You, too, can win with content! Content marketing is often confused with inbound marketing. They are not the same, and you need content marketing to have inbound marketing.
Whereas inbound marketing is a methodology, content marketing is a tactic. It takes strategic content development to build a proper lead funnel. Getting started can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Are you ready? Let’s find out.
If you or your marketing team are cranking out social posts, blogs, videos, anything related to your product or service, and sharing that online, then you are doing content marketing. At the very least, you are creating content.
The Case for Content
Buyers are increasingly researching products online before buying, and this is an opportunity for you. And, by increasingly, according to Statista, 61% of online shoppers are doing some kind of research on the internet before they make purchase. Check out this example.
The problem: Need a new pair of jeans.
1st action: Begin researching brands of jeans online for quality and reviews.
2nd action: Realize there are different styles and fits for each body type.
New Problem: Which style will fit best?
3rd action: Research body type and best jean style.
Result: Find a blog or an infographic that describes the best jean style for each body type that includes a quiz to determine body types.
Outcome: Researcher finds the best brand, style, and fit and goes into the store or buys online.
Now that’s a quick and dirty example of the buyer’s journey, and how they use research to make a purchasing decision, and this is exactly why, you must be doing content marketing.
It’s not just for products either, service providers, nonprofits, restaurants, you name it, people are researching. In that same Statista report, 57% of people surveyed rely on customer reviews to make a purchasing decision. That’s significant, and a valid reason why, you want people to review you, seek out testimonials.
Blogging As A Content Marketing Tool
Blogging is one of the best ways you can make sure your company is found on search engines. Content helps your rank in the mysterious world of search engine algorithms. It’s often a blog or social media that ultimately attracts a prospect to your website.
We know that search engines crawl your website, and this has become so sophisticated over the years, there are a few things you can do to help your page out:
- Research and use relevant keywords and phrases
- Blog consistently
- Update older posts from time to time
- Check out Answer the Public or Quora for questions people are asking
Blogs that are optimized for search help you to extend your reach to your target audience. In conjunction with blogs you might use other content marketing efforts, such as:
- Check your website copy for keywords and phrases
- Share your blogs on social media
- Use appropriate hashtags that align with the content
- Create infographics or other downloadable assets and provide them to your audience.
- Include a Call-To-Action (CTA) on every post
Content Comes in Many Forms
When you think of content, what comes to mind? It’s a lot work, there is no doubt about that, but if you are truly looking to generate leads from your website, then you have to create content.
- Social Media Posts
- Paid Social Media Ads
- Podcasts (Listen to Think! An Inbound Marketing Podcast by yours truly.)
There are ways to lessen the burden. Align with your sales team, have a marketer listen in on sales calls and note questions the customer is asking.
Develop a plan. Know who your target audience is, and create your buyer persona’s. I like to use HubSpot’s Make My Persona tool, it’s free and easy to use. You will have more than one buyer persona, then tweak and edit it as you learn more about your audience.
Provide your target audience for all stages of the buyer’s journey. Attract new prospects, engage them and provide solutions, convert them into clients, and delight them so they become your brand champions.
Knowing who your buyer is, the challenges they face, and getting them at the right time will help you to formulate your content marketing plan. Planning your content takes some time, but a content calendar will help keep you on track.
When your planning, be sure to note which buyer persona and stage of the buyer’s journey that’s associated with each piece.
Creating Great Content
Topics that solve your ideal customers pain points are going to be the most relevant. Capture their attention with great visuals and storytelling. No matter what, be authentic, let your brand personality shine through.
Consider the tone and voice of your messaging. Is it conversational, does it align with your brand, and are you representing your product in a way that creates trust and value?
You generate leads and sales when your audience trusts you. Competition is tough online. If you are a B2B company, most people discover you online well before you’ve had an opportunity to meet them. Winning content is relevant and valuable; you provide added insights and nurture your customer relationships.
Advertising’s Role In Content Marketing
You may engage in paying for digital advertising, and that is entirely appropriate at times. If inbound marketing is the process of reaching the right audience at the right time, then it can be assumed that content marketing is the content that targets those folks at the right time.
We’re not entirely away from the days of interruption advertising, like radio, tv, and newspaper ads. You’ll see we quite often are still bombarded with these nuisances. It’s going to happen, although much thanks to technology, they are much less effective now that ad blockers exist.
Do you remember when you would accidentally, it may have been on purpose because boy, that ad to speed up my computer would be AWESOME! but, once you clicked, you knew it was a fatal mistake? Hallelujah! The ad blocker was invented, and your computer doesn’t melt down quite so easily anymore.
And, advertising does still have it’s place. Content marketing isn’t soley executed on organic traffic. Some times, it’s appropriate to sponsor a post on LinkedIn or Facebook. Think about upcoming events, either virtual or online, these social platforms allow for specific targeting, so if you’re applying the inbound methodology, you will have that information.
Are you ready to win with content? Establish relationships, nurture them with content marketing, and see your bottom line grow.