Content marketing is extremely popular these days. Every type of brand, be it big, medium, or small is going all out in this department. Apart from investing a lot of money into developing versatile and engaging content, they are all doing their best to feed their customers (and potential consumers) with blog posts, use cases, cases studies, images, webinars, infographics – basically, everything that could be of value to their targeted crowd, and thus, help them as producers strengthen their relationships with their clients and drive more conversions to their site.
Even though this all sounds great on paper, people often struggle with content marketing.
As the guys over at Content Marketing Institute report, 88% of all B2B business claim that they invest in content marketing, but only 40% of them are willing to declare their content marketing efforts as successful.
This makes me wonder. If things aren’t really working out for them, why do these people keep investing significant chunks of their overall marketing budget into this department? Why are they even trying to push something that isn’t really helping them create more leads and sales? Are they seeing something that I’m not?
Naturally, being a curious person that I am, I couldn’t just let this go. I had to figure out what’s going on here, and why are these individuals forcing something that isn’t really working out for them.
After talking to loads and loads of marketers and entrepreneurs who complain about content marketing, I came to an understanding that the vast majority of them suffers from the same problem – they lack patience. Next to that, they don’t even invest as much in content marketing as they like to say they do. These guys just look for keywords and create boring articles that are of use to no one. Once thier content fails to reach their crazy expectations, they either abandon ship or start to pile up one mediocre article after another.
No wonder why their content marketing “efforts” are going down the toilet.
Most of these individuals think that all it takes to win at this content marketing game is one great blog posts. They think that one viral article can really turn their business around.
You and me both know that this isn’t true.
Sure, one great post could help you reach out to new people, spread awareness about your brand, and even make a few sales – but that’s not content marketing. Making a few quick sales isn’t really even business. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The Content Marketing Machine: Patience + Hard Work + Strategy
As a person who has created tons and tons of content for all sorts of different brands around the globe, I have learned one thing about this technique – it takes time to actually work. If you’re looking for quick wins, then content marketing isn’t really for you.
Even though it’s tempting to immediately position yourself in front of your analytics page and stare at your campaign, in reality, this often isn’t such a great idea. Why? – Well, because, 9 times out of 10, you’ll end up disappointed. Yes, we do live in a fast digital world where information spread rapidly like wildfire, but when it comes to content marketing – you have to be ready to wait for your efforts to start paying off.
A smart and intelligent content marketing strategy doesn’t really focus on vanity metrics and generating traffic. At least not that much. The goal of every sound and sane content marketing strategy should be to retain customers, improve user satisfaction, and build trust in your products and services.
Baiting people who really aren’t interested in what you have to offer to visit your site and look around, is a thing that you shouldn’t probably waste your precious time on.
Nope. The main objective of your content marketing strategy should be aimed at those who could eventually become your customers, or already are. Your focus here should be on providing these already interested individuals with valuable information that could help them better understand what it is that you’re selling, why should they care about you, and what make you (and your products and services) the perfect solution for their business.
The Solid Foundation
If you want your content marketing to be effective, you must first build a strong foundation for it. You have to start with developing smart and compelling FAQ posts, and then move up to producing content that interests and engages your customers. Once you do that, your job basically is to observe, learn, and adapt from there.
There’s no room here for spray and pray content. Every piece of material that isn’t really well-thought through, or isn’t part of a bigger picture, will only hurt your brand. It doesn’t really matter how well it’s performing, if it isn’t representing any of your core values – it’s garbage.
If a certain, let’s say, blog post, isn’t really in agreement with your mission, and it goes viral – this will result in overcrowding your funnel with people who aren’t really interested in reading anything else that you have to offer. These visitors are not your targeted crowd. A vast majority of them will never, not in a million years, become your active paying customers. So why should you waste your time on them? Having this in mind, you could say that this is a misguided effort, wasted on all the wrong prospects.
So, before you start to work on content that has the potential to go viral, think more about its actual purpose. Does it really serve your brand in the best way possible and will it attract your desired visitors to vyour site?
In my experience, it’s always smarter to work on building a solid foundation for your content marketing, and then start looking for quick wins. If you want your content strategy to compliment your mission in business, start with about 10 posts that really encapsulate your core values and beliefs about the topics that you really care about, and work your way up from there. Focus on what you want your every website visitor to know about your business and brand, and continue to stuff your blog and social media pages with content that demonstrates that you’re really in tune with those whom you’re trying to reach.
Understanding The Funnel and How to Win Over Customers at Every Stage of Your Marketing Pipeline
Your content should be in sync with your sales funnel. Why? – Well, because it helps generate leads better than any other marketing technique out there. If you really want to win big in this content marketing game, you need to create valuable stuff that influences your leads in every single stage of your so-called “marketing pipeline”.
That’s why, when coming up with a content marketing strategy for their, or their clients brand, most successful marketers focus on developing these three types of content:
1. Content that helps them get seen;
2. Content that builds in trust;
3. Content that converts leads.
Let me elaborate: The first is tailored to help us appear in search and interest potential clients in visiting our site. That means that this type of content usually needs to provoke some sort of an emotion, or offer searchers great and compelling answers to their most important queries. But, thanks to the expansion of content marketing, you cannot just focus on creating a great post. No. If you really want to beat your competitors in search, you need to create that so-called 10x content, that’s 10 times better than anything else that ranks for your desired set of keywords.
The second one help us earn our prospects attention and consideration. This part of your strategy is all about bringing additional value to the table. Here you need to really impress your visitors and charm your way into their hearts. Usually, in this part of my strategy, I focus on creating free assessments, free trials, and templates that could help my targeted crowd see me as someone who isn’t really shy to share his knowledge and expertise. I give them everything they need without the necessity of repaying my generosity, plus I do my best to motivate them to go ahead and try to work things out for themselves. I call this strategy the loss aversion method.
And the third one – warm up our leads and bring them closer to making a conversion. This part is basically all about the details. It’s about polishing your offers and proposals, and making them seem like a next logical step in your already developed relationship with your site visitors. This type of content is usually targeted at those who are already familiar with your brand, but still haven’t made an actual sale on your site. This is where you should start to develop all sorts of success stories and bombard your targeted crowd with once in a lifetime deals. With this content, you aim to turn the favors around into your own corner and showcase a certain level of confidence and certainty that directly speaks to your users and reasures them that the ycannot fail if they choose to do business with you.
The Hard Part
In order to create such content, you need to put in a lot of hours into its production. You need to have everything mapped out, and do your best to meet your goals with the highest rate of professionalism. A real content marketing strategy doesn’t really focus on covering one topic. Nope. The key here is to develop intelligent and useful stories for basically every set of keywords that gets searched by your current and potential clients.
Naturally, this takes time. Becoming a powerful publisher that people will start to recognize as a useful source that distributes amazing answers to their questions, is not something that can be rushed. It cannot happen overnight. But once it does, once your targeted crowd start to directly come to your site to learn stuff and chat with other people who are interested in the same things as they are, then you’re onto something good. Then your content will start to truly convert leads into sales.
Closing your prospects with knowledge and useful content is the only thing that separates good and lasting businesses, from mediocre ones.
Even though this is something that no brand should be without, somehow, people still don’t fully understand the importance of creating all sorts content for their brand, online and offline. So, if you want to become a major player and win big in this game – be sure to develop your content marketing strategy based on everything I wrote above in this article. Don’t just write for keywords and SEO – understand your targeted crowd, and focus on giving them everything ithey need to truly see as the only real solution for their troubles and business.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope it helped you understand what to expect from content marketing and how to set it right, to make it worth your while.
If you have anything to add or ask – feel free to write your thoughts in the comments section below.
See you soon again,
Goran @ AltusHost B.V.