A quick introduction
Content Marketing seems to be the name of the game. A quick look in Google Trends shows an exponential growth since 2011, from a very low base. It’s also quite interesting comparing how popular it is right now versus other digital advertising terms such as pay-per-click or display advertising. Astounding!
But what is exactly Content Marketing and why is it so popular? The Content Marketing Institute (yes, it does exist!) defines it as a “strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
What do we mean by ‘content’? I must admit that I use it sometimes as a synonym for ‘blog post’, but, in reality, it can take many other forms: videos, online calculators, white papers, infographics, even competitions and quizzes!
So, with this in mind, how will Content Marketing help your business attract new customers?
I believe there are at least 7 ways it will help you attracting new customers (yes, it is THAT good):
- Raising awareness of your brand, products and services: creating and distributing great content is probably the best way for your potential customers to get to know your brand, your products and your services. By addressing your target market pains and gains with your content (more in an upcoming article! [Update 30/1/17: as promised here’s the article]) you are showing that you understand them and can help them.
- Establishing you and/or your company as a subject matter expert: yes, Brexit has been covered extensively in the mainstream media. But how does it affect your specific (and potentially niche) industry? News provide the chance to position yourself as the expert in the industry. In my specific case: I am a Marketing Consultant. How powerful to answer the question: ‘what do you think about content marketing?’, with ‘well, I wrote a blog post recently about it!’.
- Improving the rank your website, making your business more findable: or in other words, helps you with your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Google and most of the popular search engines want to provide the most relevant results for their customers. In this way, those customers they keep using their services again and again. How do they decide who they place on the first page of the results? Well, amongst other things, they look at how relevant is the content of your site.
- Providing the raw material to share on your social media channels: your business is likely to have some followers on different social media platforms. How do you keep them engaged in the long run? One way is to create fresh, relevant content.
- Generating solid sales leads: by promoting your high-quality content (be it organically through your network or through paid advertising), new people will come across your products and services. It’s critical here that we have a system to capture those leads (again I will write about how to do so in the near future). Even if they’re not yet ready to buy from you, they might in the future and that leads me to the following point.
- Keeping your leads warm: so, you have a good set of prospective clients that perhaps are not ready to buy… How do you keep them warm at this stage? It will make sense to keep them engaged by reminding them of our products and services. And the best way to do it is through relevant, valuable content (rather than a straight sales pitch. They might not be ready yet!)
- …and eventually, converting them!: at the end of the day, the whole purpose of this is to increase your revenue. Different sources quote different ratios, but I would go with an 80/20 – 80% of your content should be informational, engaging and relevant, while 20% should be focussed in closing the deal.
Content marketing can be a very powerful tool in order to generate new business and it does so in different ways. And it’s worth considering it even if you have limited resources. Is it right for everybody? Well maybe not… In future blog posts, we’ll cover how to develop a content marketing strategy and how to get the best ROI out of it.
What do you think, what other ways could Content Marketing help you generating new business?