Content marketing is used by some of the best marketing companies in the world like P&G and Cisco systems and by SME’s around the world – Because it works!
Content marketing enables small, creative and agile companies to compete with the big boys because great content can be created, generated and distributed across multiple platforms – cheaply.
Seth Godin, one of the key thought leaders in this space has concluded that content marketing “is the only marketing left”
What is content marketing?
There are various definitions of content marketing but let’s keep it simple. The ethos of content marketing revolves around creating relevant and compelling content that readers will find of value and this content will change or influence buyer behaviour . The central tenet to content marketing is the belief that by creating this valuable and consistently helpful content and making it available wherever your audience is actively searching for it then they will eventually reward you with their business.
Note: Content relevancy has become a very important criterion that Google considers when offering up their search results.
Why should I participate?
Because content drives search and the search engines love new exciting content. New content can have a positive effect on the number of web pages indexed, increase the number of inbound links to your site, both of which will help drive you further up the search rankings. In addition, it can help you rise above the masses by differentiating your offering from your competitors who are still actively interrupting their audience with irrelevant brochureware.
Where should I start?
Start on your website, ensure the web content discusses the issues faced by your audience, what they need and why and how you can help. It’s not about telling them how great you are. Make sure your content is outward looking and not internally driven and product focussed. When you’re happy, repurpose that content and share it through the various social platforms that your audience use like Slideshare, Flick’r, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram. Tweet about it, blog about it, repurpose your article into a series of short videos, extract the voiceover and post it as a podcast.
Carry out a content audit, find the gaps and plug them. Remember, write for your audience and produce the content in a format that suits them. This may be a mix of text, images, graphics or video.
Next step is to map out the journey your customers take before deciding to buy from you. They may visit your site from many different sources before they click “Buy” or pick up the phone and your content needs to answer their questions at each stage.The buyer's journey is seldom linear, your prospects will flit back and forth between your marketing platforms until they are ready to decide. Your content needs to cater for this. Click To Tweet
When should I start?
What are you waiting for, get right on it today. Develop a content strategy in line with your business plans. Write a blog post, not got a blog? Get one, a blog should be at the centre of your content marketing strategy. It’s that important. According to Hubspot SME’s that Blog have 55% more website visitors than those who don’t, 97% more inbound links and 434% more indexed pages, which further enhance SEO results.
The world we live in is getting more and more competitive, don’t let someone else steal your breakfast.
How do I kick this off?
That depends on your level of resource and expertise and your position within the company. There are 3 routes you can take:
- Keep it all in-house: Make sure you have access to the resource and expertise. It’s not just about content creation. You need to account for planning, creation, distribution, analysis, budgeting and project management
- Outsource all of it: Sound like the ideal solution but you still need to put together the brief, get involved in the selection of the external partner and be involved in the management of the project.
- Take a hybrid approach: You can bring in a consultant who can help train your team in the key aspects of content marketing to help move them forward, you can work with the consultant on the strategic plan*. The consultant can project manage the implementation and work with a creative agency or you can take your plan straight to the creative agency for implementation.
There are pros and cons to each approach and the decision will be based on your current circumstances.
*Ownership of the strategic plan should always remain in-house
The most important point is Don’t Get Left Behind.