In Part 1 of this blog posting series, I explored the basic benefits of Content Marketing, the strategy of publishing a continuous stream of content about your market, trends, products and other parts of your business. The first reason market leaders use Content Marketing is to be heard in noisy markets. The second reason is to rise in search rankings like on Google.
Today let’s take a look at two additional reasons market leaders use Content Marketing.
Reason #3: Educated Buyers
As the prior point illustrates, buyers today have the power to educate themselves very thoroughly before they ever make contact with a potential supplier.
In fact, it’s increasingly true that buyers will resist contact from a sales person until they feel they have a solid education in what they want to buy, with an understanding of their options and alternatives.
Content Marketing helps to educate these buyers. That’s because quality content should be genuinely educational but also because of the improvement in search rankings it brings about.
Trying to understand a new technology, or research a type of product? Where do you go first? Of course, you Google it.
But cranking out content solely for the sake of Google rankings is not a good idea.
If you are publishing nothing but endless servings of search keyword salad, then your readers will quickly abandon your content and turn elsewhere, seeking out someone they can truly learn from.
Instead, you want your company to be the “go to,” the source of genuinely valuable and educational information.
This is similar to one of your company executives being invited to speak at a conference. If your executive delivers an hour long advertising pitch for your company, the audience will be less than thrilled and odds are the executive won’t be invited to speak again at the conference.
But if your executive instead presents genuinely valuable, authentic content, and the audience has been truly educated, the outcome will be engagement with a host of new potential customers and partners.
Content Marketing is the same. And Content Marketing is even more powerful than speaking engagements because of the reach and possibility to engage your audiences in a conversation about topics that are important to them.
Make your company the source of rich, educational information about your industry and buyers will engage with your team with a lot more trust and openness to consider your offerings.
Reason #4: Thought leadership
Thought leadership is a magical quality that some companies and people possess. They are the ones who shape the direction of an industry, or crystalize a trend, or spark a wave of interest in a particular type of product or service.
You could liken them to influencers on a grand scale. Malcolm Gladwell famously captured the concept in The Tipping Point, where he explored the forces behind the mysterious power that some people have to get others to imitate and emulate them.
More recently, the phenomenon of influencers on social media platforms like Instagram has created an explosion of marketing efforts to harness the power of these trend curators.
In business, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and Richard Branson are the poster-children for thought leaders as individuals. And the beauty of thought leadership is that the halo of an individual personality can make the entire enterprise into a thought leader.
Content Marketing plays an essential role in thought leadership. My framework for thought leadership is based on decades of working with companies that have established new product categories, disrupted old ones, and shaped the courses of their industries.
My framework identifies the essential components of thought leadership as four Ps (not to be confused with the traditional four Ps of marketing):
Personality – how is your company perceived by the market, as if it were a person? Is your brand fun, quirky, serious, competent, sophisticated?
Purpose – are you on a mission that people in your industry recognize and get excited about?
Passion – is the passion for what you do communicated in all your contacts with customers, partners and the influencers who help form industry trends?
Publish – are you making these other elements known to the world?
Obviously the last P speaks directly to your Content Marketing strategy. Are you taking advantage of every opportunity to publish your content and engage with your markets?
But the other Ps are just as important for orchestrating a consistent and effective content strategy because they set the tone, focus and style for what you talk about and how you say it.
Content Marketing that Works
There is no one-size-fits-all Content Marketing strategy because every company is different. True, authentic, effective Content Marketing springs from your company’s unique capabilities, your values, your goals, and ultimately your relationship with your market.
Prime Product Consulting has worked with companies in a huge range of industries to design and execute effective Content Marketing strategies. Check us out to learn more.