You’re not a used car salesman, so why sell like one? Instead of pitching your products or services like a rogue telemarketer at dinnertime, why not deliver information of value that solves your buyers’ business problems and positions you as a thought-leader in your industry? If we, as businesses, consistently deliver valuable and engaging information to buyers, they will ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is merely using content – whitepapers, ebooks, infographics, case studies, how-to guides, blog posts – to gain a commercial advantage. Essentially, it is providing content that engages, delights, and tickles your audience.
The History O’ Content Marketing
Let’s start with a brief history lesson on content marketing (and you thought you were done with school). For years, brands have been telling their stories to attract and engage customers:
- 1900: Michelin develops ‘The Michelin Guides,’ a 400-page booklet to help drivers maintain their cars.
- 1982: Hasbro partners with Marvel to create the G.I. Joe comic book, catalyzing a revolution in toy marketing.
- 2008: Proctor & Gamble launches BeingGirl.com, a content site for teen girls which was found to be four times more effective than traditional marketing (Forrester).
Hop on the Content Bandwagon!
The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell; in other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you. If you sell clothing, you could provide fashion tips or something along those lines – got it? Good. So you now ‘get’ why content marketing works, right? Here are three concrete business reasons why you should get on the content-generation bandwagon right away:
1. Google loves dynamic, consistently refreshed content
The more content you share (and post on your blog) around a specific area of interest, the better. A good, juicy blog will help to improve a website’s search engine rankings over time.
2. Good content disarms potential clients from ‘being sold’
Instead of pitching like a stereotypical used car salesman, why not check in with prospects every so often with a good, solid blog post or article that can solve their business problems? When your prospects have a need, I guarantee that they will remember your company over the one that cold-called them relentlessly and provided zilch value. Think of it this way: Would you go to a party, shake someone’s hand, and then immediately launch into your elevator pitch about how awesome your products or services are? I bet you wouldn’t (at least, I hope not!)
3. Use great content to build your email opt-in list
Providing compelling content – an ebook, for example – in exchange for website visitors’ contact details is a great method of beefing up your opt-in email list. Or you could share a snippet – two paragraphs or so – of your blog content and have visitors fill out a form to gain access to the full article; the more useful the content, the better. If you’re using this method, be sure to hide the full content somewhere on your website so you can boost up your search engine rankings. Bonus: You can hit your new email opt-ins with even more juicy content along the way to guide them through the buying cycle.
Now, go forth and generate content, grasshoppers!