How to Use Content Marketing to Grow Your Business...

Content marketing is the reigning king and has been for over a century. 

Enter ‘The Furrow’.  Unless you were born very early in the last century or even the century before that, you’ve probably never heard of it but it was one of the earliest pioneers of content marketing.  First published by John Deere in 1895, it is widely considered to have begun the trend of large companies offering consumers helpful resources geared toward their product owners while piquing the interest of potential consumers in their industry to expand their market share.  This, along with other marketing tactics by the company obviously worked because the John Deere company is ubiquitous and hugely successful in the farming, agriculture, and riding mower industries.  It all started by being the helpful brand.

Now we fast forward 120 years and content marketing is everywhere and shows no signs of slowing down.  In fact, all the moves that Facebook is making places an even larger emphasis on original content.  Last year Facebook changed its algorithm to focus on what it called “high quality” content.  If marketers don’t adjust their tactics, they will lose relevance and their audience completely.  So what’s a marketer to do? Follow the POES, it always knows!

In this case, POES stands for Paid, Owned, Earned, and Shared Media.

Paid Media – Display ads, banner ads, pay per click search ads, and sponsorships.  Paid Media is effective for advertisers because there is a degree of control, scaling, and it can be implemented on demand.  Marketers now have another option to grow their brand as the helpful and trustworthy brand that, if done properly, can add a tremendous boost to your marketing efforts.

A big player in this space is the ever-expanding world of Social Advertising that is now available on various social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest.  If done correctly (not spammy, too sales driven, or too pushy) they can help all other marketing efforts simultaneously. Remember, you are advertising to people during their free time, when they are talking and connecting to their friends and family.  Respect that, and use it to your advantage when crafting your content so they promote your brand through media sharing, (more on that later). 

Owned Media – All media assets that your brand owns and controls.  Websites, blogs, newsletters, and social media accounts fall into this category.  Major brands are now staffing entire content marketing and editorial teams to manage, steer, and promote their content creation streams online.  Much like ‘The Furrow’ that I introduced you to earlier in this blog, companies now count on this modern content marketing to facilitate brand discovery through social channels and online search.  This content informs, engages, and fosters relationships between the brand and customer throughout their lifecycles, so the customer can count on these brands to be the trustworthy authorities in their field.     

Earned Media When your public & media relations earns brand coverage through various publications online and off.  When businesses establish a positive brand presence, they create a buzz without having to advertise.  They let the news media outlets, bloggers, and their satisfied customers share brand laurels on social media and beyond.  Brands have recently utilized the strength of their social audience by empowering them to share and publish content on behalf of the brand, thus inspiring even greater word of mouth.  This can also be done by a tremendous customer service component in your business.  We have an instant feedback loop now. A marketer and a company need to listen closely to their audience.  They are trying to help you improve your organization.   Someone complaining online is your opportunity to turn this aggressive complainer, into a company advocate. Earn their respect, and earn them as an amplifier for your brand. Should this case turn into a positive resolution, you can likely turn the client into a case study and use them for testimonials if they agree to participate in your study.

Shared Media - Where all of the aforementioned marketing efforts come together with the help of your audience.  Remember that loud-mouthed disgruntled tweeter turned brand advocate?  He will spread your brand’s good word if you use the relationship your brand has fostered with him properly.  A company’s social media presence today should be built to make it simpler for fans to share with one another.  This is an opportunity to spark conversations regarding your brand through the content you create, publish, share, and promote.  In order for all of these facets of content marketing to work synergistically, your content needs to speak to your audience in the way they want to be spoken to.   This is shared media.  When wanting to leverage shared media content, keep the end user in mind, as well as the actions you would like them to take with your content.  Whether it’s sharing, watching, or engaging through comments, make sure you are creating the right content in the right channels to optimize for shareability.

Remember, when your brand is providing consistent, informative, authoritative, and helpful information, your brand builds trust.  The more your audience trusts you, the more they share your content.  The more they share your content, the more positive sentiment around your brand is nurtured.  The more positive sentiment around your brand, the more successful your company is as a whole. Content marketing can contribute to the five attributes of successful search engine optimization: QUART: Quality, Uniqueness, Authority, Relevance, and Trust. Do this by utilizing all of the above media, and your brand and audience can work together synergistically to create a holistic marketing machine to drive your business for years to come.

Find your key market segment.  Build you brand.  Build your reputation. 

One post, tweet, and customer interaction at a time.