If Bill Gates's 1996 "Content is King" article was a person, it would be celebrating its birthday with a (legal) drink in hand - and probably a hangover.
Twenty-one years ago, Bill Gates released an article talking about the importance of content in making money online. He stressed that the content put online would drive audiences and customers to spread awareness, connect with the brand, and make a purchase - just as it had in various forms in broadcast media.
But how could Bill Gates see the value in content before blogs, social media, and business websites truly existed, especially when many business owners continue to ignore how content can revolutionize the way they do business?
Because he knew people.
Content Marketing Isn't Going Anywhere
While the forms of content marketing we do today are considered "new," the ideas behind content marketing aren't anything the marketing industry hasn't seen before. It's just done in a different way.
Before the internet was introduced or even used in the way it is today, content was everywhere. From national publications to business magazines, companies were taking advantage of telling stories, sharing insights, and forming genuine relationships with their audiences and customers - just like we try to do today with our business blogs.
If you're still struggling to understand exactly why your business blog is so important for your business, you need to consider how it fits into content marketing. When you look back at why content has been the focus of major marketing campaigns for years and years, you'll get a better understanding of why it isn't going anywhere.
Content Marketing Focuses on Real People.
When we talk about content marketing, we're not talking about finding the best SEO keyword combination or how to break the algorithm to appear in front of your audience's face at just the right time.
No. That's not content marketing.
Content marketing is about providing real value to real customers.
Your content marketing strategy needs to focus on the real readers who are going to explore your content. It isn't about pleasing search engine crawlers or seeing how many shares your post can get.
Content marketing provides actual value to the individuals that read it. They walk away with a deeper understanding of a topic, a problem, or a process.
Real People Like to be Helped - Not Sold.
When we think about "marketing" in general, we're thinking about ways to sell a product or push the audience further down the sales funnel. While content marketing does aim to move readers into the funnel to eventually make a sale, it doesn't do so by telling them they need something.
Instead, content marketing asks, "How can I help?"
Content doesn't say, "If you just buy this product/service, all your life problems will be solved!"
The content you create and post on your blog should have the main purpose of education - not selling. Through providing insightful bits of content that help audiences discover problems on their own, your blog can help you build lasting relationships with your audience and keep them coming back for more.
Content Marketing Sells Without Selling.
Now, you may be sitting there wondering, "why should I use content marketing if it's not about selling?"
The answer can be a bit tricky.
Content marketing does sell - it just isn't pushy about it.
When you provide valuable content to your readers, you're letting them in on industry secrets. Instead of charging them for your insights, you're keeping them educated and informed so they can understand what they actually need - not what you tell them they need.
Your content allows you to build trust with your audience. Through education and relationship building, your customers will remember you when it comes time to make a purchase. When they've decided what they need - without your annoying sales pitch - they will come running to you asking how you can help once again.
CREATING A CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY THAT BOOST SALES
If your main goal for content marketing is making immediate sales, you're going to struggle to find the true value. While all businesses need new sales and repeat customers to keep the company going, those that stick around tend to do so because they put their customer first.
When creating a content marketing strategy, first look at what your audience needs. What information are they looking for that they're not getting from your competitors? What unique perspective or opinion can you provide them?
Put your audience at the forefront of your content creation. If you have their best interests in mind, all the other pieces will fall into place.
For help creating a content marketing strategy that will boost business and help you connect with your audience and readers, send me a message. As a professional content marketer and freelance blogger, I can help you develop the right plan for using your business blog.