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Conquering Content Marketing is Harder Than it Looks

Everywhere you look – there is content. From the videos you consume on your day-to-day social media channels to the billboards you pass everyday, the newspaper ads, and the celebrity endorsements on television – you are surrounded by content.

Let’s be real though. A lot of questions loom over the concept of content marketing, even by marketers themselves. Recently, Content Marketing Institute released a list of 25 Questions Asked by Digital Marketers  – and it’s totally intriguing. Questions like “How does marketing without talking about or promoting our service help us generate leads or sales?” or “Why would I want to educate my customers and help my competition?” are just a few. By gaining a deeper understanding of content marketing for your business, you’ll be more equipped to craft a master content marketing plan that blows the competition away.

So let’s dive into some of the most frequently asked questions we get as an agency:

1. What’s the difference between content and content marketing?

The purpose of content marketing is to attract an audience to an experience that you own, build, and continuously optimize to reach your marketing objectives. This is where you can truly get creative with your brand messaging.

Content, however, is different. There’s different types of content: product content, sales content, customer-service content, live events and conference content, employee-generated content, marketing and campaign content. You get the picture. Content is what you use to drive your brand’s message. Your content marketing ties all of the different pieces together for a specific goal.

2. How can I effectively market my brand without promoting a specific product or service?

The bottom line is always sales. Let’s think about what goes into a purchase from a buyer’s perspective. There’s a need, they conduct research and compare (through your website, online reviews, competitor comparisons, price, social media, etc), they make a decision that feels right to them.

Many marketers get stuck in ‘product pitch’ mode. Nobody wants to be sold to in their free time. Content marketing helps create more knowledgeable customers, while product pitches focus on sales. Content marketing builds relationships, while product pitches answer questions at one moment in time. Content marketing empowers the buyer, while product pitches simply check a box on their to-do lists. Content marketing is an investment that reaps long-term rewards. Product pitches are short-lived.

3. Why would I want to educate my customers and help my competition?

In the age of transparency, almost anything can be found on a Google search. For goodness sake, you can find tried and proven business plans and strategies for even the most niche of businesses. You being helpful to your customer is worth far more than having one of your competitors attempt at duplicating your efforts. It’s important to always be looking for ways to improve, be more efficient, better serve your customers, and implement it. Your customers will appreciate your company for that, which will be the beginning of a very positive relationship. In the words of Dr. Seuss, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You,” Your competitors may imitate your marketing, but they’ll never be able to duplicate what your company brings to the table.

4. How do we make content relevant to all our audiences?

This is where your handy dandy user personas (or buyer personas) come into play! In short, creating a buyer persona for your B2B or B2C company is critical to effective marketing and website design. Creating content that is relevant and engaging for your audience will make or break your marketing effectiveness.

Once you have a clear idea of what your audience wants and needs, their main points and problems, then you’re able to cleverly tie your company’s brand into content that resonates with them.

5. How do we make something go viral?

The golden question many businesses want to know is how to make your content explode on the internet. What’s the magic formula? The answer is: there isn’t a guaranteed formula. There are some best practices though. Your campaign needs to present a unique story, idea, or dataset in a way that directly addresses a pain point or creates an emotional response in an engaging format. Furthermore, you’ve got to be prepared to promote it like crazy.

The Bottom Line

Invest in your content. Your blogs, video content, and images all tie together and can create a powerful story that people want to engage with. If you need to get help with developing a compelling brand story, find an agency or team to help bring your content marketing to life.

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