Should marketing strategy include content marketing?

Author -  Patrick Dodd [Guest]

Before we get into whether or not content marketing might be right for your business we need to define just exactly what it is. 

"Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience — with the objective of driving profitable customer action." — Joe Pulizzi

The more detailed definition - "Content marketing is an umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation or sharing of content for the purpose of engaging current and potential consumer bases. Content marketing subscribes to the notion that delivering high-quality, relevant, and valuable information to prospects and customers drives profitable consumer action. Content marketing has benefits in terms of retaining reader attention and improving brand loyalty." (Wikipedia)

Sounds great, huh? After all, as marketers and business owners, we'd all like to be doing things that establish our businesses as industry thought leaders, generate leads, increase direct sales and improve search engine ranking and customer retention - all possible with a good content marketing strategy. So if content marketing has so much potential, why aren't more marketers doing it?

The short answer is because it’s difficult and time consuming.  It’s difficult because it’s hard to know exactly what type of content (that is still relevant to your business) is going to resonate with your target audience and over time elicit a profitable action. Once you identify the type of content that resonates, then you need to either produce the content, curate the content or some combination of the two - both of which are resource intensive and take a lot of time. Keep in mind that this is not a one off activity but rather a continuous process.

Then there is the distribution side of things - getting the content to the audience.  Do you have the right infrastructure (i.e blog) and established social networks in place? What about growing your friends and followers? The bottom line is that for your content marketing strategy to have any success at all, you are going to need to put in a lot of work before you see any results.

For many businesses, it’s more economical to invest in search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) advertising.  It’s cheaper, the results are much more immediate and it requires far less resources.  The problem is that while SEO and PPC can certainly generate leads, increase direct sales and improve search engine ranking, these activities cannot help you with customer retention nor facilitate word of mouth advertising.

So are you ready to give content marketing a chance?

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