Content marketing is gaining in popularity every day. But what exactly is it? How can I use it for my business? This month we are taking a look at content marketing and how providing useful information can attract new customers to your website.
Content marketing is not for every business. It takes time and a lot of effort to produce quality content. If you're serious about content marketing and willing to focus on providing useful, relevant information, you too can use content marketing to attract new customers to your site.
What is content marketing?
Let’s say you're watching your favorite TV show, and the hero is about to reveal the true identity of the murderer he has been searching for all season when...the scene fades to black and on comes a commercial for diapers. Talk about bad timing.
We’re all too familiar with this style of marketing. It’s called “interruption” marketing, and it tends to infuriate potential customers rather than convert them.
Content marketing takes a different approach to marketing. Ideally, it is designed to attract customers by providing free information that a potential customer may find useful and relevant. This type of marketing approach allows for a more strategic, less evasive sales style that can potentially improve your site's SEO as well.
Why is content marketing becoming so popular?
These days, advertising is everywhere - on billboards and busses, on TVs and radios, on park benches and buildings. As a result, the American public has become quite adept at ignoring these little calls for attention. You get one shot to convert a prospect to a customer, and that’s it.
Content marketing, unlike more traditional marketing techniques, opens the door for repeat opportunities to convert a prospect into a customer. In other words, you have more time to establish relationships with prospects and, likewise, maintain strong relationships with repeat customers.
How can I use content marketing to attract more customers?
Sonia Simone at copyblogger equates content marketing to rewarding a puppy with a treat:
“What’s the smartest way to train a puppy to sit on command? Give him a cookie and a nice pat on the head every time he does what you want. Enough cookies and enough pats on the head and he starts to think that sitting on command was his idea.”
The key to content marketing success is trust. You gain trust by providing information that speaks to the needs of your prospects. The more hooked they become on your information, the more likely they are to buy what you're selling whether it’s a service or a product.
If you get them to visit your site on their own terms again and again, they’ll start to think it was their idea. Like the puppy that sits on command, you’ll have the prospect’s attention, and that’s when you make your sales pitch. He’ll be much more receptive to what you have to say at that moment than if you had just waved a brightly colored sign in his face.
What should I write about?
Of course, this all sounds great. But what about the content?
Producing content is not an easy feat. That’s why many businesses hire copywriters to produce content for them. If you decide to create your own content, you’ll want to focus your efforts on a few key elements:
Your Audience - The type of content you produce is dependent on your audience. If you sell custom-made bicycles, you should produce content that attracts bicycle enthusiasts to your site. For example, you could post videos of people doing tricks on bikes and articles about your custom bike designs.
Targeted Keywords - Content marketing offers an excellent opportunity to improve your site's search engine results too. Check out our article about SEO copywriting to learn how you can make the most of your content.
Originality - This is by far the most difficult aspect of successful content marketing. Your content has to be original if you want to attract prospects to your site. If they can find the same information on a hundred other sites, why should they choose your site? Focus on developing your own voice and tackle subjects that other similar websites seem to ignore.
Spread the Word
Content marketing isn’t easy, but it can be extremely effective if done properly. Don’t rush the process. Take the time to produce quality content, and use social media outlets to spread the word. If you’re patient, content marketing just might pay off big time for your business.