What is this thing called “content marketing”? Well, “instead of pitching your products or services, you are providing truly relevant and useful content to your prospects and customers to help them solve their issues,” explains the Content Marketing Institute. Why content marketing? Because it works. How? In three ways, the Institute goes on to say:
- Increased sales
- Cost savings
- Better customers with more loyalty
Very important, successful strategies address issues readers care about, not your own business.
When it comes to effective content marketing, Josh Steimle, writing in Forbes, focuses on three qualities the content must have in order for people to want to consume it rather than trying to avoid it:
An important observation Steimle offers is this: Prior to awareness, a customer may have a need and not be aware there is a solution. Content marketing raises awareness of solutions and educates consumers about products they may not have considered before.
Since I’m a big advocate of using historical tidbits in blogs to create interest, I loved having Heidi Cohen remind me that content marketing is older than we think. The example Cohn provides is Johnson & Johnson creating guides for Civil War doctors on how to use their bandages.
“Content marketing is personal, engaging and tells stories,” Cohen goes on to say, focusing on emotions and messages that are captivating to the target audience. She quotes Dan Bergeron of Likeable Media, who stresses that the main thing is to focus less on cost and product details and more on the customer.
Since “keeping on keeping on” is the glue that holds an ongoing blog marketing effort together, I like i-scoop.eu’s observation that good content responds to the questions and needs of (prospective) customers during and after their buyer journey.”
What that means in practical terms is that we blog content writers need to keep on telling the business’ or the practice’s story in its infinite variations over long periods of time, knowing that, to a certain extent, the blog content readers who end up as clients and customers have self-selected rather than having been persuaded, “recruited”, or sold.