Gone are the days of flyers through letterboxes and carrier pigeons. Today, it’s all about content marketing.
Savvy consumers and business leaders have become immune to “traditional” outbound marketing, and expect more from the companies they choose to work with.
In fact, research has found that:
86% of people skip television ads (Mashable).
200 million people use ad blockers (Adobe).
80% of business decision makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement (Content Marketing Institute).
So what is the alternative?
In 2013, marketing specialist, Guy Kawasaki said: “If you have more money than brains, you should focus on outbound marketing. If you have more brains than money, you should focus on inbound marketing.”
And, to feed the inbound marketing beast, content is king (as said by our very own content director, David Mill).
Content marketing: what is it and why should you care?
The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) state:
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
And HubSpot’s director of content Corey Wainwright backs this up. He said:
“Content marketing is a marketing programme that centres on creating, publishing, and distributing content for your target audience – usually online – the goal of which is to attract new customers.”
As Benjamin Franklin once said: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” And this goes for your content marketing efforts, too.
A strong content marketing strategy involves six key stages:
Explore and establish the key business objectives. Identify the target audience and understand the customer’s personas and their customer’s personas by conducting interviews, surveys, team feedback and online research.
Using your persona information, and goal-driven campaign information, create a content schedule including content topics based on each stage of the customers’ journey.
This also considers the customers’ pain points and objectives, and ensures you create useful, informative content that positions you as a thought-leader.
3. Create – the fun part!
Using the plan, create content in formats that most suit your personas.
That might be a blog, a PR article, a video, a series of images, a GIF or something interactive such as a quiz or survey.
Issue it on your website and relevant third-party sites.
Push it out to wider audiences using social media, emails and third-party blogging sites.
Evaluate the outcome by asking:
How many people interacted with your social media posts?
How many blog views were achieved?
What are the circulation and readership figures of the media titles?
Did you generate any new leads?
Then, using this information, do it all over again – refining the approach where necessary to ensure your results keep getting better and better. Or, in a nutshell …
Plan > Create > Learn > Repeat … for content marketing success.
And read our free eGuide to learn the 10 essential rules for killer B2B content here.