any marketing material which includes content of value to the reader.
It essentially includes 99% of all communications put out by businesses these days. The reason you’ll have seen a recent shift from basic ‘marketing’ term or ‘copywriting’ is that advances in technology and changes in consumer buying behaviour have changed the demands on your business in terms of output.
You can’t broadcast your wares anymore
It’s really that simple. People don’t like to be sold at these days. They want to feel included in their buying journey, and they want to feel valued as an individual.
One of the key ways of doing this with total strangers (aka your untapped customer base) is by delivering engaging content. You can use content marketing to do two things:
- Demonstrate your business’ authority in its field, and
- Build customer trust by treating them as individuals, even if the same content could apply to thousands of people.
You’ll notice how neither of those things include a hard sell. Think about print adverts these days: how often do they tell you that you MUST buy something, compared to suggesting it might improve your life IF you buy something? That’s content marketing right there. It’s about building intrigue, trust, and excitement around your products and services by showing people what you can do for them, how you can solve their current problems, without being in-your-face about it.
Give people knowledge and they’ll thank you with loyalty
As we’ve already seen, people buy from people rather than faceless companies. This is where content marketing can really take off.
A well-placed guest post, a thoughtful non-salesy blog, even a downloadable free whitepaper on the latest hot industry topic: these are all great ways to deliver engaging content to your ideal customer base.
Of course, with great content comes great responsibility: if you’re smart about it, you’ll place data capture opportunities wherever possible on the content-giving journey in order to help you gather cold leads and pop them into the sales conversion funnel.
Content marketing is a slow sell
You might strike lucky with one very powerful e-shot, or a particularly stunning video that goes viral. But most content marketing is a slow burner that builds trust (there’s that word again!) and proves your authority.
Giving people free content in the form of e-books, videos, tutorials, blogs, magazine articles – you name it – makes them feel valued. It doesn’t cost you much, yet it does wonders for positioning your brand as a market leader.
Once you have an arsenal of content to throw at warm prospects, you’re likely to really see the speed at which knowledge = purchases made. You need to show your potential customers why your product and service is the best – by proving that you know your stuff, and also (often) that your competitors aren’t as innovative as you.
It’s worth the wait
The slower sell of content marketing works like this: you can catch a potential customer at any time in their buying cycle and STILL convert them to a sale.
Think of a sales person on the phone, who is just one day too late on that deal. It’s very frustrating – and means a potential future relationship is lost to a competitor. But if you maintain strong relationships by continually delivering valuable content, prospects will see you in a different light.
They’ll remember you.
Whether a buyer is right at the early research phase or has already completed a recent purchase with a competitor, content marketing ensures they know who you are, what you offer, and why they should (or should have) come to you. Reaching clients who have already ended their purchase cycle is hard to do with traditional sales – but with in-depth, knowledgeable, valuable content, they’re going to come back to you in the future.
Your website traffic is guaranteed to increase
As soon as you regularly post on your blog with SEO-rich content, or get out there on social media platforms to share your latest video tutorial, your website hits will significantly increase, especially if you include a clear call-to-action on your content that drives them to your site.
Once people are on your website, you’ve got them! Even if they aren’t going to buy from you right now, they’re now aware of who you are and what you do. More than that: they’re an interested party in what you offer. Content marketing will bring you hot leads because you’re going to attract the right customers who already know what they want to buy (and you have it!).
Content marketing is a niche skill
You’ve heard me bang on about this time and again, but it’s still true: the reason companies fail at content marketing is they leave it to a generalised marketing team to complete, alongside other pressured tasks, data analysis, and research projects.
A content marketer will focus solely on your messaging, your campaign aims, and your USPs. They’ll find ways to position your business as an authority in your field, whether that’s through live speaking slots, press releases, or guest blogs.
A good content marketer will understand the power of language. Many marketing teams are still using broadcast techniques which have less and less success as buying behaviour changes in the modern digital age. A good content marketer will be, first and foremost, a copywriter.
Want to know how I know this stuff? Check it: I’ve been a content marketer for over a decade! Under the guise of copywriter, digital marketing executive, and even a couple of ‘head of content’ roles (swanky, right?). I’ll give your business a free no-obligation consultation if you think you’re in need of some help with your content marketing – just contact me here to get started!