Much like social media of a few years ago, there are two words that are currently making their way around cyberspace and marketing halls - hallowed or otherwise.
The two words are of course: content marketing. I myself have scribed an article or two about this very topic including my most recent piece When It Comes To Content Marketing, Seeing Is Believing which, as the title suggests, speaks to the need for visual and or/video content as part of your content marketing strategy.
Today however I want to tell you about a company that truly is a classic example of growing a company with content marketing. The name of the company in question is ProjectManager.com.
Now as the name suggests it is a company that offers a service to project managers - I know, you could've figured that out on your own. ProjectManager.com offers some fabulous tools for project managers that not only rivals Microsoft Project but is indeed a better all around experience for as CEO Jason Westland puts it: "It's the only tool that allows you to see the status of your projects 'visually' because with a single glance of the dashboard, you can see if your projects are on track."
So if you're a project manager it's definitely worth taking a look at for sure.
But what attracted me to them is their incredible rise from 2008 - when within two weeks of launching they were working with NASA and the United Nations, to present day where they currently have 10,000 paying customers to the future where by 2015 they are projected to own 80% market share of online project planning.
I asked Jason how was he able to grow his company so fast without using any traditional advertising and he told me they built their marketing strategy around two words: content marketing.
"We gained 250,000 emails by giving away lots of free resources on our website. We then built the largest "Project Management LinkedIn Group" in the World and also pushed our social presence on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter," he said. "We now have 500,000+ Project Managers follow us socially every day."
Did you catch the word "free" above? That's a pretty big operative word to remember.
He shared with me his not-secret-recipe for content marketing success.
Nothing Earth-shattering here as far as I can tell.
- Establish a community/lay the foundation
- Develop your content
- Create a strategy to publish your content
- Pull it all together to see how your content can lead to new sales
- And of course never forget about your existing customers
I say "of course" in the last bullet as many marketers out there sometimes forget or neglect those "already on the books."
As for the funnel into sales, something every marketer NEVER forgets nor neglects:
Again nothing of breaking news ilk for sure but there are some operative words in this graph as well including "trust" and "authority." It is not to say these words are more important than the others in the sales funnel. I mention those two specifically because they are byproducts of doing content marketing the right way.
You will establish yourself as an authority by generating the right content which in turns leads directly to a sense of trust among your readers and once you have trust, you are golden.
Of course the above two slides make it seem very simple and naturally it is not but in other ways it is. If you have a viable product that presumably people want and/or need to make their lives better, there's no reason in today's world you cannot "spread the word" by using common sense, some careful planning and content marketing.
Named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review and a Top 50 Social Media Blogger by Kred, Steve Olenski is a senior content strategist at Responsys, a leading global provider of on-demand email and cross-channel marketing solutions.