Backbone Media B2B Marketing Blog
Why bother with content marketing?
Content marketing is a huge buzz-term in Internet marketing — it uses the creation of relevant content to promote a brand and lead to favorable customer actions. While the end result is ALWAYS to generate higher sales for the company, there are other goals content marketing strives to achieve, and here are the top 5:
1. Thought Leadership
Maybe you’ve heard the term thought leadership thrown around in the Internet marketing world…but what exactly is it? In simple terms, thought leadership is a term for a business or organization that is known throughout its specific industry for having innovative ideas.
Content marketing easily adds to the thought leadership of any organization. By creating relevant content that focuses on an industry issue instead of self-promotion, you will easily show your peers that you not only know about your products and services, but that you show an active interest in the industry.
2. Trust Building
In a recent article, I discussed in some detail on how to build trust through content marketing, thus increasing sales for your company. Trust building is similar to thought leadership, but from the perspective of your target audience rather than industry peers.
At its core, content marketing does not contain overtly sales-oriented language. The content should instead focus on a client problem related to your products or services. If you can show your potential customers that you care more about their problems than selling them your products, you will usually win their business in the end…and they will come back to you in the future if they need anything else you provide.
3. Lead Generation
Up to this point, all of the content marketing strategies have been more ‘theoretical’ than practical. Lead generation is where this changes. Content marketing can generate highly targeted, qualified leads for your sales staff — specifically through gated content.
Gated content is any content that requires a user to submit information before access it, ideally their name, email, and company name. By acquiring this data, you know that this potential client has a specific need, and is viewing your content to provide answers and solutions. This is a hot lead and should be passed on to your salespeople to act upon immediately.
Not all content should be gated, however. Blog posts are generally made available to the public, (however ALL blogs need an option for a reader to ‘subscribe’ to your feed…thus giving you at least their email address) whereas, longer forms of content (white papers, case studies, ebooks, etc.) should be gated. Not only do these forms of content take longer to create, but the readers of this type of content are generally further along the buying process, usually leading to a shorter sales cycle.
4. Lead Nurturing
Lead nurturing is the practice of catering to the leads you’ve generated, even if they aren’t ready to make a purchase yet — what good is it to ignore a potential client even if they aren’t 100% ready to buy just yet? This is the point where many traditional salespeople begin to ‘hard-sell’, but be patient.
By regularly publishing content, you will continue to interact with the customer, and your brand will remain fresh in his or her mind. This is regularly done through targeted email lists and newsletters. Don’t let them go, and don’t push too hard…remember how they came to be a lead in the first place.
5. Improved Search Engine Rankings
Lastly, content marketing hugely improves the search engine rankings of your main website. It’s no secret that current search engine rankings take external links and social media promotion into consideration in addition to the keywords actually on your web pages. Relevant content is easily shared through various social media sites, and contain links that point directly to your post. The more external links your page has, the greater credibility search engines grant your page, accordingly ranking it higher for search results.
Additionally, a regularly updated blog will give your website the opportunity to rank well for secondary keywords. As it is best practice to focus webpages on a few keywords rather than several, chances are there are several words your site can rank well with. If the blog post is written to SEO best practices and is regularly updated, those additional keywords will have a chance to be found with search engines (granted the content isn’t gated…search engines can’t fill out forms).