“Content marketing” has been a popular buzz phrase in sales and marketing circles the last few years, and now the term has become more mainstream, with small business owners taking notice. But what is content marketing, exactly? Should you care about it? Why? What are some tips for developing a sound (and doable) content marketing strategy? This blog post will answer some of these pressing questions.
Content marketing is actually what it sounds like: it’s marketing your products or services through useful, relevant content. We’re not talking an explicit sales pitch. We’re talking about providing something of value to a prospective customer. The value, in essence, shows the prospect that you’re here to help, that you want to be a resource, that you are the expert in your field. The goal is that the prospect will not only appreciate the helpful content, but also remember where she got it from so that when she’s ready to buy, your company’s name comes to the top of her mind.
Content can take many forms: an ebook, a white paper, a checklist, a guide, a video tutorial, blog posts, newsletters, articles. You get the idea.
Content marketing works for one simple reason: people hate being sold to. But they like receiving help, free resources, and valuable info. With content, you can position your company as the leader in your industry AND you can give prospects a bird’s eye view of how you work, your philosophy, even your sense of humor. It eases people into the sales process, making it more enjoyable and easier for everyone.
So, should you care about it? The answer is YES, absolutely. That is, if what we just said sounds good to you (and we imagine it does; who doesn’t want an easier sales process?).
Onto the next big questions: What if I don’t have any content? How do I develop a content marketing strategy? Who develops the content itself? How much content do I need? How do I measure success? Let’s take these questions one at a time.
Q: What if I don’t have any content?
A: Repeat after us: you do have content. You have a business, right? You sell products or services or both, right? Then you have content. You’re just so close to it, you don’t realize it. Stop and think of all the questions you get from customers and prospects about your business. Now, think of all the answers you provide, all the education you offer, all the advice, all the solutions. THAT’S YOUR CONTENT.
For example, if you’re an interior designer, you may get questions about what’s “hot” or trendy for, say, living rooms. You could release a short written guide called “Trending! What’s Hot in Living Room Décor this Spring.” Notice how you can easily change the room and time of year, and suddenly you have a title for several different “guides.” Continue reading