February 25, 2013

The power of content marketing for business

Image by 10ch (Creative Commons)

Valuable content gives companies a leg up on the competition

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, businesses, brands, Web publishers.

FM_Valuable_Content_Marketing_234x156 v5.inddEditor’s note: Quality content has always been a hallmark of quality websites. In “Valuable Content Marketing,” a new book by Sonja Jefferson and Sharon Tanton, the authors provide a deep dive into content marketing to explain how businesses can create high-quality content that targets your customer base and elevates your site’s ranking in search engine results. Here’s an excerpt from their book.

Guest post by Sonja Jefferson and Sharon Tanton

With potential customers being inundated with companies’ marketing efforts, standard marketing practices and mediocre content is quickly dismissed by most audiences; buyers no longer tolerate or respond to marketing that is less than good. To stand out, content should be truly valuable, providing a unique, educational, and perhaps even inspirational element to readers. In short, it should be content they appreciate — content that is generously shared and willingly received.

Creating valuable content

So, what elements constitute valuable content? The following attributes form content that gets read, shared and acted upon:

  1. UsefulnessContent should educate, inform or entertain readers
  2. FocusedContent should be relevant and should be meaningful to its target audience
  3. Clear and compelling – It should tell a story that people understand and respond to
  4. High quality – The content should be substantial, interesting, and well produced
  5. Genuine – Content should be written from the heart by people who genuinely care

Publishing valuable content that bears the above traits is also a way for you to showcase your professional expertise and achievements and to situate yourself as the go-to in your field. “Cast your net wider by publishing your knowledge, expertise and achievements online – you never know who might be searching,” says businessman Brian Inkster.

Here’s the deal: when you’re up against a competitor, valuable content gives you an edge. When consumers see your passion and expertise shining through, you gain an added level of credibility. Buyers will be more likely to want to work with thought leaders and experts in a given field, and your published content helps solidify that title for you.

Balsamiq grows on the strength of their referrals

Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 1.06.03 PM

Think blogging is a thing of the past? Balsamiq, a software company with a popular website mock-up tool, essentially blogged their way to the top! From day one, founder Giacomo ‘Peldi’ Guilizzoni blogged about his experiences, shared details  of his revenue, and let his audience in on the inner workings of his company. His blog garnered a substantial following with a community that wanted to see him succeed, helping him go from newbie to leader in just 18 months.

Today, blogging is commonplace at Balsamiq and all team members are encouraged to share valuable content with their communities (the key here is relevant content, not sales-y spam). Their website is rich with useful and authentic content that has helped boost their reputation and help consumers see them as industry leaders.

Inside Scoop helps Intel humanize its brand

In addition to providing knowledge for your readership, sharing relatable content is an opportunity for a company to showcase its human side. Intel did just this when trying to humanize its brand.

Inside Scoop, Intel’s blog, allows company experts to share their knowledge and tech tips with different communities to provide a human connection with their readers. Through creating, curating and sharing content that informs and engages their audiences, they continue to stay top of mind when their buyers are ready to purchase.

Content is one of your most cost-effective marketing investments. Stay engaged, share your knowledge and provide valuable insight to your readership. To echo top consultant MD Tony Restell’s thoughts:

“Deliver content that is either unique, more engaging, more timely or more conveniently delivered than your competition. Businesses that get successful from their content do at least one of these things really well.”

How do you engage with your audience to ensure you position yourself as a thought leader in your industry?

Excerpted from Chapter 2 of “Valuable Content Marketing” by Sonja Jefferson and Sharon Tanton (Kogan Page USA, 2013 All Rights Reserved). Get more insight and tips from Valuable Content Marketing, which hits shelves on Feb. 28.
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