by Amanda Lynch, owner of Busy Blogs Plus
Customer communication is critical to the success of your business. In order to market your brand’s message and cut through the noise, reaching your customer with effective communication is key to boosting business. Marketing your business is certainly not a new technique, but the way that businesses approach marketing has dramatically changed due to the digital age.
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However, content marketing is actually not a new concept at all. In fact, John Deere is dubbed as the first possible content marketer in history. In 1985, John Deere launched its own niche magazine called The Furrow, with the goal of being a go-to resource for their ideal customers. It was an educational print publication that answered customer questions, provided valuable insight, and helped customers make smart buying decisions. The Furrow still exists today—you can check it out here.
If you’re interested in the history of content marketing, Content Marketing Institute put together this quick timeline video:
Although John Deere invested in content marketing before anyone knew what it was, it has undoubtedly become one of the most effective techniques for branding your business online.
But what exactly is content marketing, anyway?
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Content Marketing in a Nutshell
Content marketing is a method of distributing content to customers by using mediums such as blog posts, social media, video marketing, SlideShare presentations, and more. However, it’s important to keep in mind that there is purpose behind the content that you create. The end goal is to attract, engage, and retain customers through compelling content.
Creating an effective content marketing strategy can be time consuming. It requires a deep understanding of your target audience and publishing top-notch content on a regular basis. You also want to tread lightly with being overly promotional with your content—which can cause your strategy to backfire.
The five components of a content marketing strategy include:
- Your business case: Understand your vision for creating content and realize that results won’t happen overnight. There is often trial and error involve with content marketing, and don’t get discouraged if you miss the mark on your first try.
- Your business plan for content marketing: Outline the unique value that you intend to communicate with your customers through content, as well as any obstacles and opportunities that you may run into along the way.
- Audience personas and content maps: Who is your ideal customer? Before you execute any content marketing strategy, you’ll need to understand your ideal customer from the inside out. You’ll also need a good idea of their engagement cycle, and keep in mind that the sales funnel is not linear. Customers jump from different stages throughout the selling process, and you’ll need to create content that hits as many of these stages as possible.
- Your brand’s story: Storytelling has become a powerful method of making your business stand out from the competition. This is the step where you characterize your content marketing and the messages that you communicate with your customers.
- Your channel plan: Where will you promote your content? Choose your platforms wisely, as you don’t want to waste resources publishing content where your customers won’t find it.
Is Content Marketing Right for Your Business?
Content marketing has numerous benefits, regardless of your brand or industry. When you choose to implement a content marketing strategy, you’ll receive the benefits of:
- More on-site content
- Better visibility in the search engines
- Extra engagement on social media
- Increasing referral and social traffic
- Increasing conversion rates
- Becoming in authority figure in your industry
- Improved customer relationships
- Enhancing your brand’s reputation
Amanda Lynch is owner of Busy Blogs Plus LLC in Boardman, Ohio. She is a 2011 graduate of Youngstown State University and offers content writing and blog planning services for businesses across the Valley.