by Monica Paici, Internal Marketing Director, PIN Business Network
Content marketing has been around for ages. While the term ‘content marketing’ has taken on buzzword-status in recent years, businesses and marketers have used this tactic to entice prospects and engage customers for eons. Think of it as education and information. Rather than just pushing products and services in a “salesy” fashion, content marketing seeks to provide valuable information. It can influence purchasing behavior, but it is not overt.
Content matters because it tells a story. Beyond the typical whitepaper, study or infographic, your content can be in video form, woven into a webinar, or even used to entertain prospects. The key to successful content marketing is to offer something your readers or consumers value and to remember the content is for their benefit, not about your products or services.
Content matters because it establishes credibility in the eyes of your prospects. Content can build trust by providing proof with a narrative. Use real-world examples of what your company has done to help customers. Be the expert by providing legitimate facts and citing sources your prospects know and respect. Include studies, research and stats, but don’t overwhelm them with merely cold figures. Put it in context to support your narrative.
Content matters because it influences decision makers. Decision makers do research before contacting vendors and making purchases. They want access to content that speaks to their specific needs, provides product or service specifications, addresses their pain-points, is more educational than promotional, and demonstrates how your products or services have helped others. Decision makers like content with original research, testimonials, product reviews and captivating visuals.
Content matters because it creates touch points with your audience. The name of the game is “Engagement.” Think of content as the bait at the end of your fishing pole. You don’t always reel one in, but if you don’t bait your hook, there is little to no chance you’ll catch anything at all. You need to continuously engage with your prospects to have any chance of making inroads that will lead to an eventual conversion. Content marketing is getting the right message to the right customer at the right time. You don’t want prospects to have to hunt to find your content. Creating multiple touch points including email, social media, display, and retargeting can remind and inform prospects about your services or solutions—your thought leadership!.
Content matters because not everyone is ready to purchase today. In the same vein as the previous statement about touch points, providing consistent targeted content to prospects matters because the purchase process can often be long and arduous. This is not always the case, but consumers frequently do more research these days, especially online, than they did ten years ago. Content matters because it taps into the first two stages of the buying process, awareness and education. A prospect might not even be aware that your product or service will provide the solution they are looking for. Once they do, they will continue to research, educate and ultimately engage around your brand and products/services.
The bottom line is your content should ADD VALUE. Whether your content is in the form of a story, an ad, an infographic, a video, a webinar or whitepaper, your prospects need to see it as compelling and required reading. This is a key strategy for getting your customers to remember you, purchase your products and share with other potential customers.