In today’s digital age, smart brands are bypassing product promotion and using strategic storytelling to drive action from a clearly defined audience of customers, prospects and partners. The bottom line…a strategic approach to content marketing drives engagement, loyalty, and ultimately ROI.
The word “content” appears 23 times in this blog so I want to take a minute to explain what content is in the framework of building a content marketing program. Content is the intersection of your brand or company purpose and what your customers want. You’ve likely heard the adage “people don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter-inch hole.” So you can write content about the fabulous “drill bits” you sell all day long, but that’s not what customers are looking for. They are looking for your expertise to solve a problem for them (yikes, I have all this framed art and no idea how to get them hung on the wall) and, here’s the kicker, they might not even really know what that specific problem is (yikes, my house looks boring).
As a marketer, your opportunity lies in becoming the resource your prospect needs, even if they don’t yet know they need it. Effective content marketers share information that enriches the lives of their target audience. They equip them with knowledge. This means the content needs to be strategic, well developed, promoted to the right audiences, and measured to understand its effect on your bottom line.
Identifying the need for a content program doesn’t mean that effective content marketing is easy to execute. A dynamic content marketing plan involves much more than well-written or produced content (although that’s, of course, a critical component.)
As Earl Nightingale said, “people with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.” A content program is no different. There are likely many things your team is doing to grow your company so what, specifically, is content’s role in that mix? What are your company’s goals that content will help you achieve? Finally, and perhaps most importantly, what do you need to execute upon these goals. If a nimble communication vehicle is a must, but your website is hardcoded and very hard to update, that will be a roadblock to achieving content marketing objectives. Understanding where you’re heading and how to get there is your first step towards content success.
One last note. Content marketing is best implemented when a company understands the importance of playing the long game. According to a recent study by Kapost, the cost per lead from content marketing was 41 percent less per lead than paid search advertising for medium- and large-sized businesses. Further, while hiring a content marketing team takes more time than launching a paid search campaign, it generates over four times more leads within 36 months. Given these numbers, it’s time to seriously consider adding content to your marketing mix.