How Content Marketing is Changing Everything
Whether you are a pet store owner or a divorce attorney, communicating your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) has always been a basic tenant of good business and good marketing.
Granted, you may be the best darn dog walker or house painter that ever lived but if people don’t know about you or are not able to find out how wonderful you are then what good are your skills?
When we’ve discussed Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in the past we always emphasize positioning your web pages to be the “answer to the question,” meaning when someone does a Google search, your web pages come up in the search results.
[bctt tweet=”Here’s how to use #ContentMarketing as a powerful way to create value for your prospective clients or customers. ” username=”samsonmedia”]
But in addition to having well-optimized webpages with keywords and useful content that explains your process and hopefully your USP, the process of creating ongoing content is a powerful way to create value for your prospective client or customer by helping them make a buying decision. Good content creation to help influence a sale can include:
- How-to articles and videos
- Inside looks at your process
- Side by side comparisons
- Product reviews
- Case studies and success stories
But before we dive into our content marketing process you may be asking yourself, “Is it worth all the time and money?’
According to digital marketing expert Jeff Bullas:
- $135 billion was spent on digital marketing content in 2014
- 78% of CMO’s think custom content is the future of marketing
- 65% of your audience are “visual learners”
Here’s an infographic from his site:
OUR CONTENT MARKETING PROCESS
As we’ve described in previous posts about the new approach to content marketing, we strongly believe that the current state of marketing —- offline or online —- revolves around our adage, A.B.E or Always Be Educating. To that end, we thought we would describe in detail how we approach this on behalf of our clients. You could say that we practice what we preach, because this post is designed to educate you, the reader, to our process, so that if you are considering content marketing as part of your own overall marketing strategy, you’ll chose to work with Samson Media! So here goes:
IT STARTS WITH A QUESTIONNAIRE
The first step in our content marketing process is to have you, the client, fill out a 3 page questionnaire so we can learn about your business as well as your target customers. Content marketing is, after all, about educating your clients about the BENEFITS of your products and services. Remember, with content marketing, you’re not selling features, like an 8 horse power lawnmower —- you’re selling the ability to cut more grass in less time!
The information we need to gather includes:
- Descriptions of up to three types of customers/clients you want to target
- What problems do you solve for your clients/customers
- A list of industry or trade publications that serve your industry
- A list of your top 3-5 competitors
- What keywords you want to be found for in a Google search
- What actions do you want your website visitors to take? (Call, download, purchase, visit, etc?)
We’ll take this information and do research on our end to determine your “voice” and message and make sure that your goals mesh with the reality of the messaging on your website. This is key! We’ve often found that clients are not projecting the messages that they want to project. Going through the questionnaire is a vastly important first step in the process. Because how can you know what types of messages and content to create if you don’t know who you are talking to?
We visit all the links, review your competitors, analyze your keyword phrases, come up with a few of our own based on your answers and start to dive in. First up:
Once we have the completed questionnaires we divide our service into a two-pronged approach: Content creation and content curation.
Content creation can take many forms:
- Blog posts
- Ebooks & Whitepaper downloads
While each form of content marketing has it’s role, it’s primary job is to constantly speak to the needs of your audience and help them make a buying decision — hopefully from you!
[bctt tweet=”Content Marketing helps your audience make a buying decision… from you.” username=”samsonmedia”]
In addition to communicating directly with your audience, the other benefit of a targeted content marketing program is to have that content come up in a search that will lead the searcher to you and your offerings.
In order to implement an effective content marketing program on your own site, you’ll need your website to be set up correctly, with one page per product or service that includes relevant keywords, as we detailed in this blog post about Content Creation.
Another reason this is important is because the other role of this content creation is to link back to your product and services pages where the person who searched and found you can read and learn more.
In terms of adding graphics to your content creation efforts, here’s a handy Slideshare we put together that has lots of free stock image resources as well as video!
While creating original content is the main objective to attracting prospects as well as search engines to your message and offerings, using OTHER PEOPLE’S content in a strategic way is also key.
This does not mean stealing other people’s content and passing it off as your own. It means pushing out authoritative, informative and useful content written by other experts that are in line with your own messaging and sharing it with your own followers, both on your own blog but more importantly, in your own social media.
If you are a novice content curator do not go for quantity. That is not what makes the difference. Go for high-quality, and consistency. Steer away from the temptation of republishing or sharing anything that you have not read and vet in full.
“The best curators out there did not build such impressive followerships by carelessly retweeting, sharing or promoting low-quality content.
These brilliant individuals:
- never curate an article that they haven’t read in full,
- never support something they don’t believe in,
- never get lazy.
How do you think they would look in the eyes of their fans if they judged content based only on a title and the first two paragraphs?
Lack of quality is the number one downfall of content curators.
AUTOMATING THE PROCESS
The key to successful content marketing is to commit to a steady stream of content output — combining original content and curated content. Our recommended mix is a minimum of one original piece a week mixed with 3-5 curated pieces a DAY! But before you fall out of your chair, understand that you can automate a lot of the process with the help of a tool that we used called Hootsuite. You can learn more about HOOTSUITE here.
Nobody likes to be sold to. So by creating content around what makes your business special or different then the competition, and providing genuine value within that content, it will often make the difference in turning searchers and browsers into paying customers and clients.