Online Marketing: It’s All About Content
To be successful online, you must commit to becoming a content developing organization. Fresh, relevant, and compelling content is central to online marketing success.
As more consumers and buyers rely on online sources to make purchasing decisions, organizations that consistently develop and disseminate valuable, informative content will have a distinct competitive advantage.
Anne Handley of MarketingProfs says, “When content became king, marketers became publishers. We shifted our focus from traditional outbound strategies to delivering the kind of content that drives successful inbound campaigns. Instead of going out and hunting prospects, we had to learn how to lure them to our doorstep. High quality content, delivered consistently and through a variety of channels proved to be the best way to accomplish that goal.”
Content development and distribution drives tangible business results:
Inbound Lead Generation
Creating and promoting content is key to filling the top of the sales funnel by driving increased web site traffic that can be converted into inbound leads. Recent studies show that companies that create, optimize, and promote content through blogs get 55% more web site traffic, and 70% more inbound leads.
Efforts to generate inbound leads must be combined with a lead conversion strategy. The role of content from a lead conversion perspective is to make precisely the right information available at the right time so prospects feel confident in doing business with you.
Customer retention requires on-going engagement, and this is facilitated by consistently providing customers with content that they deem valuable: new product updates, service information, special offers/promotions, industry information, etc.
Online content is often what creates a first impression. This has a direct impact on how you are perceived, and ultimately influences whether a prospect will buy.
For online content to drive the desired business results, it should:
- Create value by assisting prospects in making informed decisions. Do not distribute content that is bland or full of platitudes. Nobody will consume it, so it isn’t worth the effort.
- Reflect what an organization stands for and be representative of its culture, tone, style, and overall positioning strategy – what distinguishes it from competitors.
- Not be “me-centric”. This will turn off an online community.
- Demonstrate a willingness to share insight and expertise. Organizations should not hold back their knowledge.
- Tell stories.
- Be developed first and foremost for the target audience – but also take care of the needs of search engines through effective use of keywords.
- Be created and curated. Creation is the development of original content. Curation is the collection and distribution of content developed by others. Using both approaches is appropriate and results in balance.
- Use a variety of formats; blogs, video, infographics, images, audio, webinars, e-bulletins/newsletters, social media posts, etc. Prospects are accustomed to consuming information in various formats, and studies show that conversion increases when multiple formats are used.
Online success requires a commitment to on-going development and distribution of value-based, compelling content. The first decision you must make on your online journey is determining how you will become a content developing organization.