Engage Customers with a Content Marketing Strategy

BY: ON THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2012

Small businesses have always looked for ways to share the stage with – if not steal the spotlight from their larger competitors.  Executing an effective Content Marketing strategy is one way for a small business to cast a large shadow and compete effectively against bigger, better-funded competitors.

Content Marketing isn’t really new; but recognizing and nurturing it as a unique marketing discipline is.  Quite simply, Content Marketing is creating and freely sharing content that provides practical value to those who seek out, find and consume such content.  Who are these content seekers?  They are those with whom a business wants a relationship, and ultimately as a customer.  By providing useful content, a business creates a positive perception for itself in the minds of prospects.  That goodwill, more often than not, leads to purchase consideration when the prospect is ready to buy.

The goal of a Content Marketing strategy is to create conversations.  Engaging prospects with content that has utility triggers these conversations.  The operative word here is “engage,” which means content which ultimately satisfies this objective is both easy to find and easy to share.  Online and social media are therefore ideal channels for publishing content, but traditional forms of content, such as print, are also still effective.

What kinds of content make sense for a Content Marketing strategy? The answer to this question should come from an understanding of your customers’ needs.  When they look for a solution that you can solve with your products and services, how do they search for it?  What kinds of questions do they ask?  What do they need to know to move forward in their consideration and purchase process?  The answers to these questions will point toward the kind of content you need to provide, and how to make it available.

If you think a Content Marketing strategy sounds right for your business, a great first step is to assess your readiness to execute one.  Demand Metric offers a free Content Marketing Assessment that lets you measure your organization’s preparedness to embark on a Content Marketing strategy.  When you’re ready to start, use the free Content Marketing Plan Methodology to help you develop and implement your program.  Finally, get some great ideas for types of content by downloading the Content Marketing Institute free eBook, 100 Content Marketing Examples.

The customer buying dynamic is changing, as customers increasingly self-educate and take more control over the buying process.  This increased control results in less seller influence and interaction with customers.  A Content Marketing strategy is a way for any business to remain a viable participant in the purchase process, and even increase the influence it has with prospects and customers.

About the Author

Jerry Rackley

Jerry Rackley is Chief Analyst for Demand Metric, a community built around the needs of marketing professionals and consultants.  It provides premium content, consulting methodologies, workshops, and advisory services to over 17,000 members in more than 75 countries.

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