Content marketing is a phenomenon that isn’t going away. If you’re a business to business marketer, using content marketing is a great way of rethinking and re-tasking some of press and sales support material in a way that stimulates inbound inquiry.
Need five reasons why your business needs a content marketing strategy? Here you go.
1. Quality regular content builds trust. There are undeniable SEO benefits of persistently talking about the same topics. But it’s at the human interaction level, rather than technical level, where the benefits of content marketing are most interesting. Talking frequently and in detail about particular topics creates credibility which leads to you being trusted. Trust is the first step on the path to transaction.
2. Companies need to use people to tell stories that resonate. People do business with people they trust and like. Shared and personal experiences can underpin relationships and can be effectively used to build engagement. Advertising in the 1960′s looked to profile particular people and sell them solutions to their problems and this has largely remained the same in marketing today.
3. Broadcast PR is dead. All communication needs to be two-way. It’s not enough to tell all the time, you need to listen, react and respond. Social has spread right through all facets of modern business and modern marketing. In CRM, companies like Salesforce.com have bought into social media with outfits like Radian6, whilst the latest version of Google throws back recommendations from your contacts in amongst your search results.
4. The web finds liars out, quickly. Social media has balanced the playing field and created an outlet for disaffected customers. Whilst great viral commentary can make a business, one bad experience can destroy it as let-down customers realise they are not alone. Best to be open and transparent from the start.
5. Content converts. Most business to business products and services are conceived to solve a problem for a particular type of customer. Addressing the problems and offering ways to solve them, minimise their impact and disruption and actually remove them from the equation is a powerful way to drive trust and transaction. In B2B, there isn’t a transaction as such, but white papers, downloadable content and subscriptions emails are great ways to obtain data which can be followed up later.
Is the reward always worth the effort?
There is a saying in business (and in life) that you get out what you put in. But is this really true? As the economy lurches from recession to depression and back again, businesses are working harder and harder not to achieve growth but to stand still. And marketers are having to stretch reduced budgets to achieve the same outcomes.
Techniques like Internet based content marketing assume that the creation and distribution of useful, usable information to specific audiences will over time develop their trust, reliance and eventually spend with you are in vogue.
But there are huge barriers to entry for businesses. How can you work around them?
First off, listen. Understand what is happening online, monitor the discussions, obtain insight and establish who the big voices are before doing anything.
Second, you need a fully functioning website capable of providing information quickly and channelling visitors to the lead capture devices that have built in.
Third, develop optimised material that they will be interested in and will click to obtain – accepting that by offering an email address and a phone number, they are opting in to future dialogue with your business.
Finally, promote this material widely on the Internet in order to capture the attendance of your audience where they graze. This means considering an investment in paid and earned media on media sites, industry portals, discussion forums and social networking sites to stimulate interest.
There is a clear in-cost involved in this. But there is also the ‘time’ cost which is often not calculated by businesses that are not time/service oriented.
Positioning yourself as an expert in order to drive inbound lead generation isn’t easy, quick or cheap. But by implementing a measured approach over the long term (and avoiding the distracting overtures of certain social media tools and games), you will build trust in your products and services regardless of budget or resource.
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Tagged business, content marketing, economy, effort, effort and reward, Internet, marketing, marketing assassin, rene power, reward, wordpress