Content marketing has changed drastically since we first saw it happen with firms such as Influence & Co., Column Five and Contently have radically changed the way it is not only produced but also distributed. Before I was born (2001), social media channels did not exist, and the distribution of content through these media was a little-known thing compared to today. Users would rely on real paper to receive their ‘daily dose’ of material from their favourite writers or groups. But in all truth, content only works because it brings a sense of community to its readers or viewers and companies now spend millions every year to connect with their customers on a personal level, while also understanding their customer’s needs.
Good writing is supposed to invoke sensation in the reader. Not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.
Content marketing, in it’s purest form, is the distribution of real knowledge on a mass scale to bring additional expertise to a large group of people all at once. But what makes content marketing so special is the ability to analyze what your customers expect of you as a company and how they engage or interact with the content you provide them. It is this information that for me as a business owner is most valuable and knowing whether my customers prefer red over blue or emails over phone calls is a very vital resource for my team and me.
So with the launch of Contend (a social marketing and content analytics company) on the near horizon, I think it is only appropriate to reveal my top 5 reasons that producing and distributing branded content as a company (either in-house or firm was written) is absolutely 100% needed.
1. Get the wellbeing of knowing that your customers see that YOU CARE!
Customers, in general, whether B2B or B2C, want to know that you, as a company, care about their needs as a business owner or as a customer. It has been shown that companies that produce consistent content weekly receive, on average, four times the number of social media followers/likes than companies that post once a week (per post/per account). As a person who values a secure connection with salespeople at companies that we do deals with (software, equipment), this is extremely vital for me as if I don’t like the sales rep. I generally do not buy it. To put it in perspective, over 40% of B2B partnerships/purchases that I made for my previous firms was because of a piece of content that I read, either noting the company or by the company itself. A notable one being our use of WhenIWork, which operates a beneficial blog showcasing best practices, top software for different purposes.
2. Expand Your Reach into new marketings and connect with new partners
As new publications from companies emerge, they expand their knowledge of different parts of different industries, especially when starting a company as it is vital to get as much information about clients as possible to make critical early sales. In doing so, you, as an entrepreneur or a person in the business, get the opportunity to explore innovations and best practices within other companies that you generally do not get to explore. In my line of work, I get the unique opportunity to learn a lot about what goes on in startups, mainly in the communications sector. So when I do get the chance to write or read about something within science, aerospace, venture capital, among other topics, I do look forward to doing some research.
Also, as a business owner, especially when starting a company or new to an area, content marketing is a great way to connect with possible vendors or business partners as you can then reach them much faster. The outstanding thing about content marketing is that it is much easier to spread amongst large groups of people without spending much money to do so.
3. Understand Your Customer’s Needs, much clearer.
A considerable part of Contend (my former agency) is the ability to analyze what customers expect of your business as a whole. By doing this, you can better understand the target marketing for your products or services much better and tweak your marketing efforts to target them better specifically. Multiple things allow you as a business owner to do this, engaging and customer ‘friendly’ publications generally have a high share, like, comment and overall high engagement and reaction with clients. Whereas the opposite occurs with noncustomer, orientate publications. Also, there is software available that allows business owners to get higher-end analytics and insights into each posts’ specific engagement.
4. Attract New Sales Leads!
Businesses generate 67% of 2016’s leads with an active blog, and it is because of this that content marketers get excited. Content marketing is the ‘giving side’ of marketing with little to no products or service promotion actually in the content itself; thus, sales teams must be ready to take care of the increase in leads directed from their blogs or publications. In truth, I would have never known about WhenIWork if it wasn’t for their article about the “18 Apps every Smart Boss Knows About” I would have never known about the company and what they offer. They gave me information before I gave them my contact details, you can say.
5. Be Better at Understanding Your Brand, Product, Company
As you get more busy with running a business (such is life), your time will be consumed with tasks, emails, phone calls, among other things and it is essential to keep the brand that you built from the start intact. Writing about best practices, your opinion within industries or everyday business workings can help you to develop better, refine and promote your brand and your business because you better understand where you want to be as a business owner and as a company. It can help you by guiding you from where you are today to your dream company or overall vision, and overall, consistently producing content can help you to know your goals as a person much clearly. In turn, you develop yourself as a person as you start to write more or build more content strategies.
In conclusion, content marketing is much more than a niche market in the ever-changing world of marketing and digital distribution. We are humans every day to learn new things and explore different possibilities from all walks of life. It is because of the people that produce consistent high-end content that we because addicted to and engaged in reading and learning more every day. So I challenge you to start slowly and work on how you communicate with your soon-to-be leads and soon-to-be customers because once you have connected with them successfully, it is only a matter of time before they have submitted their contact details to learn more about your business.