Content marketing is making many opportunities for everyone to succeed. You don’t need a big money to create a big business anymore. Don’t get me wrong, producing great content still costs, but not as nearly enough as buying ads in Google search for example.
In this blog post, I’ve asked content marketing experts to share with me:
Let’s dive into this world and see why content marketing works.
Instead of pushing out traditional advertising messages that consumers want to ignore, content marketing focuses on creating and distributing content that is truly valuable — and different — than what others are publishing so they can educate and build an audience.
If you are getting started — or you aren’t seeing the success you want — make sure you have a strategy that outlines your company’s vision and mission for how the content you is different than what others are doing. Start small and build your content out on one platform in an effort to build subscribers.
Trends. Value and authenticity. People are tired of reading thinly veiled advertisements. They want content that helps them from sources they can trust quickly. This is why marketers like Gary Vaynerchuk and Neil Patel are so successful.
Predictions. Digital marketers will figure out there is still a lot of value on TV and radio. Influencers will be more important than ever, and not just the funny ones on YouTube, but even B2B influencers, because while corporations move slowly influencers have mastered the OODA loop (go read Boyd by Roger Coram).
The importance of Content Marketing. Marketing is two things; 1) content, and 2) channel. What content will you create, and how will you deliver it? This hasn’t changed since the days of the cavemen, and it never will change. Content marketing has been with us since the first cave paintings and it will be around 10,000 years from now. But there will probably be some virtual reality thrown in there somewhere.
General Thoughts. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Whether you’re an individual or a company start producing value-packed, authentic content. Start where you’re at today, then make it better every day.
Let’s be honest here. People aren’t going to visit your blog because they want to read a sales pitch. They want to get entertained or educated. If you’re busy pushing your products or services on your blog, the sooner you’ll drive away visitors.
To make sure that you aren’t being too much of a salesperson, ask yourself these two important questions when creating a blog post:
– Who are you writing for?
– How can you help your visitors?
Content marketing is just as important as it ever was but is getting harder as more and more companies jump on the bandwagon, which means more competition for people’s attention.
Additionally, the main drivers of traffic to content including organic search and organic social reach have dried up or been reduced to a fraction of what they used to be due to more/bigger ads and news feed algorithm changes.
So, winning at content marketing in 2017 and beyond requires:
(a) investment in paid channels like Facebook and Twitter ads
(b) investment in more engaging content formats like video, and
(c) production of substantially better quality stuff.
Content marketing used to be about producing content so that your customers could find you through the search engines… nowadays it’s so much more.
The content you create feeds your social media marketing and email marketing efforts… so much so that if managed correctly your potential customers cannot go anyplace online without bumping into your content and slowly recognizing you an expert in your field.
Become an influencer. This takes a lot of work, time and blogging but it’s worth it. I personally like to do this by putting my thoughts in the form of a blog post. This is something Humans and Google both love. This drives my company business. Don’t put out crap, only the best content. People know if it’s good content. I also recommend putting out everything you know, give away all your secrets. It makes you look like the expert/influencer you are.
Deploy A Best Answer Strategy
Today’s consumers are incredibly savvy, and completely overwhelmed with the sheer amount of content that is thrown at them on a daily basis. Sadly, much of the content that marketers invest countless hours (and dollars) in, never gets consumed or shared. If brands want to be known for a particular topic it’s important that they deploy the best answer strategy. What does that mean? Everything from your content marketing strategy to SEO, Digital Advertising, and Social Media should be integrated in a way that creates a consistent experience and message across multiple platforms. By deploying the best answer strategy, you will be the best answer for what your customers are looking for, wherever they are searching.
I believe the biggest challenge for content marketers in 2017 will be the temptation to give up on their own content marketing. Content marketing really started to take root around 2010. The early adopters lived through a lot and learned a lot of hard lessons. Earlier this year, Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute wrote about the coming trough of disillusionment, and based on what we are seeing in our content marketing workshops, we think Joe was right on target.
It took 4 or 5 years, but content marketing is becoming mainstream in marketing departments all around the world. However, many of the companies are disappointed in their results. Based on what we are seeing, the organizations that are failing are just missing it. Often times it boils down to some very subtle things. For example, most marketers are still blowing it when it comes to ideation and optimizing their titles. Seems basic, but doing this incorrectly can be the difference between success and failure. Those that can keep pushing forward, keep measuring, keep learning, keep improving, will make it. Others, I fear, will give up.
The most profound marketing trend we face in the foreseeable future is the overwhelming amount of content density out there now. Content is no longer a unique tactic or a novelty. The economic value of content that is not seen and shared is zero, so we must now focus on understanding this as a core competency (which I address in The Content Code book). Marketing still starts with great content but the challenge now is to get it to move through our networks.
Because content from actual customers is more authoritative than what a company can say about themselves, the process to gather this content is now more complex than just hiring an ad agency. We must extend what used to be marketing/advertising into all parts of the company, such that operations and product are core to sourcing, producing, and distributing this content.
So consider what this means for anyone with the title or assumed skill of “content marketer”. Who else do you need to work with and how must you broaden your skills?
My tip– learn how to use the “dollar a day” tactic on Facebook to let customers to the work for you , say thank you at scale, and make sure your content is being seen precisely by the right people.
Content marketing is a dominant force and a smart alternative for companies that don’t have the money to advertise and buy attention. But be ready to adapt. Here are three concepts to keep in mind.
Influencer marketing. It’s worth the time and effort to reach out to those who have already built an audience that you’d like to connect with
Great promotions beat great content. Yes, quality is critical, but the content promotion is the key to success. Focus on all three channels: search, social and email.
Remarketing and social advertising. Content marketers that combine content and advertising are getting great results.
Content marketing will move from a side project, often underfunded and under-resourced, to a prominent role within more forward-thinking companies. These companies will center their marketing organization around content marketing and won’t make the mistake of hiring a single, frazzled content marketer to “check the box” in their organizations.
Lead generation, email marketing, SEO, PR and other disciplines will align with major content initiatives versus marching to their own, separate strategies.
Things ARE changing. Traditional advertising certainly isn’t extinct, but there is simply too much noise out there, and people are sick of it. They’re shutting out the blast advertising that has crept into every aspect of their lives and centering in on the things they truly care about—friends, family, personal interests and need, and social connections. You need to take a step back and study this shift in order to take advantage of it. For brands, that doesn’t mean you can simply move your blast advertising campaigns into social channels. You actually have to make real conversation with real people and help them get what they want. That means knowing your prospects well enough to understand what they want. It also means creating content that’s helpful, entertaining, educational, or all of the above—content that helps them make a decision; content they want to share with friends.
Smart brands have noticed that we’re moving to a “connection economy,” and they are producing ongoing content that meets the new search “relevancy” standards. They’ve studied their audiences, listened to their social conversations, and have developed plans to use that content in their social profiles to emotionally connect to their audiences and encourage conversation. When it resonates, it gets shared and receives comments and likes, which makes that brand more visible.
What it all boils down to is that in the new world of content marketing, the Content “IS” the Ad. Sharing, conversation, and emotionally connected content will be the ads of the future. Instead of thinking in terms of “Convince and Convert,” start thinking in terms of “Converse and Convert.” Helpful content gives your customers reasons to stay engaged—not just react—and also increases brand advocacy.
So start thinking like a publisher because the more relevant, helpful content you create, the better you can drive engagement. And as my Return on Relationship (#RonR) formula illustrates…
Content drives Engagement, Engagement drives Advocacy, and Advocacy correlates directly to Increased Sales. #NoLetUp!
If someone truly understands what content marketing is– which is essentially a company obsession with solving their customer/prospect problems and establishing themselves as true teachers within their space– then they realize the principles of content marketing are forever.
They will be as valid in 50 years as they are today. Sure, platforms and technologies will change, but the principles will outlive us all, which is something we must do our best to remember
I’m publishing new research in early September on contextual campaigns and contextual content. I’ve been looking for the past three years on what happens to content when digital becomes “phygital,” moving beyond screens to devices, objects, and locations.
Content strategy and content marketing will also soon move in this direction, enhancing consumer experiences, customer service, information and more in ways that go far beyond the right message to the right person at the right time.
We’ll be also thinking of the past and future, as well as the present, plus the time and place. Content is becoming immediately contextual, going far beyond personalization. Exciting, and daunting!
The most important asset your marketing team has is its content. I mean this in the most broad sense … ad copy is content, too.
But whether you’re talking about ad copy for a billboard, pay-per-click ad or even the image and social copy that accompanies your posts on Facebook or Instagram, that content is the ticket to your customer’s eyeballs, hearts and minds. If you can’t grab their attention and persuade them to take the next step with you using that content, you lose.
If you do, you win. Place all the media you want. If the content filling that spot isn’t spot-on, you’re not going to be happy with the outcomes.
One of my first blog posts was 106 words. No visuals and no sub-titles. It was enough then. We all need to feed the content beast that is a global competition for attention so banging out a ton of words, images and videos is still part of the game.
Quantity is still important but as Google has continued to impose its “user experience” and “quality” algorithms as part of its search optimization the standard bar has been raised. Content marketing is not just about social and shares it is also about search.
Quality long form content sits right in that mix. So long form content is now a key component for serious content marketers. SEO traffic is often 50% of the attention for a blog post. Over half this blog’s traffic comes from organic search.
Content makes the first sales call for every organization and individual — telling a brand’s story instead of selling a solution.
Today’s content marketing trends focus on the haves and the have-nots. Some brands have the ability to capture attention, teach the reader something they did not know and show them why that learning is important to them. The others have not considered telling the story from the customer’s point of view. Building industry eminence and trust is key to rising above the cacophony of content.
Three content simple trends I see:
I think content marketing is so important but I see content marketers building more skills around building content conversion funnels. We spend too much time of our budget on content creation and not enough on content conversion.
There’s a lot to learn about content conversion but it’s so valuable for a content marketer. What’s interesting is that I see sales funnel experts building content marketing skills and content marketers building sales funnels skills!!
As B2B content marketers, we’ve successfully connected content to revenue: we can tie our content to things like “influenced opportunities.”
The next step?
To understand whether our content helped or hurt the closed deal. When see that our eBook was downloaded in a closed deal, we give each other high-fives. But what if the eBook raised questions that almost cost us the sale? We’d want to take a hard look at that eBook and determine how to improve it.
To judge our content marketing, we’ll need to incorporate qualitative feedback to complement our quantitative measures.
Content marketing is more than just marketing. It’s a great way to engage and interact with your community of customers and fans.
The key behind content marketing is to put out information that is relevant versus something that is obvious and overtly promotional. If the content is good, it will naturally be promotional. It should also be good enough to warrant comments from the readers. But, don’t let those comments stack up without responding. Start the conversation and do what you can to keep it going. The more the better.
Finally, repurpose your content for multiple channels. A good article in a blog can be used in other publications. Turn the article into a video. Take excerpts from the article and turn them into tweets. One good piece of content can be used ten different ways.
It’s a great time to be marketer, because it’s never been easier to build a brand than it is today. New types of opportunities emerge every year. Recently, this has included things such as featured snippets or the emergence of social media advertising platforms (for example: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter). Coming soon as a major new opportunity is AMP, as Google does more to help that unfold.
In the content marketing arena, there are a ton of opportunities as well. While there are many businesses out there that are using it very effectively, it’s actually a very small percentage of the market that does so. This means a great deal of opportunity for you, to build your reputation and visibility, by publishing high value, editorial, content that engages you directly with our target audience.
As a result, content marketing can directly drive the building of your brand, and your SEO at the same time Key to success, though, depends on the quality of your content. Don’t simply hire a copywriter that doesn’t know your market space to start spewing content. Instead, have legitimate subject matter experts (SMEs) create the content, and focus on the topics of greatest interest to your prospects. Use this as an opportunity to show that you know more about your market’s topic space than anyone else.
While that doesn’t guarantee success, it makes your chances of success far higher than if you choose not to do something like this. It also increases your chances of creating a sustainable competitive advantage, and obtaining one or more of those is the key to long term business success.
Content marketing may seem like it’s in trouble, because the number of channels and the amount of information only grows over time, making it very hard to stand out. But that also creates opportunity for people who are willing to persevere.
One post, or 10 posts, or 100 posts probably won’t make much of a dent in raising your profile, or your company’s. But 300 or 500 or 1000 will, and very few people are willing to commit to that.
If you are, and the quality is good, you can outlast and outpace almost everybody else.
In the past, the role of the sales person was crucial. The sales person would hold all the information the buyer needed in respect of a product or service and could carefully filter that information to influence a sale.
Now all of that information is available online.
Today, there are prospects walking into car showrooms in your city that know more about the cars on the lot than the sales person selling the cars to them.
Whatever business you are in your prospects are researching online – because of that online research, 70% of consumers buying decision is made before they even contact you.
In the present day, if you want to win more customers over your competitors then you have to build more trust. To build trust you need content – content that is useful, engaging and inspiring – content that positions your business as the go-to experts in your field.
Content is actually essential to your organization’s success…and to filling the sales funnel and to making the phone ring. Without unique content that helps your company stand out, not only will your organization visibly decline online, you soon will disappear. Google won’t recognize you. Your prospects won’t be able to find you. Referrals will dry up. And your executives will take their budgets out of content marketing and put it back into comfortable, old school activities such as cold calling and trade shows.
Luckily, this downward spiral is totally preventable. All it takes is putting together a simple plan that includes tying your content marketing efforts back to real business results. By following a proven content plan, and using traditional media relations to gain links from highly influential media outlets and blogs, you’ll be able to build your company’s website domain authority. And that, in turn, is what will get them to be found on the first page of Google search results for their priority keywords. At the same time, this content will help you generate real, qualified leads for your organization, that can be directly tracked back and attributed to your efforts.
Content marketing doesn’t just provide tons of opportunities, but also an equal chances to everyone.
I hope you like these quotes about content marketing. I picked up a few of my favorites:
Whose thoughts about content marketing would you highlight. If you have something to share or have some comments on these quotes, please let me know. I’m waiting.