Last week, we talked about how digital media and social media have grown to become complicated and fragmented. Instead of focusing on the nuts and bolts of the various channels, you should be focusing on the content itself.
Great… but what is content marketing, by the way?
I have seen many definitions so far, especially when content marketing has taken the business world by storm recently. As a start, Wikipedia defines it as “all marketing formats that involve creation and sharing of content to attract, acquire and engage clearly defined and understood current and potential consumer bases with the goal of driving profitable customer action.”
I have found another definition on Business 2 Community as “Falling under the general blanket of inbound marketing, which focuses on attracting business by engaging customers and prospects in a two-way dialogue in contrary to a one-way broadcast message, content marketing is a technique used to attract business through content.”
No matter what the definition it might be, content marketing is definitely not a new practice; it was merely being re-packaged and given a new name. Due to how the technology and our habit have evolved; it has been given a brand-new meaning to it.
Disregard to whether this is a new or an old practice, you are probably just as interested with its benefits as with my clients. We are all too busy to know the details before we are convinced of the benefits.
Therefore, I have listed down the seven benefits of content marketing that would inject a new energy into your business.
Benefit 1: Search Engine Optimization Friendly
Many businesses generate leads, mainly from search engines, especially for B2B. As search engine is getting smarter, the more search engine is going to focus on the content your website offer. Instead of paying monthly digital advertising like Google AdWords, why not publish relevant and quality content on your website to increase your search ranking for the long run?
Benefit 2: It’s a Capital Expenditure
By creating content, it is considered as a capital expenditure. For those who are not into accounting, capital expenditure basically means to spend on assets that is to be used over a long time – like your computer or furniture in your office.
In another word, paying for advertisements – which are generally used once – are gone for good regardless of any leads you have generated from it. Content, on another hand, are yours forever once created. It will be protected by the copyright law, and you can use it anyway you want and for as many times as you can possibly imagine.
Benefit 3: Brand Boost
Branding is all about differentiating yourself from your competitors, and the best way is through story telling. Rather than publishing advertisements about your products and services, you can talk about how it helps your customers in real case studies, what is your philosophy, what is the method that you adopt, etc. By doing so, it adds another dimension to your brand for your customers to know it better.
Most importantly, the more useful information you share, the more your target audience will start to look to you for the latest trends and insights. That is when you have established yourself as the thought leader in your industry or niche.
Benefit 4: Inbound Marketing
We all want the best solution for a problem or when a need arises. Naturally, we will look for the finest in the industry to get the problem solved. As mentioned above, once you have established yourselves as the thought leaders, you will get leads come knocking at your door.
Other than establishing as a thought leader, you can also offer something for free and useful for your target audience: it could be like an e-book or webinar. In return, you ask for their contact information to sign up for the monthly newsletter or for someone to follow up with them.
Benefit 5: Nurture Leads
Have you heard of predictive analysis or business intelligence? That is what one of my clients is doing, and their challenge is that there are few businesses in the market know how nor are many people trained to use this leading technology (like IBM’s SPSS system).
Sometimes, it is not only on how to generate leads. How are you going to sell something to someone who does not even know that they need it? The best way to overcome this is by educating the market with useful insights about your solution. The more you educate people, the more you put the need into them.
Benefit 6: Sharable
We all know-nothing beat word of mouth marketing, and the best way to encourage this is to give practical information for free. If the content is useful (infographic) or entertaining (video clip), it will be shared and spread like wild-fire.
Benefit 7: Measurable
Last but not least, unlike traditional advertising, content marketing is easily measured. It is easy to know how many people have viewed your blog post using Google Analytics; how many people have viewed your video through YouTube; how many people have downloaded your e-book by counting how many contacts have you collected, etc. With these information, your content marketing plan can be easily fine-tuned to achieve the best results.
There you go, all seven benefits to consider making content marketing a part of your business planning. Next, I am going to talk about just how to create a content marketing strategy for your business: be it for a B2C or B2B company. Stay tune!