Note: This is a guest post by Dechay Watts, co-founder of Sprout Content, based in Pensacola, Florida. We’re excited to have her on the blog.
Branded content, custom publishing, content marketing … no matter what you call it, the creation and delivery of targeted custom content, direct from businesses to consumers, is the new marketing.
Content marketing provides unlimited opportunity for businesses to engage in a two-way conversation with clients and prospects. By offering tips, news and solutions, and responding to feedback in real time, you show you care. If you have a story to tell, information to share and products to sell, content marketing can help you grow your business.
What does content marketing mean for businesses?
Content marketing is a marketing technique that involves creating and distributing relevant information to your target audience. Through websites, social media, blogs, articles, custom publications and news releases, brands now have a direct connection to their customers, essentially becoming their own “media.”
According to a Roper survey of 100 chief marketing officers across 19 product categories, almost 60% of CMOs believe that custom-branded content will take up a bigger percentage of marketing budgets over the next few years.
This opportunity to speak directly to your target audience levels the playing field online. Now is the time when all marketers, big and small, can use resources other than traditional media to reach consumers, and most importantly, retain their loyalty.
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Not sure where to begin? Here 3 content marketing tips to get started:
1. Stay Connected
- Reach out to industry leaders and like-minded professionals by commenting on their blogs, sharing articles, following them in social media, and joining the conversation wherever it happens. You never know when an opportunity to form a strategic partnership might arise. And, you’ll never find out if you don’t join the conversation.
2. Start a Blog
Think about what kind of information your customers are looking for and match it with the knowledge you already have. Chances are, you’re giving out tips and guidance every day when you talk with customers and prospects. Repurpose this information into helpful blog posts that position you as an expert when people find you online.
3. Give it Away
Business owners are sometimes concerned about “giving away” best-kept secrets for free. In the era of content marketing and transparent communication, the more secrets you keep, the more you distance you create. By sharing your knowledge and expertise, people will look to you as an authority and likely want to do business with you as a result.
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If you are in business, you are in marketing, and should strive to become a relevant source of information that your audience wants to read, follow, subscribe to and share. The consumer is the head honcho in charge, and content marketing is an affordable, effective way to reach prospects and stay in touch with customers.
Download a free guide to Jumpstarting your Business with Content Marketing for additional information on how to get started.
About the Author
Dechay Watts is co-founder and CEO of Sprout Content, a content marketing company dedicated to building meaningful relationships through content with a purpose. Dechay has more than 15 years of experience helping businesses find their voice. She has worked with technology start-ups, consumer brands and global agencies such as General Motors Europe, Lancôme, and Saatchi & Saatchi. Follow her on twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/dechay