Content marketing is anything a company creates and shares to tell their story. It becomes particularly important as the new buyer self –educates through the buying journey via online channels.
According to Heidi Coben, content marketing expert and blogger, content marketing’s major attributes include the following:-
- Embodies the product of firm’s core brand elements.
- Uses a variety of media formats such as text, video, photos, audio, ebooks, and infographics to tell a brand story.
- Can be consumed on a variety of devices such as computers, smartphones and tablets.
- Is distributed through your owned properties like your website and blog, through third-party contacts and vendors, and social media platforms.
- Provides measureable results through the use of appropriate calls-to-action.
Content helps you build trust and become a thought leader in your space. Without quality content, you won’t have a comprehensive lead generation plan.
Create a content that could help your buyers and gain their trust in you by providing solutions to their problem. When you help a buyer with a problem, you become top-of-mind. After you gain a buyer’s trust because you have helped him so many times, convincing a buyer that your product or service is the best becomes much easier.
Being a thought leader
When prospects discover your company, most likely, they don’t yet have trust in your brand and they aren’t ready to make a purchase. You need to create something that is useful and not something that turns people off. Thought leadership needs to be educational and ideally provocative.
Thought leadership in content marketing helps you:
- Create relationships with customers and prospects by engaging in relevant conversations.
- Differentiate yourself as a source for research and best practices across your industry.
- Build trust with prospects so that when they are ready to make a purchase they automatically go to the industry leader.
The key here is to make sure you are sending the right message at the right time in a lead’s buying cycle.
Blog that comes in handy at the right time will attract people to subscribe to your blog. The first brand that comes to mind might be the one who’s been sending helpful content over a period of time.
Leveraging promotional content
Promotional content is an asset that delivers hard sell. This should be used when a lead is very close to making a purchase. However, for the purpose of lead generation, you will mostly be using content that can be considered thought leadership in nature because you are trying to create relationships. Promotional content can come later in the buying cycle.
Considering different forms of content
To make sure you’re reaching every potential buyer, use a variety of content types. Here are a few to consider:
- Ebook: An ebook is a digital book that consists of text and images. Ebooks can be easily consumed on computers and mobile devices. They can be a few pages, hundreds of pages long, or anywhere in between. The great part about an ebook is that you can base many of your additional assets off the written content.
- Whitepapers and reports: Many people think of whitepapers and reports as being interchangeable with ebooks. However, I think of a whitepaper more as a long-form authoritative report or manual. Whitepapers often take the form of benchmarks and industry reports.
- One-pager/cheat sheet: A one-pager or cheat sheet is a short piece of content that informs a reader about a product, service or concept in an extremely digestive way. These are always one page, but copy can also be on the back.
- Activity book/worksheet: An activity book is a great way to get interactive with your content. Instead of just telling your audience what to do, walk them through it! Think check lists, questionnaires, and templates. Even consider something fun like coloring book, word scramble, or crossword puzzle.
- Video: Marketing videos come in many forms. Think 60-90 second demo videos, animated shorts, love action commercials, webinar recordings, and presentation recordings, to name a few.
- Infographic: Visual content is a great way to reach your audience in a fun and interesting way. An infographic takes a complex story, often including stats and quotes, and uses graphical elements to bring it to life in a more concise manner. Infographics are typically short and are scrollable on a computer screen on mobile phone.
- Slide Decks: Visual slide decks are a great way to present longer form information in an engaging way. You can create a special visual slide deck using creative visuals from an infographic, or you can upload a webinar presentation slide deck. Slide decks should present information in an easy-to-digest format, and also tell a compelling story at the same time in order to engage your reader.
- Podcasts: Never underestimate the power of a podcast. A podcast is a vocal recording of a presentation, webinar, or speech. A person can listen to a podcast on the go-in her car, on her headphones, and so on.
Extracted from “Content Marketing For Dummies”