Let me start by asking you some questions.
When was the last time you clicked on an Adsense ad or banner? It’s been quite a long time, right? That’s because you simply ignore those ads when you see them.
When a silly pop-up suddenly flies onto your screen while you’re trying to get something done online (and you’re in “do not disturb” mode), what would you do? Hmm…let me guess. You’ll close the “intruder” out of anger, without even caring to read its message. Did I guess right? I did.
When you visit a company’s website, and their “about us” page is stuffed with many glorifying adjectives and self-composed accolades, what happens next? Your bullshit detector is activated and you’ll close the page in annoyance, right?
When you read a well-crafted sales page with many testimonials to back up the claims, do you get convinced to buy the product at that instant? No, I guess. (Especially if you’ve been burned many times in the past.)
Now, the last one. Assume you Googled the query “how to cure acne”, and you clicked on the first link on the results page. But to your surprise, you landed on a page advertising a “potent” medication for acne without addressing your query in any way, what would you do? I’m sure you’ll hit the “back” button and try the next link on the search results page.
I’m sorry if you feel the questions are taking your time. (I didn’t mean to conduct an interview, by the way. Lol!)
So, what exactly is the point I’m trying to prove with these questions?
I’m trying to prove that the commonplace online marketing strategies are fast losing their effectiveness. Yes, they’re becoming less productive by the day. In fact, some of these strategies are practically dead. Do you agree?
Just as you won’t click on an Adsense ad or banner, many others won’t, too. Just as you hate hype, many others hate it, too. Just as a compelling sales pitch with hundreds of testimonials can’t just convince you to buy a product, it won’t convince many others, too. And just as you hate to see promotional content when you’re actually searching for value, others hate it, too.
So, today, marketing strategies like banner ads, CPC ads, sales pitches, and promotional content would only convince a minority among internet users. Novices! And once these people get some experience – usually bitter – they quickly ditch their gullibility. And convincing them some other time would be hard as hell.
But in order to market your business to the majority of internet users, now, you’ll have to adopt just one strategy. And that’s content marketing…
I’ve triggered some thoughts in you, right? Be calm. Read on, and you’ll understand the whole concept.
What is content marketing?
According to Content Marketing Institute, content marketing can be defined as…
…a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
So, content marketing entails addressing the needs of your target audience without necessarily selling to them. It’s the type of marketing that your audience really engages with.
Instead of sounding blatantly promotional, you’re offering valuable information that will help your audience make informed decisions – some of which may not be in your favor.
Content marketing builds trust. Your audience will trust you and your business when you enlighten them and offer them value rather than try to push your products down their throats.
Also, with content marketing, you’ll prove to your audience that you’re an expert in your area of business, and that you’re worth doing business with. When you convince them this way, buyers will ultimately reward you with their loyalty and business. You get it now?
Why is content marketing important?
Well, the answer is simple: because buyers are getting smarter and are now ignoring ads and promotional content.
What buyers want, now, is valuable information that addresses their needs, solve their problems, and help them make the right decisions. Interestingly, only content marketing can make these happen.
Many of the world’s greatest marketing organizations, including Microsoft, Cisco Systems, and John Deere, have adopted content marketing – due to its productiveness.
According to Hubspot’s 2012 state of inbound marketing report, more businesses are now starting to realize the productiveness of content marketing (Hubspot calls it “inbound markting”) and are earmarking more funds for their content marketing campaigns.
Do you think businesses would be increasing their budget for content marketing if it were unproductive? They certainly won’t.
What forms of content attracts and engages people?
That depends on your type of business. Some forms of content work better for some businesses and less for others.
But in no particular order, here are the various forms of content delivered by businesses as part of their content marketing strategies:
- Blog posts
- White papers
- Case studies
- Product reviews
- Expert interviews
(Note that all these must be offered free to ensure a productive content marketing strategy. Add a price tag, and you’ll be shooting yourself in the foot!)
So, instead of selling ebooks or advertising your products or services, run a blog for discussing people’s problems and how your business can solve these problems. Instead of displaying testimonials, publish detailed case studies for credibility. Instead of sales pitches about a product, publish product reviews instead. Also upload free videos and podcasts offering valuable content free.
All these will easily fetch you the scarcest commodity on the internet – people’s attention.
But here’s the caveat…
For a productive content marketing strategy, you MUST offer only quality content. Not crap. Not commonplace information. Not promotional content.
As stated earlier, what people want, now, is valuable information that addresses their needs and solves their problems. If your content won’t do these for them, you’re still not content-marketing.
What results will content marketing deliver?
Content marketing will deliver whatever business goals you may have. I’m sure you’re aiming at one or more of these four goals:
- Attracting leads and boosting sales
- Boosting brand awareness and trust
- Establishing or maintaining thought leadership
- Increase web traffic and search engine rankings
Whichever of these goals you’re aiming, content marketing will over-deliver. (But not overnight.) It’s guarantee.
Content marketing is now more promising than paid advertising and other online marketing strategies. While I won’t dispute the fact that other strategies may still be working magically for some businesses, I insist that none of them can be as productive as content marketing – as of present.
Do you agree with me that content marketing is the most promising internet marketing strategy we have now? Have you launched your own online marketing strategy? Or are you planning to launch it soon? Share your answers and other thoughts in the comments.
Hey! Would you like to device a powerful, productive content marketing strategy for your business? I’ll be more than eager to help you. Contact me now, and let’s discuss 🙂