Best Practices for Content Marketing
Everybody knows you need content to make your 21st Century digital marketing strategy work. But the term ‘content’ has been used and abused.
Most business owners and marketers roll their eyes when a marketing consultant tells them they have to use ‘valuable’ and ‘compelling’ content for their marketing strategy.
The term ‘Content marketing’ has become like ‘social media’: overused and devoid of meaning.
But don’t go dusting off your old telemarketing or TV advertising playbooks just yet. Despite the fact that ‘content’ has been overplayed like a top 40 song, content is more important now then ever.
What exactly is Content Marketing?
According to Junta, if you’re not content marketing, you’re not marketing. Period. Sure, there is branding, advertising, lead generation, events, trade shows, etc.
But as the above-mentioned article states: “Marketing is Impossible Without Great Content.”
So what exactly is Content Marketing? As defined by Junta 42:
Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience - with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
Content marketing helps bring your prospects down the flower-lined path to becoming your customer.
First you engage them with a blog post or article that gives them information they want or need. Then you start a deeper relationship by giving them more detailed information in the form of a report or white paper.
Then if they’re really interested, you interest them in a webinar or a demo. Then finally, they become a prospect ready to talk to somebody at your company, or ready to download a free trial of your product, or maybe even ready to buy your product!
To make Content Marketing work, you need to convert your prospects into deeper engagement
As described above, you must have content for different stages of your sales cycle. From blog post to white paper to demo to trial to purchase.
This may vary whether you’re a B2B vendor or a B2C vendor, but in either case, you’re converting your prospects from one stage of the buying cycle to the next.
Brian Massey refers to this as the “Considered Purchase Pattern.”
Each conversion sequence requires a landing page
To gently nudge your prospects from one stage to the other, you need a well-designed landing page.
The Content Marketing Institute has 5 tips for content marketing landing pages you’d be well advised to follow:
Keep your most important content above the fold. Unlike the long-form landing pages described previously for information products and B2C ecommerce, at this point in the sales cycle your customers aren’t as committed, yet, to your offer. Have a much information as you can above the fold, including your opt-in form.
Limit your visitors’ options. This is an obvious one but bears repeating: the singular focus of your landing page should be to convert your visitors. Don’t give them the temptation to click other links and risk losing them to another shiny object.
Show the benefits. You have to sell your white paper, webinar, or video (even if they’re free). Providing them with a title isn’t enough. Give them the benefits of downloading your latest research report or white paper, because they may not be paying for your content with money, but they’re paying with something even more valuable: their time.
Create a sense of urgency. You may be familiar with this from the post on information products, but it works here too. Provide a time limit to your report. Have a limited number of seats to your webinar.
Appeal to skimmers. Most people are super-busy and won’t read every word of your content. Make sure you use sub-heads, bullet-points, bold text and graphics. The idea here is to allow skimmers to understand what the page is all about with a quick glance.
Don’t throw your content marketing away
If content marketing is the most important marketing method today, but are you throwing all your efforts down the tube by not giving your prospects a chance to engage in an ever deeper relationship with you that will eventually end up in a purchase?
You need to convert your prospects into ever more committed prospects, and eventually convert them into customers.
Having content marketing landing pages is your secret weapon to achieve this. Are you providing your readers landing pages?