Anyone on modern social media platforms has come across some form of content marketing for one business or another. It has become almost impossible to avoid how-to articles, top 10 lists, instructional videos, tutorials and so on. It has become so ubiquitous with lead generation because it works, with 82% of marketers making use of it.
Let’s take a step back and establish what content marketing encompasses. Essentially, it is still promotional in nature, but specifically promotes a company’s expertise and their investment in the wellbeing of their customers. Most markets are incredibly saturated with products and services, which may not be, to the average consumer, all that distinguishable. So, content marketing aims to attract customers to your brand and, indirectly, to your products and services. After all, if a consumer is confronted with two very similar choices in terms of price and functionality, the deciding factor will instead be their trust in one brand over the other.
Building brand reputation to generate leads
It might help to imagine this type of marketing as branding content, which informs customers about the expertise your company possesses and improves brand perception. In the content marketing world, promotional material has become increasingly particular and targeted in recent years, as well as more earnest in nature and hyper-focused on improving the status of those consuming your material. Of course, the ultimate goal is to generate leads and bring people to your business, but if this aim is too transparent then your campaign will suffer.
To ensure the best possible results, it is important to craft a content marketing strategy that will inform the type of material that your campaign will output and the sales leads demographics it will target. It is also important to consider the type of material which will work best at each stage of a customer’s journey. Content which is too specific, such as case studies, will not resonate with a customer completely unaware of your brand and its offerings, for example. To build initial awareness, purely educational content marketing is best, as it comes off as more earnest and less sales oriented.
Content marketing examples
There are many different forms that content marketing can take, and which form is used is mostly dependent on what stage of the buyer’s journey is being targeted. As a brief overview, it can take the form of articles, blog posts, videos, case studies, how-to articles, checklists, research reports, product videos, and other mediums depending on the product or service being promoted.
This wealth of choice can be intimidating, which is why crafting a content marketing strategy is essential for a successful promotional campaign.
Effectively generating leads with a marketing strategy
Coming up with a marketing strategy for branding content is relatively similar to more traditional outbound marketing efforts, with the caveat that the type and tone of content will be quite different.
To begin, you must identify your target audience, your ideal sales leads essentially, and determine several key factors:
- Who are they?
- Where are they?
- What are they looking for?
From there, a company would do well to understand their prospective customer’s pain points. Identifying the problem that your product solves for people will allow you to craft content that speaks to the frustrations experienced by many. Content marketing is built on cultivating valuable content for customers, so understanding what is valuable to them is essential. If creating content marketing material is beyond your means, consider working with a professional marketing agency, like Clever Samurai.
Technical aspects of planning a content marketing campaign
Beyond creating targeted, valuable content which improves brand perception, a content marketing strategy needs to sketch out plans for more technical aspects of a marketing campaign. These include considerations regarding which marketing channels will be used. Where would your target audience go to find solutions to their problems? If it’s a magazine then pushing articles would be best, if it’s a social media search then short form content or infographics would work well, and so on.
The channels you choose to pursue should be dictated by your target audience, and these same channels will influence which forms of content you create for your content marketing strategy. Marketing material should also be as personalized as possible. One size does not fit all, and if you are pursuing different demographics and buyer personas, then create targeted content which speaks to problems unique to each group.
For your content marketing efforts to resonate with your audience, they should be accurate and backed up with verifiable data and statistics. After all, the goal is to build trust and authority through the content you put out. It isn’t enough to just speak on a subject and hope people will believe you, backing up your claims will do wonders for your brand’s reputation.
Content dos and don’ts
When it comes to the content you make as part of your content marketing strategy to attract new sales leads, here are some important things to keep in mind.
- Be genuinely helpful.
- Create content that provides real value to people, they will see it for what it is.
- This benefits your brand’s reputation.
- Tell stories that resonate with your audience.
- Case studies should emphasise the benefits of your product.
- Focus on customer woes, and success stories related to your services.
- Craft clear paths of sales leads conversion.
- Someone has consumed your content marketing material and is interested. Now what?
- Once you’ve cultivated interest and positive brand perception, ensure that there are clear paths to your own business and that becoming a customer is a simple and intuitive process.
- Be afraid of videos and images.
- Visual information is consumed quicker than text. 60,000 times faster.
- Graphics can be incredibly striking and stick in the minds of customers for longer.Certain types of content marketing material, such as instructional content, could be better communicated in a video demonstration instead of a technical manual.
- Put the focus on yourself.
- The material you put out as part of your content marketing strategy, while ultimately promotional in nature, should not be overly focussed on your company.
- It’s not about “look how good we are”, but instead “look how good things are for our customers”
Lasting benefits of content marketing strategies
In the end, positioning yourself as a company that is invested in the success of its customers will boost brand reputation, awareness, and the generation of high-quality sales leads. Customers will be drawn towards brands they trust, and content marketing is the best way to circulate material which will influence prospective customers. It’s difficult to keep a healthy balance between promotional and helpful, and keen consumers will spot overly promotional content from miles away. Lead generation companies like 360Leads have years of experience creating strategies for companies in various industries and understand the nuances of crafting material that builds trust in a business’ target audience.