Content Marketing: The Proof is in The Pudding
When it comes to content marketing, the results speak for themselves.
According to the latest research, content marketing:
- is used by 93% of B2B marketers
- is one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies today
- provides a higher ROI than other strategies, and
- is proven to increase engagement and number of leads
Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing content through a variety of channels and platforms to attract leads and to build trust within your marketplace. Content marketing allows you to create opportunities to nurture and educate your ideal audience over an extended period of time during their unique buying journey. Its primary objective is to increase the number of touchpoints that you have with every customer and prospect, in order to increase leads and revenue.
Not every person who visits your website for the first time is going to be ready to buy right away. In fact, the Rule of Seven says that a prospect needs to see or hear your marketing message at least seven times before they finally respond to a call to action and buy from you.
Seven times, that’s a lot. So, how do you do that?
You do that by creating an array of consistent, compelling, and useful content. Content comes in many forms, including articles, e-books, case studies, newsletters, videos, infographics, press releases, podcasts, product sheets, presentations, and more.
Successful content marketing depends on providing and delivering high-quality content. So, your focus should always be on the quality of the content and not the quantity. It takes a fair amount of time and effort in the initial stages of developing a content marketing plan, but you are sure to reap many benefits in the long run.
To ensure you reap those benefits, there are six steps to follow in the initial stages:
1. Identify your target audience
This step is critical and cannot be taken lightly. By clearly identifying your target audience you are able to focus your marketing efforts and resources on attracting the individuals who are most likely to purchase what you are offering. The more you define your ideal target, the more success you will have.
It’s important to learn your target audience’s priorities and challenges, and then to use that information to create a customer persona. The purpose of personas is to create reliable and realistic representations of your key audience segments, which in turn assists in writing content that resonates with your intended audience and moves them to take action. Pay attention to the words they use to describe their problems, pain points, thought processes, and goals.
Important elements of a persona include:
- Job titles and major responsibilities
- Demographics such as age, education, income, and family status
- Pain points, challenges, or frustrations
- Goals and tasks they are trying to achieve
- Their physical, social, and technological environment
- A brief summary of what matters most to the persona
People are busy with shorter and shorter attention spans. They don’t have time to hear your sales pitch about your company. They want to learn how you offer solutions to real problems and that you can be trusted. When you write interesting content that solves their problems, you’ll start to draw more and more interest in your business.
3. Keep things simple
When writing content, keep it brief. Your goal should be to give people enough information to understand how your product or service can help them. It should entice them to seek additional information whether that is an e-book, case study, or product demo, or directly via an email, phone call, or text.
4. Set goals and identify channels
Document your goals to track them regularly.
These goals should be different for every channel you use (e.g.: website, FB, podcast, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, etc.). You can modify these goals as you move through the process and start to analyze results, but in the early stages, they should help you develop a vision of your content marketing strategy.
5. Have an editorial plan
Content is the heart of your content marketing strategy and consistent, regular content is what keeps the heart pumping. It is essential to create a content calendar for the first six months that provides a clear direction of your content and the channels you’ve chosen to use. This process takes some time but is necessary to get the most beneficial outcomes.
6. Measure results
Today’s marketing is rich with data, so it is relatively easy to track and measure your performance metrics and optimize your steps towards your goals. Here are the most basic KPIs you should track:
- Page views
- Bounce rate
- Shares, likes, and comments
- Mentions and reposts
- User engagement
- Returning visitors
- Conversion rate
In summary, if you’re not creating content, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to connect with customers and prospects, and grow your business.
Author: Barbara E. Van Gorder, a member of the Chamber since Feb. 2023, has 25+ years of corporate marketing and ad agency experience. Formerly a Director of Marketing with a multimillion dollar IT company, for the past six years she has been doing business as BVG Marketing and providing high-quality, results-driven content marketing services to an array of businesses in the Reston area and beyond. To learn more, visit www.bvgmarketing.com.