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Why Content Marketing is Important to Your Business
Every year we marketers are looking ahead to the future asking “what’s next?” It’s our job; we’re the innovators, the navigators, the creative and often the only people looking ahead in the organization. Sometimes what’s next is “what’s now” and because we are always looking for the next big thing we miss the boat. The next thing that has become the now is content marketing. We’ve all made it through the last decade and can all finally come to agreement that 1. Yes, your company needs to have a website to be a legitimate business, and 2. Online automation and monetization is a reality and required to stay in business.
Great you’re online. The game has changed again, the velocity of communications have become faster, in real-time. It has become the norm for brands to regularly produce fresh content and interact online. Whether it’s blogging, video, podcasts or whitepapers, content marketing is what is now.
Here are ten things you can do to capture the moment.
1. Get tips from the pros
Learn about content marketing from others doing well. They are typically people who have learned to share generously online so you’ll find the secret sauce in blogs, books, webinars and whitepapers. Many, if not most, are free (that’s one of the secrets to content marketing). A few of my favorite resources:
- Social Media Examiner blog
- Copy Blogger blog
- Top Rank blog
- Content Rules, by Ann Handley, C.C. Chapman and David Meerman Scott
2. Have a content strategy
…that is relevant to your audience and aligns with your brand. Whatever you decide to talk about ask yourself this, “does it provide value to my audience?”
Have a syndication plan and use tools to do it efficiently and measureable. A couple from my own toolbox is Feedburner and Dlvr.it. Be sure you’re not blindly syndicating and that the conversation you are putting out there is appropriate for each of your audience segments. For example, it’s not very useful to syndicate tweets to LinkedIn or press releases to Facebook.
4. Invest in education and training (discount code here!)
Get serious about content marketing and make an investment to do it well. We take it seriously and that’s why we are sponsoring the upcoming Content Marketing Strategies Conference May 8-9 in Berkeley, CA. You’re invited to join us using this exclusive discount code below to get up to 50% off registration. Catch lower rates before it goes up on May 7th. The speaker list includes SAS, Pheedo, Cisco, Content Marketing Institute, Ogilvy, and more.
Content Marketing Strategies Conference Discount
Register here http://bit.ly/GNqM8J and enter the discount code “FandomMarketingVIP” for 50% off.
There are many great organizations offering free and fee webinars online. Keep your eyes open and please share them with us. I like Hubspot.
5. Be curator friendly
Feature content from others and make it easy for others to tag, save and bookmark your blogs, images, and videos. A great example of this is Pinterest. By simply adding a ‘Pin It’ button to your blog pages you make it easy for others to reference back to your site and share it with their social network.
6. Have a voice
Consider your content more than words on a page, it’s a conversation. How does your brand show up and sound in a conversation with another human being? That’s your brand voice. Developing a brand voice is a branding exercise that will pay off big time to stand out in the noise and not bore your audience to death.
7. Tie it back to your business
The worst content strategy is to talk about your product or brand non-stop. However, what you do talk about must tie back into your brand position and business goals. Consider where this content fits into the sales funnel, buying decision process and customer lifecycle. Then, create value driven content that is relevant to your audience and aligns with your brand across the appropriate touch points.
8. Kick ass at email marketing
It’s the oldest digital tactic in the playbook. It is proven, it has a set of standard best practices and it works. Sold? Because social media is a bright shiny object, email marketing has gone by the wayside for many brands. Email is still the number one way most human beings communicate online, a high converter, inexpensive and an appropriate place to talk business and sales. Integrate this, and other channels in your repertoire, into your communications plan. There’s no excuse not to be doing this well.
9. Identify your hidden resources
Partners, employees, people who love your brand or who are experts at your topics…these are all potential content contributors. Content creation is a time suck and having the resources to develop it is often the biggest hindrance to good content marketing. Prioritize budget to make an investment in producing great content on a consistent schedule and mine your hidden resources.
10. Integrate content marketing to advertising
Flat, direct response advertising is becoming a thing of the past. As Facebook innovates the way everyone approaches advertising with ‘stories’ we are learning that people expect and want more out of a brand interaction. It’s not about social media; it’s socialization of the entire web folks. At the end of the day it’s a no brainer that people trust what other people say about a product and in watching their friend’s interactions…more than what a company would say to them. Find ways to integrate your content strategy and conversation into your advertising and communications as well as your offline traditional channels.
And, don’t forget to measure it! Any tips or big wins for using content marketing for your business? Please share.