How would you like your company to be as successful in its marketing endeavors as Allstate Insurance, AT&T, Capital One, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation?

Your company can enjoy this success with the help of content marketing guru Robert Rose, who just happens to have developed content marketing strategies for each of these companies and many more.

Robert Rose is the chief strategist for Content Advisory, an education and consulting division of the Content Marketing Institute. He is also the author of Experiences: The Seventh Area of Marketing, which has been hailed as a call to arms and a self-help guide for creating amazing customer experiences.

He is also an experienced podcaster, producing a show with Joe Pulizzi called This Old Marketing, which is constantly on iTunes top 20 marketing podcasts list. And his book with his buddy Joe – Managing Content Marketing – is considered to be the owner’s manual of content marketing.

Robert and I talked about creating an awesome customer experience, a vital but often overlooked aspect of the marketing and buying experience.

AN OVERVIEW OF CONTENT MARKETING IN THE DIGITAL AGE

What sets content marketing apart from advertising? This is an important question to answer because so many companies make the mistake of confusing the two.

It’s easy to think in terms of advertising as marketing because that’s what we’ve been used to for decades. But content marketing is different. It’s not renting space from a publisher so that we can persuade someone to do or buy something. It is media that we own and control.

Content marketing is a conversation. It’s attracting people into our experience, one that we control and own. We have a dialogue with them and learn from them. And in the process, our relationship with them evolves so that they become leads and opportunities for us to sell our product or service.

Marketing in this manner allows businesses a better opportunity to reach customers, especially because so many turn to the internet and social media for their purchasing needs. Traditional advertising services can actually cause us to lose out on sales because we aren’t able to reach as many people.

More companies are getting on board with content marketing, but they’re doing it the wrong way. Their content, therefore, gets lost amidst a sea of other content floating around the internet. This ends up being a frustrating waste of time and money.

Thankfully, there is a way to set your business apart.

HOW TO SET YOUR BUSINESS APART: PUT THE “EXPERIENCE” INTO CONTENT MARKETING

How can you create the ultimate customer experience with your content marketing?

1. BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING ELSE, ANSWER ONE SIMPLE QUESTION: WHY?

The idea of creating content simply for content’s sake is a big mistake. The content you end up putting out there will end up being run-of-the-mill and boring.

That’s why it’s so important to ask yourself why you’re doing this. Why are you putting out content? There has to be a goal and a strategy behind it.

To figure this out, ask yourself the following questions.

· Are we trying to drive more awareness for a new product or a new company?

· Are we trying to help the lead nurturing process and pull people to our funnel more effectively?

· Are we trying to solve a customer turn problem because we have a loyalty issue?

These questions will answer the big question: what are we trying to solve for? Because, really, your content is going to solve some sort of issue. You just have to figure out which one you’re trying to solve.

Once you have that figured out, you’ll have a strategy, and a goal, and you’ll be able to start laying down your content plan that supports those goals.

2. GET A MORE IN-DEPTH LOOK AT YOUR GOALS AND AUDIENCE

The next step is to dig a little bit deeper. When you feel you’re well aware of your purpose, then ask yourself: What is my goal here? Is it to drive more leads, drive better leads, drive higher quality leads, or drive more traffic?

You’ll also need to identify who you’re trying to reach. Find one person, one audience that can support the goal you’ve created. This is where personal development comes in. We look at our audience and try to understand their needs.

The next step is to figure out how to provide value to that person – value that’s separate from the value of the product or service you’re trying to sell. Right now, the focus isn’t on your product or brand, it has to do with the value you can provide a customer that helps them through their journey. In other words, you’ll be looking at how you can inspire, educate, and entertain them.

Finally, you’ll need to figure out what makes you unique. What differentiates you from everyone else putting out similar content? Think about what makes your company different from others out there. It could be regional, national, or global thing. Or, it could be your tone or attitude.

Through this process, make sure you write every single thing down. Your purpose, your goals, your audience – everything needs to be down in writing. Otherwise, you’ll end up forgetting key pieces of your marketing strategy.

NEVER FORGET WHY YOU’RE DOING THIS

At various times throughout your time in business, you’ll need to ask yourself: Why am I doing this? Always consider the motive behind your blog, social media posts, or YouTube videos. Only then will you be truly successful.

Content marketing is all about the customer’s experience. In order to give the customer a great experience, you need to give them something of value. You won’t know what that is or how to do it until you answer the question “why.”

Keep doing this with each blog or video posting or business endeavor and you’ll soon start to see improved sales and exceptional customer loyalty.

ABOUT ROBERT ROSE

Robert currently serves as the Chief Strategy Advisor for the Content Marketing Institute and is also a Senior Contributing Analyst for the Digital Clarity Group.

For more than 20 years, Robert has been helping marketers to tell their story more effectively. Over the last five years, Robert has worked with more than 500 companies, including 15 of the Fortune 100. He’s provided marketing advice and counsel for global brands such as Capital One, Dell, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Thomson Reuters, Abbott Laboratories, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UPS.

To view the original post on where to start with content marketing, please click here.