I was working with the CEO of a company that had an amazing technology. The offering solved an essential problem for IT managers in mid-sized companies in a way that nothing else did. But without a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, it might as well have not existed.
“No one knows about it,” the CEO said about the market’s lack of recognition of his offering. “Everyone lumps us in with these other vendors, and they have it all wrong. If you search for it on Google, then everyone else comes up.”
Your problem is one of meaningful differentiation and SEO, I told him. You need to be positioned as the challenger option to these other vendors. In other words, customers who have been down the path of working with the vendors who have it wrong will want to learn about the solution that gets it right and addresses the shortcomings.
“But how do we get customers to see that?” he asked.
“It’s all about content,” I told him.
We went on to build a program that optimized his search results, doubled his web traffic, won his company a slew of awards and recognition, and, most importantly, multiplied his sales pipeline by almost 10X.
If you are like him - a CEO, CTO, CFO, director or other executive leader in a company - you probably have heard marketers throwing around the “Content Marketing” term before.
But what is Content Marketing and why does it matter so much in today’s noisy markets?
4 Reasons Industry Leaders Use Content Marketing
Content Marketing at a high level means that you publish a continuous, periodic stream of articles, blog posts, social media posts, white papers, trend advisors, video, podcasts and other pieces of written and multimedia marketing material related to your solutions and market.
At first glance, Content Marketing seems like an excuse for marketers to kind of run off at the mouth. Marketers, after all, are typically famous for communication skills. They like to communicate a lot.
But as it turns out, frequent, abundant communication is what it takes these days to reach your buyers at critical stages in the buying process.
That’s why it seems like every major consumer and business-to-business oriented brand engages in some form of Content Marketing these days.
I will map out four reasons why Content Marketing matters. Let’s look at the first two today and then explore the next two in my next blog posting.
Reason #1: Noisy Markets
Markets are noisier than ever before. Thanks to digital creative tools, it’s possible for the smallest mom-and-pop to create and publish on-line ads and video that rival those of a consumer product powerhouse like Procter & Gamble.
Even business-to-business marketing has changed drastically because of the rising noise.
GE is famous in marketing circles for outstanding content marketing. Part of GE’s strategy is to cement its status as a thought leader in its chief markets (more on that aspect of Content Marketing in aa moment).
For example, GE’s Instagram account is a huge hit. Yes, Instagram, the same image posting service your kids are probably using to document their lives, is being used with huge effect by one of the world’s oldest industrial concerns.
In a great recent example, GE got social media influencers to tour GE facilities and post to Instagram, with millions of hits resulting.
Similarly, GE personnel publish extensive and continuously updated blogs about virtually every industry the company touches, at GE Reports.
A few years ago, the company promoted its industrial and scientific divisions in a series of powerful social media and video campaigns, such as the MythBusters-style videos “Fighting Fire with Fire” and “A Snowball’s Chance in Hell.” It’s certainly no coincidence that former MythBusters’ host Adam Savage appears in some of the series.
These Content Marketing initiatives all keep GE in the spotlight of all its markets and rise above the noise.
The marketing noise in virtually every market has become deafening. How many participants are in your market and how loudly are they shouting?
Content Marketing is one way to rise above the turmoil. This is because what you say is just as important as how often, where and how loudly you say it.
With quality Content Marketing, you are publishing information and perspectives that bring useful information to your potential buyers. Good content published frequently gives those buyers a reason to engage and re-engage over time, learn from you, and form the basis of a relationship.
Content Marketing executed properly is one way to cut through the noise of your market.
Reason #2: Search Rankings via Search Engine Optimization
Pretty much any purchase of any sort in any market will involve a Google search at one point or another.
Let’s say you're an IT manager assigned to explore cutting costs for your company’s data center. Odds are good that your first or second step will be to do a Google search on all the terms you can think of related to the topic.
So appearing high in those search results via search engine optimization is critical for a vendor of, say, high-efficiency data center cooling systems, or low cost networking devices, or similar cost-saving technology.
Content Marketing – especially written content – is essential for winning those high rankings because Google’s page scanning and ranking algorithms can recognize which sites and pages contain authoritative and credible information about search topic.
But, extending the example, what about the non-obvious technologies that might reduce data center costs?
That’s where Content Marketing can also be a boost.
Say you are a vendor of Cloud services that enable a company to outsource much of its data center load to a virtual infrastructure. Properly executed Content Marketing that discusses the cost savings with Cloud services in detail can get your message in front of the IT manager, even if he has never considered Cloud services as a cost cutting measure.
In other words, Content Marketing got you in front of a new potential customer who wasn’t even looking for your type of solution. But because of your content, they are now suddenly aware of an entirely new product category that solves their problem in a new way.
This is the approach I was recommending to my client in the opening of this posting. It’s a very effective way to position your company as a challenger, disruptor and game-changer in an established market segment.
And Content Marketing really works to boost search results. I have helped many companies to clarify their messages for market, execute Content Marketing, and leapfrog their competition to win first page rankings for their web pages via search engine optimization.
Content Marketing for Customer Engagement, Search Engine Optimization, Market Conversations
In part 2 of this blog post series, I will explore the role of Content Marketing in engaging with end customers and in establishing your company’s thought leadership.