Seth Godin is considered by many as the “godfather of modern marketing” and years ago he made the bold statement that “content marketing is the only marketing left.” In the years following the release of his first book, Permission Marketing, the marketing industry and seen an upheaval of historic proportions. In fact, I believe the communication and thus marketing revolution we are living in is the biggest since the printing press. Quality content and content marketing have always been in the thick of this landmark shift. Seth was right in 1999, and he is still spot on.
Content marketing is the heart of inbound marketing. Modern marketing is forcing brands and advertising agencies to act more like publishers. The internet provides for and encourages the sharing of information and sharing quality content is all about telling the stories the public want to hear, it’s about engaging and educating prospects and customers alike. When content marketing is done right, followers become fans and even promoters of your brand because you have provided something they want and need. Content marketing leverages the words we use in online searches to drive engagement and action (conversions) through engaging headlines and helpful, non-promotion based information. The heart of marketing is still engaging the heart and mind of the consumer, but now we do that by providing helpful, educating content.
To say we have come a long way is an understatement! Content marketing continues to become more and more sophisticated all the time.
Here are some of the most popular communication channels today:
There is no escaping that video marketing is the most popular form of content marketing around today, and all the statistics say it will going to continue to grow. There is both live video and prerecorded video to consider now. Periscope, Facebook Live, Snapchat, Instagram, Meerkat, and Vine just to name a few, all capitalize on the live experience with Facebook still offering the widest viewership. There are pros and cons to pre-recorded and live videos, and we’ll cover that in another blog. For most businesses, just getting pre-recorded content up is a victory so let’s focus on that for the moment. Make sure you plan out or storyboard what you want to communicate first. Know what story you want to share and remember keep it around 15 seconds for most social media videos. Practice and make sure you are to the point and you know what you want to communicate. Videos don’t have to be a person talking either. You can put together a short with photos and text that is powerful and demonstrates exactly what you want to share. Check out this video about the Alaska Inbound Marketing Summit that is coming up in September.
The traditional newsletter we used to get in the mail with those goofy little circle tabs has evolved to an e-mail marketing system. Some brands still treat their marketing e-mail like the newsletters of old and pack it full of as much information as possible. Trust me; there is a better way! Marketing e-mails have to contend with a lot of other mail, and you want people to look forward to getting yours. Take it as an opportunity to wow them! Focus on dynamic images that engage your audience; keep the text to a minimum and link people back to your website, or a landing page, if they want more information. This encourages traffic and will make a bid difference in your conversions. Think skimmable! Can they skim the information and have an idea what you are trying to say? Yes?! Awesome, then you are on the right track.
Social Media Marketing
If it seems like there is a new social media channel with a weird name like “Meerkat” popping up every second, you are not far off. Some are a flash in the pan like Blab and others like Snapchat have survived to thrive and continue to grow. The big three or four: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram are the primary focus for most businesses, though is it most common to pick two of the top four to focus on. Quality content on social media focuses on posting original, short form content with a focus the visual side. Video content is a huge benefit to most of these channels. The key with these as with any content marketing is consistency and a focus on providing information that is helpful to your audience.
Google wants to see that our websites are updated consistently (are you tired of that word yet?) and the best way to do that is to publish blogs on a regular basis. Blogs are a longer format than social media, typically 600-2,000 words that are educational and focus in on specific subjects your target audience is interested in. It is common for the public to access your website through a blog before they ever hit your home page. Blogs also communicate the tenor and personality of the company, and this is more important than ever. People look to build a connection with the brands they do business with and want to feel like they are a part of a community. When they resonate with the tone and with the information in the blogs they read, they feel a deeper kinship with the company and are thus more likely to buy. Whenever given the choice, we will tend to do business with those that we know, like and trust. When prospects can feel a connection to your business, your brand, they are more likely to call you when they are ready to buy. It is an investment in the people who are most liable to buy from you.
Website Content & Landing Pages
The last piece I’m going to touch on in this blog is the content that is on your website. Businesses can not afford to overlook the words, photos, and videos that appear or do not appear on their sites. It is important to have all three (words, photos, and videos). People will look for all three these days. While you may not update the information in your “about us” or services section very often, that does not mean you can afford to neglect it. Google bases your rankings more on the words that are in the actual descriptions in your site than the keywords. People got too good at “keyword stuffing” their sites with highly trending words that had nothing to do with their actual site and Google figured out a way around it. They now put a high value on what is in your “about us” section that your keywords. So make sure the words people are searching for appear naturally in your text so that Google will rank you site and people can find your content. Landing pages have emerged in the last year or two as another good way to attract people and direct them to valuable content. Landing pages do ask for something in return for the information, though. Typically at least a name and email. The more information being given away, i.e., a whole ebook, the more information a brand may request in exchange for that content. Not everyone is a fan of this style of content marketing, but it is still proving to be effective when a reasonable sharing of information is involved.
So if content marketing intrigues or intimidates you (or both perhaps), we would love to chat with you about how it can revolutionize your marketing efforts. A combination of traditional and digital marketing is the best mix for most companies today, and it is something at which Beacon. If you would like to just chat about the possibilities, I would love to connect. Feel free to email me at [email protected] or give me a call at 907-563-6008.