Done right, content marketing can help you to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, and increase sales. The challenge is creating a strategy that really works for you. The best place to begin is by learning and applying these five core principles.
Think Beyond Blogging
If your content marketing efforts have begun with a blog, that’s great. If they’ve also ended with a blog, that’s not so great. Writing blog posts is certainly an important part of your content marketing efforts, but there are so many other ways to develop customer relationships and increase your online presence.
One thing to consider is creating an eBook. If you’re already an active blogger and content writer, this can be your opportunity to combine all of the engaging information that you’ve shared so far into a comprehensive eBook. It’s also a way to add a new revenue stream to your content marketing efforts. You can also offer up the eBook as a giveaway to incent others to follow you on social media or subscribe to your blog.
You can also find content marketing opportunities in producing videos and podcasts, uploading presentations to SlideShare, publishing visual content such as charts and infographics, and even participating in conversations on Twitter. Many brands are getting their names out there by becoming active on question and answer sites such as Quora.
The benefits of adopting multiple types of content are:
- You can expand your reach into multiple channels
- You increase the likelihood that you will reach people using a format that is appealing to them
- You improve your search engine optimization
Giving Out Information For Free is Key
When you get down to it, content marketing is giving information to people who need it. It’s also giving that information away for free. For some, this may be counter intuitive, but the truth is, smart business owners have been doing this for free for years.
Consider the following scenario. It’s 15 years ago and your washing machine has stopped running. So, you begin calling repair technicians. Every one that you contact is going to charge an arm and a leg just to look at it. Finally a kind technician suggests that you check your breaker box. Sure enough, that’s what it is. In a few minutes, you’ve fixed your problem, and you’ve saved about a hundred bucks. That technician may not have made money from you that day, but they certainly earned your trust and goodwill. That’s the gist of content marketing.
Here are a few other benefits of giving information away for free:
- You establish yourself as an expert in your field
- You can promote the solutions you provide in your free content
- You can generate leads
- You will receive feedback from your customers
- Your social media presence will expand
B2B B2C Boring or Exciting: All Businesses Can Benefit From Content Marketing
When you read articles on the topic of content marketing, you’ll often see examples involving highly visible brands in exciting niches. Starbucks, Kate Spade, Red Bull, Chipotle, Wendy’s, Abercrombie, and Travelocity are commonly referred to. While it is true that these brands have done a great job with their content marketing efforts, it is hard to see content marketing working for you if your company is a B2C company or in a ‘boring’ niche.
Don’t be discouraged, any business can benefit from content marketing efforts. Here are some tips for creating engaging B2B content that can get customers engaged no matter what you are selling.
Tell The Story Behind The Product
If you sell environmentally friendly, degreasing solutions to manufacturing companies, that’s admittedly not the most exciting product in the world. However, the story behind that product could be quite engaging. It’s just a matter of putting the right spin on things. Perhaps the founder of the company is a passionate environmentalist who created the solvent to help clean up oil spills.
Appeal to The Curious
Believe it or not, there are people who are going to be genuinely curious about your product. They might be passionate for your product specifically, or simply the types who like to know how things work. Produce content that gives them a behind the scenes look and goes into detail on how things work.
Give Useful Tips
It doesn’t matter if your audience is strictly B2B and your product isn’t very interesting, your audience will still be interested in content that tells them the best ways to use that product.
Know Your KPIs Before You Get Started in Order to Gauge Your Success
Key performance indicators are an essential part of any content marketing effort. These are your way of measuring exactly how well your efforts are working for your company. The questions are, how do you set these indicators, and how do you determine that you are successfully meeting these goals or not? It’s not as if you can draw a direct correlation between a particular piece of content and a sale. At least it will be very rare when that happens. On the other hand, there’s no sense in having a content marketing strategy if nothing is subject to analysis.
You can begin setting up your KPIs by first focusing on goals. Here are a few that you might consider.
Creating More Brand Awareness
Types of Content That Increases Brand Awareness:
- Guest Blogs – Having a blog is great for one reason. It keeps your current audience engaged. Unfortunately, blog growth is relatively slow. That means it’s not the best avenue for increasing brand awareness. If you guest blog, you can increase your outreach to another blogger’s audience.
- Social Media Quizzes – These are a great way of combining entertainment with a bit of information about your brand. The key is to make these fun or informative. The path you take really depends on your branding. Irreverent and humorous will work very well for some brands, but not others. Done right, these generate lots of shares.
- Videos – Videos are one form of content that have a place in meeting your content goals on every level. When it comes to increasing brand awareness, videos can help you to introduce yourself to new audiences. You can do this directly by producing videos that introduce your company, your story, and your products. You can also do this indirectly by sharing videos that reflect your values and mission.
Key Performance Indicators:
- Increased social shares
- New blog subscribers
- More followers on social media
- Increased engagement
Generating More Leads
Types of Content That Generates Leads:
- High Value Gated Content – People who have entered the sales funnel are no longer looking for fun, getting to know you content. They want content that’s a bit more meaty. This is where content such as eBooks, white papers, checklists, and even free tools work very well. The key is to gate the content so that you can gather valuable lead generating information.
- Videos – In this case, product demonstration videos can have a great lead generating impact.
Key Performance Indicators:
- Number of leads generated for each piece of gated content
- Landing page conversion numbers
Diversification is Essential For Online Marketing
You know that it takes different types of content to attract different people. However, content diversification isn’t simply limited to content type, and you have to understand why different content works better in different situations.
Sales Funnel Diversification
When you create content, you should know exactly who you are targeting with that piece. For example, product demos are most effective to those who are already well into the funnel. On the other hand, an article introducing your CEO is most effective with audience members in the early stages of the process.
Social Media Channel Diversification
It’s rarely a good idea to publish and promote content on only one channel. Diversify and reach new audiences by expanding your reach from Facebook and Twitter to Youtube, Instagram, SnapChat, and other channels.
Over to You
How have you had success with improving your content marketing? What’s worked, what hasn’t? Tell us about it in the comments!