Content marketing is among the most effective of inbound marketing strategies in generating demand for your business. An effective content marketing strategy will take prospective customers from an increased awareness of your brand to improved conversion rates, more leads, and improved sales. Content marketing works by giving customers valuable information they can use, and, in so doing, creates a more positive impression of your business as it enhances credibility and trust.
According to a recent study from Econsultancy, online searches for the phrase, “content marketing,” increased by more than 100% over the last two years. In a related survey of marketers, more than 9 in 10 agreed that adding valuable content to their websites was “important,” but only 34% had committed marketing dollars to content marketing.
It Is What It Is
Whatever opinions marketers hold about content marketing, and whatever actions they take (or don’t take) to incorporate it into their overall marketing strategy, the fact is that a content marketing strategy, when properly executed, works, this according to a spate of recent studies. For example:
- 61% of consumers say they’re more likely to purchase from companies that deliver custom content
- 90% of consumers describe such content as “useful”
- 78% believe that companies which deliver useful content are doing so to build strong relationships with them
Doing It Right
Clearly, delivering custom content represents an opportunity to engage and influence your prospective customers. But it’s important to do it right. Here are 4 content marketing strategies you can employ to boost your business:
- You need buy-in from throughout your business. You can’t execute a content marketing campaign without adequate funding and human resources. That means you need to effect buy-in from your CEO, your marketing team, and other key stakeholders. You can do this by focusing on your company’s business objectives, then demonstrating how content marketing can help achieve them. Make sure you impress upon stakeholders that, to be effective, your content marketing efforts must be a long-term, protracted effort.
- It’s about engagement, not direct sales. Content marketing is different from traditional advertising. It’s more about pull than push, about engaging customers with information they can use rather than hitting them with a sales pitch. It’s important to understand who your customers are, what problems they have, and then offering content which helps them solve those problems. In this way, you’ll gain their trust, making it easier to move them to action, and sales, down the road.
- Tell a compelling story. Individual pieces of content you create are all parts of an overarching, tightly-woven narrative about your business, and about the ways in which your products and services can solve customer problems. It’s important to write that narrative in its entirety before releasing your first piece of content, and then to share each subsequent piece of content in tandem. Each filling in the next chapter of your story and moving customers gradually through the phases of the buying cycle, and increasingly towards affinity, loyalty, conversion, and sales.
- Make your content scalable. To be effective, and to achieve optimal search rankings, content must be both valuable and unique. Creating that much unique content can be a challenge. One of the ways to solve this problem is to deploy each piece of content along multiple formats. For example, if you develop an effective white paper, you could subsequently distribute sections of that paper in the form of multiple shorter articles. In the same way, a compelling webinar can yield content for multiple videos.
An effective content marketing strategy will enhance trust and build enduring relationships with current and future customers while simultaneously increasing demand and boosting search engine rankings. Unless you have the in-house talent to create such a strategy, your best bet is to work with experienced content marketing professionals who can help you achieve your business objectives.