There are now countless resources on the importance of content marketing for your business. Content marketing has proven to be very useful for companies like Buffer, Hubspot and KISSmetrics. Each of these companies are educating and informing their prospective audience and customers on topics they will find useful. Content marketing always pays off if you do it right. While the most common advice does apply to most people, I thought it would be interesting to gather expert advice on how your business can approach content marketing.
1. Content is meant to create loyalty, branding and familiarity.
“A piece of content is worth a lot. A year ago or so, we actually came up with a formula: A guest post would give us around 100 signups in the lifetime of the article. We have a 2% conversion from free to paid for Buffer. So that means 2 people will pay. Our lifetime value for a paying user is around $250. So a piece of content was around $500.
We don’t use that anymore, but just as an example along which lines we are thinking. Rand Fishkin taught me that content isn’t for direct signups – it’s to create loyalty, branding and familiarity. That’s very much an idea I’ve come around to. So I would rather pay you consistently up front, and have you as a writer create awesome content every week, then always charge per result!”
– Leo Widrich, co-founder @Buffer
2. Create content that achieve goals!
“In general, there’s way too much emphasis on content creation these days. As a result, we’re up to our eyeballs in content that is over promoted and underwhelming. Content may indeed be king, but unless marketers connect content to SEO goals, conversion goals, retention goals, branding goals, etc., the whole castle will collapse. So I would start by figuring out what exactly you want to accomplish and the value of accomplishing it. Then, work backwards to figure out what types of content you need and how much of it you can afford.”
Brad Shor, Director of B2B Marketing@StraightNorth
3. Great ideas for content marketing usually come from the front lines
“I’m not sure it’s counterintuitive, but there’s this feeling that information should come from executives—that we should look above us for the great ideas. But actually, the great ideas for content marketing usually come from the front lines. They come from the people that are answering people’s questions, and selling to them directly and responding to their complaints. When you ask your front line people for information, your content marketing comes alive because it’s based on live people with real concerns, questions and comments.”
Ahava Leibtag, Content Wizard. Author of The Digital Crown: Winning at Content on the Web.
4. It pays to be transparent
If you are personal in your content marketing, and by that, I don’t mean droning on and on about yourself, you will begin to experience trust from your readers. If you’re transparent about your knowledge, experience, questions, and so forth, just as in real life, you become more approachable. That trust forms the basis for future marketplace transactions.
Josh Pigford, Maker of Baremetrics.io, Temper.io, PopSurvey.com, PugSpot
5. Content strategy always comes before social media strategy
Top of the funnel marketing, inbound marketing, opt-in subscriptions are all very important parts of the content marketing funnel. But to move the buyer along their journey with content, we need to focus on all the stages, especially customer retention and loyalty.
Historically, content marketing has earned its stripes through retention goals (most content publications were custom print magazines). Social media have become critical distribution channels to spread our stories…but content strategy always comes before social media strategy. Many organizations get this backwards.
Joe Pulizzi, Veteran content marketer, author of Epic Content Marketing
6. Provide the answers for your audience
Your customers are looking for answers. The typical buying process now starts with multiple pages of searches, blog reading, checking social channels for recommendations from friends, and comparing vendors. If you’re not providing helpful resources for those looking for this information, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to gain credibility early in the buying process.
Rachel Foster, freelance copywriter
7. Choose topics on the minds of your customers
You can introduce your company to people who didn’t know you existed. That’s one of the major purposes of marketing at large, and content marketing does it really well. By choosing topics that are on the minds of your customers and talking about them in helpful ways, you’ll attract those folks through search engines.
Search engines are getting better at understanding what a person means from the words they type, so focus on topics and answering questions, and don’t sweat the “exact match” text quite as much.
Timothy Carter, works @Nimlok
8. Focus on the marketing channels that make the most sense
Content marketing has received a ton of attention this year, in part because there’s so much of it being produced. Our instinct might be to deliver as much branded content as possible, because consumers are eager to be engaged and entertained, but I think it’s in a brand’s best interest to keep these kinds of campaigns in check. Trying to capitalize on every possible opportunity by producing countless videos, GIFs, infographics, and Tumblr pages can actually dilute a brand’s image.
It’s better to focus on the marketing channels that make the most sense, devise a strategy for ongoing content development, and put your energy into making that content as good as it can be. Just as brands can’t be all things to all people, few truly benefit from being everywhere online.
Tessa Wegert, Digital media writer @ClickZ,@Contently, @ChicagoNow.