Monday, November 1, 2010

How can "content" help you promote your business?

"Content marketing" (also known as "information marketing") involves using editorial material -- articles, podcasts, videos, white papers, newsletters, etc. -- to deliver high-quality, relevant, and valuable information to your target audience. It's a common marketing practice. According to Junta42's 2010 Content Marketing Spending Report, 59% of marketers planned to spend more on this strategy in 2010. Junta42 also reports that the average business marketer spends 33 percent of its marketing budget on creating content and getting it out there to customers and prospects.

Why are they spending money on making useful, helpful information available online and elsewhere for free? Here are a few reasons:
  1. It helps position them as the experts in their fields.
  2. Prospects discover that the information source is the best resource for the product or service they're researching (and customers are reminded of this).
  3. It generates Web site traffic because of the impact information has on search engine rankings -- and Web site traffic can lead to sales.
  4. It helps educate.
  5. The online exposure generates publicity when journalists discover that an individual or business shows up consistently in search engine queries
The U.S. Postal Service's free marketing magazine, Deliver, is a great example of how a large organization embraces and implements content marketing (disclaimer: I'm a regular contributor to the magazine and its companion Web site). Deliver educates marketers about the various USPS products and how to use them wisely while providing best practices, case studies, and ideas about how to create successful direct mail campaigns. Wells Fargo does the same thing for small businesses (I've contributed to their content marketing as a writer, too), providing free how-to information designed to encourage trust.

Content marketing is simple and easy. All you do is share what you know. It's a smart strategy that can be easily impletmented by organizations of all sizes. In fact, it's easier for entrepreneurs and others in smaller organizations to do this because there's less of a distance between the person with the information that has to be shared and the person who turns it into shareable content. (In many cases, they're the same!) And with fewer layers and less bureaucracy, it takes less time to approve and share the content, whether it's an article, video, audio interview, booklet, or special report.

Here are a few examples of how I use content marketing for my small business:
There's a lot more I need to know about this topic . . . and when I need to learn something, I find someone to teach me. In this case, you get to learn, too! On November 15, I'm hosting a teleseminar with content marketing expert Stephanie Chandler. She's going to be talking about how this topic relates to book marketing, but her information and concepts can be applied to any type of organization, product, or service. (Learn more here.) I'm looking forward to asking her the questions that will get you the information you need to begin using content marketing. Look online for more information, too -- the companies that provide content marketing services are, of course, good about providing free information about this strategy!

How do you use content or information marketing in your business?

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