Everyone loves a good story, and no-one wants to be sold to.
Ideally, you want to tell stories to your customers about what you do, in a way that reflects your brand and values. Content marketing has been around for hundreds of years but the rapid rise of marketing technology tools and the information overload we feel due to a massive increase in messaging over the past several years has made content marketing an even more accessible, effective, and popular approach for brands of all sizes.
On one level, content marketing allows brands to connect with their audiences — prospects and clients alike — so they can demonstrate their expertise and market knowledge, and remind buyers and end users why their brand is important. Content marketing isn’t direct selling, and there shouldn’t be a hard pitch embedded in the content, but of course the end goal is to convert potential buyers into customers. It’s an indirect process that can be incredibly effective when executed well.
On a whole other level, well-executed content marketing increases a brand’s “share of mind” – increasing the likelihood that buyers will think of your brand first when they need a solution to a problem you solve. Content marketing strategies that engage on an emotional level, linking your brand to a concept far greater than your brand — be they “positive” emotions like love, happiness, satisfaction, or (unfortunately) “negative” emotions like fear, loss, anger — are the most effective campaigns for any brand. A well-told story that connects emotionally and makes a potential buyer think of your brand when they have a problem they can solve — well, that’s a story that’s worth telling! Check out this successful campaign from Always:
Start with a blog
The most popular, easiest, and arguably most effective content to produce for your content marketing campaigns is blog posts.There are dozens of other types of content that might be right for your brand, but blogging allows you to tell your story the way you want, and then easily share those stories with the world. Your blog posts should be well written, they should look good, and they should help your audience better understand the topic you’re discussing.
Of course, simply writing and posting a blog (or producing any content, for that matter) isn’t enough. You need a well designed and well organized blog section on your brand’s website where you can promote and archive your blogs. Some blogs can even be formatted more like a magazine than just a list of posts, further increasing the reader’s sense of consuming “information” and not “marketing messages”. To get the most out of your blog you also need to focus on an effective SEO strategy, and you need to push your content out into the world so it can be seen.
Your strategy needs to include ways to distribute your amazing new content so you get as many eyeballs on it as you can — social media, press release, newsletter, email, event, etc. etc. Done right, your content will take on a life of its own, and a week or month or year later someone will buy your product because they saw your content. That’s pretty cool.