What the Hell is Content Marketing?
And how does content marketing work for my business?
It was my turn to speak. I was in a circle of about 14 other business owners and representatives in a small, brand new networking group. We had to stand up, say our name and wax briefly about our business: what we do, how we do it, and who we serve.
So it was my turn. I stood up, smiled, looked around the room and started. “Hi… I’m Tiffany Connolly. I help businesses with their content marketing.” And you know that moment when you’re speaking to someone (or a few someones) and you immediately get the feeling that they have no idea what you are talking about? That slight tilt of the head, the crinkle that forms in between their eyes, and the biting of the lower lip?
Well, that happened. So I had to back up and explain exactly what it is I do. After the meeting, three of the attendees came up to me to learn more. I realized that while businesses know that they need a marketing plan, a blog, a social media presence, and well-written website copy, they don’t know how it all comes together with content marketing.
Content Marketing is Thought Leadership
In the past, marketing was aimed at talking TO your leads (or anyone, really). Brochures, print ads, radio ads, TV ads, etc. are mostly aimed at throwing “us” at “you”. In content marketing, you are talking WITH your leads. You become a thought leader - an expert in your niche. You’re crafting yourself as the one who has all the answers (to whatever question keeps your customer up at night). Creating trust among shoppers nurtures them into buyers.
Content Marketing is (duh) Great Content
You researched your buyer persona, you learned their language, and you’ve identified their pain points. The next step is crafting relatable content that speaks directly to your buyer persona. It’s content that ignites a conversation between you and your ideal client. You’ve researched where they get their information too, so you are posting your content to the media channels that they use most often. Well-written content is about your customer - not about you. When your curious readers begin to understand that you “get” them, you have a better chance at converting them.
Content Marketing is the Vehicle that Drives Inbound Marketing
According to David Meerman Scott, as he wrote in Inbound Marketing, “Inbound marketing is about getting found online, through search engines and sites like Facebook and Youtube and Twitter…” Search engines discover you through the sharing, commenting, and relationship building that comes from releasing great content. When you speak directly to that well-crafted and specific buyer persona, they are more likely to share, to engage, and to reach out. All this engagement and sharing gives you more exposure and more opportunity to reach others.
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience - and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Take the time to find out what your prospective buyers are talking about, where they are talking about it, and how you can authentically enter the conversation. Content marketing is all about building relationships that convert and are long-lasting. It’s a big job, but it works. If you can’t find the time to do it yourself, hire someone to help you.