Whatever term you use — content marketing, sponsored content, or content strategy — it all comes down to giving buying audiences substantive, relevant, useful information in an easy-to-access format, enabling them to consider doing business with you.
Doing content marketing well can help you connect with the right prospects, nurture existing customer relationships and eventually grow your revenue.
How does content marketing improve my business?
Here’s how Content Marketing Institute (CMI) explains this strategic marketing approach: “Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.”
Isn’t content marketing just a fancy form of advertising?
CMI was founded by Joe Pulizzi, a leader in the content marketing movement. His weekly blog, This Week In Content Marketing, recently explored one of the most frequently asked questions about the practice: How does content marketing differ from advertising? Think of content marketing as an invitation vs. advertising, which is unsolicited information and oftentimes an unwanted interruption.
Understanding the difference between advertising and content marketing is half the battle of implementing a content marketing program. The bigger hurdle for many companies is thinking they don’t have meaningful content to share. Every business does!
For example, a golf equipment supplier can create a blog with posts on golf trends, the difference in clubs, or how to choose apparel to ensure a comfortable playing experience in extreme heat. A security company could provide prospects with a whitepaper featuring tips for avoiding burglaries. A staffing firm’s e-newsletters can feature articles on how to develop an employee manual or the difference between independent contractors and employees.
Promoting long-term business relationships
PRNewswire explains how to distribute and drive content in its whitepaper “Why Content Marketing’s Really a Question of Marketing Your Content.” A key takeaway from the report: “Developing and executing a content distribution strategy is important because it can help you from both a search and social sharing perspective. After all, people are more likely to share content that you have actively distributed socially yourself. …
“That sharing generates positive signals that search engines not only detect but could also reward with better rankings, which in turn can lead to more organic search traffic and even more social sharing.”
Take time to brainstorm what content would be interesting and valuable to your target audience. Then build messages and delivery methods from there.
The bonus: Metrics. The data from website visits, email campaigns, and social media activities will influence your content strategy and efforts as you work toward maintaining long-term relationships with your audiences.
Image via Joe the Goat Farmer