Are You a Content Rockstar?

Marketing Manager
Valtech Denmark
Maria Brunckhorst Schmidt

September 30, 2014

This question was posed by New York based Marketing Professor Heidi Cohen. Along with Jay Baer and Marcus Sheridan, she presented one of the keynote speeches at the Content14 Conference in Copenhagen this past week.

Unfortunately, most of us can, without a doubt, answer with a big resonant NO! In fact, 56% of the European CMOs don’t even have a content marketing strategy. Such a void leaves us with a lot of room for improvement.

But what is content marketing exactly? According to Cohen, content marketing creates and shares useful narrative information to engage prospects, current customers and the public. The Content Marketing Institute has the following definition on what is content marketing:

It is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

With that said, it is important that when consuming your content, the receiver should not feel like you are expecting something in return. The whole idea of content marketing is to focus on the recipient and his or her needs, not on your own needs or goals. According to the experts in the conference, it not only works, but it works for both B-t-C and B-t-B companies without exceptions. Sheridan himself is living proof that content marketing is successful; In fact, he left his original business of selling pools to advise other companies about getting the most out of their business using content marketing based on his own experience.

Getting Started With Content Marketing

First, you need to set some goals, plan your strategy and identify your target group. When you know your target group, it is easier to figure out what kind of content makes them tick and what social media sites they frequent.

When you know who you are focusing on and communicating with, it is time to start creating that awesome content. But how do you create all that content? Cohen, Baer and Sheridan are not short of answers to that and here are some of the advice they presented:

  • Be useful. Find out what is useful for your target group and create your content around that without ever expecting them to give you something back. Be so useful that people would actually consider paying for your content (hypothetically of course).
  • Be relevant. Keep your focus on what people really need in a specific situation – and not what you need.
  • Provide self-served information. Have all the information about your product or service available on your site. Your potential customers demand a lot of info before they purchase. On average, consumers look into at least 11 sources of information before the final purchase. Make it easy for them to find what they are searching for, or as Baer puts it, “Teach better – sell more”.
  • Answer questions. Answer the questions your customers have before they have to ask them. You probably already know many of the questions your customers have – make content about that so they can find the answers easily.
  • Be honest. Talk about the subjects that most of your competitors do not dare to talk about on their site: Cost of your product or service, problems with your product, comparison of your product with a competitor’s product and even recommendation of competitors. It might be a scary exercise but being honest creates trust. According to Sheridan it boosts not only traffic from Google, but also sales.
  • Promote and share your content where your users are. Attract users to your website by launching your content where they are, whether in Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Slideshare, etc.
  • Create cooperative content. The creation of content might seem a gargantuan task. However, it is much more manageable if you have your colleagues and customers help you. Create a space for photos, comments, and other shared content- it is all content that you can use as a part of your content marketing strategy!

If you did not already get to it, perhaps now is the time for your company to start thinking about its own content marketing strategy? 

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