From Content to Customers

Marketing guru Seth Godin once said, “Content marketing is the only marketing left,” and at 451 Marketing, we agree with him. Content marketing – creating and delivering valuable content to your target audience – generates three times more leads than traditional marketing. It’s also incredibly valuable in building trust and creating value among skeptics – people who want to know what you know, but not necessarily what you sell just yet. It decreases costs all while increasing customers, all while remaining a scalable, repeatable process.

Content marketing allows you to position yourself as an expert on particular subject area and develop your brand voice and personality. In doing so, you’ll attract new customers and maintain a dialogue with existing and past clients that will keep your brand at the forefront of their minds. It also allows you to increase social signals.

Content marketing can be pursued through a number of different formats: whitepapers, e-books, case studies, blog and social posts, images and infographics, audio or video content, events and event content, and email newsletters, to name a few. It doesn’t directly convert non-customers, or sell a product, but it establishes a relationship that will act as a pipeline to doing so.

It’s essential to have a content marketing strategy to plan, create, publish, and measure your content:

  1. To begin with, pinpoint your target audience – your ideal customers. Think about the groups you most want to attract: moms, millennials and CIOs are groups whose buying power and influence cannot be understated.
    • Tackle your content marketing strategy by addressing your customers’ pain points: a need, problem, desire, or challenge they face. You can do so by analyzing common search inquiries around your product or industry using Google Search Trends and the Google Keyword Tool, as well as by asking your sales people what customers are predominately asking them.
  2. Research is key. Different platforms require different types of content creation. For examples, people in urban areas are more likely to be on Twitter than rural residents. Women are five times more likely than men to use Pinterest. Baby boomers are the fastest growing segment of Facebook.
  3. Use trends like these to shape future and categorize existing content. Organize content by type, date, topic, and persona, and repurpose content that is outdated but still has value. Fill holes in any missing content.
  4. It’s crucial to incorporate social and search goals. Start by defining major topics: think about what you know, fill in content gaps from your audit, and begin to stress achieving search and social goals.
  5. Designate an overall content coordinator, and have one from each functional areas. Members of the senior management team can oversee and contribute to add to the validity and value of your overall output.
  6. Creating a content calendar is key to staying on-task – Google Calendar is an excellent tool to share internally.
    • Color code by content type
    • Define ownership
    • Create checklists for social media promotion
    • Share in advance
  7. While creating content, the most important question to ask is whether it inspires sharing. Is it unique? Fun? Credible? Inspirational? Beneficial? The best content checks all the above off the list.
    • Certain types of content are more universally shareable : “How-to” stories,  real-time marketing, “Top 10,” “Best of,” and countdowns, for instance.
  8. Make sharing simple by linking to social properties on your website, and include share buttons with the content that show the reader how many times this particular page has been shared.
  9. In order to keep on top of what content is trending, set up Google alerts and streams in Hootsuite. Keep on top of these measurements, and adjust when necessary.

By being generous, valuing consistency, and becoming an authority on select subjects, you’ll build invaluable trust with your readers.

Halley Sheffield

Halley Sheffield is the Director of Marketing at 451 Marketing @halleyalice

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