Q: Why did the fish cross the road? A: ‘Cause it was hooked!

O.K., lame jokes aside, “hooked” is what we want every curious visitor to become. As we discussed in an earlier post, growth hacking relies on funnel activation: get visitors to become users; get users to become lifetime buyers.

As that post makes clear, compelling content plays a significant part in activating visitors. Content functions as both the lure and the hook. It’s what brings visitors to your site and what will keep them coming back.

Not surprisingly then, a savvy content marketing campaign can increase user retention, and ultimately, ROI.

What is Content Marketing?

In contrast to traditional “push” marketing, content marketing is all about the lure.

“Content marketing’s purpose is to attract and retain customers by consistently creating and curating relevant and valuable content with the intention of changing or enhancing consumer behavior.” – CMI

In other words, content marketing is about giving everyone — your first-time visitors, your new users and your hardcore fans — content they want and need, even if they don’t know it yet.

Another way to think about content marketing is as community building.

Community What?

Whether they know it or not, your users are already part of a community. Say you sell high-end kitchenware. Your users are already part of a community of cooks, or at least people who have an interest in cooking.

Do you sell an app that facilitates event planning? Your user base might consist of both professional event planners and people who like to party.

Either way, they share the desire to plan an event — and may have useful and interesting things to say to one another. More importantly, however, your fish — aka users — are definitely caught up together in one specific and important net — you.

Nurture Your Peeps And They Will Nurture You

You can support the growth and development of this community by making it explicit. Make it easy for community members to get to know one another. They already have shared interests and needs; that’s why they came to you in the first place.

By helping them recognize their place in this community, you help them get more of what they want. And you… Well, you get more of their loyalty. Call yourself a thought leader, a mentor, an influencer; the terminology is not important.

What is important is that the members of your community see you as the community’s heart.

You want users to turn reflexively to your brand for all of their fill-in-the-blank needs. And they are more likely to do that if they understand you are the expert.

An Expert In What?

Your field, of course. This is where the “content” in content marketing comes in. If you sell high-end kitchenware, draw users to your site with articles on best practices for basting.

If you sell an event-planning app, help your community keep up with trends by publishing an annual review of top facilities. If you are a review site for doctors, don’t publish funny cat videos. You get the idea. In order for your content to do its work (lure, hook) it must be:

  • Relevant
  • Useful
  • Engaging

Did I Mention Relevant? Did I Mention Useful?

Consumers are smart cookies. They can smell a trap across miles of Internet cable and Bluetooth. For your content to actually activate and retain customers, it has to be good. It has to be something your users and potential users want.

But, you ask, how much free stuff can I give away? The answer is — a lot. And, really, compare the cost of publishing a digital article with that of manufacturing 10,000 branded bouncy balls. The content in content marketing doesn’t have to be expensive. It does, however, have to be smart.

So what’s stopping you? Time to start crafting some articles and updating your Tumblr account. Have fun fishing!

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