The term content marketing – the strategic approach to providing relevant and valuable content to a defined audience – originated in the early 1990’s and gained popularity with the growth of online marketing. In 2014, Forbes Magazine reported that over 90% of B2B marketers include content marketing in their overall marketing plan. So what exactly is content marketing and how does it apply to your business?
With the rise of social media and online marketing, providing visual, auditory, or written content that engages audiences is imperative. However, simply posting what you think may be interesting content is not good enough. There must be a strategy that begins with determining your audience and then segmenting this audience into smaller groups. Creating buyer personas that define your different types of customers is a great way to start.
For instance, if you sell energy drinks your audiences could include college students, busy professionals, and fitness gurus. The content and messaging that is provided to these different groups will vary and should be tailored to their interests. The purpose of your content should be to help, NOT sell. Providing solutions that address pain points or problems are a sure way to grab attention without the message seeming contrived or phony. So how does this improve your business?
Beyond the technical benefits of content marketing (creating more inbound website traffic, etc.), studies show that consumers feel a stronger relationship with companies that provide custom content. Businesses that regularly produce blogs and newsletters that are tailored to their customers’ needs are more likely to stay top-of-mind and produce positive referrals.
Additionally, the search for custom content is ongoing! People are constantly looking for information that is specifically for them. Outboundengine.com reports that social media and blogs account for 23% of time spent online and that these are the platforms where people are finding and searching for quality content.
The signs are clear. Producing high quality videos, blogs, infographics, etc. that address a problem for a specific audience is far more likely to gain attention than a traditional advertisement. Although work-intensive, content marketing strategy over time increases customer loyalty and improved lead generation. So let’s get writing!