The Wild Wild Web & Why Content Marketing is Still the Sheriff
According to Smart Insights there are 126 marketing channels that marketers need to manage today. With so many channels to manage it’s easy to get overwhelmed and hide away under a rock waiting for the storm to pass. But the good news is that many of these are now within your control. And what’s the secret sauce to make them sizzle? Content. This article takes a look at the role of content marketing in the new digital world, and provides you with tips on how to use content marketing to promote your business.
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I grew up in a world without social media, without smartphones, and without the Internet (can you imagine?). Apart from making me sound old, this fact actually helps me appreciate the possibilities that modern business owners and marketers have at their fingertips today. Of the 126 marketing channels mentioned before 45 are exclusively digital, meaning that an impressive 36% of the tools you have at your disposal to create awareness and interest in your company now did not exist 20 years ago.
And not only have the digital marketing channels been born, but the model of authorship has also changed with them. What previously, in the pre-digital world, might have involved recruiting an agency with specialist skills to do can now be done yourself. I’m talking about content creation and distribution. Thanks to advances in technology and the Internet the power to reach your target audience and promote your brand has never been more tangible.
And now that you have the power of the Internet in your hands it’s good to understand how content can be used to fuel your digital channels and create interest in your product or service.
- Branding and Awareness (Getting Mindshare)
So you’ve built a business and got some customers. That itself is an achievement worth giving yourself a pat on the back for. But we all know how easy it is to slip out of the consciousness of our customers, to secure repeat business, or to grow our footprint to new customers. To stay top of mind in this bewildering world of media and messages you need to be taking part in the race, not sitting on the sidelines. Well crafted content is key to making sure your brand is top of mind to those that matter.
- Search Engine Optimisation (Getting Found)
Once the preserve of keyword keen webmasters, how your website ranks in the search engines results nowadays is as much influenced by the content on your site as it is by any magic tricks you pull behind the scenes. Google is primarily concerned with user-experience – making sure end users find exactly what they’re looking for in an instant – and have made algorithm changes that reflect this. Forget keyword stuffing and backlinks, you need to be publishing quality content on your website that satisfies the need of the person searching and keeps them engaged. For this Google will reward you, and your website will be opened up to the billions of searches that are happening every day.
- Social Media Marketing (Getting Noticed)
in a world of cat videos and memes it’s hard to get noticed on social media. But as the saying goes…the cream always rises to the top, and that means publishing quality content that does something for the reader. Inspire them, educate them, empower them – it may be a competitive space, but most readers will thank you for enriching their professional lives in some way and will share your content with other people who are outside of your universe. Make an impression on your reader and the effect will be far longer lasting than another montage of traffic near misses, so stop being passive on social media and start actively posting quality content today.
- Lead Nurturing (Getting Traction)
So you’ve got sales leads coming in to your CRM system. Great! But the chances are that many of them won’t be ready to convert just yet. Rather than let those opportunities go off the boil make sure you have a solid lead nurturing process in place to keep them engaged – built on a foundation of – you’ve guessed it, quality content.
- Web (Getting Them to Convert)
Getting a steady stream of traffic to your website is no mean feat, but even if you have that it should only be considered to be the beginning of a journey. Once visitors are on your website and other properties the key is to convert them to a sale or enquiry. This can only be achieved by providing enough content to allow them to fulfil whatever goal it was that brought them there in the first place. Look at your customer journeys and make sure you have content that specifically addresses the needs of each visitor type and helps them achieve that goal.
These are just five simple examples of how content fuels your marketing and why you should have a concrete content strategy in place for your business. In reality content is used in many different ways across many different channels and will mean different things to different marketers. But one thing’s for sure – it’s a huge industry. According to the Content Marketing Association the content marketing industry is worth in excess of £5bn in the UK alone.
It’s a highly crowded, hyper competitive world out there and while new technologies have paved the way for brands of every shape and size to have a place at the table, that table itself has grown exponentially. More than ever you need to be giving your company a voice and leading a conversation. And don’t be daunted by the sheer volume of content already out there; no matter your size, it only takes a few simple steps to jot down your thoughts and create the nucleus of a new content piece. The power is in you. What are you waiting for?
Simon is an experienced marketer who spent 15 years working client-side for some of the world’s leading tech brands including Adobe, Oracle and McAfee. He now provides marketing consulting and campaign management services for fast growing B2B tech companies and ambitious start-ups.