Do You Have a Content Marketing Strategy?

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Survey Sheds Light on What Works & What Doesn’t

Are you familiar with content marketing and how to use it to promote your brand, product or book?

If you answered “No,” read on! It can help you in countless ways.

If you said “Yes,” read on! I’ve found some great new information that will make you a better, faster, more effective content marketer.

Content marketing is giving people information that’s valuable to them. It can include articles shared on your website, tips offered via social media, seminars and other non-sales speaking engagements, newsletters, etc.

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It’s not advertising; in fact, it often includes no promotion beyond being stamped with the name of the company or product giving it away.

It works by building awareness of and trust in your brand, and it’s become all the rage since the rise of digital media, which makes publishing so easy and inexpensive. A recent survey found 93 percent of business-to-business marketers use content marketing.

The term seems to have been first used in 1996, but the concept goes back at least 130 years before that. In 1867, the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Co. published The Locomotive, a newspaper that answered questions and shared articles about steam power. (It’s still published today!)

There are other early examples but my favorite is the free recipe pamphlet produced by The Genesee Pure Food Co. in 1904 to promote a new dessert unknown to Americans.

In just two years, those recipe pamphlets helped make Jell-O “America’s Most Famous Dessert,” with more than $1 million in sales – at 10 cents a box!

Nowadays, businesses have a wealth of content marketing options from which to choose, and we’re constantly developing new ones. Which work best? Which delivery systems are most effective?

Those are questions the Content Marketing Institute is seeking to answer through annual surveys of business-to-business marketers. Insights from its fifth survey, released just last week, offer tips from which we can all benefit, including:

  • Don’t just wing it – have a strategy that you’ve thought through and written down.

Two-thirds of marketers who create and follow a written content marketing strategy with objectives, goals and action steps identified say they feel their efforts are effective. Contrast that with the 84 percent of marketers who do not have a documented content marketing strategy – and feel their efforts aren’t working. The lesson here is clear: Whether you’re aiming to double your web traffic or go to the corner market, you need a plan for getting from Point A to Point B.

  • Use a variety of delivery methods – and be sure in-person events are among them.

The surveyed marketers use an average of 13 different tactics for sharing their content, including social media (92 percent), white papers, videos and webinars. Interestingly, only 77 percent use in-person events such as speaking engagements and seminars, although last year, they identified those as the most effective. The reality is, to reach the different segments of your target demographic, you need to be in many places at the same time. And don’t underestimate the value of face-to-face contact!

  • Don’t give up simply because you don’t see a jump in sales.

Instinct says, “If it’s working, I should immediately see that reflected in my bottom line.” But that’s not true. Sales — the conversion from prospect to customer — is a separate process. You can’t measure the success of your content marketing efforts by counting the number of widgets you’ve sold.

So how can you measure it? Five percent of the marketers surveyed say their organization is “very successful” at tracking the ROI of their content marketing.

That’s surprising. I’ve been doing content marketing for 25 years and I’ve never questioned the ROI: It keeps me in front of prospective customers and allows me to show them my expertise, my caring and my ability to help. When they’re ready they’re likely to use my services or refer their friends.

One of the most valuable elements of your content marketing strategy is building an in-house database of people interested in your topic.  If you don’t have one yet, start right away with contact information of clients, friends and business associates.  As you provide them with valuable content they’ll share the information, which will help your database grow.

Consumers want to do business with brands they trust and that share their values. They want to see evidence of knowledge, integrity and a genuine interest in their welfare.

The bottom line? As one of our clients aptly put it, “Givers get.”

That’s so true!

Marsha

P.S. As a national publicity firm staffed by media veterans, we’re specialists in creating high-quality content that grabs attention and engages consumers. Do you need help? Just give us a call! 727-443-7115, ext. 208, or get your Free Media Analysis here. We’d love to hear from you!

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