As business owners we are always looking for hacks, tips and whatever, to grow our companies – the cheaper, the better. If you are searching for a steady yet affordable stream of leads and sales, then welcome to the world of Content Marketing.
The foundation upon which a successful business is built is in her promise and ability to deliver that promise to her customers. The promise hinges on marketing. As you by now know, marketing is all about content.
Everything, every picture – moving or still, every written word, every spoken word, everything is about content.
You are reading this article, – that is content, on Facebook, you like, share or comment on posts, pictures, videos, – that is content when you are bored, you drift to YouTube to catch a few minutes of them dumb things children do – that is content.
So, what is content?
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines content as
the principal substance (such as written matter, illustrations, or music) offered by a website.
We can stretch this substance to include videos, memes, infographics, newsletters, podcasts, and hundreds of other content formats – we shall come to this later.
What is content marketing?
Thousands of words are added to the English dictionary annually, the popularity of content marketing earned it a place in the Oxford English Dictionary, which defines it as;
A type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.
Let us also borrow a definition from the Content Marketing Institute
Content marketing is 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.
If the world of content marketing is new to you, I don’t want you to hang – like Windows XP on the jargon. As a business owner you already have a lot running through your head, so, think of content marketing this way;
You are in business to meet a particular need of a specific customer. This customer has a choice; a lot of choice: on who meets their needs, where they spend their time, how they spend their money.
This is what happens with content marketing. You create content – say, you write a blog post or take a picture or video of a business process solving a need of that customer, you post it on the platforms your customer spends their time on; If it is Facebook, you post it there.
You do all this with the hope that at the time the customer is ready to purchase, they will look to you.
Why content marketing is important to any business.
If there is any reason begging for a shift to content marketing is the fact that the consumer today is different – there are about as many options of vendors out there, technology, like when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit has opened the eyes of consumers.
The traditional one-sided way of communication to drive your brand promise to consumers is dying. Thanks to technology. If there is anything, consumers today hate advertisements. Moreover, it is expensive for small businesses.
You can’t afford to be stuck in the old school way of growing your business because your customers are new school.
That is where you come in; customers are online looking for all sorts of answers, why not repurpose your brand promise into information [content] that consumers will find useful and entertaining?
What all this means is the content marketing;
- It is a very cost-effective way to market and grow your business.
- Content marketing helps to position you as the go-to-guy for anything related to your industry.
- Content marketing pays dividends when it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) – I work with several clients who think there is a secret to getting to the first page of Google search results – they are right – the secret is in regularly creating and publishing content users love, if users love it so will search engines.
- Content marketing builds you a cult of loyal brand followers
- Eventually, it will drive more leads and sales to your business.
I hope that excites you on the prospects of content marketing applied to your business.
Next up, we shall see how to put the pieces together to create a winning Content Marketing Strategy that will be your guidepost to creating content that evokes action.