What's "content marketing," and how do I do it? | Ask Red Rokk

By Yvonne Cartwright
Account Director, Red Rokk Interactive
Contributing Writer 

Q: I hear a lot about the importance of “content marketing” in putting together information on my website. Exactly what does that mean? Don’t I already have “content”? Is there a way to improve it?

A: Great question. For the average businessperson, all the new phrases and new “gotta-dos” can get overwhelming, particularly when it’s not always easy to find a good definition of what it is you think you should be looking for.

Fortunately, content marketing is a fairly easy one.

In the past, marketers have pretty much created message-content based on truly “making the sale.” In other words, working hard to sell their products or services based on what they know about them, but not necessarily based on what their customers want to know. I’ve seen this time and time again, and until a marketer comes to the realization that there is a better way, the return on investment is usually low.

Content marketing simply means writing content that is relevant and valuable to your customer, showing them that you understand them. Not telling them what you want them to know, but instead telling them what they want to hear.

Give them information that will engage their attention, provide them with useful information, and in the end, even change the way they perceive your company. You can do this in print oron websites, blogs, videos—just about every medium you might be using.

Here are a few ideas to consider when you are creating relevant content. It takes a little bit of work, but the returns are considerably better.

1. Think about your customers, and what they may be facing in their business world.

Is their industry experiencing hard times? Or maybe better times in this economy? When you write, address the specific issues your customer may be facing. Let them know that you understand what they are experiencing, and that you can help get them positive results that will work in their world.

This is also called “trending”: looking to identify the trends your customer’s face, showing that you understand the trends, and most importantly, that you know how to address them to your customer’s benefit.

2. Sometimes a business’ problems can seem to hit out of nowhere.

Unlike the slower-to-take-place trends, a sudden change to an industry due to law changes, new regulations, new technology—these and other “emergencies” can very quickly impact a business, leaving owners and managers wringing their hands.

To write valuable content in this situation means you have to be on top of what is happening in your customer’s world to a greater degree than just trending. You need to keep a watchful eye on what might be coming around the corner not next year, but next week.

When you see an “event” looming, you can quickly create content that shows you are on top of the game, have given it previous thought and are prepared to help your customer weather whatever the storm may be.

Demonstrate you understand the event itself by giving some background on it. Surprisingly, many businesses don’t give the time they should to looming clouds that might have a significant impact on them. So show them that you have taken the time.

And since you have, you can help by making recommendations on how to avoid problems that come with whatever the event might be, and maybe even
how to achieve benefits from it. There is usually some kind of silver lining in any dark cloud.

This type of content positions you as someone who “gets it”. A business who is paying attention on behalf of your clients. And what business wouldn’t want to work with someone who does that?

3. Write about how you care about your clients’ success, and how you can demonstrate that through action.

Provide information that helps them set and accomplish goals. Position yourself as someone who not only cares about helping your client achieve them, but also understands the issues and knows how to help.

4. Most of all, create content that puts you and your company out there as trusted advisers who can meet your clients’ needs.

Sometimes having trust in a service provider may be the only way to stand out in the field of competition. This doesn’t mean that you only paint a rosy picture of what life would be like for them if they choose to work with you. Be sure to be realistic.

Point out potential pitfalls. But at the same time demonstrate you know how to avoid them, or at least how to deal with them to everyone’s satisfaction.

When you think about what “content marketing” really is, it is pretty simple. It’s the same information that you would like to know or hear about a potential company you are considering working with.

Keep that in mind when you are creating content, and you will be successful.

Having trouble effectively reaching your target market?  Let us answer your questions about marketing, advertising, website design and development, social media, SEO or anything else related to the promotion of your business. Send questions to the Red Rokk Interactive team by email at info@redrokk.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

Yvonne Cartwright is the account director of Red Rokk Interactive, a marketing and advertising agency located in Bellingham. The company specializes in developing high impact campaigns that create awareness and drive sales. Columns from the Red Rokk Interactive team appear on BBJToday.com on the first Tuesday of every month. Red Rokk is online at www.redrokk.com

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