Getting people to care about things can be really difficult. We’ve all spent hours extolling the virtues of our favourite bands, TV programmes, films and brands of microwave in the pub, but we often find our friends are set in their ways and unwilling to step out of their comfort zone.
That can so often be the case with sales and marketing, especially in a day and age where people are continually bombarded with messages from hundreds of brands every single day, both in their personal and professional lives. Your aim is to stand out – to speak to them and their specific challenges. If your prospective customer is left thinking “why should I care?” then chances are you haven’t hit the mark.
So, how do you stand out? How do you make people care? Well, you do some content marketing.
Here’s why you should care about content marketing (can you see what I’m doing? Clever, eh?).
What is content marketing?
Before we begin, perhaps it’s useful to define content marketing. To borrow a definition from the Content Marketing Institute (they would know) – “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience”. This content can take various forms – blog posts, whitepapers, ebooks, social media posts, videos, podcasts… I could go on. With content marketing, so often it’s not about the form, it’s about the function – message over medium, as it were. It doesn’t matter how you’re saying it, it’s what you’re saying that really matters.
Telling a story
Everyone loves a good story – and at its core, content marketing is about telling a story. If you approach your content like that, then you’re on to a winner. Whether it’s your story, your customer’s story, or a story about your industry as a whole, sharing well crafted content that is valuable and relevant – and above all engaging – to your core audience is what it’s all about. If you look at marketing through the “telling a story” lens – you can help your customers build a picture of you and your brand across multiple channels – whether it’s your blog, YouTube, social media, or even more traditional direct marketing. Because you share content they care about, and they enjoy reading, they’re engaged with you as a brand. Nifty, eh?
Becoming a trusted advisor
Consumers are savvy – and it doesn’t matter whether they’re in a B2C or a B2B setting – they’re primed and ready for all the sales tactics you can throw at them. By the time they actually place an order, your customers have no doubt interacted with your brand multiple times across multiple channels. In a crowded market and a crowded online space, you want to stand out as someone they can trust. Providing them with useful content that speaks directly to their challenges builds you up over time in their mind as a trusted advisor. They already think of you as someone they can come to for advice, so the logical next step is to explore some of your solutions.
Creating a premium experience
Sorry, but having a good product and good price just won’t cut it any more – your customers want an experience. A study by the Temkin Group in 2018 found that 86% of buyers were willing to pay more for a great customer experience. Obviously, customer experience comes down to more than just some good marketing, but I don’t think I’m stretching too far here when I say that people want to buy and continuing buying from brands they like. As in, brands they enjoy interacting with – and that includes, you guessed it, content. If you continue to provide value to your customers through the content you share, even after they’ve placed their order, the more likely they are to become loyal customers. And if you really nail it, they might even become brand ambassadors – they’ll share your content and sing your praises.
Is there anybody in there?
To end on a slightly more practical note, the honest truth is that if you’re not actively and regularly contributing content to your space – whether that’s your website, social media feed, blog – it kinda sorta looks like you’ve gone out of business. As I’ve already alluded to – as many as 90% of consumers factor online content into their purchasing decisions. If they come looking with some interest at your brand, only to find you haven’t updated your blog since Christmas 2016, then they’re going to get a little suspicious about you generally. Does this mean you’ve gone out of business? If you can’t even update your blog, will you even respond to their enquiry? That’s why it’s a good idea to not just buy in to the concept of content marketing, but to set a process and procedure around it to make sure your online presence is well fed, and your stall looks open and inviting to prospective customers.
I hope I’ve made you care about making people care through content. And remember – it’s not just about signing up to the idea, it’s about committing yourself to process and executing a killer content plan that’ll engage your customers and elevate your brand. If you’d like any help with that – check out our content marketing packages, from just £1200 month. Not only do you get keyword research, planning, reporting and strategy support – you get impeccably written content like this resplendent blog post.