The other day a new client asked me, “What do you mean by ‘content’ (as in content marketing)?”
I was slightly stunned. Doesn’t everyone know by now that “content” means information people are hungry to know (meaning your clients and customers).
“Content marketing is what Corporate Images was founded on,” I said. But back then, the term content marketing hadn’t been coined yet. I first started seeing articles about content in 2008, when Seth Godin re-coined the term. You can read a short but interesting history of content on Wikipedia.
Content marketing helps shorten the long buying cycles that business-to-business marketers must endure to educate their potential customers about the seller’s products and services. It functions to give greater depth of information delivered in a variety of formats, including: news, video, white papers, e-books, infographics, case studies, how-to guides, Q & A articles, photos, etc.
Content marketing is all about giving customers and prospects trustworthy information they want, not the stuff you want them to know about you (sales pitch). And what do customers care about? “Your customers don’t care about you, your products or your services. They care about themselves, their wants and their needs,” says Joe Pulizzi in his book, Epic Content Marketing. “Content marketing is about creating interesting information your customers are passionate about so they actually pay attention to you.”
Recently Paul Nolan, editor of salesandmarketing.com, said in a column, “As near as I can tell, the key difference between today’s content marketing and the stuff (whether in print, spoken word or digital format) that has served for so many years as sales and promotion content is the subject being discussed.” Nolan ends his column with, “content marketing is an ongoing conversation.”
This conversation helps build a solid relationship between you and the buyer.
Here are five benefits to offering content to your customer:
1. Your website becomes a hub not a megaphone.
2. Populating your website with good content will improve your search engine rank on Google, Yahoo and Bing.
3. Good content attracts more inbound visitors to your website from searches and your off-line marketing activity.
4. Content keeps visitors on your site longer; they drill deeper into your site and learn more about your company and products.
5. Good content drives up the number of sales leads and revenue dollars.
Does it work? Here is an example:
Steelmaster, a pre-fabricated steel structure manufacturer, was struggling with a 39% drop in sales, coupled with a 49% decrease in lead volume. Steelmaster’s Director of Marketing, Michelle Wickum, adopted a content-centric strategy using content to answer key customer questions and grow engagement. She also used social media. Ultimately the combo of content and social media increased her lead volume 92%, which helped fuel a 79% growth in sales revenue. Wickum attributed 30 to 40% of the turnaround to social media.
Perhaps it’s time for you to explore how content marketing can directly benefit your company.
Alan Bagg helps manufacturers boost sales by getting more mileage from their current marketing budget.
Alan is happy to entertain more discussion via email or phone. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 262.633.7772. Or follow him on twitter @alanbagg. Find more information on Alan at his LinkedIn profile.