A whopping 80% of people appreciate learning about a company through custom content. In terms of generating leads, it’s 3x more efficient than outbound marketing and creates conversion rates that are 6x higher.
So, what makes content marketing so undeniably persuasive? Well, it’s more about what it DOESN’T do than what it does. Unlike other forms of marketing, content marketing doesn’t sell…it educates. The idea here isn’t to tout your product and/or service; it’s to give your customers the valuable information they need to make an informed decision on what product or service to purchase. But here’s the real kicker. If you do it right, your audience will choose YOU (and continue to choose you over and over again).
Because content marketing doesn’t involve pushy sales tactics or in-your-face noise making, audiences find it helpful instead of aggressive. 70% of people would rather learn about a company through articles than an advert. This gives it the power to:
- Build trust with your audience that feels real and genuine
- Establish you as a thought leader and expert who can solve their issues
- Generate leads and boost conversion rates as they continue to return and click on your CTAs
- Boost your SEO rankings by getting rewarded for original content
Sounds pretty fool proof, right? There’s a small catch. You can’t just hit “publish” for anything and everything. To be truly successful and accomplish the four things above, you need to make sure your content is following a well-thought out strategy that includes who you’re talking to, what your area of expertise will be and what format you should use to be as impactful as possible.
Every piece of content you put out should pass the ole’ content marketing test. Ask yourself these questions:
1. Is my content more educational than promotional?
Like we said before, content marketing shouldn’t be too sales-focused. That doesn’t mean you can’t mention your product, company or service at all (in fact, you should!). You just don’t want your audience to feel like they’re getting “sold” to at every turn. Your goal is to provide them with valuable content that allows them to make the purchasing decision all on their own. Of the most successful content marketers, 88% prioritize their audiences’ needs over their sales message. All you’ve got to do is keep the 80/20 rule in mind. As long as your content is 80% educational, entertaining or informative (instead of pushing your own agenda), you’re good to go.
2. Do I have a specific audience in mind?
Think about who you’re selling to, their pain points and how your content can keep them moving towards the bottom of the sales funnel. Don’t try to reach everyone at once by putting out lofty, overarching content. Give your niche audience exactly what they’re looking for. Be specific in your topics. Answer direct questions. Provide details that make them realize you understand their issues. 68% of B2B buyers prefer to see content organized by specific pain point — proving that they want answers to their issues front and center. Having this smaller, more targeted audience means you’ll be able to reach them on a deeper level. Plus, people looking for that type of content are usually closer to the bottom of the sales funnel. They’ve already done the basic research and just need that final push to make a decision.
3. Am I meeting my audience where they are?
After you know WHO you’re talking to, you need to consider the best way to reach them. For example, we know that age plays a big role in the way a person prefers to receive content. If your audience for a specific topic is roughly 45+, consider an email campaign, which is preferred by 57% of Boomers, vs. 22% of Millennials. If your audience frequents social media, make sure you’re putting your time and investment into creating quality social posts. And, of course, video content is almost always worth your time, as 87% of people are craving more video from brands like yours10. For the best engagement and success, taking that extra step to figure out the best way and place to hit your audience is crucial.
4. Is my content original and SEO friendly?
Forget “doing what everyone else does.” Regurgitating content gets old really quick and isn’t doing you any favors SEO-wise. Because there’s already a plethora of content out there about nearly every topic imaginable (91% of marketers are using content marketing, too), you need to get a little creative. Think about how you can put a unique spin on an overdone topic, include original images and pictures that enhance your content, use your own experiences to come up with specific topics, or conduct your own industry surveys/research that will give you data and statistics no one else has. And of course, do some quick keyword research to discover the phrases your audience is searching for so you can cater your content to that. Google ranks original content higher, so it’s well-worth the effort.
5. Do I have a clear CTA?
Providing your audience with the answers they want is the main hurdle of content marketing. But you also need to give them a way to take action if they found value in what they read/watched. While you don’t want to be pushy, you can still provide a clear CTA that encourages them to take the next step, whether that’s subscribing to a newsletter, signing up for a demo or simply clicking to learn more. No need to over-do it. Emails with a single CTA, for example, receive 371% more clicks than those with multiple CTAs. Make it short, visually eye-catching and easy (a button is a great idea) so they won’t be intimidated to click.
Content marketing has the potential to be a real powerhouse for your sales and marketing efforts. Imagine generating real, genuine engagement with your target audience that can boost your SEO and create exponentially more brand ambassadors, leads and sales.
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