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Have You Adopted Content Marketing?

Learn how to create and market content in this new digital content era

Management Guru Peter Drucker wrote about Information Revolutions (invention of writing, invention of the written book, invention of Gutenberg printing press) in his book ‘Management challenges for the 21st century’. According to him, the first printers of the Gutenberg Press were 15th-century technologists similar to the digital technologists of today. Once the technology of printing had leveled, the wealth shifted from the technologists to the content providers - just like the power is shifting to content providers today. Drucker also rightly predicted that the questions in the next information revolution would be "What is the meaning of information, and what is its purpose?"

ClickDocuments: Content Marketing Cheat Sheet

The Content Era

Let us race forward to today….We find ourselves yet again at the crossroads of an information revolution. Change has come. The Content Revolution is here. And yes, the rules of marketing have changed forever, once again.

Content, whether it is produced by enterprises or individuals, whatever form it is in, is being published and distributed to multiple platforms like never before. The flood gates have been opened and publishing and distribution have been democratized. Distribution of content has become very fragmented thanks in part to the unforeseen growth of channels and forums and new media outlets. Haven’t eBooks changed the face of the book publishing industry in just a few years?

What does this Content Era mean to you?

Every digital marketer is being told to develop blogs, wikis, podcasts, webcasts, youtube videos (and the list goes on..) to market their content. You are under high pressure to develop and publish content quickly in order to reach customer and prospects. Have you stopped to ask:

  • Why? What purpose do these contents serve?
  • How does this content fit in with my overall marketing strategy?
  • How does marketing change with social media?
  • What can content marketing do for my business?
  • How do I reach prospects and customers by providing valuable content?

What is Content Marketing?

Wikipedia defines Content marketing as an umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation or sharing of content for the purpose of engaging current and potential consumer bases. In contrast to traditional marketing methods that aim to increase sales or awareness through interruption techniques, content marketing subscribes to the notion that delivering high-quality, relevant and valuable information to prospects and customers drives profitable consumer action.

How is the new digital world content marketing different from traditional content provided up until recently? In the new digital world, content creation and distribution have the following attributes:

  • 2-way interaction rather than a 1-way “push out” content mode of traditional media
  • Many more vehicles to transmit content
  • Increased user interaction & instant feedback
  • Rapid spread of information

High quality, compelling content is the one of the important routes to finding potential customers. Content is any piece of information used to inform, educate or entertain. Examples: video, blog post, white paper, podcast, webinar etc. More and more marketers are moving away from traditional marketing materials like ads towards an integrated content marketing strategy to get their message across.

Adopt a content marketing strategy today

  • Goals Identify your destination for Content Marketing. Figure out what your target market wants and how to offer it.
  • Strategy Determine how best to achieve your content marketing goals given the resources you have.
  • Execution/Tactics Take actionable tasks to execute on your vision. Align your tasks with what your target market wants for their informational needs. Launch your content marketing campaign
  • Metrics/ROI Measure your progress with analytics. Track what is working and make any necessary improvement adjustments.

How do you create and market white papers in this Content Era?

For example, white papers are a great example of content marketing. White papers are killer marketing tools to show thought leadership, educate your prospects and customers and generates sales leads.

When creating white papers, use the following check list

  • Why are you creating this white paper? Show thought leadership, educate, inform, generate sales leads.
  • Who are the stakeholders and experts? Who is your target audience?
  • Potential customer should perceive your white paper as valuable - show thought leadership
  • Create relevant, high quality white paper specific to your target audience
  • Organizing your white paper – have a catchy beginning, meaty middle and call-for-action end
  • What message do you want to get across? Plan and prepare.
  • How will you aid the decision making process of your potential customer?
  • How will you influence that decision making process in favor of your product or service?
  • What is the call for action after reading, hearing or listening to your white paper?
  • Is it easy for your reader to share this white paper?
  • Do you want to create a white paper that is timeless or timely?

Once white paper is created:

  • Publish, syndicate your white paper to raise awareness for your product/service/business
  • Seek feedback from readers and experts in the field and keep your white paper up to date
  • Use metrics to measure success and ROI of your white paper

Content Marketing Pointers

Here is a list of interesting articles where you can learn more about Content Marketing.

Top Digital Marketing Tactics for 2009 ia a great post on what digital marketing channels & tactics to use in the Content Era.

Summary

In summary, I leave you with this -
Yes, the new tools and vehicles are all great and cool. However, don't blindly follow the latest paradigm shift. Go back to marketing basics about customers, markets and marketing mix and map the new tools appropriately. Don’t take a piecemeal approach. Create an integrated marketing strategy and give enough thought to content and the vehicles you want to use to distribute that content.

Over to you…

What new tools and content types do you find most effective to reach your customers and prospects?
How have you changed your marketing strategy in the last year?

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