Content marketing has become a necessary part of digital marketing. And while it does not always deal with a company’s actual products, it does deal with the customers; and that is critical.
Content marketing is educational marketing. It requires companies to know what their customers want to learn more about, and then the company provides that information on a regular basis. In turn, this builds loyalty from customers and followers.
Which Came First?
Think about this scenario. I used to go to a local farm to buy my eggs. I paid $4.50/doz. One day, the woman there told me I should just buy chickens as each chick was only $4. She took me around the farm, taught me all about chickens and taught me tricks she learned caring for them. She compared and contrasted raising chickens to having cats and dogs, and she shared with me how I could get them to get along with each other.
I took my dozen eggs home. I started Googling about backyard chickens. I looked at their website, and sure enough there was more information about chickens.
This was 10 years ago. Since then, I have purchased several flocks from them. I have bought food, treats, bedding and other needed materials for them. While I am there, I also buy produce, baked goods and little gifts from their store.
Now, I was already a customer, but through education, they sold me something I did not even know I needed or wanted.
Additionally, by providing easily accessible information I began to trust them. I knew that if I had problems with these chickens, I would have a place to go for answers and support. With no hard sell and no advertisements, they turned me from a $10/month customer into a $30/month customer.
That is content marketing. In this case, much of the work was done face to face, but it is still content marketing.
Digital content marketing is the same concept, just a different platform.
Content marketing can include webinars, articles, videos and how-tos. Becoming the go-to place for information relevant to potential customers is a great way to gain more exposure and expand the customer base.
Great! Let’s Get Started
However interesting and worthy one may feel content marketing is, we must acknowledge- it is not easy.
Content marketing takes time and expertise. Sharing an article here and there will not build the exposure described above.
Content marketing requires research and strategy.
Companies need to think about their customer’s Google search history. What is it they want to know and are actively seeking out? In my situation with the eggs, she clearly saw I was overspending on eggs, and assumed (correctly) that it was because I cared about the conditions of factory farming and/or my own health.
The only solution I saw to my problem was buying free-ranging and local eggs. She saw another solution.
What are your potential or existing customers looking for?
What solutions do they need?
Can you provide information for them to help them find the solution and make good decisions?
Can you do it regularly so you become their go-to place for information?
If yes, you have the opportunity for content marketing.
Content marketing is not about putting your products in front of the customer. It is about providing a service to the customer that gains their trust and loyalty.
Podcasts. Newsletters. Blogs. Videos. Charts. Infographics.
Can you create these things on a consistent basis so your customers know they can come to you to learn more about something they care about?
And if you cannot, it is ok. Maybe this is not the right approach for your company. Or maybe you need help from a marketing specialist!