As the title suggests, I’m not going to be mincing words or my opinions here. Content Marketing is the single most important activity that any marketing department or marketing professional should be concerned with on a daily basis.
By definition, Content Marketing is “a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.” Note the part about "does not explicitly promote a brand." This is where a lot of marketing budget dollars and marketing focus are wasted every day. Too much focus on the brand or the widget comes across as "sell you something" tactics. While that may work for a small majority of businesses with singular product/service sets, most established companies who have a clearly defined value proposition that is attractive to a targeted client type, Content Marketing serves to build upon that established value and attract similar target clients, while establishing an informative and/or educational legitimacy for the brand.
To that point, let’s expand. What I mean is that by creating a value proposition around not just your product/service, but around being the "go-to" for your clients when they need information starts to create a new position for you in the client’s minds - that of a "thought leader" or "source of industry info." The most exciting aspect of Content Marketing is that as a practice it is not just relegated to the digital online world. Creating content that clients value covers a wide range of deliverables.
Types of Content Marketing That Build Interest
Let’s assume that in today’s world most organizations use their website as their core content repository. If they aren’t then they should be. The following Content Marketing activities integrate with the website but also stand alone depending on the use case:
- Landing Pages & Microsites
- Radio Shows
- How-To Guides
As you can see, several of these types can operate effectively as stand-alone items, as well as being different ways to attract the audience you seek both online and off. Understanding how and where these impact the traditional client buying cycle is critical.
- Awareness. Prior to awareness, a customer may have a need, but they are not aware there is a solution.
- Research. Once a customer is aware there is a solution, they will perform research to educate themselves. For example, a car buyer will try to find out what different types of cars exist, and which one will fit their needs.
- Consideration. At this point, the customer starts comparing different products from different vendors to make sure they’re getting a high-quality product at a fair price.
- Buy. Finally, the customer makes their decision and moves forward with the transaction.
Traditional advertising and marketing are great when it comes to the second two steps. Content marketing taps into the first two stages of the buying process by raising awareness of solutions and educating consumers about a product they may have never considered before.
What’s the ROI?
If executed properly, and maintained on a consistent basis, the return on investment in Content Marketing can be amazing. A steady stream of relevant and timely content, driven by an editorial calendar can show almost immediate returns in visitor traffic, new customers and more. The best part is that it costs a fraction of placing ads in periodicals, paying for clicks or buying a billboard because all Content Marketing takes is a few hours per week of someone’s time. In operationally mature organizations with highly skilled staff, marketers should be leveraging their own team members as sources for the content. Establishing a ‘thought leadership’ team within your company, and even inviting some of your top clients to participate will enhance the exercise even further as the reader sees that the clients trust your brand enough to join in.
Are You Prepared?
Envoc stands ready with cutting edge talent and innovative thinking to plan and implement a comprehensive Content Marketing plan that will establish your organization as a Thought Leader and help you target many different client types through superior information and education. The key to success in this area is consistency and relevant and timely distribution of your message.