The Relationship Between Content Marketing and Customers
“We don’t want to push our ideas on to customers, we simply want to make what they want.” – Laura Ashley.
A lot gets said about customers: they are always right; they are never satisfied; they are our number one priority. Move from industry to industry, and you will find similar maxims regarding customers espoused by management and employees alike.
The problem is, these statements are so cynical.
An adversarial mindset views the customer as a force to be handled rather than a relationship to be cultivated. This mindset is the first thing you will have to scrap if you want to start content marketing.
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as:
“A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
The heart of this definition counteracts the biggest misconception regarding content marketing. It is not distributing content that is relevant to your business or industry. You should be completely customer-centric.
It is crucial to understand this distinction. Because it frees you from prescriptive thinking about what is (and is not) relevant content. Your content marketing strategy does not always need to have a clear connection to your business. But only its goals and the desires of your customers.
Types of Content Marketing
When people hear the term Content Marketing, they often think it just means blog articles and email newsletters. Well, the list is actually quite long. To make it easier for you, we see content as any materials distributed by your business that provides value for free. We divided them into three main categories: text-based, image-based and multi-media content.
Text-based content offers value through concrete information sharing that cannot be easily condensed. This category includes emails, whitepapers, eBooks, and blogs. A whitepaper is a concise and informative text on a complex matter in print or PDF format. On the other hand, eBooks are value-laden texts usually in PDF format that comprehensively cover a given topic.
Image-based content includes infographics, branding graphics, memes, and user-generated images (i.e. photos of your customers using your products). This category is generally the easiest to digest. And it is perhaps the most effective at gaining attention from customers who are particularly interested in your brand.
Finally, Multimedia content combines the two aforementioned categories and additionally incorporates audio-visual and web 2.0 capabilities. Here we find podcasts, videos, and social media integrated content to be the most useful for small businesses.
We will cover each category in greater depth over the next few weeks, so stay tuned! For now, you need to recognise that great content marketing has a natural flow to it that will keep your audience consuming what you deliver.
Say you are an auto-mechanic. You wrote a blog titled “How to look after your engine”. You could use this blog to promote your eBook that covers at-home car maintenance more broadly. Your audience signs up to your email list to get this eBook. Then you send them monthly newsletter that contains a link of your video on how to buy a second-hand car. and so it goes.
Why Practice Content Marketing?
Put simply, content marketing allows you to attract, engage, inspire loyalty in, and eventually convert customers.
In a competitive marketplace, you need to make it as easy as possible for customers to say yes to your business. It will be hard to say no when someone is offering something that we want for free. That is why mouse traps are so effective. Because that piece of cheese is just too hard to resist. It explains the first benefit of content marketing is to generate leads.
Now that we have got the initial attention, it is time to position ourselves as authority figures. Content marketing allows us to do this by seizing the right to educate, inform, and guide our audience. Not only will this communicate our expertise, but by being transparent and giving. Our potential customers will know that we have their best interests at heart. Nothing inspires more trust in a person.
When applied correctly, the content marketing process will lead customers right through their purchases. The content that you have generated, will provide evidence in their mind that your product or service is valuable and necessary.
You need to determine what your customers value most and then amplify that connection with your offering. This task is far more complex than any blog could comprehensively cover, but we can go over the essentials.
The Core Tenants of Content Marketing
To do content marketing right, you need to know the solutions to your customers’ problems, satisfy their desires, and prove that your brand is trustworthy.
The first two points are simple enough to understand theoretically. If you know your customers like the back of your hand, providing them with valuable content will be easy enough. We have three blogs coming your way to give you practical explanations and examples for each type of content. So, no need to fret about not knowing where to start.
Funnily enough, most people have made mistake on the concept of trustworthiness. Trustworthiness is much more fundamental than just being perceived to operate ethically. Trustworthiness in content marketing means that customers can rely on you to provide consistent information, both in quality and delivery. It means that the message expressed in your content must align with your brand image and the core value of your business.
One thing we want you to know is that you cannot fluke good content marketing. Although the most successful companies will make it look like effortless, content marketing takes intense scrutiny to pull off with flair and effect.
Let us put the odds in your favour by getting in touch with us.