Content marketing is a marketing concept used to describe the practice of producing valuable content, on a regular basis, with the intention of educating and helping your target audience. Types of content include blog posts, white papers, e-books, videos, webinars, guest articles, emails/newsletters, and more. Content marketing differs from traditional marketing in that it is never promotional, salesy, or “spammy.” Adding value to your audience is its most important trait.
CONTENT MARKETING CAN GROW YOUR BUSINESS IN TWO WAYS:
1) Establishing you or your firm as an industry thought leader
Generating a steady stream of free, intelligent, highly valuable information helps establish your firm as an industry thought leader by:
- Building credibility and authority in your market.
Consumers increasingly go online for research, education, and information. If your firm is the source of that education, you establish yourself as a thought leader.
- Owning the online space/expanding visibility
Let’s say you’re a financial planner. You Google the words “how to pick a mutual fund,” and articles and blog posts on that topic pop up—content that is being generated by other businesses. The business that produces the most, and the best, content has a better chance of owning the online space around these highly relevant educational topics. By owning the online space, you greatly expand your visibility and the likelihood that a consumer will contact you.
- Expanding your reputation.
Both of the activities above serve to expand your firm’s reputation, both online and offline.
2) Generating highly qualified inbound leads
The fastest way to grow your business is to get more clients. A strong content marketing strategy accomplishes this by generating highly qualified inbound leads. Here is an example of how it works:
- You produce a series of articles directed towards a highly specific audience. You push the articles out on multiple channels: your blog, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
- An unknown prospect in your target audience finds these posts by searching online for relevant search terms. (Or someone emails her your article, or she finds it on LinkedIn or Twitter).
- She is impressed with the article. Perhaps it has taught her something new that can help her business.
- She goes to your blog to see what else you have produced.
- She starts following you on Twitter to stay abreast of other valuable info you can provide.
- After a few months, she is impressed with you, so she picks up the phone.
- You’ve now closed a new sale without ever talking to the prospect.
This is only a single example of how a prospect could find your firm and become a client. A multi-tiered content marketing strategy that includes a library of blog posts, white papers, email newsletters, guest articles (on other blogs and publications), interviews, webinars, and more would offer multiple opportunities for prospects to find you and engage with you.
GROW YOUR BUSINESS IN YOUR SLEEP
The beauty of content marketing is that leads qualify themselves through self-selection, and this can happen 24 hours a day. Unlike your business, the Internet doesn’t have office hours—so your content marketing strategy is working, even when you’re not. If you are smart about targeting your audience correctly, only the consumers who are highly interested in your product will digest your content and engage with you. By the time they contact you: 1) you already have established trust with them through your valuable content, 2) they already have been educated on your product and your company, so 3) they are primed to take the next step and become your client.