It’s not about what you sell, but about how you sell. With the access to abundant amounts of information, potential customers are proactive in the search process. More often than not, they already have framed companies and their competition. Consumers value information over advertisements. With content marketing, your company becomes the media – by using good content to inform people rather than to sell, enables people to get to know, like and trust your brand, ultimately reaching the main goal of building an audience. People want to learn before they buy; being the resource of knowledge gives you the opportunity to generate authority within your industry.
There are three main aspects of the content marketing process – content, social and search. All three are important and interconnected; social and search results derive from content.
- Content – Providing valuable information that speaks the language of your audience – needs to influence them to use your solution to solve their problem
- Social – Distributing content by word of mouth publicity helps improve ranking – provides natural links, gains quality and relevance signals
- Search – Making content available for Google to decipher and reach the “right people” – improves your ranking and increases traffic
Authority Rules. Authority is defined as “the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.” According to Brian Clark, from Scribe Content in The Business Case for Agile Content Marketing, “people want to do business with the foremost authority in the field because it makes them feel more satisfied with their choice.” Authority is educating prospects of your core competencies, letting them get to know, like and trust you. Being an authority, like inbound marketing, gets the prospects to come to you, engaging them with your content and solution to their need.
The potential customers’ intent makes the difference. People who are looking for something specific are more valuable than those people who are just browsing social media. Therefore, targeted search traffic is preferred over random social traffic. If someone is specifically searching a product or service, there is a purchase intent. By educating them, there is the opportunity to turn transitory traffic into loyal customers.
The internet is a platform for direct marketing, allowing businesses to directly communicate with and build their audiences. Clark states, “the job of any smart marketer is to enter a conversation that is already taking place, and channel existing desire for solutions and benefits onto a specific solution.” To do this effectively, marketers need to understand how their desired audience think, feel and view the world. They need to be able to communicate to them in a way they understand, optimizing the level of trust they have in you. The following diagram shows the levels in Circle of Trust, with the obvious goal of obtaining repeat customers and clients (they are your advocates).
Redbull is a perfect example of content marketing, becoming the media. The company has built their brand and become an authority figure around excitement, energy and extreme sports. You can find Redbull on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and they even have their own magazine. Not only is Redbull on every form of social media available, they also have accounts for different states or regions. Redbull even has college campus reps, that go around handing out Redbull, especially during finals week!
One thing that really reaches out to the audience is Redbull’s “Red Bulletin” Magazine, that focuses on sports, people, art and culture. They turned it into an the iPad app, allowing more audience interaction, offering videos, animations and exclusive content. Redbull does an excellent job providing good content in order to get a lasting audience.
Content marketing is important aspect of inbound marketing. You need to identify the need, and in order to attract and keep an audience you have to offer something of value. Whether it’s information, or engaging and interactive content, it is necessary to make your product or service the chosen solution to their problem. By doing this, you become the authority, which makes you the go-to for your product or service.