Content Marketing: It’s About The Journey
Content marketing has become an essential way for small businesses and entrepreneurs to engage with customers and grow their business. It begins with answering some key questions and developing a strategy:
- What are your goals for engaging with customers?
- How will you create great content?
- How can you develop content ideas that support your goals?
When I say content marketing is about the journey, I mean two things.
- First, it’s about the buyer’s journey:
- Step 1. The awareness stage. The buyer has a need for something or a problem they need to solve. They start looking for someone who sells what they need or can resolve their problem.
- Step 2. The consideration stage. The buyer has done some research and is weighing different options for obtaining the thing they need or solving the problem they have.
- Step 3. The decision stage. The buyer makes a decision about where to buy what they need or who to hire to solve their problem.
- Second, content marketing is your brand’s journey, one that really never ends. As long as you are operating your business or engaging in your profession, you will need to continue to refine your content marketing efforts, publish fresh content, and keep up with the evolving technological landscape for reaching your customers.
As with any journey, you will start from where you are.
Is your business new to the marketplace? If so, then you need potential customers to be aware that you exist.
Perhaps yours is a well established business but it’s difficult to distinguish yourself from your competitors. What can you do to stand out from the crowd?
Maybe you have lots of traffic on your website but not many sales. Your content marketing needs to address how to convert leads into customers.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
What’s on your website? Is it just a single page with a list of services and a phone number? Have you essentially built your website the way you may have advertised in the Yellow Pages in the past?
Do you have a blog? If so, how often do you post? How do you promote your blog? Are you getting any engagement? Are people sharing your posts?
On the map of the buyer’s journey, where does your website reside? How will customers find you? If they find you, is there anything on your website to engage them and make them want to learn more about you?
Much of content marketing has to do with that first stage, the awareness stage. The truth is, no one is likely to buy from you or hire you after reading one blog post. That’s not what it’s about. Business blogging is about getting noticed and building authority.
But content marketing also engages customers in the second stage by convincing them that you know what you’re talking about and you know what you’re doing. And it’s about communicating in a professional way that’s easy for your customers to understand. To do this effectively, you need relevant and engaging web content that is updated regularly and provides value to the customer in the form of education or entertainment. Your website should be a utility for your customers, a place where they know they can find useful information. Perhaps your customers would find a checklist helpful. Maybe you should add a video where you talk about your company or have customers provide testimonials. Leverage social media by creating a Pinterest resource board or responding on your website to a comment or question received on Facebook.
The essential element for any content marketing strategy is to get started and keep moving. Enjoy the journey!
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