Thanks to the internet, prospects and customers today have become much more engaged and demanding.
The result is that it’s now up to a brand to quench their expectations with valuable content that helps them make more informed and better decisions—before, during and after they purchase a product or service.
Content Marketing has emerged as an effective and preferred means to address this transformational change in how people find, evaluate and purchase online.
In a nutshell, Content Marketing is the fuel that can successfully power:
- Inbound marketing, lead generation and lead nurturing
- Search engine optimization
- Social media marketing
Are you really ready for this?
If you’re ready to embrace the new roles of both a publisher that produces an unending stream of great content and a media company that distributes content that your prospects and customers will find relevant, entertaining or valuable, you’re going to have to get organized before you’ll succeed with Content Marketing.
Research consistently points out that creation of quality content and the ability to maximize its distribution as significant challenges. In fact, a recent study by the Aberdeen Group reveals that the value placed on producing quality content, and generating enough of it, as one of the highest priorities of brands engaged in Content Marketing everywhere.
The result is that brands and marketers are struggling to match their interest and enthusiasm for Content Marketing with high quality content that’s produced consistently and frequently.
How to strategically get in the game.
To address these challenges and more, strategically investing your resources from the outset is essential. Some critical areas to focus on include:
- Define and document the core objective that you want to accomplish in a new role as both content publisher and distributor.
- Establish a content creation pipeline with a structured schedule and and assignment of resources responsible for creation.
- Ensure that your social, email marketing, and content creation team know how to leverage and/or repurpose any and all of your content (in multiple media) to meet business objectives.
- Take a holistic approach to evaluation. Instead of just looking at sales figures, expand your analysis to include SEO, social engagement, brand loyalty, and customer retention.
What’s more, you’ll need to integrate qualitative data to make informed decisions on where to invest and support the needs of your prospects and customers. Your goal should be to have an integrated marketing analytics platform with easy to use automation tools to help you:
- Document your website traffic and identify all of the visitors that are checking you out.
- Provide insight on the content (posts, ebooks, videos, pages, presentations, etc.) that’s getting the most visits, views and actually generating leads.
- Understand your search optimization efforts by identifying what search terms are taking visitors to your site and what referring pages are bringing them there and driving leads.
- Use email automation that triggers actions to your website visitor’s behavior to convert leads to sales.
- Provide Sales Intelligence and Sales Analytics to know why deals close or why they fell off the pipeline.
The campaign’s over. It’s now about forever.
If it’s not apparent, success in this “continual content creation” endeavor will require a significant amount of both effort and investment—over the long term, not just for an old-school, one-time event.
So expect iteration with all of the dialogue, refinement and adjustment required. However, your goal should be more modern, effective and measurable marketing that:
- supports how customers and prospects find or select products and resources through search
- fosters and supports relationships with prospects and existing customers through sharing
- aligns with the proliferation of channels and choice available online
I’ll have tons of new customers by the end of the month, right?
Wrong. Any solid initiative needs several months to yield real impact. Set some modest expectations then immerse yourself and your organization in these new marketing methods, how they work and what they can deliver.
If you’re serious about replacing a tired, old advertising model for building awareness and attracting prospects to your solution, a more realistic goal for considering Content Marketing should be to evaluate your results in 9 to 12 months.
With a consistent investment and following best practices, you should see the results that will sustain and support your investment. Research from inbound marketing experts, HubSpot, document that sites with 100 to 200 pages of quality and optimized content generate 2.5x more leads with significantly more inbound traffic than those with just a handful of static pages.
If you don’t see ROI immediately, don’t despair. Just focus on providing your audience with the most engaging and informative content possible. Because once you’re up and running, it’s also a fact that a long-term investment in a structured content marketing program will yield dividends forever.
Where are you?
How have embarked on a content marketing program? Share your progress or insights.
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