Marketers are doing their best at providing valuable content to consumers in exchange for their clicks. This makes it a little different than just throwing out ads. This information is something readers actually want to read, hear and see.
Here is some more information about content marketing along with some tips:
With content marketing, instead of developing ads that interrupt customers, companies create content such as:
- Blog posts
- Podcast recordings (.mp3s)
- White papers & downloadable guides
- Youtube videos that benefit customers and provide value
This value can be provided in two ways: as educational content and as entertainment content. In either case, customers have free access to content that provides value.
Copyblogger is considered the premier example of successful content marketing. They provide daily, world-class internet marketing tips for customers via their blog. Instead of grabbing customers’ attention with ads, they create blog content that is valuable to their audience, in exchange for attention and the opportunity to market products at opportune times.Here are some of the many benefits content marketing has to offer (yes, the list is really long):
1. Content marketing provides something of value to customers whereas traditional ads do not.
With an advertisement, customers often try to mute, ignore, or get away from them as fast as they can. With content that’s tailored to what customers want or need, they end up spending hours with your content developing a relationship with your brand and remaining engaged with your products. People may read Copyblogger for months before buying a product, but they hang around and voluntarily consume content until that time comes.
2. Content marketing educates customers to the point that they’re ready to purchase your product.
Many times, people don’t purchase a product because they don’t realize how valuable it is or how badly they need it. Customers may not buy from a company that sells direct mail solutions like PostcardMania, not because they don’t need the product, but because they don’t understand how it works. Media-type content such as blog posts and Youtube videos can educate customers to the point that they’re ready to buy your product.
3. Content marketing creates a sense of reciprocity with customers.
As you give people more and more free content, customers arrive at a point where they want to reciprocate the benefit that they’ve received. If your company helps them become a better marketer and make more money, they’ll come to a point where they’ll want to buy something from you to pay you back for all of the free content you’ve provided.
4. Content marketing attracts customers for free.
Instead of paying $1.50 per click, or whatever it costs for your business, you can attract 500 customers for the cost of writing one blog post. If you write the content strategically, each blog post will last you for the life of your business, and you’ll get a lifetime return on your investment. Thousands of people can read one post that took two to five hours to write. Whereas Google ads cost money to bring people to your site one time, content is written once and can direct traffic to your site for years. In the end content becomes an asset but advertising is always an expense.
5. Content marketing creates content that gets shared.
Think about what people share online. They share content. If you look at any Facebook stream, somewhere 90% of outside content that is shared are links to content, not a link to a website. Even if customers like you enough to click on a share link on your homepage, they can only share it once because, after the homepage is shared, there’s no reason to share it again. But with content, the same customer can share your content 10 weeks in a row. That’s 10 opportunities to reach their network multiplied by the size of their audience. If five people in their audience like the content and share it, the content gets multiplied again. The most important point is that people share content and not websites making a piece of content is much more likely to go viral than a link to your site.
6. Content marketing provides a SEO benefit.
For every blog post you publish, you have new content that can be indexed by Google. Without blog posts, your website may have 10 pages that can be indexed. After writing one post a week for a year, your website will have 52 more pages. Even if the posts aren’t written super strategically, which at least some of them should be, you’ll have a total of 62 pages than can rank in Google for some term or another. That’s much better than 10, and much more likely to gain search engine traffic.
7. Content marketing increases traffic.
With podcasts as an example, you’ll reach an audience that you may not have ever reached with blog posts or Youtube videos–you’ll reach people who listen to podcasts. Each of these audience members that finds your podcast will also find a link back to your site. By uploading podcast content onto iTunes, you’re creating another potential traffic source that doesn’t have to be paid for and another opportunity to get your message in front of an audience. By using Youtube, podcasts, and blog posts, you’re creating three potential traffic sources for your website.
8. Content marketing is highly targeted.
One of the goals with any marketing campaign is to get your message in front of the largest, most targeted audience possible. A large audience means more people know about you, and a more targeted audience means that a greater percentage of the audience can potentially become buyers.
Hopefully you’re sold on the benefits of content marketing at this point. If so, you may be wondering how you can get more out of your content marketing efforts. You may be wondering how you can get the most benefit from the time you put into developing content.
Here are four ways:
- Provide content that your customers’ want: A lot of people make the mistake of writing their blog about their business. That’s a problem because customers don’t care about you, they care about themselves. It’s true, but you can also take advantage of this. You can take advantage by providing valuable content that customers want and need in exchange for their attention. This content can be educational or entertaining, and it can be a how-to article, an in-depth guide, or an entertaining video. Anything that gives customers something they want in exchange for their valuable time and attention. (Within reason, of course.)
- Mostly write content for the customers’ benefit and only occasionally promoting your products: If you’re going to provide value to customers, you need to mostly write content for the customers’ benefit and occasionally promoting your products. People are interested in articles and posts that benefit them, not ad posts touting how awesome your product or business is. By giving customers content that they want 4 out of 5 or 9 out of 10 times, you’ll be rewarded with an engaged and targeted audience.
- Write cornerstone content: Cornerstone content is content that can be categorized and archived in a way that’s easy for customers to find. It’s also content that provides incredible value to customers over a long period of time. KISSmetrics does this with their marketing guides, Copyblogger does this with their resources in the sidebar, and River Pools and Spas does this with their Pool 101 content. The best part about cornerstone content is that it greatly increases the ROI of your content production. Each article brings a return on your investment over a long period of time.
- Use other sites to find out what kind of content people want: Sometimes it’s hard to know what people want to read about. One way to find this out is to visit sites within your industry. Check their blogs and see what post get the most tweets and shares. In the internet marketing niche, social media is all the rage. If you write a post about Facebook or Twitter, it’s guaranteed to get more shares. Do some research to find out what kind of post are popular in your industry and write that type of content. You don’t want to write these types of posts every time, but it’s a great way to boost traffic when it fits into your publishing schedule.
Basically content marketing can turn into more leads, customers, influencers for your business and life long client's.
So are you finally going to take advantage of content marketing online?
Image Source: AltimeterGroup on Flickr
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