Content marketing is a great way to add personality into marketing campaigns. But content marketing isn’t just about creating a witty meme or a parody video. It can also be an effective (and inexpensive) way to generate qualified leads. According to Hubspot’s 2012 State of Inbound Marketing Report, leads derived from inbound marketing tactics such as content marketing cost an average of 61% less than leads derived from traditional outbound marketing tactics.
The Rise of Content Marketing
People are constantly bombarded with sales messages, and in turn are becoming more and more resistant to them. Additionally, with the advent of legislation such as the CAN-SPAM Act and the creation of the National Do Not Call Registry, it is becoming increasingly difficult to reach them. Marketers have sought to discover a way to reach prospective customers in an authentic, unobtrusive manner.
The use of content marketing has steadily increased, and now content marketing is seen as an essential aspect of any marketing plan and is widely used by marketers. According to B2B Content Marketing: 2012 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends, published by Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs, 9 out of 10 marketers are utilizing content marketing. The most popular tactics used are articles (79%), social media (74%), blogs (65%), e-Newsletters (63%) and case studies (58%).
You Need a Plan
With so many types of content to choose from, developing a plan of action can be overwhelming. The types of content you should produce depend on multiple factors including your audience, the sales funnel and the medium you are utilizing.
Since the target audience influences which type of content you use, uncovering where they are in the sales funnel will help determine which types of content are most useful to them.
Next, map your content to the corresponding stage in the sales funnel. Content such as infographics, blog posts or articles can be used to generate leads at the top of the funnel. Once leads are in the middle of the funnel, provide content that is more specific to their particular needs such as whitepapers and webinars. At the bottom of the funnel, utilize content to close the deal. This content should demonstrate the value that a company can derive from using your product or service, and could include case studies, product demos or ROI calculators.
The medium you utilize to publish your content also affects the type of content you should produce. Think of the characteristics of the medium. Facebook is more of a visual medium than Twitter, so your new infographic may have more of an impact on Facebook, while a new article might be shared more on Twitter. It is important to test using multiple media and continually refine your tactics in order to increase the impact of your campaign.
Get more from your investment (and time) by repurposing content across multiple platforms. Consider sending an email with your “Top 5 Blog Posts” or tweeting an article “from the archives.” Repurposing content is a great way to extend the life of your content and increase exposure.
Organization, Organization, Organization
A content calendar is a valuable document that will help keep you organized and map out which pieces will be used. Another reason to keep a content calendar is to stay on track with content generation, as each piece will require some preparation (and likely an approval process). A content calendar will help you stay on schedule with the production schedule of each piece.
In addition to a content calendar, it is a good idea to keep all of your content organized in a library or database. An easy and inexpensive way to do this is with a simple spreadsheet containing fields for file name, title, description, target audience, sales funnel stage and any other important information. This allows you to keep up with the type of content you have, and what you need to create. Additionally, this is a great way to easily find content for upcoming email campaigns or social media posts.
Content marketing will continue to be an integral aspect of marketing campaigns. Just as it is useful in developing brand awareness and thought leadership, content is important for lead generation and nurturing campaigns. With a strategic plan and an integrated approach, content marketing can be a valuable addition to your marketing toolset.
Need help generating leads with content marketing? Contact Launch today!
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