Content marketing is a broad term that encompasses the words and images used to promote a product or service. In today’s online world, excellent content marketing cuts through the noise of unhelpful information to attract the right customers with the businesses and services they want to find.
Bruce Rogers from Forbes says
“Content marketing can be defined as the creation and distribution of meaningful insights, perspectives, and best practices that are valuable to a specific audience. The aim is to retain existing clients including doing more business with them and to attract new high-quality clients.”
While many assume content marketing refers to creating a piece of content for websites or publishing a blog, there is much more that encompasses the totality of this communication medium. The best way to leverage content marketing for your advertising and marketing goals is to incorporate a variety of content into your strategy.
SMA is a Digital Marketing Agency. We understand the value of clear, interesting, and educational content for our clients, but we also take things to the next level by making sure all our content is contextually relevant beyond making a sale.
Content marketing is about creating a personal connection with the people who will benefit from your product or service. By developing content that humanizes the sales process, you can make a deeper connection with your ideal customer. One way to do this is by producing helpful and informative content for your Buyer Persona at every stage of their Buyer’s Journey. Providing context for your content is the key to answering an important question that takes your customer relationship deeper. Context answers the how. When you create valuable content that speaks directly to your target audience you earn the trust of your customer base.
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Answering the How
Have you ever purchased a product or service which sat untouched in your closet? Do you have a subscription to a service you like but feel that you aren’t using all the features as well as you could?
These scenarios happen when a content marketing strategy doesn’t take the time to answer the questions many buyers need answered.
Common “how” questions include:
- How does this product make me use my time more efficiently?
- How does this software replace or integrate into my current preferred programs?
- How do I use this product’s less obvious features?
- How do I care for my new purchase to maximize its life?
One of the most important reasons to continue to answer the how question for your clients and customers is to remind them of the value of your services and products. This will help you extend your relationship with your persona.
Think about it this way, if you feel that a product or service wasted your time how likely are you to be a repeat customer? Don’t let user error or lack of understanding keep you from serving your clients and customers to the fullest.
Ways to Answer the “How” Question
Web pages, blog articles, infographics, emails, white papers, videos, podcasts, and social media interactions are all avenues to present curated content. But, content marketing is about more than scheduling tweets or writing a great blog post.
A great content strategy maximizes each individual type of content and ensures it focuses on your larger communication goals. By consistently incorporating SEO best practices into every step of content development you can trust that your content is helpful for your target audience and search engines will send your information to the right people at the right time.
Refining Your Content Marketing Strategy
Now that you have a full picture of all the options to develop personalized content for your marketing efforts, you may be wondering where to start. As with any strategy you are served best when you do things, well, strategically.
Begin with an SEO audit. This process will give you a clear, data-backed, understanding of where to start focusing your efforts. The great thing about content marketing is that you can continue to add new layers as your capacity allows.
If you already have a website consider adding a blog. Websites with blogs have 55% more visitors according to Hubspot and produce 67% more leads according to Demand Metric.
Increase your reach by becoming more social on social media. With over 3 billion people on social media, it’s one of the largest opportunities to connect with potential customers as well as continue customer relationships. Write social media posts that offer helpful and interesting ideas.
Does your research show that customers contact customer service with the same questions? Create a video to answer the top three questions quickly. Read more about how you can refine your content marketing strategy in our blog article What is SEO Content? Hint: It’s Not Just for Search Engines.
Develop a Content Marketing Plan
Every customer journey is different. As the expert in your industry, you know the pain points your buyer persona encounters at different stages of the customer journey. Because so much of the buyer’s journey is completed online it’s important to ensure you have content for every stage of your buyer’s journey. This is best accomplished with content mapping.
Content mapping helps you map out the way you anticipate your target audience will engage your digital platforms. An effective content marketing strategy will include many different types of content marketing. It will also be customized to your buyer persona.
Cut-and-paste editorial calendars may ensure you have the basics in your content library, but they won’t help you develop unique, high-quality content. The best way to ensure your blog content speaks directly to your prospective customers is to create relevant content in the formats your buyer persona prefers. That may mean including video content or infographics in your blog posts.
Whether writing an email newsletter, posting on social media, or updating your website, it’s important that your content marketing efforts tell a consistent story that guides your target reader through their buyer’s journey.
At SMA, we specialize in integrating SEO (search engine optimization) into every internet marketing strategy we develop. If you’re ready to implement or improve your content marketing strategy, we’d love to share how we can help you maximize your efforts. We’ve created The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing for Business Growth to give you all the information and tools you need to get started with a solid content marketing campaign. Download it today.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on August 17, 2018, and has been updated with fresh content.