What is Content Marketing + Answers to Your Other Questions
When you own a business, there are a lot of different strategies that you hear about to help you grow it. Some of these are online, other ones are off-line. Some are expensive and some are affordable.
If you’re trying to figure out what content marketing, why it works, and if it’s a strategy you should invest in, then keep reading.
I’m going to break down 10 of the top content marketing questions that I get asked by business owners and give you all the answers that you’re looking for.
"What is Content Marketing?"
Def: Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
Source: Content Marketing Institute
In layman’s terms, content marketing is simply a way to build a relationship by being helpful and informative. Instead of focusing on delivering sales pitches, you deliver value.
Content marketing is a modern way to accomplish a very intrinsic and old-fashioned way of building a business.
Before the Internet, potential customers would simply walk up and talk to you. If they had questions they would ask you. If they wanted to know what a product looked or felt like they simply picked it up.
Relationships with customers were built on human interactions that were helpful.
The Internet, radio, TV, billboards, and a variety of other marketing channels came along and changed things. Customers could simply find the answers to the questions without having to talk to you. Sales transactions became very unpersonalized.
Content marketing rose to meet the challenge.
It acknowledges the fact that customers are searching for answers to their questions without calling you. Creating content provides a vehicle for you to provide these answers.
You create the content that answers the questions that your customers have. You educate them so that they understand the value and have a desire for your product. Your content works to build trust so that they come to you when they are ready to purchase.
“Should I use content marketing in my business?”
Whether or not you should use content marketing is a fairly loaded question. The simple answer is that if your customers have questions and need to educate themselves before they are willing to purchase your product or service, content marketing could be a good fit for you.
The whole purpose behind creating content is to educate consumers. If you create a product that’s a gut purchase then content might not work for you.
For example, let’s say that you sell chewing gum. The best place for you to sell your gum is the checkout aisle at a grocery store.
- It’s a cheap product.
- People don’t have to think too hard about it before purchasing.
- They understand what gum is and the value that it provides.
Investing in creating content and waiting on a return wouldn’t make sense in this scenario.
However, if you sell a service like business consulting, content could make sense for you.
- Consulting clients pay you on a retainer basis so you have a higher ROI for lead.
- The purchase value is typically higher.
- You have to educate business owners into why they need the particular brand of consulting that you offer.
In this scenario, content marketing would make a lot of sense. It would give you an opportunity to educate your clients and build trust as well as provide more value to existing customers.
“How does marketing without talking about or promoting our product/service help us create leads and sales?”
Content marketing can be pretty confusing at first glance. The whole concept is to be informative and not deliver sales pitch after pitch.
This might leave you wondering how you’re going to actually create leads and sales if you don’t tell people what you offer.
The answer is actually simpler than you might think and comes back around to the question that we had at the beginning — “what is content marketing?”
Before people are ready to purchase, they have a lot of questions. Normally you are only interacting with them when they are ready to purchase. Content marketing puts you on their path long before they’re ready to purchase.
You are producing content back when they have a problem but don’t know what the solution is. Your content also speaks to them when they know the name of the problem and are searching for the best way to solve it.
Your content should be designed to walk with them along their journey of self-education. At the end of the journey, your solution should be presented as a choice.
“Won’t educating my customers help my competition?”
While this is possible, if you’ve done your content marketing correctly it’s not likely. Yes, you are educating your customers so that they have a better understanding of the problem and the available solutions. Those available solutions will include your competitors.
However, the key thing to remember here is that you were the one that was educating your customer.
When they get ready to buy, everything they have learned about available solutions and the details of the problem came from you. They should see you as an authority and trust that you know how to help them.
These customers are less likely to go to your competitors. They are also more likely to fully understand the solution that you offer and how it can help them.
“How do we measure content’s influence on sales and revenue?”
Before the age of content marketing, back in the Mad Men era, marketing was considered an un-trackable investment. Many of the results that people use to determine whether or not a campaign was successful or not were simply derived around emotional things. They look at whether or not people felt good about the ads they saw.
Now, marketing automation, marketing analytics, and other tracking tools help you get a clearer picture of what works and what doesn’t.
Analytics data gives you real-time feedback to help you improve your message quality, design creative, and choice of marketing channels. You can very quickly improve the results.
To get a clear picture of what works, some of the main analytics that we examine include:
- Overall traffic. If your content is working, you should see an increase in overall website traffic as search engines increase your search rank and more visitors find your site.
- Time on page. The amount of time that a visitor spends on the page directly correlates to the value that they find in it. If they spend more time on the page, they are reading and enjoying the content that they found.
- Number of pages viewed. If a visitor found your content helpful, they are more likely to read additional content that you’ve published. This increases the number of pages viewed each time they visit your site.
- Engagement. Depending on the channel, there are a number of ways that someone can engage with you. On your website, they can leave a comment or subscribe to your newsletter. On a social channel, they may choose to like, share, comment, click, or view a video. Engaging means that they actually connected with the content instead of just scrolling on past.
If you have a more sophisticated content strategy that includes full-blown funnels, you will have access to even more data to know exactly how much revenue your content is generating.
Your marketing and sales teams should be aligned. When your sales team closes lead in your software, you are able to see where that lead originated from and what content they found valuable.
This allows you to analyze your most profitable content assets and use that data to drive more traffic, and create more content related to those assets.
“I have more questions — how do I find answers?”
That’s an easy one - just ask!
Leave a comment below, reach out to me, or hit that live chat icon in the corner and ask away. I’m happy to help.
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