Your market research is finished. Your product is perfection. Your online shop is flawless. You’ve assembled a veritable dream sales team. You launch in six weeks and you’re running down your checklist — what are you missing?
Have you figured out your content marketing strategy?
We’re in the middle of a sophisticated new age of marketing. Pricey television spots and print ads are nice, but no longer necessary (let Lancôme and Heineken pick up those million-dollar tabs). That’s great news for start-ups and small businesses that don’t have a huge budget set aside for scripts, casts and crews, art work, and media buys (and that’s almost all of us).
These days, all you need is a blog and a keen understanding of your niche and your customers, both current and prospective.
That sounds great. But … what is content marketing?
I’m so happy you asked.
Content marketing is one of my absolute favourite modern marketing innovations, alongside marketing automation. It’s a way to build relationships with your customers by focusing on their needs and interests, rather than pushing a heavy-handed, sales-focused agenda. (It actually has a really fascinating history, which I recommend reading about if you’re a huge marketing nerd like me.)
It’s also known as inbound marketing — and that’s a big hint as to its biggest benefit. The beauty of content marketing is that it draws people to your website and product without explicitly selling. It sounds like magic, and it kind of is — a well-written and planned-out blog or video series can build a huge audience for your brand while rarely mentioning your specific product. It’s basically digital witchcraft and it works wonders!
Rather than leaning on a hard sell (which few people love), good content marketing offers relevant, interesting, and valuable content that relates to your industry and attracts an extremely targeted audience. This audience is already interested in your niche and likely has the problem that your product is designed to solve (or will in the near future).
Providing your audience with this type of content:
- Makes you a valuable resource for them to learn more about your niche
- Positions you and your brand as a thought leader in your industry
- Gives your audience a damn good reason to return to your website on a regular basis
Best of all, great content inspires shares. That means that your audience is working on your behalf to expand your reach and build awareness of your brand — and you’re not even paying them! It’s like having a digital street team working on a volunteer basis!
So how do you effectively wield the magic of content marketing?
- Know your audience: what interests them? What type of content are they looking for?
- Do your research: what type of topics are your competitors writing about? Which of their posts get the most engagement?
- Watch your own metrics: know which type of content finds footing with your audience — and which type doesn’t. Feel free to experiment, but know and play to your strengths.
- Harness expertise: work with a writer or agency who understands the subtle art (and science) of content creation — it’ll allow you to focus on your own zone of genius, be it vision, operations, sales, or whatever you’re best at!
Remember: content marketing can take many forms and a blog post is just one of them. In the future, I’ll be tackling the many other ways that you can grow your loyal and loving audience! In the meantime, feel free to drop a link to your blog in the comments and let me know your biggest challenge when it comes to content creation.