By now, we’ve all heard the marketing phrase “content is king.” And while it’s still truer than ever, it’s important to keep in mind that all content is not created equal. In fact, simply producing content for the sake of producing content can be detrimental to a marketing team’s performance and can hinder the growth of a business.
Building an effective digital content marketing strategy can help separate your business from your competitors, expand your marketing reach and exponentially increase sales growth.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a strategic marketing methodology, focused around creating valuable and cohesive content that works to attract and engage an audience to build a following of loyal brand advocates.
Creating content that readers—and more importantly, potential buyers—find valuable establishes your brand as an expert, or thought leader, within the industry. Once you’ve established your brand as a thought leader, potential prospects will be more willing to trust your brand and eventually turn to you when it’s time to make a buying decision.
The content produced from a full-scale content marketing program should be reaching your audience through a variety of mediums and vehicles, including:
While frequency and consistency are critical, ensuring that the content you're producing is providing value is the single most important aspect of an online content marketing program. This means that your content shouldn’t constantly be selling your offerings or putting down your competitors. Your readers should be walking away from each piece of content you create with more knowledge than they had before. An effective content marketing program should also provide your readers with clear next steps (also known as calls-to-action).
How Digital Content Marketing Produces an ROI
As a business owner or marketing manager, producing valuable content that your readers love isn’t enough. It’s about how you leverage that content to collect prospect information, and then continue to nurture and market to those prospects that matter.
As prospective customers continue to read the valuable content you’re creating, they will come to trust your company. Once this trust is established, collecting user information (name, email, phone number, application, etc.) becomes exponentially easier. This can be done through email newsletter sign-ups, gated whitepapers or even Contact Us form submissions.
Once you have this information, you’re now equipped to market to these contacts from a data-driven and strategic perspective. Based on the whitepaper they download or the information you’ve collected in your forms, you’re able to know what applications or industries they work in, or what part of the world they operate in. With this information, a sales representative's introductory conversation isn’t cold. They’re equipped to enter that conversation with preliminary information and qualifiers. And from the prospect’s perspective, they’re entering that conversation from a place of already established trust.
Creating and maintaining a robust content marketing strategy can be difficult, especially without a strategic marketing partner there to help you through the process. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start to build one yourself.
Below is a step-by-step list of how to build your digital content marketing strategy and how to effectively run your program:
1. Establish Your Cadence
The first step in building your content marketing program will be to establish a set cadence of new content. This cadence should be something you and your marketing team feel comfortable with and can sustain long-term. Whether this is one new blog a month and a quarterly newsletter, four new blogs a month and a monthly newsletter or eight new blogs a month and a weekly newsletter, what’s most important is making sure your team is equipped to support this content generation.
Pro Tip: Quality over quantity
The most important aspect of a content marketing strategy is producing content that users will want to read. The company that produces one piece of valuable content a month will outperform, in the long-run, the company that produces four pieces of content a month that don’t provide a reader with any value.
2. Promote Your Content
You shouldn’t rely entirely on organic traffic to read your content. Consider leveraging social media platforms or industry news outlets to reach a greater audience with your content.
3. Collect Your Audience’s Information
Once you’ve established your cadence and have begun publishing and promoting your content, you’ll next want to begin collecting user information to build your audience database. This can be done through a variety of outlets. Common lead generation opportunities include gated whitepapers and case studies, or webinars, email newsletter sign-ups or requests for additional information.
How you position and leverage these lead generation vehicles across your content can play a significant factor in your audience’s likeliness to engage with you. Consider using in-line links, designed CTAs or even pop-up CTAs to attract the reader’s attention and drive them to your landing page.
Pro Tip: The amount of information you’re asking a user to provide should be equal to the amount of information you’re providing them.
While this may feel subjective and can require some testing, it’s important to be cognizant of the amount of information you’re asking a user to give out in return for the offer you’re providing. For example, if you are offering a user a downloadable educational whitepaper, you may only want to ask for three form fields (name, email, company).
3. Continued Nurturing and Marketing
Once you’ve collected the reader’s (potential customer’s) information, the next step is to continue the conversation from a more strategic and personal level. This can be done through automated email campaigns or even direct contact from a sales representative. Establishing and maintaining a cadence of communication with this audience is critical to stay top of mind and to continue to position your brand as a leader within the industry.
Pro Tip: Just because a reader has given you their information doesn’t mean they want to be contacted by a sales representative.
If a user has filled out a form to receive an educational whitepaper, they’re likely still in the process of doing their research. A call from a sales representative can be an immediate turn off for the prospect, while an additional piece of educational content can help build additional trust.
4. Drive to Sales-Ready Conversion Points
As you continue to nurture your audience with additional information content pieces, you’ll also want to continually provide outlets for prospects to digitally “raise their hand” and express interest in speaking with a sales representative or taking the next step towards becoming a customer. This can include outlets to “Request a Quote” or “Discuss My Project” throughout email communication or directly on your blog.
5. Engage (and Delight) After the Sale
Once you’ve successfully nurtured a prospect into a customer through your digital content marketing program, the conversation shouldn’t end. These customers can now become your biggest advocates. Continuing to share valuable content with this audience will leverage them to share the content with their network, thus expanding your reach. This continued conversation and engagement will also increase the likeliness of a customer coming back to you when they have another project or are ready to make another purchase.
Building a full-scale online content marketing strategy can be an overwhelming process. It requires time, effort and strategic guidance. Without a partner to help, it can be easy to “fall off the wagon.” If you’re interested in learning more about how SyncShow can help build and run an effective content marketing plan, contact us today.