In marketing, it’s a fact: He who has the most engaging content wins. In other words, you no longer can expect people’s attention; you have to earn their attention. But when you see all the noise out there, it’s clear that not every marketer has gotten the memo.
Content should be one of the pieces in your marketing strategy focused on generating organic interest.
Key to success is for your content to be timely and relevant to your target audience, while at the same time supporting the leadership position you as a business want to take in the minds of your target market.
Content marketing will scratch a bunch of itches that marketing and sales have, most notably increasing trust and thought leadership, which attracts prospects into your funnel. Amen to that!
Let’s assume you’ve recognized that the brands you admire, or maybe even your competitors (hopefully not) are killing it with content. You can see by the quality and quantity of online content that it’s a key strategy in their marketing. Before you invest the time, it’s good to know the “why” behind the “what.”
A survey MarketingProfs conducted among B2B marketers shows that brand awareness, customer retention and lead generation are the top reasons for content marketing.
Some content you produce may be more lead-gen focused like a downloadable report or video that points out a common pain that your target audience has and explains how your product addresses it. On the other hand, other types of content are focused on brand awareness and purely informational, so the topic is not as central to the attributes of your product. In this case, the topic is one your target audience thinks about within the sphere of their role–which only serves to substantiate your thought leadership positioning in the overall industry.
Here’s an example:
Say you develop and sell software used by interior designers for space planning. You feature a downloadable report on your website that visitors opt-in for called Top 10 Tricks for Better Space Planning. When someone downloads the report, your marketing automation system sends a sequence of emails that speaks to benefits that interior designers seek when looking for space planning software, which drives them to a live product demo on your website. On the other hand, you have another report, or perhaps it’s a blog post titled, “2012 Forecast on Colors in Interior Design”. This content is more brand awareness and thought leadership-oriented since the design software doesn’t necessarily help users choose colors, however; it’s a topic that’s important to your target audience of interior designers. You’ll see traffic increase as it potentially attracts people to you sales funnel, and more importantly the quality of your leads improve because those who are educating themselves and consuming your content are more interested than the casual tire-kickers.
It’s not easy, but payoffs abound.
Once you’ve gotten past the reasons for why, the next question is “how”. It’s no surprise that producing engaging content is the biggest content marketing challenge, as revealed in the same poll conducted by MarketingProfs showing B2B marketers’ views on content marketing.
Think about the brands you follow and admire. Are they serving up good content across a variety of channels? More than likely the answer is yes. No matter your business, you have opportunity for content marketing. Some businesses naturally have more opportunity than others given the interests, behaviors and communication styles of their target market. It’s there. You as a marketer need to simply be creative and smart about how you create and package it.
How can content marketing play a bigger role in your marketing strategy in 2011? I promise you it’s worth the time to consider it and urge you to find the time to get started. I’ll bet you and your competitors will be using content marketing soon enough which will translate to higher quality and higher volume of eyeballs—eyeballs that you should have. Beat them to the punch and go for the knockout.