If you’ve ignored the most popular trend in marketing over the past decade, you may not know anything about content marketing. Maybe you’re just sharing content you love or constantly posting about your business. No one is engaging. No one is sharing your content. If that’s the case, the problem may be that you are not giving your audience what they want.
That’s where content marketing comes in.
What Is Content Marketing?
In essence, content marketing is the practice of providing helpful, entertaining, and informative resources for your customers. Generally, you give them away with the goal that this content (written, auditory, or image-based) will move potential customers through your sales funnel, with them ultimately buying from you in the end. It’s also supposed to help people get to know, like, and trust you – key components for people doing business with you.
Sounds like magic doesn’t it?
So, why does this article sound like it’s anti-content marketing? That’s just a title but if you’re not going to do content marketing using best practices, it’s probably best that you skip it altogether.
Don’t Waste Your Time on Content Marketing If…
It’s All About Your Objectives
If you’re going to produce what you want, and talk about only what management is interested in, and what you want your audience to know, don’t attempt content marketing. This is not elementary school. While there is often an educational component to content marketing, think of it more as college offerings. In elementary school, students are taught the basics whether they enjoy the subject or not. By the time they are in college, they’re taking classes of interest to them. Your content must interest your audience in order to be successful. No getting around this.
You Can’t Commit
Good content marketing takes time. There is no army of readers waiting to descend on your content the moment you decide to publish a blog. You need to commit to a schedule and cultivate an audience. There are no short cuts. Basing your marketing strategy on trying to go viral is like hinging your retirement on winning the lottery. You must plan, strategize, analyze, and create more content based on what you’ve learned about your audience’s preferences.
You Don’t Want to Listen
Your audience may love to read but you only want to produce podcasts. You want to show off your cerebral side but your customers just want to be entertained.
If you can’t meet your audience’s needs and preferences, you won’t have an audience.
The audience will tell you what it wants. The best content marketers can listen to that and create something their audiences are interested in, while still meeting their business objectives.
You’re Going to Try It Out
In the wise words of Yoda, “Do or do not. There is no try.” If you go into content marketing with the idea of writing a blog post or two to see “how it goes,” you’re wasting your time. Do it or don’t do it. If just you want to bait the hook and see if anything bites, go fishing.
Finally, there is no point in content marketing if you’re not measuring the results. Producing good content – the kind your audience and Google will enjoy – takes time. It’s an investment. After all, you’re creating resources for your customers and potential customers.
Think of the resources as a “living” users’ manual on your company’s knowledge base. People who are trying to get to know you can access your library of content (or past posts) and understand who you are, what you know, and what you have to offer. If it aligns with what they’re looking for, you have a loyal customer.
This cannot be approached lightly or complacently. You’ll want a strategy. Give thought to your insights and how you can leverage them to meet your audience’s needs. Content marketing is not for the dabblers. It’s the best way to establish yourself in the hearts and minds of your customers.