If you think about it, content marketing isn’t too different from other marketing initiatives.
People usually distinguish content marketing by noting that it’s less pushy and more focused on the audience. But companies should always aim to engage prospects, not peddle products. Content marketing can serve as a catalyst for other marketing efforts because it builds a community around your brand message and creates loyal customers.
Unless you’re producing CLIO Awards-worthy TV commercials, your audience probably isn’t searching for your latest 30-second spot. But if you’re creating blog content (written, video, or audio) that educates and speaks to your audience, you can attract a following that will search for your content and choose to interact with your brand.
You need content for all of your marketing assets — social media, email, and your website — to get people talking and thinking about your brand. Rather than use other people’s content, imagine the engagement power that comes from authoring the articles you’re sharing?
This is where a cohesive content marketing strategy offers real value. Original content can serve as marketing material that you can distribute in every channel, and it can also be used to spark conversations around your brand and your message.
There are many engagement and lead generation advantages — high-quality leads, effective lead nurturing, increased sales, more brand advocates, and more customer lifetime value. In one study, 68 percent of marketers cited lead scoring based on content and engagement as most responsible for driving revenue.
Engagement should be your ultimate goal with any marketing initiative. And when you produce and share brand-authored content, it helps start conversations with your audience.
Just because you create content doesn’t mean your audience will find it. You have to distribute it in channels that reach the right people. This is probably why companies use an average of three paid advertising methods to promote and distribute their content.
The ultimate goal is to create content so appealing that people who click on your ad will subscribe to your blog and continue coming back for more. But for this to work, both the content and paid ads need to be optimized for the right audience.
Paid ads are one distribution channel that can get your content in front of your target audience. But if you’re going to spend thousands of dollars a month promoting something, you better be sure it’s up to par. With a comprehensive content strategy under your belt, you start creating and distributing content with purpose — and make the investment worthwhile.
As a savvy marketer, you probably don’t like to put all of your marketing eggs in one basket, and that’s smart. By using different mediums and distribution methods, you’re diversifying your risk.
Many B2B marketers take this approach. In a recent survey, B2B marketers were asked how many content marketing initiatives they plan to work on within the next 12 months. The average was eight.
However, not all efforts are created equal. If you’re using methods that don’t work for your audience, more diversification won’t help you. Similarly, if your content is dry, unappealing, or doesn’t add value to readers, it won’t matter how many different social channels you invest in; you won’t get the results you want.
To see this process in action, let’s take a look at the best-case scenario:
A marketer needs to build awareness and encourage people to sign up for a new service a company is launching, and she has a $200,000 budget and six months to do it.
She spends $100,000 on creating fantastic content — contributed guest posts in niche publications, blog content for the company’s website, whitepapers that act as lead captures, and an email marketing campaign that nurtures leads coming through whitepaper downloads.
She uses the other $50,000 to test a few different distribution platforms and continue driving engagement. The marketer tests out LinkedIn ads that direct readers to the landing page for the whitepaper and also trials ads for high-conversion blog articles. All of this continues to capture leads, build her email list, increase awareness, and spur action.
After six months, the owned media property is growing steadily through organic search and referrals from the contributed content. She still occasionally puts ad spend behind specific posts or whitepapers to drive a higher number of leads, but she’s confident that, because of the initial push (and consistent creation of high-quality content), the loyalty loop will continue to build on itself.
Content can breathe life into your marketing initiatives. But if you treat it like a silo, you’re only curbing your campaign’s full potential. Integrate all of your marketing assets, and you’ll rev up engagement and start driving real business value.
What tips do you have for incorporating content into your marketing efforts?