Here’s the reality: if you want your business to not just survive, but beat the pack, in this digital age, you need to be creating not just a great product or service, but also great content in order to promote it online.
The goal of content marketing is to convert prospects into customers, however it requires a shift in your focus when it comes to advertising. Content marketing is not about selling, it is about being helpful. It is about being a trusted resource that provides valuable, relevant and insightful information to an interested audience. Content marketing is also known as inbound marketing – meaning that rather than disrupting an audience with traditional advertising when they don’t actually want it – i.e radio ads, TV commercials, print advertising – inbound marketing means that your audience are finding you because they are seeking out what you offer.
Done well, content marketing is a long-term strategy that will reap big rewards for your business.
Content marketing could involve a number of things, including:
- quality blog posts on your own site
- guest blog submissions to other high-quality and relevant websites
- working with subject matter experts / influencers
- creating ebooks or other downloadable resources
- podcasts, videos, interviews or webinars
- social media
- case studies
- link building opportunities
- web page copy and optimisation
- co-marketing opportunities
- email marketing
- customer newsletters
As you can see, content marketing is a lot more than simply writing a monthly blog post. It requires a comprehensive strategy, and a dedicated expert to execute it successfully for your business.
Let me give a bit of context to help explain content marketing a little more:
Let’s say that you’re a business that sells solar panels. On your website, you’ve got a ton of blog posts, ebooks and whitepapers on topics such as energy efficiency, alternative power supply, saving money on electricity, as well as installation, care and maintenance and specs for choosing the best solar panels for your home.
Then meet Ted. Ted is building a new home, he’s interested in exploring different ways to power his home, so he opens up his browser and types in ‘Alternative ways to power a home’. Good news; you’ve written an ebook on just that topic! Your download link appears at the top of his search engine results, he clicks on it, goes to your website, and sees that you’ve also got a bunch of articles on using solar power, and so he explores your site a little more.
Meanwhile, Sarah is also renovating her home, but she already knows that she wants to use solar panels but doesn’t know much more about them, so she types “how many solar panels will I need to power my house”. Voila, there you are again, with your oh-so-helpful blog article for homeowners considering using solar power. Sarah clicks on your article, has a read, and then spots a link to your product brochure, so continues browsing.
At the same time, Robert, an architect, is working on a new design for his client. He’s been asked to provide a quote that includes the installation of solar panels. He already knows what he’s looking for, he just wants to know what product is going to be best for them, so he types in ‘best quality solar panels, New Zealand’. You’ve optimised one of your product pages for those search terms. Up comes a link to one of your pages, which also conveniently includes a video case study where an architect is talking through their experience working with your solar panel company.
By now, you’ve probably got the gist of what’s going on here. The solar panel company has created various assets that answer common questions at each stage of a buyer’s journey.
Now imagine you’re a solar panel company down the road who is still relying on a brochure drop in local letterboxes… You suddenly understand why your competition is expanding their business nationwide, while you’re still struggling to acquire new customers!
Content marketing is a powerful way to grow the reach of your business. If this post alone hasn’t quite convinced you about the benefits of content marketing – check back next week. I’ll give you the 10 benefits to having a content marketing strategy for your business!