Content marketing is a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services. Instead of pitching products or services, content marketing provides relevant and useful content to help visitors solve problems and answer questions.
Content marketing is the anti-sales pitch. You don’t know you’re being sold to. The content is so good you don’t care. It’s relevant to your interests, informative, well written and insightful. In other words, it’s worth your time to read it. A good example is Cap Gemini’s Content-Loop Magazine – one of the best B2B content marketing campaigns out there. Or even better is Intel’s IQ magazine, leveraging Intel’s vast stock of expertise and authority.
Content strategies represent a shift from push to pull marketing. Push marketing tactics are things like email blasts, direct mail and telemarketing sales. Pull marketing are things like earned media (PR and social), SEO and inbound marketing automation. Earned media attracts highly qualified prospects with content that’s easily found in a Google search and rewarding to read or watch.
Content marketing benefits organizations in four ways.
- Improved page rank: Keywords, relevant content, refresh rate and linkbacks
- Improved conversion rate: Lower bounce rate. Improved brand, credibility
- Higher quality leads. Earned media drives better leads than paid media
- Improved credibility and affinity. All of the brand benefits of analog content with no distribution or replication costs
The most important thing about content marketing is its ability to fuel earned media, both social and PR. When compared to traditional paid media, which yields conversion rates of 1% or less, earned media generates conversion rates of 5% or higher. In addition to the lower conversion rate, paid media costs $5 to $250 per click. That’s why earned media costs orders of magnitude less per click than paid media.
How do you make content that is so rewarding that people want to read it? Start by looking at The New York Times or The Atlantic. That’s some of the best content available and it appeals to a huge swath of people. Fortunately you don’t have to cover so much ground. But you need writers to generate great copy, photos, videos and other content for your industry. Hire a team of great writers, preferably those who know your space.
The challenges for a content marketing program are quality and frequency. You need content that doesn’t tax your brand but elevates the discussion to larger themes. Secondly you need to deliver content at sufficient frequency that prospects come to rely on you. The cadence depends on the product, but Google rewards refreshed content.
Use this earned media outline to get started on your content marketing plan now.