Content Is King
Given that much of my background is in media, I have a hard time with the claims that we have reached the end of outbound marketing because inbound marketing is completely replacing it. Come on, did radio advertising die when the TV was invented? Nothing is different today. The reality is that marketers will absorb the new tools into their existing arsenal.
Take away all of the hype, it is content that is king and who ever has content will be a viable source of marketing. Let’s take a look at publishers first because let’s face it, they are experts when it comes to producing content. Managing a magazine is in a lot of ways like managing a very large corporate blog.
Successful publishers have embraced a multi platform content distribution strategy to keep their readers engaged and renewing their subscriptions. The first key to a publisher’s success is their ability to understand their readers (their market) and create engaging content that holds value for their audience.
The second key to their success is their ability to assess where are readers consuming content and delivering it to the right places. Publishers have access to the traditional print magazine, a sister content driven web site, digital content rendered for mobile devices and social media outlets as their vehicles for content distribution. By simply employing a social media strategy for magazine content distribution, I was able to increase web traffic by 25% in a matter of months.
What does this translate to marketers looking to amp up their inbound marketing? It all starts with the blog. This will be the foundation that much of your inbound marketing content will stem. Like publishers, the goal should be to engage your customers by driving people back to your web site – repeatedly.
The first thing marketers need to do is get out there and listen to what their customers really need (not what we tell them they need). Look for customer pain points and create content that answers their problem. The caveat here – DON’T SELL. Today’s consumers are savvy and are looking for information not a sales pitch or your press releases announcing a deal you just won. That is what the News portion of your website is designed to be.
This targeted content needs to be placed where your customers are looking for information and consuming content. Post a link to your latest blog entry on social media web sites where your target audience is engaged. Include it on a comment you make on subject matter forums that relate to your business. Send it to existing clients and prospects along with a few other blog entries in a weekly or monthly email newsletter.
Once your content is out there, listen again. Are people talking about it? Are they reposting it? If not, try again. If you are getting some buzz, this is your opportunity to further engage your customer base and have a conversation with them that helps further solve their problem and gets you another step closer to winning their business. Be sure to track your web traffic, social media comments, re-posts and other metrics you have access to and better hone your content.
What now? Rinse and repeat! In time, the amount of content that you curate becomes a rich resource that starts to set you apart from your competitors and positions your company as the authoritative voice in your area of expertise; a thought leader. If you are good enough, hey – you might be able to steal the content spotlight from traditional media outlets and prove me wrong.