Why, you ask? It is through content that many other online marketing channels flow best. If you are producing high value content, it is much more likely to spread in social media, attract links from other websites, and rank well in Google. All of these lead to more web visitors through social media and SEO.
Winning the Business
Anything and everything can be found online. More and more decision makers are looking to educate themselves before making a buying decision, and it is through your content that they learn. The firm that does the best job educating them is often the one that wins the business. This educational process replaces the old golf course method of developing trust. Online trust is developed through the educational process, and therefore the most trusted firm is the one that gets selected.
Building this trust, however, can take time and a lot of content. So how do you manage time and produce a regular flow of content? This is where having a content marketing strategy comes in. If there is no strategy behind the content you are producing, when you are publishing it, and what channels you are using to promote it, then your entire operation could fail.
What Types of Content Exist?
A content marketing strategy needs to focus on building trust and engagement over time using multiple forms of content. There are many forms of content available to a marketing team including:
• Premium content pieces (whitepapers, ebooks, guides)
• Research Reports
• Email marketing
The key to developing an effective content marketing strategy is getting all of your content to work together, creating a lead generating machine for your firm. Your content must be engaging right off-the-bat to pull the reader in, entice them to become a lead, and finally nurture them until they are ready to buy.
Typically blogging is used to achieve the first goal of content marketing – drawing visitors in. In your content marketing strategy, you must decide what topics your blog posts will be focused on and what keywords you will use to attract people to your blog from search engines.
Becoming a Lead
Once someone is on your blog, the next step is for him or her to engage with your brand. This often means the visitor is willing to give out their email address. In content marketing, this occurs when a visitor wants a particular piece of downloadable content and are asked to exchange their email address for the download. Your content marketing strategy must determine what these downloadable pieces of content will be about and how you will promote them on your website.
Nurturing Your Leads
The last piece of the content marketing puzzle is nurturing a lead once you have their email address. Most people on the web are still educating themselves and aren’t quite ready to by when searching for information. However, once you have an email address, it is vital that you continue to educate your prospects until they are ready to buy. Webinars are often ideal for nurturing because it allows prospects to get “face to face” with you without feeling pressured.
Every firm needs a tailored content marketing strategy to be successful. Focus on the tips above when putting yours together. And remember that without a strategy behind your content marketing efforts, chances are, you are seeing much lower results than what’s truly possible.
For more information on putting together a content marketing strategy, check out Hinge’s B2B Content Marketing Guide.
About the Author: Elizabeth Harr is a partner at Hinge, a branding and marketing firm that focuses on professional services. Elizabeth is an accomplished entrepreneur and experienced executive with a background in strategic planning, management, communications, and alliance development. She is also a coauthor of Online Marketing for Professional Services: Technology Edition.