Welcome to Part 3 of our series on Internet Marketing 101. This post is going to explore a specific technique of Online Marketing commonly referred to as Content Marketing. This title is a large umbrella that covers specific strategies including content creation and distribution on social media channels to spread your marketing message across the internet, and in turn drive traffic to your website. The creation of content is meant to communicate with your potential customers using valuable, non-sales based information.
What is the difference between Content Marketing and other Online Marketing strategies?
As technology quickly evolves and changes, so do consumers ways of consuming media. More and more your customers are not seeing traditional advertising. They are skipping over TV commercials on their DVRs, they read magazines on their tablets ignoring ads, they tune out banner ads while surfing online and are “creeped out” when they figure out your ad is chasing them throughout the internet. Marketers are figuring out how to get consumers attention in today’s environment by offering them valuable and relevant information through a highly targeted audience with a clearly defined and trackable objective. This is Content Marketing.
Possibly the most important part of Content Marketing is the “valuable and relevant information”. Instead of spreading a message of your latest sale or a list of available inventory, a Content Marketing strategy may include creating a buyers information checklist that helps to explain the difference between all the different products you sell and how they relate to your potential buyer. For example, blogging is a common Content Marketing strategy and one we subscribe to at Exuma Technologies. Instead of only talking about our products, we publish regular blog posts on all sorts of topics that may be of interest to our market; business owners and key staff members. We provide advice that will help them choose the correct software for their business or arm them with information that helps them make better business decisions. By creating and distributing this content, we are focusing on establishing a relationship of trust with our readers. We are not trying to directly sell them anything and we are not buying any advertising media.
Other benefits of a good Content Marketing strategy include improving your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) by producing valuable content that may be shared, linked to, and freshly indexed by the search engines and improving traffic to your website by integrating a broader set of keywords than you could produce on your product pages alone.
What is “content”?
Companies produce all sorts of different content assets. Popular ones today include blogs, videos, infographics, whitepapers and social media posts. The key is value and relevancy in whatever form the content is produced in. We do not suggest starting a blog if you don’t have original information that will be helpful and interesting to your distribution list. The world is full of noise, our inboxes are all full of SPAM and we are already consuming an exhausting amount of information on a daily basis. If you want to adopt Content Marketing as a useful technique, you must differentiate yourself. Do not produce duplicate content that can be found on other sites, because that is not helpful to you in any way. Instead, invest in an agency or internal staff that understands your business and your market, and can speak to them in an entertaining and educating way.
What to do with the content once it is created
Creating original, creative and interesting content is only the first step. You must then distribute it to your potential customers in order to lead them back to your website. We suggest you publish all content on your website directly, not on a social media site that you do not own. You can then link to that content on all of the various distribution channels that are appropriate for you. Go to where your customers are. If you sell primarily to consumers directly, Facebook might be a great target for you since most consumers will investigate a brand’s Facebook page if they are interested in them. However, if you sell to other businesses, LinkedIn may be the better channel. You must invest in the research to find out where your customers are and then post links to the content you created wherever your customers are.
The schedule at which you produce and distribute this content is also important. Be sure to commit to a schedule that you can reasonably maintain. Whether it is bi-weekly, weekly or daily, the important part is value and consistency. You can produce terrible content on a daily basis and it won’t produce as good of results as a monthly schedule with excellent content. If your goal is to have potential customers consume what you have produced, it must be worth their time and it must be reliable and timely. Emailing a potential customer a sale notice when they are not interested in buying for a year is not timely or relevant. Sending them information about the next model year that may be interesting to them when they are ready to buy is something that will make them remember you when they are ready.
Content Marketing is not free
Just because you are not buying advertising space, creating good content is not free. It takes time, knowledge and creativity. It is harder than just buying an ad, however the payoffs are often times greater. A good piece of content can easily go viral and get much wider distribution than you could ever afford to buy in traditional media channels. If you set up a campaign correctly, you can precisely track the results and how they relate to your overall marketing goals.
If you are interested in establishing a Content Marketing strategy for your business and would like help getting started, feel free to reach out to us. We can help you understand the intricacies and start a plan that will produce valuable, ongoing content. We look forward to hearing how you think this could help your business.