28 Sep How Content Marketing Delivers Results (and Makes People Feel Good about Marketing)
Here’s the funny thing. I love marketing. But I don’t love sales.
I don’t even like sales. It makes me uncomfortable. I like to communicate.
Does that ring true for you as well?
With content marketing, I’m teaching, not selling.
That’s why content marketing really is the saving grace for me. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here.
What is content marketing?
In a nutshell, content marketing is a strategic approach to marketing in which you create and distribute valuable, helpful, relevant information such as a blog article, video, graphic, webinar to a specific audience.
Content gives my work meaning.
It tells the story of your service product, how it works, the problem that inspired it.
Every service or product has a story to tell, and usually more than one.
It makes your positioning very clear.
It shows your strength in an informative way, rather than a pushy, salesy way that most people, including me, find disagreeable.
Content helps people.
You can really show them what they get and the process.
You can compare yourself to others favourably — or even unfavourably. It allows you to point out your differences. You can be refreshingly honest and pinpoint where you deliver the most value.
Content marketing helps you make relationships.
You build trust.
You build a presence (awareness, respect, liking).
Content can save time on business processes, like repeatedly answering the same questions in a contact centre. You can show people how to use your service.
How to maintain a system. How to do it themselves. How to be independent of you. (Interestingly, this might give them a stronger affinity.)
You can describe who your service is for.
If your competitors don’t use content marketing, you have an opportunity to get a significant share of mind.
If they do use content marketing, differentiate. Carve out your space and make them irrelevant.
What to do with the traffic
Each piece can ask for an action such as call, book, download, register, subscribe. This will be based on the nature of the content. Whatever works.
The reader may do nothing and leave. but you’ve made an impression you’ve made a connection. One day they may be your customer but they’re not ready yet. So there is value even if they don’t ‘like’, buy, subscribe, etc.
You can also ‘cookie’ them for a remarketing campaign in Google or use Facebook pixel for Facebook advertising.
If they subscribed to your email, or download something, you can stay in touch with email and nurture the relationship by giving more value.
Your content strategy will outline how different audiences can be nurtured into a criss-cross of content freeways. This nurturing will result in them performing an action that results in revenue for your bottom line.
The other good news about content is that everything can be measured.
Some people are so focused on keyword research that they forget they are writing for people.
Your audience is human. Whether it’s a business (B2B) piece of content, or to an average Joe, be focused on your reader.
Sketches of who your reader is and what is important to them will guide your topics. Please the reader first, and an algorithm second.
I will often wait until a second draft to check that there isn’t another alternative phrase people are using online in which case I might add that as well or refine my terminology.
Another point I would suggest is being very clear. I have made the mistake before of writing for C-level executives and thinking jargon would be okay. The jargon got in the way and results in unnatural, awful writing.
- Be clear.
- People appreciate being able to absorb complex information quickly. Can a kid understand you? That’s the test.
- Make it natural and easy to understand.
- Solve the problem.
- Be eloquent and articulate.
- Always re-draft your content.
- Check you spelling and avoid cliches like the plague 🙂
- Cut any words that are not necessary.
Repurpose your content to other formats.
I like to start with the blog article. From that, I may make a presentation, and then an mp4 video of the slides.
You can also make a fact sheet, or a template, an audio file, or an infographic.
People learn differently. Most of us are visual, but some are auditory, and some are kinaesthetic learners.
You don’t necessarily need to create thousands of pieces of content. You can use the same content in multiple forms.
For the search engines
Include the keyword in your headings and titles and in the SEO meta description.
Don’t forget your image title and alt text.
I like writing for a living, and writing is my chief hobby too. Some of the writing I’m most proud of has been content.
Fifteen years ago, I had the privilege of teaching kids money skills for a community bank. I made a brochure, a sticker book, and a website.
Later, financial literacy for teenagers. In a presentation. And a video. And an article.
Writing is what I do for a living, and what I do for my chief hobby. It’s satisfying, helpful, and edifying.
Creating good content gives you as much as you give to others. So be selfish and give generously!