It’s amazing the difference a year can make. I vividly remember attending a number of 2014 trade shows and having conversations with attendees about content marketing. They would go something like this.
Attendee: What do you do?
Attendee: What is content marketing?
Me: A marketing tactic that involves leveraging content – think blogs, white papers, email marketing messages – to organically sell your products and services.
Attendee: Oh … that’s just advertising, right?
Don’t get me wrong, there were folks who fathomed what content marketing is and understood why they had to bring the strategy to their business. But the vast majority was most likely hearing about content marketing for the first time.
Just a year later, however, it’s evident that content marketing awareness is at an all-time high. No longer are we chatting with wide-eyed marketers about the wealth of benefits afforded by content marketing only to be met with baffled expressions and a multitude of questions. Rather, the conversation has moved from being elementary to mature. And people can’t wait to try their hand at content marketing. After all:
- Firms that generate at least 40 percent of their leads online through content marketing grow four times faster than firms that don’t, according to a Business2Community article.
- B2B companies that blog generate 67 percent more leads per month than those that do not, according to Kapost.
- The cost per lead of content marketing drops 80 percent in the first five months of a content campaign, according to Kapost.
Now that the conversation is less about “Why do I need content marketing?” and more about “How do I get started?” let’s take a look at three content marketing vehicles you should leverage to jumpstart success.
A proven content marketing vehicle, blogging allows company subject matter experts to weigh in on core industry happenings, share exciting company news, and expose their knowledge base. It’s why 80 percent of B2B marketers leverage blogging as a top content marketing tactic and view it as one of the top five tactics in terms of effectiveness, according to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2015 benchmark study.
Companies looking to get comfortable with content marketing can start with blogging. To begin developing a robust blogging strategy, you need to decide on a content management system that will host your blog; conceptualize an editorial calendar filled with topics you want to cover; pinpoint writers – both in-house and external – who will write the copy; and decide the frequency with which you want to post. Want a tip? Write more about the industry and less about your company. Nobody wants to read a blog littered with company announcements.
There is no better way to communicate with key stakeholders than through email marketing. After all, 66 percent of consumers make an online purchase after reading an email, according to Mark the Marketer.
As a brand, you can rely on email marketing to share your latest pricing and discounts, tease upcoming announcements, share your latest blogs and white papers with your audience, and feature testimonies from your partners and customers. To get your feet wet with email marketing, launch a monthly newsletter. This asset can aggregate the great content you are creating on the web – think blogs and podcasts – as well as shed light on upcoming company happenings. Remember: Blast judiciously (no one wants to be spammed), and keep your messages short to optimize for mobile platforms.
It’s hard to think of a business today that’s not leveraging social media to drive sales, so make sure your brand is not in the minority. If you feel ready to step up your social content marketing strategy, keep the following three tips in mind:
- Choose Platforms Wisely: Not all social platforms make sense for your brand. If you are a B2B company, for instance, why would you use Instagram?
- Appoint a Professional: An intern won’t do when it comes to managing your social media accounts. Instead, hire a social media manager – or find a third-party provider – who can make sure your posts are business-appropriate and profit-enabling.
- Monitor Regularly: If you are willing to join the social conversation, you have to be willing to monitor the chatter surrounding your brand. Monitor the feeds daily to assess both the positive and negative sentiments directed toward your company.
Your competitors are not waiting on the sidelines, so you shouldn’t either. Jump feet first into the content marketing pool! Are you ready?
Carrie Majewski is director of content marketing for TMC's Custom Publishing Division (www.contentboost.com).
Edited by Dominick Sorrentino