Even before being included in Junta42 Top 42 Content Marketing Blogs list, I've given serious thought to content as a marketing strategy, especially since Brian Clark began touting it via his new Teaching Sells initiative.
Junta42 defines content marketing as "a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience - with the objective of driving profitable customer action."
Blogging is (or can be) content marketing. So can whitepapers, webinars, RSS and email (the opt-in kind). In fact, at the company where I hang my hat as marketing director, Bizzuka, that's the tack we're taking in terms of our marketing.
Aside from a direct marketing campaign focused on attracting resellers (a campaign that was created prior to my joining the company) and some very limited advertising, practically everything we're doing is content marketing-centric. I'm adamant that providing prospects and customers with useful information they assign value to is a much better approach that, say, an ad in a magazine.
Blogging as content marketing tool
As I consider blogging as a content marketing tool, one thing does come to mind. Because a manifold amount is created each and every day, much of it seems transitory and, therefore, undervalued.
I mean, I've written some pretty good stuff (If I do say so myself.) that has gone unread. That's true for many, many others as well. Unless you have a large following or syndication via a blog network it's likely that much of what you write will be seen by only a few.
I realize it's not the number of eyeballs scanning one's post, but who those eyeballs belong too. In other words, quality over quantity. And, I'm aware that cream does rise to the top. A blogger worthy of attention can rise through the ranks to achieve some measure of attention.
(Jason Falls is a good example. Blogging only since September 2007 he is seen as a rising star within the social media marketing community...and deservedly so.)
I just hate to see good content not receive the attention it deserves, whether mine or someone else's. I guess I should say thank God for Google as it is a rewarder of good content marketing practices.
Content that leads to conversions
Great content is one thing. Turning that content into a lead/conversion is another. I believe you have to include calls-to-action that drive user-interaction. One way to do it is by requiring registration for webinars and whitepaper downloads. Of course, it goes without saying that good old email marketing involves opt-in subscription. (That "Permission Marketing" thing; Seth was onto something there!)
I'm also aware that people approach a company at differing stages in the sales cycle. Some are at the awareness stage where they're just learning about the company/product/service. Others are at the consideration stage, while others are ready to buy.
You've got to provide content and calls-to-action that speak to each. We've begun doing that on the Bizzuka Web site and its proven to positively effect our ROI.
I've always believed the adage "content is king." While I also believe that "participation is king" in terms of using social media for customer engagement, the former is still true.
What do you think?
If you'd like to know more about content marketing Junta42 offers a comprehensive guide.
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