Content Marketing is an Investment
Let’s start by defining what Content Marketing is and how it works. Content Marketing is information posted on your website that is educational, informational, or inspirational, and contains the right answers to user problems. The content on your site becomes part of your campaign strategy and is shared through marketing channels that may include email, social media, PR, and influencers. The purpose is to drive traffic back to your website where you can further engage their attention with your solutions.
The strategy of Content Marketing is to consistently develop relevant content to a defined audience (your clients and prospects) and to influence user engagement. Your goal is to influence visitors to take the next step in the sales funnel.
Content Marketing Will Increase Brand Awareness
It takes time and consistent effort to build authority and trust through content marketing but the payoff is worth the effort. Your content should be thoughtful and written from the position of solving problems and answering questions. Just as search engines carefully evaluate and rank your marketing content, so will website visitors. As you develop the Content Marketing strategy for your brand, consider how the information will be ranked by search engines, and understood by your audience.
Build Brand Authority with Content Marketing
Content Marketing is also a tool to grow your authority, integrity, and audience. Content Marketing is an ongoing investment that can generate leads, increase sales, and improve your industry influence and authority. Your visitors and customers will benefit from a variety of content.
As you build content, you will continue to develop Search Engine Optimization tactics because content and SEO are integrated components of your overall strategy.
Content Marketing Increases Brand Visibility
Developing and posting new Content Marketing on a planned and consistent basis will improve visibility. Organic traffic should increase as new content incorporates additional keywords that people use in search.
Be careful not to duplicate existing content because search engines will not reward that strategy.
Own and Host Branded Content
Your brand spends a lot of time and energy, developing the right content for your audience. You have learned over time what appeals to their sensitivity and buying patterns, and you can estimate their response to a new product launch.
When you consistently develop and share great branded content, you open doors for new attention to walk through. New visitors will show up because you provide the right information, and they are interested to learn more about your solutions. When your content provides the right solution, visitors are more likely to call you than a competitor because they are familiar with your content.
Your team consistently creates customer-driven content because you understand your audience and how to get their attention. Over time, your branded content will expand to new formats and channels as you learn how to deliver a great user experience. Video marketing is an effective low-cost form of content marketing that quickly delivers your message in a memorable format.
Video marketing has endless opportunities to promote your brand through product videos, tutorials, behind-the-scenes events, live feeds, and more. And video converts at a much higher rate than any other marketing format.
Content Marketing Can Improve the Sales Funnel
Website visitors arrive from a variety of channels for a variety of reasons. Once they land on your website, it is your job to educate, motivate, and inspire them to learn more about your brand, and your solutions.
Content Marketing should meet visitors where they are, regardless of their position in the sales funnel. Content designed to create awareness is much different than content intended to guide visitors to make a decision. You need Marketing Content to meet visitor needs at all entry points in the sales funnel.
Consider Your Brand Reputation and Audience
The purpose of posting content on your website is two-fold. Your brand is relevant, and you are an authority in your industry. As your site gains credibility with search engines, you also earn a level of trust because search engines consider your content marketing to be valuable to users.
In essence, search engines should be the audience you write for, the purpose that motivates you to write better content.
Yes, search engines are your most significant audience, and they determine whether your ship sinks or floats. So, it is critical that your content solves problems, answers questions, and keeps visitors engaged. Otherwise, people move on and will find solutions from competitors.
Map Out the Content Marketing Strategy
A Content Marketing roadmap will keep your team on the right path for developing and publishing the right content. Some areas are easy to plan, and other topics will leave gaps in your strategy.
The purpose is to develop a schedule that is consistent for publishing content that creates brand awareness, educates your audience, prepares them for new product launches and upgrades for services. You need Content Marketing to address different issues for different users at different stages in the sales funnel.
Keep your audience interested and give them a reason to stay and learn more. Better yet, give visitors a reason to pick up the phone and call to learn more.
Social Media is Temporary
The goal and currency of social media are to gain attention. Social media channels allow your brand to increase awareness, improve engagement, and generate traffic to your website.
Social media newsfeeds for Twitter and Facebook move extremely fast. If you can’t keep up with the channel news cycle, can your customers?
When people read your content and engage, you are ahead of the game. If your brand has multiple product offerings, you may use only one favorite social media channel or focus on multiple channels because you have a diverse audience.
The Benefits of a Social Media Platform
I have a page on Facebook, and I know what my audience likes, what they expect, and how frequently they want to see new content. My audience engagement can often be 100% for likes on a post and 50% or more for sharing a post. I created the page with one goal, and that is to bring a little joy to people every day. That is my only agenda. There is so much negativity in social media, and this is my way to bring happiness to 1,000+ fans on one platform. I don’t have a website for the Facebook page, and I don’t intend to build one. I did not make the page to generate sales traffic, or to educate people, or to support a business.
Would it matter to me if Facebook shuts down? No at all.
What Happens When Your Marketing Content Disappears From Social Media
Brands can often get off track and become distracted by social media.
Social media channels can also become the Ghost of Christmas Past, and leave you wondering what happened, why it happened to you, and how do you reclaim your content. And how did all the beautifully photographed, thought-provoking, sophisticated branding that your team created for social media disappear?
The truth is that platforms do get hacked, data can be stolen, and reputations can get burned very quickly.
The Perils of a Social Media Platform
Social media platforms can change the rules at any given moment.
In 2020 Mark Zuckerberg announced a strategic change to what users would see in their newsfeed.
“The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family, and groups. As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard – it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
What it boils down to is this; if you don’t spend money on Facebook, don’t expect a boost in your brand’s ROI because the visibility of your content will be highly controlled.
Major brands like Starbucks and others invested heavily in Facebook advertising to increase engagement with their customers. The advertising strategy worked well until the rules changed.
In July 2020, several brands, including Starbucks, Pepsi, Unilever, and Coca-Cola, paused Facebook advertising dollars because of political and social unrest in America. The shift away from Facebook advertising cost the platform $56 million, and the company shares dropped by 8.3% overnight.
When the platform rules change, it is essential that your marketing content is hosted on your website and is under your control. It isn’t just the rule changes that affect brands; it is also the potential impact on privacy and data challenges. Owning and publishing your content on your site protects you from becoming anonymous to your audience, and you won’t have to rebuild an entire library when the rules change.
Your Brand Will Benefit from a Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing is a low-cost and effective strategy to generate leads, create awareness, increase engagement, and increase conversions. Growth rarely happens overnight and that is the reason your brand needs a roadmap to create and regularly post new content.