BUSINESS BLOGGING TIPS
You Say To-may-to, I Say To-mah-to
When thinking of traditional sales, the image of Gil Gunderson comes to mind. Good Ol’ Gil can never catch a break when he’s trying to make a sale on the Simpsons. Dressed in his button down shirt and tie, he’s worked several sales jobs and is always unsuccessful. Someone should tell Gil that traditional marketing is out and content marketing is in. That’s why he should employ a unique content writer. At least that’s how it looks when you check out some of these statistics via Demand Metric:
- 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing.
- 80% of people appreciate learning about a company through custom content.
- Per dollar spent, content marketing generates approximately three times as many leads as traditional marketing.
- 70% consumers feel closer to a company as a result of content marketing.
- 60% of people are inspired to seek out a product after reading content about it.
Well, damn, it appears that content marketing is the new buzzword traveling through various marketing circles. However, there’s something about that word new that is a bit misleading. Content marketing is not a newly-created method of delivering content to an audience.
What Is 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.”
And What Is Traditional Marketing?
According to Strategic Marketing Solutions, “Traditional marketing techniques typically focus on identifying the right audience segment, understanding their behavior, and providing the proper incentive to get them to buy a product or service, and in addition, there is the location or channel consideration.” Sound familiar?”
Bazinga, it certainly does.
The difference between the two comes down to the image. Traditional marketing brings about the image of that annoying furniture salesperson you know makes a commission, so they constantly ask if you need anything, and, if you sit on that gorgeous couch, they’re there in seconds to tell you about payment plans.
Content marketing, on the other hand, is that cool guy or gal who can relate to what you want. This person offers you a beverage and says that they want the couch that fits you. “The white couch is good but it gets dirty quickly,” they say, “So if you have pets it may not be the best fit. I should know, my cat gets hair all over my couch.” And wow! They’re absolutely right! You have a fur baby who sheds, too.
Lexicon Content Marketing shared a list of differences between traditional and content marketing that further illustrates this point:
- The Pull
- Owned Media
- Long-Term Relationship
All and all, traditional marketing is seen as the old, cliché method, while content marketing is the fresh method that hooks your audience when you employ a unique content writer. Think of it as your grandfather sitting you down to tell you how he use to have to walk 15 miles in the snow to school every day when, now, you have your fancy yellow buses come and pick you up.
But Is this Really so Different?
This is where Jonathan Crossfield’s article, “Is Content Marketing Lost in Translation,” comes to mind. In it he discusses something that a lot of marketers aren’t willing to admit: content marketing can come off as being just as cliché as traditional marketing. He quotes a tweet from journalist Stilgherrian that summarizes this point: “Later I might go to the pub and ‘drive engagement’ with my community. WHY ARE YOU PEOPLE LIKE THIS?” But think about it. When creating your content marketing strategy, how many times do you say things like “engage your audience” when figuring out how to develop relationships? Is it really putting the consumer first when you’re sitting at your computer, trying to figure out how to “engage” them? Sure, we want our brands to benefit our consumers, but why?
Because we want our brand to succeed, and if the consumer benefits, they’ll come back. Just like traditional marketing.
Crossfield admits to sometimes catching himself spewing out some overused terminology in content marketing:
- Thought Leadership
- Brand awareness
“Can we get back to simply saying what we mean?” Crossfield asks.
When articles surface about how content marketing is “the new way of the future,” it’s hard to believe that it’s new when the two are so similar. If anything, it’s fairer to say that content marketing has been influenced by traditional marketing. When consumers stopped listening to that stuffy furniture salesperson, the salesperson was re-invented into the person who will sit down and tell a story about the shedding cat that the consumer can relate to.
This isn’t a new method to marketing, but one that’s been revamped to fit with today’s savvy consumer. People are tired of being sold a product? Fine, let’s sit down and talk over a cup of hot cocoa and content marketing about why you need a unique content writer. Do you want marshmallows? How about whipped cream? The marketing cycle continues as it always has.
The ultimate goal of content marketing is offering your target audience information and materials that will engage them and motivate them to choose your business.
Seems easy, right?
Often, companies will simply share general content to please everyone. But let’s be honest: you can’t win them all. And that’s okay!
Rather than throwing a line and hoping the fish will bite, create Thought Leadership content strategically catered to your target market. Consider the people who would genuinely need or care about what your business offers, rather than wasting time, effort, and resources on creating general, unfocused content. Successful content marketing involves promoting your products and services to the people interested in the subject matter, who will read the content, click on your company website, and take action.
As an executive of an organization, you are a valuable piece of the brand. Consumers want to know about the human presence leading companies, in order to understand more about the company’s values and goals.
Take advantage of your position as an industry expert and share extra content to attract more attention to yourself as an industry leader and your company. Your quality content will build your reputation as a reliable voice to earn your consumer’s trust. However, if it’s not focused on your target audience, you won’t earn many conversions from your content.
Consider these techniques to guide your Thought Leadership content so it can expand and strengthen your loyal consumer following:
- Identify your target audience by reviewing your current consumer data and identifying who is investing in your business or reacting to your thought leadership materials so far. Look for trends to find why these people are interested and if others like them haven’t been reached yet.
- Conduct customer research to learn how they will respond to your thought leadership content. Request participation in surveys, polls, social media comments, and more to learn about your existing impression on your audience and how you can improve your platform.
- Create target audience character profiles. Identify their interests, demographics, pain points, needs, and desires, and write to them.
- Find where your current and potential audience is active online. Catch their attention by being active and sharing your content marketing materials on these platforms.
- Pull inspiration from other Thought Leader examples. Research other executives within your field who implement successful content marketing through their personal platforms. Learn what qualities make their content attractive and why readers respond to it positively. These examples can offer a base for you to visualize what you want to achieve.
- Recognize your strengths as a Thought Leader. Often, leaders aren’t necessarily aware of the unique talents that give them an advantage in their industry until asked. Reflect on what topics you know best and how to input your insights to humanize your materials, make them original and more engaging for your audience.
Case Study: How Strategic Content Marketing Can Broaden Your Audience
In our client strategy calls, our team will interview our expert clients to learn about their industry expertise and find out what’s meaningful to them, their business, and then identify who we believe to be their target audience. We use these insights to inspire our content subject matter and tone to create impactful content for their current and potential consumers.
For example, our client, Dr. Nitin Desai, approached our strategy team to create content to promote his COVID Pre-Check app. His innovative software is intended to help employers ensure their employees who enter the office are COVID-free, providing a safe environment by eliminating the chance of spread.
Our team of strategists recognized that with Dr. Desai’s thorough professional knowledge around the COVID-19 virus, he had the potential to become a reliable voice in a culture of people seeking answers. We created content for Dr. Desai that focused on sharing COVID-related insights to reach a wider audience, which has been a successful mission. Our thoroughly planned content reflected his industry expertise, which brought him attention from various media outlets and publications, including Forbes.
By reaching out to our professional content marketing team, Dr. Desai achieved his goal of promoting his groundbreaking app, while also positioning himself as an authoritative voice in his field. Our team learned about his voice, discovered what was meaningful to him and his target audience, and optimized this to create focused, engaging content that broadened his consumer scope.
Ready to Invest In Your Article-Writing.co Thought Leadership Package?
At Article-Writing.co, we understand that you have a lot on your plate. Let us share your voice on your behalf, so you don’t need to add more time to your busy schedule to write your own content marketing. Our strategists and creators will develop a plan to create engaging materials to represent your Thought Leader brand through your own specialized Thought Leadership Package.
Let us help you strengthen and broaden your consumer base for continued professional success. Book a call today.