You hear it almost as often as you hear about everyone’s New Years Resolutions: “Content is King.” When content marketing first started to come into its own, all of the thought leaders were repeating this phrase like a broken record, and for good reason; content marketing is extremely successful. It showcases your expertise to your colleagues and your potential clients. If you produce strong, relevant content, you’ll drive traffic, raise awareness and establish yourself as a thought leader. The purpose of content marketing is not to directly drive sales. Instead, content marketing is the first step in a process of enticing and converting a stranger to a customer.
As many companies try to jump on the content marketing bandwagon, many make the mistake of producing their content shortsightedly, but as Jon Buscall points out, “content marketing is a commitment, not a campaign.” In order for your content marketing to fulfill its purpose, you need to commit to the larger picture. We’ve put together a few pointers to help you make sure you’re on the right track.
Before you ever begin to produce content, establish your brand so that your marketing strategy consistently portrays your brand. Most importantly, establish what your brand IS NOT. When you create content, be sure that whatever you are putting out there helps to support your branding efforts. This may be as simple as maintaining a certain color scheme or using your company’s specific font. However, branding is more than colors and imagery, it applies to the actual content your produce. Though it may seem obvious, if you are a manufacturing company, make sure you share content related to manufacturing or trade practices. Avoid sharing content related to fashion trends or marketing secrets. Which leads us to our next “must.”
Showcase Your Expertise
Take a moment to look at the bigger picture. Ask yourself what content marketing, if successful, will do for your company. Your answer should be something along the lines of “others will see that we know what we’re talking about.” If your answer sounds more like, “well, all of my friends are doing it,” take a step back and make sure that it’s a good fit for your company. The primary goal of content marketing should be to establish yourself as a thought leader. Therefore, any content you produce should highlight what you are best at. If you’re a start-up in the mobile realm, publish a white page on mobile trends. Similarly, avoid producing content in a space that could present as one of your weaker areas. Your content should hint at your expertise without giving too much away. Leave them wanting more.
But don’t leave them hanging. As we mentioned earlier, your content marketing needs to be part of a greater strategy. If you blog, blog consistently, even if that means only once a month. Make sure that you have an established strategy for how you will approach your content marketing, and that it fits into your overall marketing strategy. Whatever you create should complement and be supported by the other aspects of your marketing strategy. You don’t want to put out one great piece that gets a lot of attention and have it lead nowhere.
Putting out great content does two things. It will get you noticed and establish you as a thought leader, and if you do it right, it will leave your potential customers feeling like your company is a group of intelligent experts who are willing to help. As a result, when they are in need of your product or service, you won’t have to hunt them down; they’ll come running towards you.
We’ve got a worksheet that will help you strategize when it comes to content marketing. We like to use ours to map out or content strategy for the month across the various media platforms. Click the link below to download a copy to use for yourself.
Tell us how you used our template! #MOVEahead