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What is Content Marketing?
The marketplace we live and work in today is radically different from the one in which many of us started. Salespeople and store employees used to be the experts, and brands and businesses used to spend advertising dollars to find prospects who needed their services.
Today, the buyer is the expert and the one proactively reaching out to brands and businesses for help. For example:
The average buyer guides themselves through 60% to 90% of the traditional sales funnel before ever contacting a brand or salesperson.
81% of shoppers research online before setting foot in a store.
Consumers spend an average of 79 days conducting online research before buying.
There is an answer to this buyer-driven environment: Content. Content marketing is the process of creating high-quality, valuable content to attract, inform, and engage an audience, while also promoting the brand itself. Buyers and consumers are already searching the web for answers that your brand is uniquely positioned to offer. It’s benefits are three-fold:
Increased brand awareness:
As prospects and buyers search the web for answers to their questions and solutions for their problems, your brand continues to show up.
Increased brand preference:
Content marketing helps to further establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry, which strengthens relationships with buyers.
Greater reach at lower cost:
It is not a short-term strategy, but over time, a library of great content will continue to reach more qualified leads and interested buyers.
Content marketing is the savvy marketer’s response to the new, relationship-based, buyer-driven, digital marketplace.
Creating a Content Marketing Strategy
An effective content marketing strategy is built on two pillars that you (hopefully) have already:
A set of robust, strategic personas, and
An understanding of your typical buyer’s journey.
Each content asset should appeal to one (or two) personas at each stage of their buying journey, gently nudging them to the next stage.
How to Design Engaging Content
Design means much more than color schemes and stock photos. The process will look different for every marketing team, and even for every team’s various content pieces.
In general, design starts at the very beginning, as you map out a content marketing strategy. Understanding the brand’s personas and marketing goals will shape the basic style of each design—each should be useful to your personas, and true to your brand voice.
A strong content marketing strategy includes a variety of content types, so as individual pieces begin to take shape, there are some specific things to keep in mind:
- Blog Posts
- Cheat Sheets
- Workbooks and Templates
- Whitepapers and Reports
- Slide Decks
- Case Studies