Content marketing is considered by many companies as a way to generate leads, which could, in turn, increase sales and drive up profits. But, without a solid consistent strategy, producing whatever is trending in the world of content marketing will not yield the expected results, whether it is a white paper, newsletter, video or any other content. Rather than follow a disciplined plan, many companies are simply looking for that new thing on the scene that might give them an edge. That is a recipe for failure, and not an investment for success.
If content marketing is beginning to resemble a bunch of preschoolers yelling, “Look at me! Look at me!” it’s because that’s what a lot of companies are essentially doing. Is it time for your company to do something a little different? Robert McGuire’s article entitled, “Give, and It Shall Be Given to You,” is a repositioning of the content marketing concept that puts the preschooler in time out.
McGuire’s essential focus is that, for content marketing to be effective, you need to approach it loosely like a karma practice. Whatever helpful content you offer to your potential customers is like making a karma deposit. All of that helpful insight and advice is making a payment to your future self.
In other words, you don’t expect an immediate reward for your content, but instead, are cultivating loyalty and respect for your brand. Your helpfulness will eventually return to you as positive energy, hopefully with a good profit margin.
This doesn’t mean that you generate goodwill through five-point blogs indefinitely. You need to have a plan and a set of metrics to determine whether your plan is succeeding. What it does mean is that your content marketing takes a decidedly customer-centered focus. Here are some guidelines for customer-centered content marketing:
It’s new: Your content piece addresses a trend or problem that your potential customers are likely to be encountering in their daily work. It’s current and practical.
It’s not salesy: If your content focuses too much on your product or your company it’s an advertisement, not content.
It adds value: Content marketing is focused on the needs of your customer. Your content piece should offer instructions for solving a problem, insight on a current issue or an opinion about a debate in the industry.
It includes a call to action: While you never want to push your brand, you should include a simple call to action that lets your audience know how to reach you if they want to discuss the subject in more detail.
It’s genuine: Everyone has had the friend that suddenly starts acting strange because they’ve enrolled in a home-based business. You’re suddenly a target, not just a friend, and every conversation feels like you’ve got a laser beam pointed on your forehead. Don’t be that guy to your customers. Keep conversations real and focused on your customer, not your lead generation or sales goals.
An example from outside the realm of content marketing is an effective demonstration of this concept at work. Israel, a nation the size of New Jersey, is a global technology leader and lists 93 countries on the Nasdaq. This is more than the total for India, Japan and South Korea combined.
What is the secret of Israel’s thriving technology industry? Minister of Education Naftali Bennett attributes Israel’s success to two concepts that are celebrated in the nation’s educational system: innovation and entrepreneurship. Students are given the opportunity to debate, to mentor younger students and are required to serve in the national army for two to three years in young adulthood, providing experience in making difficult and immediate decisions. Israel’s careful planning and education of their youth is coming back to serve the country well.
Your company may not resemble a nation emerging as a global leader in the technology industry, but any organization can recognize that Israel is reaping what they have sown. You will, too, whether you focus on serving the needs of your customer, or more closely imitate the preschooler looking for attention by chasing the newest trends in digital marketing.
Not sure where to start? Here are some general guidelines for creating a content marketing plan that serves your customers and, ultimately, will result in increased brand awareness and lead generation:
Determine what you are trying to achieve with your marketing plan. Are you looking to improve brand awareness or are you trying to generate leads? Maybe you are trying to increase sales with existing customers.
Decide which channels will help you meet your goals. If you’re trying to improve brand awareness, you may want to invest in social media marketing. To nurture leads, telemarketing offers the personal conversation opportunity that may help move a potential customer through the buy cycle by answering questions or addressing reservations.
Once you’ve established the channels you will use, you can also agree on a few metrics that will measure whether your marketing plan is successful. Decide what progress looks like and how you will measure it.
Create content that is valuable to your target audience. Most marketers like to mix up their formats, using a range of videos, infographics, blogs, email newsletters and white papers. Each serves a unique purpose, and your customers will likely have a preference for certain formats
Be sure that your content is completely focused on the needs of your customer. Marketers find it valuable to pair digital marketing with telemarketing in order to get feedback about the preferences of their audience and the topics that are relevant to their needs. You’ll be better at keeping focused on your customer if you have the opportunity to listen to your customer in a one-on-one conversation.
With much of content marketing, you may not be able to see a direct connection between a blog you posted on social media and an eventual sale. With each piece of value-added content that you post, though, you’re building your reputation as a source of helpful information and a trusted expert in your industry.
If you’d like more information about creating a customer-focused content marketing plan, talk with our consultants at Blue Valley Telemarketing. We can help you identify your core goals, determine ways to measure progress and set a strategy in motion that results in growth for your company.