Content marketing has been a buzzword long enough that most marketing-aware business people have a pretty good sense of what content marketing is. I’m sure that’s true for the vast majority of the Biznology audience. What’s less commonly understood – and less frequently discussed – is how to apply content marketing. In other words, what can content marketing do for me? Here are five ideas.
Find New Customers
This is the granddaddy of all the content marketing goals. (Of all marketing goals, actually.) Keeping a fresh stream of content running improves your chances of being found (SEO) and being shared. (Social media, email marketing.) It can also be one of the more difficult goals to measure, as the path from content to closed sale can be indirect.
Strengthen Your Brand
This is much more marketing-focused than sales focused, so in many ways it’s the other side of the “find new customers” coin. Interestingly, this can be easier to measure accurately than sales results, but much harder to quantify. What is a new fan of your brand worth? What is he or she worth this quarter? Over the lifetime of your relationship?
Improve Customer Service
If customers can find information more quickly, or learn more about how to use your product or how deal with common issues, they’ll be happier than if they have to wait to get you on the phone or worse, go to an “authorized service center” for help.
Lower Administrative Costs
Improved customer service can also lead to lower administrative costs. If your customers can help themselves, your staff doesn’t have to. Arming your audience with information not only helps them solve their own problems, it can help prevent issues from coming to pass in the first place. Again, it’s a win for you and a win for your audience.
Establish Thought Leadership
The content you publish can become strong evidence of your expertise in your field. As you establish that expertise, you gain an almost unassailable advantage over your competitors – who your prospects may look at as commodity entities. Everyone wants to work with a leader, an expert, an acknowledged authority because it lowers the risk they are taking no matter who they hire. Remember, it’s your prospect’s butt on the line. He or she doesn’t want to risk embarrassment (or his/her employment) by making a mistake. Hiring a thought leader makes the decision that much easier.
There are, of course, many other ways you can put content marketing to profitable use. As you examine your needs and the areas where your current marketing isn’t working, I’m sure you’ll come up with other ideas.
And if a so-called content marketing guru comes knocking and tells you that you have to “do” content marketing without having a goal like one of these in mind to measure progress against, show him or her the door. “Doing” content marketing isn’t likely to get you anywhere. Determining what content marketing can do for you before you start is the way to solid results.
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