But even though they get that producing content is helpful, many don’t fully understand the implications of the opportunity it presents.
In his book The Content Trap, Harvard professor Bharat Anand helped put the opportunity in context:
“After all, everyone today–a business person, an educator, a politician, a student, an artist, an entrepreneur–can reach and interact with others directly. In other words, everyone is a media company today.”
Gary Vaynerchuk took the notion a step further in a 2013 blog post, noting that not only is embracing the role of media company important, it is irresponsible not to do so:
Whether you like it or not, every person is now a media company. The tools are easy, free, and everywhere. More importantly, producing content is now the baseline for all brands and companies. It literally doesn’t matter what business you’re in, what industry you operate in, if you’re not producing content, you basically don’t exist.
How to realize the promise of content marketing
There is lots of great data to back up why this is such a smart strategy:
- Content marketing costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads (Demand Metric)
- Business to business (B2B) marketers that use blogs get 67 percent more leads (Aberdeen)
- 47 percent of buyers viewed three to five pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep (Demand Gen Report, 2016)
- Businesses utilizing content marketing report conversion rates of leads to customers nearly six times greater than those that don’t have a content marketing system. (Campaign Monitor, 2016)
- Every dollar spent on email marketing gives back $44. (Campaign Monitor, 2016)
Realizing these kinds of results doesn’t happen simply because you hit publish. The abundance of content your customers have to choose from means that what you produce has to work harder to connect with them in a meaningful way so it stands out.
You need a clear strategy that enables your content to move from invisible to being one your customers don’t want to live without.
The good news is that Arand’s research revealed the key to being effective with content boils down to one thing: connections. He notes:
Connections…are at the heart of what shapes any digitally touched business today and will for the forseeable future. Being able to recognize, leverage, and manage connections separates companies that succeed from those that fail.
In other words, your content needs to connect with your customers on a deeper level. It needs to make them feel like they belong with you. Your content should serve to advance the relationship your customers have with you.
But even though the promise of content marketing is strong, many companies struggle to realize all the benefits that come with implementing it.
They publish, and publish, and publish, and don’t always get the results they are looking for. No bueno.
It doesn’t have to be this way. You need an integrated content strategy that removes the randomness from your approach and gives you a clear roadmap for what type of content to produce, when, and where. As a result, you’ll be able to achieve your business goals as you attract, nurture, and convert your ideal customers into loyal ones.
Why these companies bet big (and won) with digital marketing
Your customers are already consuming content in one form or another. For most, it is part of their daily routine. Instead of interrupting your customers to get them to pay attention to a branded message, why not enter the conversation that is already going on in their head, by meeting them where they are.
Give them relevant content that speaks directly to their needs. Here are a few examples of how businesses have done it effectively to grow their business.
Eight years after launch, the brand grew exponentially. Content was always at the core of what they provided, but as the team started to lean in heavily on two core principles, they really started to see the results of their efforts snowball. Photo by Annie Spratt.
A lot of brands feel the need to talk about their product, its features, benefits, and why it is the greatest thing since sliced bread all the time. An effective content strategy strikes a delicate balance between education, entertainment, and value, with branded messages. One particular timeless strategy enables you to do it seamlessly. Photo by Edgar Guerra.
Amazon, Apple, and Netflix are growing with original content. Here’s how you can too–without breaking the bank
Producing high-quality content has always been something that leveled the playing field among brands with bucks and those with modest budgets. That is still true. While big companies are going all in with content (because it is an effective strategy), there is still plenty of opportunity for businesses of all sizes and budgets to get a piece of the pie. Photo by Frank Okay.
Practical ways to woo your customers with content (while growing your business)
There is a ton of potential with content marketing. And at times it can feel overwhelming figuring out how to get started, what mediums to use, or even how to connect the dots between content and your business goals. Don’t fret, I’ve got you covered.
Here are some detailed resources that walk you through the process, as well as how to use the mediums to your advantage.
Before you go start publishing, take a moment, pause, and then read this post. If you want to get a return on your content marketing efforts, you’ve got to have a strategy. Data shows the brands that have a documented one are more effective. Here’s how to create a simple one so your content can attract the customers you want, and keep them close to you. Photo by Howard Lawrence B.
The internet is cluttered with content. There is an abundance of it, everywhere you turn. However, there is not an abundance of great content. And that is a primary means by which you will cut through the noise, to get what you produce to stand out. Here’s how to do it. Photo by kazuend.
Producing content isn’t a one and done type of effort. You’ll need to consistently produce content your customers want to devour over time. To do that, you need a system. Here’s a simple and easily repeatable one. Photo by Nong Vang.
YouTube is now the world’s second largest serach engine. And social media giants like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are all favoring video, because they recognize the power of the medium. Video marketing can help you connect with your customers on a deeper level. It’s the next best thing to being with them together live and in the flesh! Here’s how to get started. Photo by ShareGrid.
Did you hear that Google just got into the audio business? Now, they’ve made it easier for people who search to find podcasts that are relevant to their inquiries. Podcasting is a fascinating medium that is on the rise globally. And it can be a super effective way for you to connect with your customers while reaching your business goals. Here are some additional benefits for getting in the game. Photo by Henry Be.
If you’re nodding your head with excitement about the opportunity to woo your customers with content, then I am over the moon. But just in case you’re still a little unsure as to how to use content to grow your business, here are some actionable ways to do it from various different angles. Photo by frank mckenna.
Want more help on this topic? Drop me a note at sonia at soniaethompson.com and we can start the conversation.