If you’ve ever clicked on an article or video posted by a company then you’ve been content marketeered (that’s not really a word, so don’t quote me).
But before I fill your ears with marketing jargon, let’s keep it simple. Content marketing, or inbound marketing, is all about earning peoples interest. Instead of pushing your message down customers’ throats, you tempt them in with an interesting carrot. This guy knows:
“If you have more money than brains, you should focus on Outbound Marketing. If you have more brains than money, you should focus on Inbound Marketing.” – Guy Kawasaki
Alright. We all love a carrot. But how is that going to get us customers?
Inbound marketing is an indirect marketing method that starts by generating interest. This interest can turn strangers into visitors, visitors into leads and leads into eventual customers.
It might sound fluffy, but this method really works. Evidence shows that it is not only more effective than traditional marketing methods, you also get a lot more bang for your buck.
Where to start with content marketing?
First, find your voice (and make sure it’s authentic)…
…because 68% of online buyers spend considerable time reading content published by a brand they are interested in (The CMA). Reading something useful, interesting, unusual or just plain hilarious not only helps people feel loyal to your company or brand, it also has them coming back for more.
But people can smell a hidden advert a mile away. So try and find a topic that you can offer some real and authentic advice about. And if you want it to be obvious, make it obvious in a unique way. JustEat for example have found a tone that balances funny with sales.
(And no, I’m not trying to get free stuff from JustEat. But if they want to send a tikka masala my way, I will graciously accept.)
Second, optimise, optimise, optimise.
I cannot stress this enough. Your content needs to be razor sharp with all the right keywords if it’s going to pop up on that first page of Google results.
After all, B2B customers conduct 12 searches on average before checking a specific brand’s website (Kapost) and 71% of B2B researchers start with a generic search (Google, 2015).
It takes time to work through and update your website, and you will definitely need some experienced content writers to help you along the way, but it is well worth the investment.
Third, share it everywhere.
That means making the content clearly visible on your website, sharing it on social media and setting up an email marketing system.
Think email marketing is dead? Maybe on Monday morning when your inbox is full and your patience is thin – but email has a median ROI of 122% – that’s four times higher than social media and paid search (DMA and Demand Metric). And 86% of professionals prefer email when communicating for business purposes (Hubspot). So it’s alive people.
If you’re not sure where to start with email marketing, try MailChimp. It’s cheap, intuitive and has reasonably good reporting systems so you can track your progress. Plus, they have a funny sweaty monkey that gets stressed just before you send something out. I like that.
Finally, get analysing.
We live in this cool time where you can record marketing data on pretty much everything. Gone are the days of pasting adverts on billboards and waiting for the landline to ring (though I do miss my old, curly wired telephone).
Using online analytics is a great way to stay on top of your efforts and see what works. For a B2C company that sells products online, this can be as simple as seeing how many people convert to paying customers.
For B2B or not-for-profit organisations, keeping track of the amount of visitors on your posts, or seeing how many people sign up for your email campaigns can be good performance indicators.
Whatever you decide, there are many tools out there that can help you along the way. The digital world is a large and complicated one, so make sure all your efforts are really making a difference.
If you like all my fancy advice and want to hire me to help you out, then please get in touch. And if you’re calling from an old, twirly telephone, even better.