By R. Michael Brown, Marketing Consultant & Freelance Writer.
Most in business are starting to hear or know about #ContentMarketing. Here’s how it really works.
Content is created for your business, usually stories, articles, tips, case studies, webinars, videos, and more (yes, we’ve identified more than 40 content types!) to help Google searchers learn or find out more about subjects they are interested in.
The content is intended to be helpful and relates in some way to your business or industry. Your business is NOT usually the subject of the content. Content producers are encouraged to relate it to a business but the minute the audience thinks of the content as an advertisement for an organization, they’re gone! You’ve lost them.
“An experienced and skilled storyteller produces interesting and helpful content while weaving your business into the story,” said Mike Brown, consultant at R. Michael Brown Communication, PR, & Marketing. “There’s a fine line between a prospect thinking of your content as interesting, helpful, and persuasive vs. perceived spam. After all, when a prospect searches Google looking for an answer to their problem, 75% are looking for information, they don’t want a sales pitch. They want information. The pitch comes later.”
After the content is created and placed on your website and distributed on social media, the process doesn’t end there. It’s just beginning.
“At first the content is to attract visitors,” said Brown. “That’s where most businesses stop in their content marketing. They must keep going. The next step for a customer is learning the information they seek. You want them to learn it from you.”
Customer engagement is the emotional connection between a customer and a brand. Highly engaged customers buy more, promote more, and demonstrate more loyalty. Providing a high-quality customer experience is an important component in your content marketing strategy.
The next step is customer and content engagement and allowing customers to compare. About 23% are making comparisons between you and your competitors. During that engagement the business must gather contact information. Email is best; but, if they give you a phone number too – that’s a warm lead.
Email allows you to promote your brand with more helpful content and direct appeals to find out more. This could take several steps and we recommend not being too heavy handed. If you spam at this point you’ll break the connection and any possibility to convert them to a sale.
As the potential customer clicks more on your links within your content they are becoming a warmer lead. The more engagement and interaction the better. Listening is key here. If they comment on the content or links, take note. Engagement helps you tailor a proposal for each prospect. About 2% are ready to take action.
A direct contact to the prospect’s email or phone is the final step in the process of using content to convert a prospect into a paying customer.
“The process takes time and patience,” said Brown. “It’s relationship building based on helpful information.”
Occasionally a sale will happen on the first content published but more typically the process takes consistent positive engagement until the prospect trusts you. Then you can make an ask for their business.
Content marketing always should have a purpose and that is increasing business. Content for content’s sake is not good enough. Paying customers should be at the top of the list. Brand building and stakeholder and influencer engagement is important too.
“Content marketing is the best way to become a thought leader in your industry and market,” said Brown. “And most customers want to do business with the leader, especially when they are helpful.”
Many organizations neglect to hire the right talent to make a content marketing strategy work. They look at content marketing as words on the screen, videos playing, and followers. But followers that aren’t customers, may be nice, but they don’t pay the bills.
A system has to be put into place for success. Talented content producers know the art of storytelling, persuasion, and most importantly, making emotional connections. They weave customer needs and solutions into a story without being obvious. They gently persuade prospects to act by helping them to understand problems and solutions.
“The best talent has the knowledge and skill of a top journalist and copywriter,” said Brown. “Buying is an emotional decision, not logic. Emotion and benefits sell, product features don’t.”
Professional writers and producers that know how to create that kind of content make a lot more than $15 – $20 an hour. The old adage “You get what you pay for” truly applies here.
Pros know the methods for research, creation and layering, and distribution processes required to make content marketing successful. And they produce and distribute great content fast.
Maybe not as fast as the low-paid amateur spewing words and memes around the internet. But fast in terms of great content that rises above the crush of useless information.
Fast in terms of getting to the right audience at the right time, making an emotional connection, and helping them to become customers that self-select and enter themselves into your sales funnel.
If you would like to know more about how great content marketing is accomplished with a system that results in paying customers, contact Mike@RMichaelBrown.com