Content Marketing Basics

Content marketing is the strategic marketing approach of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience with the objective of driving profitable customer action. –Content Marketing Institute

Great Content Builds Trust

Content Marketing is more than a buzzword, and by all appearances, isn’t going anywhere. So why does it seem to be a challenge for so many to implement? The basic premise is obvious. Create content that your customers want, they find you and start to build trust in your brand, leading them to become customers. But, like so many marketing approaches, the devil is in the details when it comes to content marketing. You need a sound content strategy, and your content must be good for it to attract new customers.

Content Marketing Strategy

The basic strategy shouldn’t be too challenging for savvy business owners or marketers. Start by determining whether you want a whole brand approach, or whether you want to test the waters with a few of your most profitable products or services. Then you’ll want to identify who is buying those products or using those services. It’s helpful to create customer personas for each, and from there you can determine the type of content desired by those customers. Content Marketing Institute offers a free guide to creating and documenting your content marketing strategy, along with a lot of other helpful resources.


What Makes Good Content?

So you’ve got your strategy, now what? Now you need to create quality content that will attract the customers you’ve identified in your plan. The first and most important rule in creating good content is to stay focused on the customer. Your content should give the customer what he or she is looking for, not what you really want them to know about your product or service. Of course, if you’ve created your strategy correctly, your product or service will be relevant to the content provided and can seamlessly be included if it’s providing real value to the customer.

This is sometimes easier said than done and can be especially tough for the C-suite who may not be convinced there’s a benefit to the bottom line without a ‘hard sell’ of your company, product or service.

Good Content in Action

After being stricken with ‘no see um’ bites in my yard for the fiftieth time, I did what anyone would do. I googled how to be rid of the annoying pests. When I did, I came across a site that did a good job of focusing on the customer’s informational needs, instead of just touting their product’s merits. Here’s the page. You’ll notice it contains good, customer-oriented content though the website is clearly trying to sell propane traps. The content was thorough but concise, easy to understand, and completely relevant to my search. You’ll notice, they even say propane traps are the most costly option. [Gasp!] Why would you tell potential customers your products are the most expensive option? Because in this case, it’s true. [See my post on Truth in Advertising] That sentence built a level of trust with me when I read it. That’s the first step in converting a lead into a customer-and in my case, getting featured in my content.

Why it works

Content marketing is popular because it works. It works because it puts today’s savvy, information-hungry customers in control of the interaction. Think about your own buying habits. When you have a problem or a need do you wait for the perfect solution to be advertised to you on TV or in the newspaper? (Yes, they still print those.) I doubt it. Instead, you probably pull out your phone and search the issue and research available products or solutions. Just like your customers are doing right now.

If you need help creating a content marketing strategy or quality content for your business, contact us today.

Stephanie Petta

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