Whether you call it inbound marketing, social media marketing or content marketing, we're broadly referring to the same thing; at least that's how we see it. We believe that inbound marketing starts with considered, quality content, well published and promoted that, in turn, drives the inbound benefit through sharing and search. The 'free bonus' is that you're link-building and gaining social signals for search engine optimisation as well creating great content - something so often over-looked and under-valued.
So how do you achieve quality content marketing? Here's how:
Creating excellent branded content
You're not in the game without it, I'm afraid. It's easy to over-egg the channels, especially social media, yet even social media experts will tell you that without the objects around which to socialise and share there is little chance of interaction or sharing. And, for most of us, the best object is relevant, quality, branded content (by definition that's not quick or easy!) that's exceptionally well seeded.
Developing a connected hub
This may be a fascinating and well considered hub like American Express' Open Forum or something relatively simple like a blog. A blog is a brilliant way to create a hub for your company's content. Design your hub in line with other marketing assets, think about the positioning and then get your quality content on there. Oh, and ensure that your content is easy to share - a simple share bar is the easiest way to do this, then think about embedding Facebook comments if relevant, if not Disqus. The high end will consider the awesome but extremely pricey Gigya, or cheaper Janrain.
Publish and promote
This is the crucial step, the bit that really is hard work. How and where to seed with influencers in your market, the portals and the bloggers who have the credibility and reach that you need. And, don't forget the social networks, communities and forums where your audience is already talking about related stuff.
'Free', no, 'Easy', no - since when was great marketing ever easy though?
Create and spark interaction
All that content needs to drive somewhere, to your content hub most likely, although the idea of 'fulfilment' can take place anywhere, really. Suffice to say that in return for making it worth someone’s while to interact with you,you capture new potential customers and, more importantly, their permission to continue an ongoing dialogue that moves them, presumably, towards the sale of a product or service.
The focus is on the relationship, which is why email and social media combine so well. Relationship building or interaction takes place wherever your audience is, in social network, on your site, etc.
Your business is in the business of selling, right?
If you’re offering a solution your target market finds very valuable, then content marketing is simpler for you.
Focus on providing valuable solutions to your target market, don’t pitch and scream about your products off the bat. People are looking for solutions, not your product or service. Offer them what they need and want - the secret to effortless selling.
Want to learn more about what you can achieve with content marketing? Give us a ring!