No, you aren't imagining it; marketing your business keeps getting harder.
It almost doesn't make sense. After all, there are more marketing and advertising channels than ever before and it's never been easier to get in front of consumers.
Here's the thing: simply being in front of consumers isn't enough anymore.
You need to entertain them. You need to engage them. You need to educate them.
You need a strong content marketing strategy.
78% of Chief Marketing Officers think custom content is the future of marketing
What is a content marketing strategy?
Content marketing is a large catch-all for a variety of marketing techniques that revolve around one common denominator: writing, creating, sharing, and promoting original, creative and interesting content.
Figure out what your target market might be interested in. Identify the questions they might be asking, and the subjects that would intrigue them.
Plan, write, and design content that is relevant to the areas that you identified in the previous step
Promote the content you create across different channels. This may simply mean posting it to Facebook if your audience is already large enough, but don't forget about other channels like your newsletter (you do have a e-newsletter right?) and paid channels (like native advertising, adwords, or promoted social media posts).
Rinse and repeat. A strong content marketing strategy is ongoing and consistently producing new interesting content at regular intervals.
At this point, it is important to note that no one step above is more important than the others.
Companies with an active blog report 97% more leads.
What content marketing is not
Content marketing is not about pushing out "content" for the sake of pushing it out.
It is not:
writing boring blog posts that no one will read
simply posting your press releases on your website
posting content on your website and hoping people will find it on their own
a one time strategy
walls of text
a quick fix
70% of consumers prefer getting to know a company from articles
rather than ads
What content marketing should be
Great content marketing strategies are based on content that:
is interesting. Either in the information it shares, or the story it tells
is visually pleasing with rich photography, video, and/or graphics (like infographics!)
is promoted heavily when released
is something that people would talk about and share with others
is something that people will reference in the future
makes us think, laugh or smile
is published regularly and of consistent quality
ultimately aligns with your business goals
Per dollar spent, content marketing generates approximately 3 times as many leads
as traditional marketing
An example of Content Marketing
Todd Martin is a great local Kelowna realtor that has been helping buyers and sellers for over 10 years. He just released his very first content piece that will be part of an ongoing campaign that will generate brand awareness in his market.
His first post is titled "9 Reasons Why Kelowna is the Best Place to Live (summer edition)". It highlights what is really great about Kelowna with great photography, vibrant video, and enjoyable copy.
Todd's content hits all the checkboxes for good content marketing.
It was interesting and easy to read
It was visually attractive and had strong photography and video
It was on-brand
It was promoted across multiple channels after publication
Articles with images get 94% more views
than those without
Why invest in a content marketing strategy?
Consumers are beginning to tune out advertising as we traditionally know it. I'm talking about the ads we are all familiar with; Online Banner ads, Magazine ads, TV Commercials, Billboards, Buses, Apps on our smart phones... The list goes on.
For example, the engagement level on banner ads (ads you see on websites) has gone down from 9% to under 0.2% since 2000. That means 15 years ago that every 1000 times your ad shows up on a site, it would get clicked around 90 times on average. Now they are under 2 on average. At the same time, advertising rates on sites have gone up.
Average website conversion for companies with defined content processes is more than twice that of companies without
A well planned and executed content marketing strategy allows businesses to connect and provide value to consumers. This helps build a relationship with a consumer because their "guard" is down when they are entertained and interested in the content. Everyone likes an ad that entertains them. That's why millions of viewers flock to television sets for the Superbowl to watch the great, creative commercials that were created. Then they flock to the internet to watch them again, and share with friends. Content marketing is no different. The more entertaining and interesting the piece, the higher the engagement will be with consumers.
This is why companies are heavily investing in content marketing. In fact, B2B marketers increased their budget by 58% in 2014, and B2C marketers increased their budgets by 60%. One study by Google's Hubspot found that brands that created 15 blog posts per month averaged 1,200 new leads per month.
Maybe it is time for you to invest in content marketing as well. We can help.