It could be said that content should be seen as fundamental to all marketing – but what is content marketing exactly?Content marketing is selling without ‘selling’
In my experience, great salespeople don’t ‘sell’. Instead, they question, understand, advise and show expertise. They don’t repeatedly tell you about their products regardless of what your problem is. Bad salespeople don’t even ask whether you have a problem at all.
For a second though, think about what most business’ websites, emails and marketing communications do. They tell you, again and again and in great detail, about their products.
Content marketing demonstrates expertise
It is an absolute certainty that there are people in your organisation who understand your products. There will be others who understand your customers. Extracting this knowledge and experience will allow you to create opportunities and build your reputation and sales pipeline.
The most common forms of content marketing are article writing, blogs and social media. Articles such as white papers or guides and should be thought of as an opportunity to begin a dialogue with someone through data capture. A great article combines actionable insight with your understanding of customer challenges.
Blogs should be thought of as more succinct ways to engage and build your brand and influence by expressing opinion and offering advice. A good blog should reflect a question that the type of persona you want to engage with is asking themselves (and Google).
Social media is your opportunity to engage, discuss and answer questions in real time. Traditionally, when someone has a challenge or problem that they don’t have experience of, they turn to people they know for advice. That might have been in their own organisation or their personal network. In the internet age, they can turn to vast virtual network for advice – from Twitter to LinkedIn to forums to Google.
Start creating content and creating opportunities
Creating an inbound marketing strategy will give you a clear plan for how you can build your reputation and reach through great content. Remember to be informative and helpful, not just repeatedly advertising your business. Above all, make sure you participate which means listening and answering not just broadcasting.