Content marketing is not a new idea. Some brands have been marketing their own content for over a decade. So why is content marketing getting so much attention now?
Changes to our buying behaviors, the rise of social networks, demand for unique, intelligent content, the popularity of thought leadership and the overload of advertisements has brought content marketing to the forefront of Internet Marketing. Content marketing helps attract high-quality leads and make prospecting easier.
What exactly is content marketing?
Content marketing is a method of delivering content to potential buyers that doesn’t sell them. Instead, it informs them about a particular solution or market challenge that they are facing. It makes them more informed buyers, which lowers the hurdle to their purchase decision.
“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
- Joe Pulizzi, The Content Marketing Institute
How does it work?
Using content marketing, a marketer moves buyers through the buying process. This process starts by educating prospective buyers about their challenge. After prospects are educated about the challenge, products or services are positioned as the solution. Finally, a clear call-to-action gives the prospect a way to move forward to inquire about the product or service.
Incorporating landing pages and conversion forms helps create a database of prospective buyers for a company. After a prospect completes an online form, they can be nurtured by email and by traditional touch points like phone calls.
The key to success is offering valuable, timely content. Nobody wants to be sold before they understand what the problem is and what’s possible. Offer informative content first. Help buyers make smart, informed decisions. Then guide them through a clear path to move forward.
What are the benefits?
From a marketing perspective, content marketing creates brand awareness and engagement. Content can be marketed both off-line as well as online. There’s no limit to the reuse of content. It can be incorporated into offers for campaigns of all types including print, email and sales.
Using content in sales campaigns creates another touch point for Sales staff. Content offers, linked to landing pages, can be offered in follow-up emails. This is especially useful for complex sales because a hands-off, informational approach is attractive to buyers early in the buying process. Follow-up content helps move the qualification process along and informs Sales if a prospect was interested enough to download the content. This helps make prospecting easier for sales.
From an Internet Marketer’s perspective, combining content marketing with traditional search engine optimization creates powerful inbound links to a website. It creates a compelling conversion element to attract website visitors into lead nurturing campaigns and creates sales intelligence by logging actions of individuals.
What content can you offer to help your buyers?