According to Smart Insights, more than 20% of more than 2,300 marketers said that content marketing would give their business the biggest incremental uplift in leads and sales in 2017. But content marketing isn’t easily mastered, nor is it always easily implemented. What is this beast that marketers everywhere wring their hands over? And how can smart marketers tame that beast and get leads rolling in once and for all?
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “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.”
If you break that definition down, you have four concrete, actionable steps to master the content marketing game.
- Develop a strategic marketing approach.
Go all the way back to your buyer personas and develop an action plan to reach one or two of them. Include the channels you’ll use to reach your target audiences in your strategic plan.
- Create and distribute valuable, relevant and consistent content.
Remember, it’s not about you…it’s about them.
When you develop your content, you must be sure to pay attention to the data you’re collecting using Google Analytics, your marketing automation tools and even SEO/SEM tools like SEMRush. Develop real content that your personas want to consume.
- Attract and retain your audience.
The bottom line is this: if you’re focused on educating your target personas, they will keep coming back for your content. If you keep teaching them, they may find your products or services valuable enough to invest in them, not only with their time, but with their dollars. That’s just how content marketing works for you…even in those hours when you’re not actually working. After all, the web is open 24/7/365.
- Drive profitable customer action.
The final step in content marketing for many, this one is the scariest. How do we convert these leads into customers? This is where a partnership with sales is going to work in your favor. If a customer has been truly engaged with your content for two weeks, three months, six months or however long your average sales cycle is, you may want to sit down with your sales team and figure out the best bottom-of-the-funnel piece to send their way to fully engage them and push them toward making the final step of purchasing your product or service.
Content marketing can be a lot of fun. Engaging potential customers with valuable content is a great way to help you understand your customers in a whole new way. If people interact with a particular blog post, try another post on the same topic and see if it works the same way. Alternatively, if a post is unsuccessful, try a different spin on it. The trick with content marketing is that you can never stop creating content. Keep the content flowing, and the leads will almost certainly come in.