Two sessions ago I wrote about the fact that the Marketing World has changed and how it moved from pure Outbound Marketing to Inbound Marketing, with a continuously growing trend. Inbound Marketing is the concept of being found instead of broadcasting whatever one stands for/wants to sell. This concept is growing because on one hand that the amount of advertisements became too much for the world and people simply ignore these. On the other hand over time, the web became an easily accessible media which people used to educate themselves and share information in real time. A demand for true information, for useful content was born. People don’t longer wait for being sold to and are informed about products/services/competitors/etc. when they walk into your store. In sum, Inbound Marketing makes sure that people want to come to you, after they found you, informed themselves about you, your market position and your profile.
You need to convince, you need content!
Content Marketing is a discipline of Inbound Marketing. It is about writing compelling content that attracts people to one’s business and proving insight to the world around a product/a service instead of highlighting it. Yes, the most important aspect in this occasion is that the owner provides a clean content without any intentions of self-profiling or advertising, because this would disturb the self-education process of a visitor and would have a negative impact on his impression.
“Wow!” I got curious since I can also count myself to the majority of people who usually ignore advertisements or just swallow them without any following action. I wanted to know more about Content Marketing and how it works. I wondered: “What key factors make Content Marketing a good one and how Content Marketing might develop in future?
This paper, written by Brian Clark of Copyblogger Media, gives answers to my questions and a picture about agile Content Marketing. As key factors he also points out that successful content means to provide an authoritative and enjoyable sales experience to the customer, to interact with people and not to forget, to be present/easy to find. Being able to find and staying present requires continuous updates beside the continuous content development. This is necessary to keep you up in the search engine rankings. I think I mentioned it when I was writing about Google Analytics in No.2 that search engine ranking is not based only on traffic amount, but also on keywords – so keep in mind to think like a user, “what would you type in to find something?“ Brian Clark also shows that people who actively search for something are most willingly to make a purchase. In contrast, social links like from facebook caused only 1% of the whole purchase rate in 2012. This is cited from the Forrester report mentioned in Clark’s paper. Isn’t that crazy? I thought that social media would have a bigger impact on buying behavior of people. Apparently not, so better forget that/not focus on it and concentrate on audiences in other channels. According to Clark, you can rank your audience starting with the most important: Repeating customer and clients, then customer and clients, specific email audience, general content audience and at last social network followers. The ranking also give you an idea about how much effort you should put into every group to gain/maintain trust and interest.
Okay, I know now: be true, be communicative, and be present. But still, how do I create a Content Marketing Strategy that is solid? Well, it won’t work right from the start. The answer is that one needs to think about the visitor/customer before setting up a page/blog/paper. Don’t expect to be flawless in first place. The thing you should care about is to keep listening to the audience’s expectations and demands, meaning continuously improving your style and appearance. There is no golden rule like “you need to be so much serious and so much funny”, your audience’s reaction will tell you how you do and it’s about you to match their idea in future. Clark sets five steps for this: Research, Release, Optimize, Connect, Repeat. So, think, then do it and keep going/improving!
Just thought about what weird things people sometimes want from you. Remember this scene from Fightclub?
Well, I guess.. sometimes you just gotta give people whatever makes them happy!
At last, here are some predictions regarding the future of Content Marketing summed up by Kane Jamison and his team from ContentHarmony. First, they list a few general facts in a bullish vs. bearish category (bearing chances and risks), beginning with the amount of content marketing tools which is rapidly growing while marketers appear overwhelmed and fail to embrace the chance using those. This also includes Social Media; generally good tools to rise attention- but a company should avoid following a “Buffet-Style” Social Media Strategy and rather concentrate on the few channels which fit the company’s needs best rather than trying to be present on every platform. Furthermore, it seems to be a general problem that providers focus too much on their secondary pages and therefore too less on their primary appearance- setting the right focus and creating a balance will save time and resources that might be better spend on other tasks. A correct Microdata structure, implementing Content Marketing with or without a specific vision and the overclocking of information updates/feeds/’site make-up’ are factors which either boost a company on a leading position or let them fall back into the outdated class. ContentHarmony mentions few pros & cons concerning Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter postings. Interesting was the prediction that printed media/ printed Content Marketing is still relevant and has kind of a come-back, which can effectively support the online content of a company. The last facts are focusing presentation styles and point out what can be done right and wrong when it comes to Presentations, Podcasts and Subject Lines.
I must say, that I didn’t find these predictions very surprising and pretty logical. Content Marketing is developing, wow, and consequently one must filter and recognize what is good or bad for the own business.
While Content Marketing is growing bigger, one shouldn’t try to catch every opportunity and rather try to be professional on selected channels. Okay, saying this I am thinking of different company sizes & budgets and how these characteristics affect the decision of where and how a company should appear in order to perform well or maintain its status. Adding my 0,02¢, I would predict that a company will do well as long it stays updated. I don’t just mean keeping content up-to-date, but staying informed about what is in trend and track the trends that could be important for the own interest/business field. This is also no incredible knowledge, but surprisingly often ignored in reality.