How Content Marketing Can Reposition Your Online Presence for Better Lead Cultivation

By Eric B. Delisle May 5, 2014 General No comments yet

For many businesses, keeping up with Internet buzz words can seem like a waste of time. One such buzz phrase is content marketing. Mention content marketing to any non-web-savvy business owner and the first response is, “not another Internet fad!” Well, the term is a fad but the concept behind it isn’t.

So what’s content marketing? According to the Content Marketing Institute, “Content marketing 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.” From this definition, it’s easy to see the business sense content marketing appeals to, especially the part where it says, “driving profitable customer action”.

Content marketing is nothing new to the online and offline marketing ecosystem. Ever since companies such as John Deere started distributing publications to their subscriber base in the late 1800s, which had helpful non-sales-focused information, content marketing has been used effectively and powerfully by businesses across multiple media. The big question, however, is how to harness content marketing for your business when you may not have the specific experience and skills to kick things off. Here we’ll give you a quick primer on how to start off and get things going.

As a business, you obviously have a target market. This is made up of both customers and non-customers (non-customers are people who fit the description for your target market but either do not purchase your type of products or services at all or buy from a competitor). Once you know who your target market is, ask yourself what challenges they face related to what you provide.

For instance, if you supply wholesale goods to grocers, you may ask yourself what specific challenges grocers go through in their day to day operations. Starting a newsletter or other online publication that tackles these issues in a comprehensive manner creates non-transactional value for your readers. This is the essence of content marketing.
After you start your publication, you will then need to promote this content. The most effective way to do this is via email marketing, especially if you are a B2B business. If you are a B2C, a blog may better suffice. Create a solid content marketing plan and a content marketing editorial calendar. You may need to outsource these functions to a third party so as not to incur additional employee overheads at your business.

Once all this is in place, it’s important to know that content marketing is all about lead cultivation, not closing sales. Over time, as non-customers immerse themselves in your content, they move from being cold leads to warm leads, with greater respect and awareness of your brand, two things that will turn them into repeat customers once they come into the fold. For existing customers, it builds a sense of authority and community around your business, boosting customer loyalty and referrals.

As a whole, content marketing is a great way to organically grow your business’s online footprint while bolstering the authority and brand appeal your business wields among both customers and non-customers. So next time you hear about content marketing, don’t take it at face value, look beyond the hype and appreciate the power it has to generate value for your company.

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