Why Content is #Winning
If you've been paying attention for the last year or two, you've probably noticed that "content marketing" is quickly moving ahead of the pack in the marketing race.
This raises a couple of questions: what is content marketing? Why is it winning? How can my business get in on this content marketing gravy train?
All great questions and we're going to take a moment to address each and every one - and tell you why you need to care.
What is content marketing?
Content Marketing is defined by the Content Marketing Institute 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."
Boiled down, keep feeding your customers with bite-sized, useful pieces of information that ties back in some way shape or form to your product. For example: you may be a bicycle manufacturer, so you release a weekly "how-to" demonstrating DIY bicycle maintenance. Boom, just like that, you're content marketing.
So why should you understand what content marketing is? First, it's a bit of a departure from marketing efforts in the past. How, do you ask? Instead of grabbing people's attention and telling them to BUY NOW - thus directly correlating into an ROI, the content marketing strategy is a long play. Instead of just yelling through the bullhorn "TRUST US, WE'RE THE EXPERTS!", you actually build the trust of the consumer. By giving them enough information to make the decision on their own terms that they trust your brand, you then bank on the fact that your brand will be the one they ultimately buy from because you've established the trust and positioned yourself as the expert.
Why is content marketing winning?
This question is a difficult one to answer, but the answer should be at least a little bit apparent in the definition of what content marketing is. Consumers today, especially if you sell a 'widget' or hardgood, have options. Google, Amazon, Alibaba, Yelp, etc. etc. etc. can all dish out 20 alternatives to your product. Most probably at a lower cost, better quality, better looks, or better reviews. Consumers are BOMBARDED with more options than ever before. Selling by price or feature is practically like hitting your brand's head against the wall. There's always going to be someone out there that will undercut price or have a cooler feature. The best way get to your consumers mindshare is by providing useful (either handy, entertaining, or engaging) content. Look at the Genesis of Dollar Shave Club. With one singular (and awesomely hilarious) viral video, the guys at Dollar Shave Club were able to launch their brand.
Another popular form of content marketing: email. Consider email drips... How many emails do you get in a day? How many are from people or businesses that you simply can't unsubscribe from because the content they pump out is just so dang useful? That's content marketing at work. That's where you want to be. (If you need help writing some of those super dang useful emails, we can help.)
How do I get started with content marketing?
Content marketing isn't hard to get off the ground - really. No sales pitch here, not trying to sell you anything with that one (but we're more than happy to help!) All you have to do, set aside 20 minutes a week and hang a blog off your website. Take 20 minutes to bang out something that you know a lot about that's tied to your business. Odds are, if you've been in business for longer than 6 months, you probably know more than the average consumer - so no topics are "too simple" - everything is on the table. So 20 minutes a week, write a short blog article on something you or your business knows a lot about. It doesn't have to be a lot.
Then, take that article, post it to your company's Facebook page, Twitter account, LinkedIn, or whatever. There you have it. The simplest form of content marketing. You can even take it up a notch and automate an email that collects all your blog posts and sends them out once a month to your email database.
The trick - and hardest part - of content marketing is consistency. It's easy to start a content strategy and move through 1 or 2 months of dedication. However, 2 months isn't enough content to feed your content-starving clients. It's something you have to dedicate a lot of time to - measured in months and years, as opposed to days and weeks.
Finally, in order to successfully implement a content marketing strategy, you have to get in the right headspace. As we discussed above: a content strategy, though ROI can be calculated, it's very difficult to tie a specific sales number to one particular bit of content, especially when manually managing a content strategy. You have to become comfortable with the concept of trusting the process. It will work out for you, it will just take some time.
So get to writing, your customers are waiting!
If you'd like some help with a content marketing strategy, we're more than happy to help. We've put together many content strategies and can execute on those strategies with the consistency and professionalism your potential clients need. Ready to get started?