Each year, marketing trends lists tout the ongoing trend of content marketing. It can be written content, visual content, or video content. But, it’s all about providing the audience with the most relevant, valuable content for them.
Besides winning and keeping customers, however, there are other reasons why content marketing should be a critical component of your long-term marketing strategy and mobile marketing approach.
Like most other types of marketing tactics, content marketing influences how other aspects of your marketing strategy do. SEO is a prime example of how content marketing impacts other tactics.
After all, it’s in the content that you can place keywords and phrases that are designed to develop and grow your organic visibility through long tail searches and through secondary search components like product or service pages.
To get noticed on search engines, you will need to create specific types of content, such as landing pages, blog posts, and social media content that targets and delivers niche information viewed as valuable to your audience. Using key phrases that relate to this niche information can enhance your SEO efforts and result in higher search ranking and greater conversions.
If one of your marketing objectives is to enhance your brand reputation and establish a thought leadership in your industry, it’s content marketing that can help you achieve it. Particularly now, with so much content available on the Internet and the concern over “fake news” and “unreliable information,” a brand can truly stand out by providing consistent thought leadership on various topics that their audience is interested in.
Although some people may look to reviews and testimonials to raise credibility -- and these are tactics that provide some brand reputation traction -- even better is to focus on creating and publishing content on various topics where your expertise aligns with what you are selling as a service or product.
To achieve this content marketing benefit, write articles or blog posts or deliver a keynote conference address on trends that impact your audience. Or, you could deliver content that offers tips, use cases, or customer stories that illustrate how to solve an audience’s issue.
Content has the dual benefit of making you as the brand smart while also increasing your audience’s knowledge. Whether your audience are consumers or other businesses, both want to make more educated decisions. That requires greater information often across numerous sites to collect everything they need before purchasing from a particular brand. However, if you can give them the greatest amount of valuable information, they will stay with you rather than looking elsewhere, and that’s half the battle to converting them. Otherwise, you may be losing them to the last place they look for information.
Content marketing can also be valuable for helping to educate an audience about a product or service that may be more complex or technical in nature. To break it down for them and illustrate the value they could get from using it, you can deliver video content that shows how to use it, which often resonates the most with the audience’s preference for visual content.
Not every customer or audience member is ready to make their purchase at the same time. You can leverage content marketing to develop information that appeals to each stage in the buying process rather than relying on straight “sales talk.” In this way, your audience doesn’t have to feel like they are being sold to when they are not ready to buy.
Instead, your content marketing can provide layers of information for those doing research, comparison shopping, narrowing their selection, and buying. This requires creating service or product pages that offer a wide range of information directed at each stage of the buying process.
Information can be customized to address what is on the audience member’s mind during that particular stage. Without content marketing, you could not deliver for each audience member at different buying stages. Create buying guides, which provide wide-ranging appeal for those researching, comparison shopping, and even buying.
Although some marketing tactics are very specialized and work for a specific industry or business segment more so than others or that attract a certain audience, content marketing has universal application and appeal.
That means it works just as effectively for B2C audiences as it does for those in the B2B segments. Every vertical within an industry also can realize a greater return in utilizing some type of content marketing to inform and engage. No matter where in the world your audience is, they want information and enjoy the convenience of using their mobile devices or computers to easily locate it. If you can get them what they need before the competition with your content marketing strategy, then you win.
So much about marketing is temporary in terms of its impact, such as an ad campaign, but the majority of content marketing tactics can be used in an evergreen fashion or repurposed to extend their life long after their initial publishing. This means you get more return for the initial investment, potentially drawing in new interest and conversions through passive marketing activity.
Examples include guides on a particular subject, resource content for customer and technical support, numerous blogs and articles, and repurposed content that is added to other channels like social media or turned into video segments. Or, you can take previously published trends articles and update them or revisit changes in statistics one or two years on. In all cases, you are extending the value for everyone. And, it achieves the additional benefit of making your site and channels a destination that audience members will return to, again and again, and perhaps even refer others in their circle to visit.
In executing on a thoughtful content marketing strategy, you do more than market and sell to an audience. The content and its meaning create connections and an understanding on numerous levels that engages your audiences. It also builds trust in your brand as well as develops and nurtures the relationships you need to sustain your business over time.
John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, online marketing guru, and startup enthusiast. He is founder of the online invoicing company Due. John is best known as an entrepreneur and connector. He was recently named #3 on the Top 50 Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine and a blogging expert by Forbes.