From Cave Drawings to Al Gore – Why Content Marketing Matters and How to Do it Right
As human beings, we have a long and storied history of using the written word to spread a message. It’s basically in our DNA. Neanderthals took to the cave walls of modern-day Spain and shared stories of their hunting conquests. Eventually, we discovered marketing and advertising. It turned out that writing really interesting stuff could help companies drum up more business. The term advertising is actually derived from the Middle French word ‘avertissement’, meaning a written statement that draws attention to something.
John Deer is arguably the brand they are today because they decided to publish a quarterly magazine with really great content about farming, their latest equipment and of course advertising. It probably wasn’t cheap to produce, but it worked really, really well. Eventually, Al Gore invented the Internet and then everything changed, right?
Like with fashion, vinyl records, and Pet Rocks (maybe someday); sometimes old can become cool again. Marketing has seen a lot of change over the last decade and a bit with the introduction of the Internet and now mobile marketing. 2018 is the year of content marketing but so was 2017 and probably 2019 too. In the past (long before Facebook and fake Russian news), the news was transmitted through telegraph lines, the term the ‘newswire’ was coined to describe this process. It was worse than trying to use dial-up Internet back in the 90s’, telegraph lines would fail often and it wasn’t unusual for content to get only partially transmitted back to the newsroom. It was a pain, but things are much more reliable today.
Brands have been telling stories for decades. Today we can instantly post content on a blog, share a story on Snapchat, or even broadcast a live 4k video stream on YouTube. With so many marketing distribution channels it can be easy to forget that the most important thing we can do as a brand is to share interesting and noteworthy content. Forget going viral, content marketing is all about staying memorable and relevant.
Content marketing is more than a buzzword, and it’s not going anywhere. A good content marketing strategy keeps your current customers engaged with your brand and attracts new customers to interact with your marketing. Today’s consumer isn’t afraid to shop around, they are spending time researching for purchases large and small. The best way to capture today’s consumer is to build a sense of trust with your audience and content marketing can establish your brand as a source of information. Well-written content that’s posted on a regular basis will make you a trusted authority in your market. There’s a reason why people pay attention to Don Cherry when he talks about hockey during the intermission; people turn to experts to answer questions. When you answer their question they trust you, regardless of what your suit looks like.
You know your why your business is great and how you can help people through your products or services, but most people have no idea what you do. Content marketing gives your brand a microphone to share your story with the world. Video, social media, blogs, web pages, white papers and various other digital marketing tools can instantly broadcast your content to a local market and beyond. Google also wants to find experts and they are constantly reworking their complex algorithms to present useful content to searchers. Regularly posting fresh and relevant content will also help you rank higher organically in Google, this is an excellent way to gain free and highly-qualified traffic. Good content will make other websites link to you. Not only will this instantly get you more qualified traffic, it will help you rank higher in Google. Sure, there are some technical SEO strategies that can help you rank higher, but the best way to stay relevant in Google search is to constantly solve real-life problems for real-life people through your content marketing.
Getting more traffic to your website or more Likes on your Facebook post is great, but it doesn’t necessarily lead to gaining more business. Every marketing campaign needs to eventually generate leads. Content marketing is unique because it enhances all your other marketing efforts by educating people on the work you do. That’s why it’s important to understand your audience and pump out content that addresses their needs. You want your content to captivate people to the point where they will remember your brand when it comes time to buy something. Try to produce content for the various stages of your customer’s buying process, this will help keep your brand top-of-mind throughout the entire cycle. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket, don’t be afraid to mix it up and try posting different types of content. Tools such as Google Analytics can give you some excellent insight into how people interact with your content.
The best content marketing converts customers into advocates of your brand. By nature, people are thankful when you solve a problem for them and they are happy to pass along the information to others. That quick video you created on your phone could get shared across social media if it solves a common problem. People are proud when they find something interesting online and they are not afraid to pass it along if they think it’s worthy.
You really don’t need a DeLorean to understand that regularly producing good content will be essential in achieving positive marketing results in the future. A strong content marketing plan will establish your brand as a leader and trusted source in your industry. Producing content can take a lot of work, but it’s one of the best marketing investments you can make. We get to work in the Golden Age of Marketing, but some old school thinking can really improve the bottom line. The platforms may change over time, but people will still seek the advice of experts when shopping. Why shouldn’t it be you?
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