7 Things Every CEO and Entrepreneur Needs to Know About Content Marketing
Content marketing is more than just another buzzword. It’s not simply another word for blogging or social media, and it’s not a strategy that should be approached halfheartedly.
In actual fact, content marketing is one of the most powerful and effective strategies you can use for growing your business. It’s far more than just writing an occasional blog post or posting on social media. Having a content marketing strategy in place can result in increased:
· Website traffic
· Social media followers
· Email subscribers
· Qualified leads
Want to know how to achieve these results for your own business? Read on to learn exactly what you need to know to succeed at content marketing.
1. Your content needs to stand out online
Regularly creating and promoting content isn’t enough: that content needs to be high quality, and needs to speak directly to your target audience. Remember that your content is competing with a multitude of other online content. Your customers are used to watching their favorite shows on Netflix (sans commercials), and probably aren’t interested in watching your sales pitch as they scroll through their Facebook feed.
In other words, your content needs to stand out among all the other content your audience is being subjected to every day. Whatever you’re trying to achieve through your content, you need to make sure it’s the best in class: the funniest, most entertaining, most surprising, most informative, most valuable. Remember that your customers owe you nothing, and that it’s your job to convince them to watch, read or engage with your content. “Good enough” isn’t good enough in content marketing.
2. It’s less about direct sales, and more about providing valuable information to potential customers
Content can certainly be used to entice prospects to buy your products or services. More often about providing valuable information than it is about direct sales.
Consumers are increasingly wary of being “sold to”. They can see through manipulative sales copy that preys on their emotions, or that uses hype to push them into buying. The way to break through this is by providing helpful, valuable content on a regular basis. As they get to know you through the content you provide, their trust in you grows. And then when it’s time to buy? Your business will be first of mind.
3. It’s critical to your SEO success
Most CEOs and business owners long ago accepted that SEO was a necessary task for driving traffic and sales. Only a few short years ago, most large companies recognized the need to have a dedicated SEO department or manager; or at the least, had an ongoing contract with an SEO company.
However, over the past 2–3 years, many large brands are moving away from this model. While SEO is still critical to online success, many CEOs and business owners have realized that SEO can/t exist without high-quality content. Enter: content marketing.
Today, businesses must regularly create and share valuable content via their website and social media channels in order to succeed. Google is showing a preference for long form content (preferably 1000 words+), so creating longer, high-quality blog posts that comprehensively cover a topic is now your best chance at ranking in search.
4. It’s a long-term endeavor
Content marketing demands a consistency that most other forms of marketing don’t. Generally speaking, you don’t produce a great piece of content and see results right away (unless we’re talking about a sales page). To see the full benefits of content marketing, business owners need to decide how content marketing fits into their overall marketing plan, and then implement it consistently over time.
5. You’re probably already engaging in content marketing (even if you don’t know it)
Do you have a company blog? How about an email newsletter? Social media accounts? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re already doing content marketing. While the actual term may not be familiar to all business owners, most now know that these marketing channels are necessary for generating traffic, leads and sales.
What can set you apart from the many other business owners is having an actual strategy for your content. Some questions you’ll address in your strategy include:
· What specific goals do I want my various pieces of content to accomplish?
· How will I know if I’m achieving these goals?
· Which channels will we use to reach our target market?
· Who will be responsible for creating and curating our content?
· How frequently will we create new content and distribute it via various channels?
Having a detailed strategy can even help you achieve a noticeable increase in conversions.
6. Calculating the ROI of content marketing is possible
There’s a common perception among business owners that it’s impossible to know whether their content marketing efforts are achieving a positive ROI. In fact, even many experienced marketers struggle with this. According to the 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry report, 22% of professionals marketers say they don’t know how to calculate ROI on their social media activities, and a further 35% say they’re uncertain about measuring their ROI.
This doesn’t mean, however, that it’s impossible to calculate. While most single pieces of content will rarely generate immediate sales, you need to look at the big picture: How are you moving people through your funnel? How does one piece of content lead to the next, and the next and the next? Are you capturing and nurturing leads on your site? How are you moving them to the point of conversion?
I’m not saying this is an easy task, and coming up with a cause and effect relationship between a single piece of content and a sale can be difficult. Oftentimes, other metrics — such as pages per visit and social shares — must be used alongside conversion rates to determine whether your content marketing efforts are worthwhile.
7. Visual content is now a necessity
Many businesses are getting better at creating text-based content, but aren’t seeing visual content as a necessary component of their strategy. They think of images and videos as add-ons to their content, without understanding the power of creating and sharing engaging visuals.
But did you know that:
· Articles with images receive 94% more views than those without?
· 67% of consumers say the quality of images on an ecommerce site is very important to their buying decision?
· Using visual content on Facebook can result in up to 65% more engagement after just one month?
· Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than those without?
If you want to see these benefits for your own business, you absolutely must focus on creating and sharing high-quality images and videos.
Content marketing is the most effective online strategy you can use for growing your business. I hope the points above have convinced you of this, and have given you some valuable tips for maximizing your own content marketing efforts.
What would you add to this list? What do you think is the most important thing CEOs and entrepreneurs needs to know about content marketing? Leave a comment and let us know!