Why create content in the first place?
Yes, let’s start here.
If brands, bloggers, influencers, and users won’t create content to be published online, how else will they tell their stories, anecdotes, reviews, hacks and tips, revelations, and ideas that have the potential to change the world?
Okay, the information overload is very real, but that’s a topic for another day. Today we are going to discuss the power of content. And how it can produce even better returns if you plan instead of creating random bursts of content and hoping to get traction to your website.
But first, let us introduce you to the power of storytelling. It is the secret weapon of every great content marketer ever. The reason – it works. We can’t get enough of compelling stories told by great storytellers. Stories tie us together as humanity and act as catalysts for bringing people together and instill a sense of community and belonging within each one of us. It is one of the things that makes us unique as human beings.
Now, why are we talking about stories again? Because people will only buy from you if they feel a certain degree of connection to your brand. And the best way to let them know why you exist and what brought you to the stage of helping whoever you are helping – is by telling your story – your genesis.
The best way to do that is through content. But not just by creating your content and hoping it would spark a magical spell onto your audience and lure them to your website. It just does not work. They won’t know about your business unless you make efforts to put yourself out there. All your hard work goes for a toss. We are pretty sure you don’t want that.
Hence, content marketing.
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Formative Years of Content Marketing As We Know It
Content production for mass publishing dates back to the age when the word ‘digital’ was not even a thing. Brands like John Deere – started a consumer magazine in 1895 to combine their branding with articles, photos, and agricultural tips to create a go-to resource for rural life and use it as the platform for promoting John Deere products. The result? People loved it and still do. It played a significant role in creating the affinity people have for the brand even today.
The core philosophy behind modern-day content marketing is essentially the same. Still, the entry barrier is lower because you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars into printing equipment to get started, thanks to the internet.
Source – Pinterest
It all boils down to answering and catering to your target audience’s demands and issues in a way that does not seem pushy and salesy. It is the antithesis of paid ads and direct marketing. Do take note, though, content marketing is not for the faint of heart. You need to make up your mind that it will be a marathon and not a sprint. Building a loyal readership and subscriber base does not happen in a few weeks or months. It takes years and consistent efforts to be the preferred choice for your prospects whenever they need help. Your digital content should be so good that it creates an unmatched user experience for your visitors.
But just because so many companies had great results after investing in content marketing does not mean that it defaults to being the right solution for your company too. After all, just like individuals, every organization is unique in its way.
If content marketing is so powerful, why are 60% of B2B content marketers struggling to produce engaging content and measurable results?
It becomes challenging to stand out above the noise when marketers are producing tonnes of content every minute. Thankfully, there is a way to rise above and make your way through this dilemma – a winning content marketing strategy.
Why Is A Content Marketing Strategy So Important?
Imagine shouting at the top of your voice at a wall. You might think we are bonkers. But what happens is similar to your content, which just sits idle on your website without attracting visitors.
Now contrastingly, if your content is getting shared, liked, and read by real visitors, the impact it can have on your conversion funnel will be worthy of all the long hours and sheer hard work which goes into producing it.
A strategic approach to your content marketing makes it way easier to stay on track with your efforts and ensure your content is interesting to only your target audience and nobody else. It acts as a compass to help you navigate your steps in the right direction, which in turn lets you create content that educates your customers, nurture prospects, and close sales.
Most marketers don’t realize that content marketing strategy can be approached from two different perspectives – getting immediate leads and sales or short-term marketing and building authority by brand-branding, which results from consistent quality content pushed over a long-time.
Nevertheless, your company stakeholders have the least interest in trivial metrics about the likes, shares, watch time of a video, or downloads of your latest report. Instead, they are keen on knowing whether or not investing in content marketing will be beneficial for the business or not. Suppose you succeed in convincing your CEO about the impact of a solid content marketing strategy on its bottom-line and getting internal buy-in. In that case, it will be easier for you to succeed in your job.
Let us ease your struggle by giving you some compelling reasons to invest in a robust content marketing strategy for your business –
On-Site Content – Backbone of Your Online Presence
The best way to define your online presence is by the content you put up on your website, blogs, and resources such as e-books and case studies. Value-adding content makes you stand out from your competition and gives a visitor a reason to return to your website. It is at the core of your marketing strategy and determines your brand’s ability to drive traffic and gain a spot-on reputation with the search engines. These are the ingredients of a perfect website that attracts warm leads for your business.
Blogs and other long-form content pieces are a great way to entice your target audience for even more valuable content. Consistent blogging helps in both – lead generation and brand building for long-term benefits. For instance, Hubspot generates more than 90 percent of its warm leads from old blog posts that perform long after publication. Here’s how blog posts play a role in converting leads into prospects into customers throughout the funnel –
- Generate Awareness – Your prospects are searching for you online. Being there with a solid offering in the form of on-site content will elevate your rankings and gain even more exposure through search engine results.
- Build Trust – It takes a lot to create a sense of trustworthiness in relationships; the same goes for the relationship between your brand and your online audience. Creating content-based on a mapped out strategy will help you achieve that.
- Conversion Capabilities – If nothing seems to make you believe in the power of on-site content, take this – Demandbase generated $1 million in new business from an on-site bundle that included a white paper, infographic, webinar, and Slideshare. With such returns, it is hardly surprising that marketers who rely on blogs and other on-site content for generating leads are more likely to see a positive ROI than others who are still skeptical about content marketing.
- Email Lists – Gated content assets like in-depth reports, case studies, or e-books are extremely useful in building and growing your email subscriber base. This way, you can create your collection of warm leads that you can turn into prospects by pushing epic content through emails.
Off-Site Content – The Showman Behind The Scenes
Social media posts, forum discussions, and guest blogs on high authority sites with the same target audience as yours are examples of off-site content. Such assets help you create content breadcrumbs for the web audience to bring them back to your website or landing pages.
Marketing gurus suggest creating landing pages in line with either of the two primary campaign goals – awareness and conversion. Let’s see how each of these content campaigns align with your bottom line and prove your content strategy’s worth.
According to the AIDA model, awareness comes before conversion, and hence, these campaigns are the best way to reach a massive audience. One of the best examples of these campaigns is pushing your content on high-authority sites with the same target audience. This helps you leverage the website’s audience and is relatively cheaper than running paid display ads. If you are still having doubts about this strategy, consider Groove – a software startup that managed to reach more than a million people just by pushing their content on authoritative platforms and blogs.
But these campaigns need meticulous attention to the details such as content topics, visual appeal of the content, and its overall quality. No compromises should be made about these aspects if you want your content to reach bigger audiences.
After running successful awareness campaigns, the most tangible result is the flow of prospects towards later stages of the marketing and sales funnel. The content created at this stage is directly tied to your industry and the problems you solve. These campaigns are placed on a website with a readership consisting of your core demographic. The real action is to establish a CTA which links back to your site, and the readers are presented with a long-form content piece that adds value to your readers’ life in some way or the other. Most marketers underestimate the power of this type of content campaigns as they are unable to see expected results. But this is how BuzzStream broke its record for new user signups and made the marketing fraternity proud and envious at the same time.
If, by now, you are starting to realize the need for a focused content marketing strategy for your business, we are glad to have created this blog post. If you need further convincing, though, let us show you how two top-selling companies made their way to the top by implementing content marketing backed by a solid strategy.
- Toms Shoes – Highlighting Their Brand’s Mission By Donating A Pair of Shoes
Every year, Tom holds a ‘Day Without Shoes,’ which gets people to take their shoes off and post a picture with the hashtag – #daywithoutshoes. For every photo posted, Tom’s donates a pair of shoes to the needy. The campaign slogan – sell one, give one is pretty straightforward, and hits just right. Their most successful year was 2015 when they donated nearly 300,000 shoes to the poor and needy.
- IBM – Making the Most out of Content by Taking a Multi-Pronged Approach
By creating multiple blogs on their website such as – Think Blog, Watson Blog, and the Social Business Blog, IBM has topped the list of companies that most reporters tend to use as an example of a winning content marketing strategy. IBM has undoubtedly positioned itself as a thought leader due to the rich content to a range of different audiences, making it an authoritative thought leader on a range of topics.
Suppose you want to make a lasting impact on your target audience as a brand, your on-site content like blogs, resources, and landing page copies need to be far better than your competition. On the other hand, striking the right balance between awareness and conversion-focused off-site content will improve your SEO, increase your traffic, brand recall, conversion events, and eventually drive your bottom line by contributing to your revenue goals.
Contact us or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get help or learn more about how to create a robust content marketing strategy that can drive real results to impact the bottom line for your business positively.