Content marketing and its place in your company growth strategy
Content marketing, another craze?
Content is King. As a business owner or C level executive concerned with the performance of a company, you understand that marketing, especially online marketing is crucial in one enterprise commercial performance. We can all agree on that but anyone involved a tiny little bit with getting the company better known will also agree on this: keeping up with the “online trends” has become a real pain in the neck.
Marketing agencies themselves don’t even try to keep up with all the trends. You might have noticed that they don’t offer all marketing services anymore but only a few in which they specialise. A little hint, let’s be cautious of marketing companies pretending to be expert at everything. It is just not possible anymore for a company to track the changes happening on every single marketing platform. New trends use to appear every 18 months to 24 months and we felt it was too much. How we are therefore supposed to feel now? We are lucky if we can implement a marketing strategy for 3 months without getting distracted by another “shiny marketing object”.
“Do Facebook and you will be flooded with clients”. Do you remember that time every marketing professional would swear by Saint Facebook? How long was it before you then heard the exact same experts telling you: “Forget about Facebook, Instagram is where you need to be”? And what about this conversation, does that ring a bell? “The market is saturated now; the only way to win is to use paid ads. Serious businesses use Google ads to outperform their competition.” By how much did you then increase your company’s marketing budget after being bombarded for months with similar advice? And let’s not forget those discussions specific to the B2B space. If like Halifax Consulting you are in this space, I bet there is not one week passing by without you hearing about LinkedIn and your need to publish on this platform if you want to stay outperform your competition. “B2B companies cannot thrive without publishing on LinkedIn”. That is also something you must have heard a lot.
Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn… So many options ! And now this last one: content marketing!
We all agree that marketing is important but in an environment where you hear something new every 3 months, we cannot blame executive for being a little cautious. With the latest one, content marketing, how are business owners supposed to react? We hear now that content is King. Is that true? How real is this new trend? Is that not just a new craze those professionals of communication are using to charge businesses more money (sometimes a lot of it) so they can finance their lavish lifestyle? After all, the most cynical between us perceive marketers as a special breed of professionals whom mission (or art) consists in creating trends from thin air before convincing everyone else about the importance of that new trend for their survival. That is really cynical but sometimes true, let’s admits it.
Content marketing? What is that exactly?
So what is content marketing? Good question, let’s start by defining it. Simply put, it is a form of marketing that uses various types of content, such as articles, blogs posts, videos or podcasts to get a certain message across. Content marketing is often spoken in relation to social media: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn. That is true but there much more than that if you want to do properly. Think also YouTube, podcasts, email, articles you can publish on your website, on your blog site, on Medium, Wikipedia…
Put it in simple words, you are publishing some content, as much as you can to build that KLT factor you need to transform a person lambda into a paying customer. By KLT, we refer to that famous Know, Like and Trust, a marketing concept well-known and used by every serious marketer. The idea behind this approach is to focus on attracting the ideal clients by ensuring he/she will always be exposed to some information relevant to his/her need wherever he/she is on the buying process: unaware of a need, actively looking for a solution or any stage in-between. It is all about exposing the ideal client with so much quality material and on such a regular basis that the material is enough to convert that person into a loyal, paying customer.
In content marketing at its best, your content becomes your sales person ! How great is that? Especially if you don’t have millions to throw on paid ads. If you do have such a budget, paid ads, done properly is a great tool, maybe the more powerful one. With a massive budget and the targeting capabilities offered by the likes of Google, Facebook, LinkedIn you will always be top of mind for your ideal clients. But if you don’t have such a budget, content marketing is a great strategy as it allows smaller companies to dare challenging the big players in their industry. Those established companies rely too often on their heavy paid ads strategy, not realising that their audience prefer what feels more organic and personalised.
So for any company out there, content marketing is a great strategy.
“All that needs to be done is to publish quality information, on a regular basis. The more the better as they say. That seems like lot of work. To be honest, it feels that way because it is. It is but the reward is great as the stats can confirm. Close to 80% of B2C customers make their buying decisions based on the content businesses share. Smart Insights also mentions that 70% of Internet users say to prefer learning about a product and eventually the company, through content rather than traditional advertisement. Those numbers seem to match the experience businesses report themselves. Many executives say that content creation drives more business value than traditional forms of marketing: business cards, fancy websites, tradeshows, radio ads… And last but not least marketers have adapted too are betting on this trend. According to 88% of the marketers who responded to a survey on their favoured marketing channel for 2022, responded they will spend more on content marketing.
This is due to the increasing popularity of content marketing and its ability to drive traffic, optimize website visitors for search engines, and improve customer loyalty. Content marketing is recognized as an effective way to increase brand awareness, convert leads into customers, and increase sales.
Mobile phones, curse or opportunity? Depends how we look at it
The worldwide web has become a powerful marketplace. With billions of people having access to the internet, people are anytime only a few minutes away from becoming a customer (if not yours, someone else you can be sure of that). A few minutes away ! That’s not even a joke. Think about it, how many minutes per day is your ideal customer away from that little addicting device allowing him/her to talk to their loved ones? And if you have no clue, answer for yourself as you sure are someone else ideal client too.
And when was the last time you met someone whom phone had no internet connection? It has never happened, has it? Check this, in 2020, the number of unique mobile internet users stood at 4.83 billion. This indicates that over 91 percent of the global internet population used a mobile device to go online. This trend did not and is still not fading at all; mobile ownership and internet usage are forecast to increase in the future, as mobile technologies are becoming more affordable and available than ever. So everyone is connected nearly 24/7 so they can be connected to their loved ones.
Last question, what do people do during their spare time, when they don’t message or talk to their loved ones? You got it right, they browse on the Internet where they are only one click away of your online estate: a publication on your website, your blog, FB, IG, LinkedIn or why not TikTok 😉
On a side note, how ironical is that? That beautiful gadget we wanted so we could stay connected to our loved ones ends up being the device that so often distract us from our loved ones. Our phone doesn’t get us connected to our loved ones but to the Internet. But that is for another article ;-). As sad as it is for personal relationships, the opportunity for businesses in general and for yours in particular lies in all those moments where you can grab your ideal client’s attention. That opportunity happens many times per day with hundreds, thousands, millions of your ideal customers. And if that attention could lead to a sale for your company, you understand how we can easily state that this attention for your company is literally worth thousands of euro, pound, dollar or whatever your local money is. This is money left on the table. If you don’t grab it, you can be sure your competitor will. That client’s attention is like a bitcoin, no one knows exactly how much it is worth at the moment you manage to catch it but if you grab and keep it long enough, you can be sure that money won’t ever be an issue.
A few tips with your content marketing strategy
As we mentioned already earlier, content marketing well done is a lot of work. And like anything requiring a lot of effort, you better prepare yourself for the long term. The first thing to do before jumping head first and to create a lot of content is to develop a content strategy. This includes identifying your audience and their needs. Remember that it is not just about producing content. It is mainly about producing quality content! Don’t think in terms of producing boring general content. Think in terms of crafting specialised engaging content that resonates with your audience. Ensure also you follow up with anyone engaging with your content… Make them feel as part of a community. Avoid the mistake of paying attention to your audience only until they become a client (aka “ghosting” people as soon they have used their credit card. Content marketing is not just about attracting new customers. It is also about retaining existing ones, ensuring they feel by keeping them in your environment.
As we all understand now, content marketing is also about being prolific with your content. So comes the question, how do you create a lot of content? That is actually not as hard as one could think. Of course you can rely on specialised agencies but I would not especially recommend this. For 2 reasons, the first one is that it would cost your company a lot of money. We are talking about quality content, a content that use the tone of your company, that reflects your value, your mission… that level of quality comes with a cost, trust me. The second and maybe even more important reason is that agencies as good as they are don’t know your company as well as you and your team know it. Take advantage of your internal resources: your directors, your personal assistants, your consultants, your existing and past clients… There is in my opinion no better content that the one written by you, your team or anyone really familiar with what you offer and stand for. And if you really want to use an external agency, my advice: don’t cut corners as it will fire back big time. There is nothing worse than being perceived as a fraudster by your own audience. It is worth paying the price of an agency that will take the time to understand your company to the point the content they will produce will fell authentic.
Regarding the content, everything related to you and your company is good material as long as it feels authentic. You want your content to reveal you are a leader in your industry. Favour specialised topics to general ones but that should not stop you from sharing about some light, fun things. Content marketing is not just about selling your services. It is about KLT, you remember. It is about creating that report with your audience. Such a report also implies, you share information not especially related to your service but to the people involved in the process. The keyword is “authenticity”. That is why even if you see yourself as a serious company, offering a serious service, don’t be afraid of using a platform such as TikTok for example. As a rule of thumb, you want your content to be relevant to your specific audience, engaging and of course up to date.
In addition to content, you’ll need to make sure you’re providing a good user experience. This includes ensuring all the sites are easy and pleasant to navigate. Use also a mixture of videos, posts, pictures, audios… Surprise your audience not only with the quality content but also with the interesting format. Last but not least, you should also make sure your site is SEO friendly so customers find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.
Content Marketing is the hottest buzzword in marketing but contrary to some other topics marketing related, content marketing is the real deal. It is certainly the case if you don’t have a big budget for paid advertisement but even if you do, content marketing should be the backbone of your marketing strategy. No matter what industry you are in, investing in content marketing will surely help you to stand out of the crowd, gain more visibility and grow your business.
At Halifax Consulting, we have really seen the benefit of content marketing. Not only it brings attention to your business but it really helps the sales process. If you have produced quality information, you only need to have a decent understanding of sales to really convert the interest into a sale. Let us know about your experience with content marketing.
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