We all know the phrase "content is king". Content drives the Internet. We write emails, social media posts or ebooks - none of that would be out there without content.
A user typically spends around 27 hours online each week, always surrounded by some sort of content. She is on Facebook and one of her friends shared this awesome article about yoga. She loves yoga so she clicks on it and loves what she sees. That’s why she continues browsing through the website, falling deeply in love with the products they are selling.
Or maybe she is looking for the latest trends in yoga wear. On her journey she finds this inspirational blog and browses through the latest posts before she decides that this is the place where she wants to buy her new leggings.
Maybe she is interested in superfoods. She finds this company online that has tons of free ebooks with delicious smoothie and bowl recipes using the company’s superfood mix. She’d love to get a delicious smoothie bowl breakfast that looks just as fancy as the one in the ebook so she decides to buy the mix. Et voilà: This is how content marketing works. Of course, it’s not as simple as it appears to be here, but you see the logic behind it.
So, what exactly is content marketing, then?
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as:
... a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
With relevant content, a marketer’s aim is to meet specific goals. These might be the acquisition of potential customers, brand awareness, or retention of existing customers.
Content Marketing is no short-term action. Quite the contrary: It’s a long-term strategy that needs a lot of work to build its fruits. The goal is to build strong relationships with an audience by providing high-quality content that is highly relevant to the readers and that helps them solve a specific problem. It is not about pitching a product here. The only purpose is to get loyal readers who’ll eventually turn into customers. Good content that caters their needs is supposed to show them that you care. And nothing says that more than solving a problem for them.
The question now is: Why should you invest into Content Marketing if you’re not selling a product right away?
The answer is simple: To generate attention. These days the internet is packed with content. So much that people skip most of it or just take a quick read through it because they are bombarded with free content. Getting your audience’s attention is therefore the first step to getting these dollars into your pocket. However, the attention you’re receiving needs to be the right one. Getting attention from people who have no intention of ever buying your product or service won’t get you anywhere. And Content Marketing makes a pretty good job finding those people who are interesting for you.
Besides from attention, Content Marketing also helps you establishing your credibility and authority in an industry. Let’s take again the superfood example: Company XYZ offers different kinds of superfood on their beautifully designed website. They have a homepage with an about page, a contact page and their shop on it. That’s it.
Now there is company ZYX that also offers superfood. On their homepage you can find an about page, a contact page, the shop, a blog and an email opt-in with a free ebook. On their blog, the company shares valuable information on nutrition and health-related topics.
If you put yourself in a customer’s shoes now, who do you think you would buy from eventually? The company that offers you recipes and information or the one that simply has a nice website? And which one would you recommend to your friends? I guess, the answer is obvious.
Company ZYX designed their website to help people who are interested in nutrition. It’s designed for people who want to stay informed and the website makes them want to return. That’s exactly the goal of Content Marketing. It helps making your website a hub, a destination not only for customers who want to buy straight away but for those who need a little persuasion. Like this, you can earn valuable referrals and win over influencers who share your content with their peers. In the end, you will earn your credibility and your authority.
We have already talked a lot about authority and credibility, which plays a crucial role in Content Marketing. Think about yourself and a problem you might have right now. Maybe you’re trying to eat healthier. Now imagine you talked to two different people about it. The one is very savvy about that topic as she is a certified nutritionist; the other praises herself to be an expert because she has read so many articles about that topic. Whom would you trust more now? The person with the certificate or the one who has read about the topic? Well, I guess the answer is pretty clear. And why is it that you trust the certified nutritionist more? Because she is an authority in the field of nutrition!
So what makes Content Marketing work now? It is the aspect of authority. Authority rules! That doesn’t mean that you necessarily need to have a certificate to become an authority though.
But what is it that makes you an authority in your industry if it is not a certificate? That’s where Content Marketing comes into play. With careful and strategic planning, Content Marketing will help you to position yourself as an authority. But don’t expect to just write one or two blog posts to become a trusted influencer. This will take a lot of time and a lot of planning. Will get deeper into that later.
The way Content Marketing works here is pretty simple: If you’re an authority in your field, you don’t have to chase your customers anymore; they will come to you to ask for help. They will engage with you and return to you if they need your type of product or service.
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