The concept of content marketing is old. But do you think it’s something you don’t need? You might want to rethink that.
Back in 1985, a small magazine named The Furrow changed the face of marketing forever.
A niche magazine for the agricultural industry, The Furrow aimed to help consumers deal with various issues. But the main topics of the magazine included presentations of John Deere products and how these products can solve people’s problems. And along with those solutions, readers also received important advice.
Many cite the articles about John Deere in The Furrow as the first example of content marketing, although no one knew it at the time.
Today, The Furrow still has at least two million readers. And over the years, the magazine adapted to modern content trends and customer expectations.
Now, the magazine doesn’t emphasise text as it used to. It uses more images instead. And yet, it still advertises John Deere products.
That’s why with the help of this magazine and content marketing strategy, John Deere became one of the most recognisable brands in the industry.
The magazine still serves as a marketing tool even now, more than a century later, and it’s not just a novelty. It doesn’t force any sales, even though it mostly represents one brand. It simply provides something of value to the readers, helping build trust between consumers and brand.
So you see, content marketing is one of the staples to building your brand. And with all the extra competition right now, it’s even more important than ever that you implement it and use it right.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing or inbound marketing is a simple concept to understand as it involves content creation.
It’s a strategy where you develop amazing content for your audience. The goal is to get your readers engaged and have them reach out to you to learn more about what you offer.
People reach out to find out how you can help them, or if you can help them at all. These communications result in you gaining inbound leads, hence the term.
A perfect and simple example of content marketing is a blog. That is, you run your blog, you offer people unique insights and advice, and you then leave ways for them to reach out and contact you.
But know that content marketing is a long game. It takes time to develop great content, put it out there, and reach all your audience members. However, it can help you position your firm as VITAL, so you need to spend extra time to get it right.
Speaking of getting it right, here are five of the best tips to set you on the correct path.
Tip #1 – Only Publish Your Very Best Content
The main goal of your content is to engage your audience members and draw them in. But today’s competition is fierce – it doesn’t matter if you’re doing marketing for accounting or any other niche.
For you to gain market position and engage people, you must use your best content.
There are too many others out there doing the same thing you are. Many of your competitors probably chase the same ideal clients. Your content must stand out in a good way.
If you write five pieces of content per week and only one is excellent, don’t use the other four. Use only your best material so that there’s no doubt about the value you bring to the table.
Consistency is also important, of course. However, it’s often better to upload one amazing post per week than to post average content every day. Quality is key here.
Showcasing your best content is not always a straightforward task, but you need to accomplish it to satisfy your readers.
Tip #2 – Use the Data to Determine the Success of a Piece of Content
Perhaps you’re struggling to figure out if your content is good or bad.
That’s understandable too, especially since you’re not a marketing expert by trade. But there are many tools today that can help you analyse the quality of your content.
Use various data sets and metrics to see how your posts and articles fare. Google Analytics, for example, can give you an idea of how you’re doing. The number of generated leads, likes, or shares and retweets can also help.
You can break down all the data you need in four main categories of metrics:
Examine your content using those metrics and you’ll figure out what you must tweak to make your content better.
Tip #3 – Understand the Stages of the Content Marketing Funnel
Your content starts and guides the client’s decision-making journey. And you should know this journey as the sales funnel.
To create winning content, it’s critical that you understand all the important stages of the funnel:
- Engaging new potential clients
- Convincing them of your worth
- Pushing them to buy and then making sales
- Nurturing relationships to establish loyalty and client retention
At each stage of the funnel, you’ll have to use specific pieces of content.
In the first stage, you want to become visible and draw people to you. That’s how you generate inbound leads. And after that, you have to prove your worth to influence their decision to buy your services.
The third critical stage is where you don’t leverage your content as much – when it’s time to close deals. And that usually happens as a result of direct conversation.
But in the fourth stage, you leverage your content again. You produce high-quality content with consistency so that your clients come back for more of your insights. It’s crucial for retention.
You show interest in helping them long-term. In your case, transforming their business. That’s what helps you maintain your VITAL positioning and an ever-growing supply of clients.
Tip #4 – Avoid Poor Formatting
The value of your writing may be enough to position your firm as VITAL. But here’s something you may not realise.
People won’t read your posts and articles if you write them poorly.
So, avoid poor formatting and grammar mistakes at all costs. If your content isn’t easy and convenient to read, your audience members may not get to discover its value.
You can avoid making formatting mistakes by taking a look at successful competitors in your niche. And you can even take inspiration from popular online magazines.
Also, always create a style guide for your content. Make it a point to break up long blocks of text into different subheadings. Use pictures, graphs, and visual elements to make the information easier to assimilate.
You’ll also want to highlight statistics and other key points of discussion. Keep in mind that perhaps not all your readers want to read everything.
Remember, you’re not writing novels where you want them hanging on your every word. What you want is for them to understand your value, even if they’re skimming your content. Make it easier for readers to scan while still exposing them to the most crucial insights.
Tip #5 – Make Sure Your Content Reflects Your Brand’s Voice
Like it or not, you now have a brand. And you need to market not just your services but also your brand or your voice.
Admittedly, defining your brand is often the most challenging thing. It’s particularly tricky in companies that want to grow or pivot.
But once you have it down to a tee, make sure your content reflects your brand’s voice.
You want your readers to recognise you instantly when they read your material. After all, you want your prospects and clients to identify you across all channels.
That’s why consistent quality and tone are very essential aspects of content marketing.
Your readers want to know other things too, aside from your advice. They want to know if your writing reflects the company’s values. So, they look at your writing to figure out what you’re like, or what it’s like to work with you and your firm.
Do you sound like you can back up your claims? Or is your tone artificial and misleading?
Try to provide your prospects and clients with a consistent experience, including when it comes to brand messaging.
Content Marketing Gets You Further Than Anything Else
If you think about it, content marketing was responsible for boosting brand credibility for over a hundred years. And it worked even before marketers understood its impact.
Now, it’s a powerful combination of science and art. It’s something that can make or break a brand or a company in any niche.
So, use content marketing to your advantage to position yourself as VITAL. But, leverage only your best content to leave no doubt about your value. Be consistent and create a style guide that engages your readers.
Create unique content for every critical stage of the sales funnel and reflect your vision within it. Only then can you grow beyond expectations.
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