I tend to stay away from buzz terms like Content Marketing or Viral Videos because they get used so often, and misused so often, that they lose their meaning. I prefer to think of “content marketing” as a platform which a business or person develops as part of their marketing efforts.
Content marketing isn’t new and it’s simply marketing. Before the internet content marketing was done through newsletters, trade publications, direct mail, submissions of news paper columns, books, press releases, etc.
The main purpose of your content is to establish yourself as a thought leader – you leverage your knowledge for credibility. When people are in the market for a product or service they do a lot of research before ever contacting a vendor or provider. It’s estimated that over 60% of their decision marking is already done before they inquire or call a sales rep.
Good content, which is effectively deployed, can turn you into a credible and trusted expert and not just another business looking to close a sale. You can educate the prospect and make them aware of trends, dangers, and best practices in your field. You can set a lot of context in which they will base their buying decisions.
Developing an effective platform will also bring you qualified leads. People are able to find you when they search for a solution or your product/service. If you create the proper content you’ll weed out the people who are not good prospects and reach those who are good prospects.
A lead, or prospect, is someone who can buy from you; a quality or qualified lead, or prospect, is someone who is motivated by what you offer. Time is your most valuable resource – spend it on people who are a better fit for you as they are most likely to buy.
Your platform is a place where you can establish your voice and define what you do, how you do business, and with whom you want to do business.
You should put out content which will polarize and not hook. You don’t want everybody; you want to attract your ideal customer and repel the rest.
Add Value Through Your Platform
The most important principal to follow when you create your content is to create value. Don’t waste people’s time.
Your blog, videos, podcasts, social networks, email newsletters, or whatever tools you use to create your platform needs to have real information and needs to be compelling.
The number one mistake that business and sales people make is creating content which is nothing more than a running commercial. It’s frustrating to watch a video or read an article which hooks you in by identifying a problem but then just goes off about how great their company or product is for solving that problem. No real information to help understand the problem, to add context to the problem, or on the particular industry – just fluff and my disappointment.
Often I see social media feeds which just can’t stop talking about themselves. Think of it this way – no one cares! Your product or service just isn’t all that interesting on it’s own. No one is as emotionally connected to you or your business as you are; they don’t know you from Adam. You need to make them care and notice you.
People are tuned into a station called WII FM – What’s In It For Me. Give them real information about your industry and increase the readers understanding of the problems you solve. Share relevant links and relevant information which helps a customer make a purchasing decision, not just a purchase from you.
If you were your customer, what questions would you have? What are the points of confusion? What are some misconceptions of your industry?
You create good content when you approach it with good intent. You share what you know from a place of honesty and service. Your platform should position you as an expert by increasing your potential customers understanding.
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