Content marketing is one of those terms that are tossed around a lot today and not well understood by many marketers. To put it as simply as possible, content marketing is about providing valuable content to your prospects and customers via a variety of channels.
Content marketing is not a sales brochure or a spec sheet or anything of that sort. Content marketing is not just sterile data, but insight coming from expertise. You’re adding value to the product by showing people not what it does, but what people do with it.
You have to think more like an editor and ask yourself what serves the interests of customers and prospects. What’s going to get them talking about your brand or your product? Take off the sales hat, don the editor’s hat and ask yourself if the content serves the reader. That’s a good baseline to start your content marketing strategy from .
Joe Pulizzi and Junta 42 launched the Content Marketing Institute a while back and one of the initiatives of the CMI is the Chief Content Officer magazine. It has a US, Australian and European version. The editor of the latter is Social Marketing Forum founder J-P De Clerck and is proudly supported by the Social Marketing Forum.
In an article in the newest edition of CCO (Chief Content Officer) magazine, J-P asked Ingrid Archer from Dutch B2B and content marketing company spotONvision to share and comment the results of a study by spotONvision and TNS NIPO. It offers some very disappointing data regarding how companies are using content marketing in The Netherlands.
Barely one in three B2B companies employ content marketing or offer information such as whitepapers, webinars, newsletters, blogs or forums. That puts The Netherlands way behind the US market where study published by Junta42 showed that nine out of ten marketers use content as part of their strategy.
So where do you start with content marketing? The article suggests you start small, isolate a topic or idea and focus on it. Just be sure it’s something which is relevant to your customers and prospects. The article suggests you focus on a “pain point” – something people want to learn more about to help them resolve an issue or problem.
An editorial calendar may seem daunting at first, but it is crucial to guiding your efforts in content marketing. Use it to sketch out the series of posts/articles and even whitepapers. The article also stresses that before you start typing, you need to make a plan.
Here are 4 points to consider as you develop your content marketing plan:
- What will you measure?
- Make sure you evaluate and collect feedback
- Understand your clients’ needs
- Be aware that most successes are achieved by trial and error
The article in CCO magazine goes in to more detail about those points above – you can read the full article here.