Ever wonder why content marketing works so well for some businesses … and doesn’t seem to do anything for others? When it comes down to it, content is just content – even if it is entertaining, educational and contains the secret to world peace and fresh, minty breath, all rolled into one. It still has no magical powers… It won’t transform your business or get you were you need to go, without business goals.
To make content work, you need to understand your marketing and business goals. Then you can create content that serves those goals, instead of just giving your audience something to pass the time. All of your content needs to fit into a larger picture. You need a strategic framework so you can get the most out of your time and hard work.
Here are some of the business goals that may drive our content marketing – focus on just one or two, or all 10 and see which ones you can apply to your own marketing plan.
Goal 1. To build trust and rapport with your audience
This is the most obvious use of content marketing, and it’s a good one. When you create useful, interesting, and valuable content, your audience learns that they can trust you. They get a sense of your personality and what it would be like to work with you. Lack of trust kills conversion, but an abundance of valuable content build trust like nothing else.
Goal 2. To attract new prospects to your marketing system
Your content has to be compelling enough that it attracts links, social media sharing, and conversation, because that’s how new people find you. No matter how delightful your existing customers are, you need a steady stream of new prospects to keep your business healthy. Remarkable content that gets shared around the web will find your best new prospects and lead them back to everything you have to offer.
Goal 3. To explore prospect pain
Most enduring businesses thrive because they solve problems: health problems, parenting problems, money problems, business problems, technology problems, “What should I make for dinner” problems. When you understand your prospect’s problems, you understand how to help them, and you have the core of your marketing message. Strategic content dives into the problems your prospects are facing. What annoys them? What frightens them? What keeps them up at night?
A smart content marketing program leaves room for audience questions, in the form of email replies, blog comments, or Q&A sessions or webinars for information gathering. Listen to the problems your market asks you about, and use those as a compass to guide your future content.
Goal 4. To illustrate benefits
We don’t just dig up problems and leave it at that. We need to also talk about solutions: techniques, tips, tricks, methods, approaches that fix those problems. If you have a viable business, you have a particular take on solving your market’s problems. Your individual approach is the flesh and blood of your content marketing.
Goal 5. To overcome objections
Your prospect is looking for ways to solve his problem, but he’s also keeping an eye out for potential problems. Strategic content can be a superb way to address these objections, or the reasons people don’t buy.
Is price a pain point? Write content showing that implementing your solutions saves money in the long run. Do your customers think your product will be too complicated to use? Write content that shows customers using it painlessly.
Goal 6. To paint the picture of life with your product
Don’t just describe the product, describe the experience of the person using it, mentally putting the customer into the experience of owning the product. Storytelling is an excellent way to do this, showing readers what it’s like to own your product or use your service. Case studies are also terrific for this.
Goal 7. To attract strategic partners
Whatever your business goals are, partnerships are often the smartest way to get there. When you’re passionate about creating excellent content, you’ll find that potential partners are attracted to that passion.
Goal 8. To deepen loyalty with existing customers
Every company needs to attract new customers, but the biggest growth potential in most businesses comes from building a tighter relationship with your existing customers. A solid base of referral and repeat business is the hallmark of a great business. Even if you never did any content marketing to anyone other than your customers, you could radically improve your business by improving the communication you have with your customers today.
Create a richer experience for the people who have already bought from you. Make your products and services work better by pairing them with useful, user-friendly content. By giving great stuff to the people who have already bought from you, they’ll reward you for it.
Goal 9. To develop new business ideas
Your content stream is a fantastic place to try out new ideas. Thinking about re-positioning your key product? See a new problem on the horizon that your customers might want you to solve? Get those ideas into your content, and see how people react. You can watch what excites people, and what fizzles out.
Goal 10. To build your reputation with search engines
Lots of content creators think this is reason #1 to create content but search engines find you valuable when readers find you valuable. So, if you create that type of content, your SEO battle is 9/10 done. Put the other content marketing goals first and this one becomes a fairly simple case of SEO.