Content Marketing and Why You Need It
Unless you can find a group of people already talking about your company and know how to find more of them, you will need to use marketing and communication strategies that position you with your audience. These strategies will center on building content that will draw people into a conversation that will lead to sales.
People will only listen when the message is pertinent for them. This is why it is so important to share content that is presented in a manner that offers help, tells a story or engages them into a conversation.
Marketing is the creation and management of your story in problem-solving conversations.
Marketing is not just advertising. Advertising is different from relationship and content marketing since it’s easy for people to miss, ignore, or skip. It’s a one-way message, not a mutual exchange with the right audience at the right time and place. Marketing is not just sales. It’s not just short-term transactional thinking, but increasing the demand and engagement with your brands and positioning of your company as the customers best option through conversation.
If you found the best restaurant and wanted everyone to know, you would talk about it differently with your boss, than with your sports friend, than with your neighbor. Those conversations would differ based on who, when, and how they happened even though they were about the same topic, sharing the same details about your liking that restaurant. The same content and story is delivered in several different ways.
What you don’t want is a blatant message that is heard like a bullhorn:
“Excuse me, can I please interrupt you and tell you about me?”
Even if the message is thoughtful and delivered softly, it’s still an interruption – unexpected and potentially confusing. Good conversation is about catching the flow from where you drop into any scene. We adapt our stories to the flow.
You need to earn the right to get in the conversation you want, with the audience you want. Conversations online need to do the same, using your content in creative and purposeful ways moving the story deeper.
Conversation requires more than a handshake or just a hello.
Quite a bit like dating, the early exchanges need to start with some rapport, be relationship-focused, and stay relevant. We all need good content for conversation starters. Content is the basis to create and deliver personal message on any channel, platform or network so you can best:
- Understand – learn more and relate to your audiences
- Match – choose words, tone, and images that resonate with the ongoing conversation
- Touch – enter their worlds and steer your language to get closer
- Connect – align your message in a way that communicates value and benefits
Understanding, matching, touching and connecting happen at many different touch points. You can’t just look at one channel or tactic to develop your content (see our article: Stop Chasing Tactics). A good marketer works across channels and across departments. A good marketer works to build relationships with them, and uses different digital assets of messages to match each exchange on each channel.
Contrary to that Albert Mehrabian study, often taken out of context, that says 93% of communication is nonverbal most communication is still voice, online that voice is still predominantly text.* The increase in new channels and changing technologies have dramatically changed the environment in which marketers operate. Just like you need good stories in real life, online conversations need digital content, or digital assets, which can take form in writing, blogs, videos, images, voice recordings, downloads, brochure, sales pitch, etc. Your messages, copy and text need to fit many different styles for each channel and network.
Your online conversations will mostly take place where others are, such as groups, forums, marketplaces, apps, chat, messaging, emails, social sites, and more. Therefore, your content and messages on other networks should lead your audience to platforms and networks you control, like your website, your social profiles and pages, your video channels, blog, online store, email list, or podcasts.
As we’ve highlighted here – without content there is no exchange, and without planning there is no way to put your content to use on a path for your audience to come to you. If you aren’t leading your audience through a clear path they will become bored or confused and drop out of the conversation. You will need to design a route and organize your content to take them to their destination, with your company having the solution.
Now that you understand the importance of content and why you need more of it, and what it takes to organize your content, you might feel overwhelmed by how to make this work in your business. You can’t make it happen without processes and planning. This is why it’s so important to have an effective marketing plan.
Experienced online marketers can develop a strong plan that will help build content, develop online conversations and overcome all the hurdles of the ever changing online channels. But most importantly, an effective marketer will identify your ideal customers. And we all know, that more customers will equal more sales.
To learn more about how copywriting differs from content, watch these training videos:
The Difference between Content vs. Copywriting video
What Do I Say, Write or Post?