What is the future of content marketing?

You might have heard the term – content is king.

So, what is the big fuss about content, when compared to other forms of marketing? And what are the opportunities moving forward?

I’ll ask this first:

How many times have you come across a business or brand, and thought the products or services looked interesting? You see an offer or an ad and think yes, I’m not quite ready to buy just yet. In fact I might not buy it at all, but I want to think about it for a while. I’ll take a screenshot, jot something down on a post-it-note or make a mental note to remember to check it out again when I’m ready.

Time passes, life moves on and you forget about the product or service – perhaps even the business or brand.

Enter content marketing.

 

Content creates an opportunity for you to build relationships

We stay in touch with friends and family by exchanging stories, pictures and videos. It feels good to share aspects of our lives and it gives recipients the chance to stay up to date with elements of our life that resonate with them.

While spending time together is going to create the best connection, email and social media allows you to share information when you can’t be with our friends or loved ones.

Content marketing creates the same opportunity for ongoing connection with your clients and prospects. It helps them to stay in touch with you and get to know you. It also helps them to ascertain if they like you and trust you. Not everyone will like you and trust you, and that’s ok. But for the people who do, content marketing creates that bridge.

 

Connection comes before selling

I’ve been receiving a large number of LinkedIn pitches lately, and some via email too. I’m immediately aware that this individual or business has found me by using keywords in my LinkedIn title or come across my email address, but has taken no time to understand who I am, what I might value, what I’m trying to achieve and what my unique obstacles might be.

I’m affronted when this person connects and then tries to sell me something right away. I understand sales is a numbers game, but this approach misses the point. Stop trying so hard, slow down and get to know me. Also, give me a chance to get to know you.

 

Content can be valuable

Content used in this context creates a dual opportunity.

If you are creating content (such as blogs, podcasts, ebooks etc) and posting them on your LinkedIn profile, you’re giving those interested in working with you an opportunity to get to know you before going in for the hard sell.

If you are pitching via LinkedIn or email, creating a piece of content and sending a message offering something addresses the person’s needs for free, that is going to be far more valuable. This approach also gives you the opportunity to request an email address and even ask a few qualifying questions.

 

If everyone is creating content, how can you stand out?

It’s true, there are over 600 million active blogs globally, 43 million podcast episodes and 37 million YouTube channels. (Source: Hubspot, podcastinsights.com, tubics.com). Even with all of this content, the opportunities to connect with your target audience are still endless.

  1. Identify your target audience
  2. Research where they spend their time online
  3. Spend time engaging with members of your target audience online
  4. Work out key problems they want to solve, and our how you can help
  5. Get clear on the types of content you can produce, either within your team, or by outsourcing
  6. Create a content calendar.
  7. Design your funnel – so you stay in touch with the people who consume your content, nurture the relationship and ensure there is a simple path to purchase when the time is right

 

What are the big content opportunities moving forward?

The best opportunities lie in understanding what your target market are consuming now and the best ways of reaching them with your messaging.

It’s also worth thinking about the content you enjoy producing, or would be open to outsourcing, to create the best impact for your audience including:

  • Blog posts
  • Guest articles
  • Webinars
  • Podcasts
  • Video
  • Ebooks
  • Whitepapers
  • Guides

 

Do some self-reflection

Think about your own habits and consider what will work for your audience and product or service.

While email marketing is very popular, I have several email accounts, with many unread emails. It’s probably something I need to work on!!

However, I do understand that while my habits are amiss, email marketing represents a huge opportunity, and I certainly do open and engage with emails that resonate and capture my attention.

Content in emails can be taken from blog posts, offering an SEO benefit, video content you can also use on social media, plus access to ebooks and courses. If you are developing the content, building an email list is very worthwhile and there are many ways of optimising open rates.

 

Growing an email  list

If you’re getting started, here are some ways to grow your email list:

  1. Choose an email platform – such as Mailchimp, Activecampaign, Convertkit or Campaign Monitor
  2. Create a list from your current contacts and send a welcome note asking if you have their permission to include them on your list moving forward
  3. Create a free offer they can download (checklist, ebook, guide, discount code etc)
  4. Design a landing page
  5. Promote the link

There are a number of ways you can promote your offer – on your social profiles, blog posts, guest blogs, on your podcast or with a Facebook advertising campaign.

 

Looking to the future. What is in store for content marketing?

  • Brands are becoming publishers – hiring specialised content marketing teams or outsourcing to consultants and agencies
  • Content efficiency is key – Creating a blog post, blog article or writing a book takes time – but learning how to take our snippets, re-use content multiple times in different ways helps you to maximise the time and expense of creating content.
  • AI-powered content – increasing options for algorithms providing personalised content available in current forms, and also on smart speakers
  • Blockchain – Creating a system of content provided to one person, and then served to a defined community, reducing wasted distribution and advertising costs
  • Chatbots – Helping your potential customer to navigate quickly from your website or social media to the information they need.

Depending on what stage you’re at with your content marketing, it is an ever-changing, always on opportunity. We’re here to help.

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