Content marketing: heard about it?

Put simply, if you are a business today, you are a publisher. And a monthly printed newsletter put together by your (exceptionally talented) receptionist and sent by snail mail once a month to your clients doesn’t cut it anymore.

If you want to dominate your market today, you need to publish regular stories, ideas and news on your corporate website – or, even better, on a separate dedicated one – that clients and potential clients need and want. You need a publishing program, and a strategy for converting the readers of your site into loyal customers, for keeping your current clients happy, and to make the effort – and cost – worthwhile.

Here are three reasons why you need to get smart about content marketing:

1. If you don’t do it, your competitors will.

Content marketing is all about positioning your company as the leader of your market, and making your content marketing website that “go-to” destination for your customers. They are not coming to you to buy (yet), they are coming to plunder your expert knowledge and insights, and develop trust in your company and brand.

So if your competition gets there first, you’ve lost the game. You’ll be playing catch-up, trying to lure your customers and potential customers away from your rival’s site and over to yours, maybe by running expensive competitions and free giveaways. Why waste money?

2. It’s not cheap, but it’s priceless

Content marketing isn’t the cheapest way to market your company – not if you are going to do an excellent job — but the impact of doing it well is priceless.

You will build a strong, enduring relationship with your customers, and win new ones, by publishing stories that help them, that make them feel valued and that show you are an authority – the authority – in your marketplace.

Compare that to the cost of advertising, for example, where there is every chance that your customers will not even see the message you have laboured to produce.

Instead, with content marketing, your customer will come to you, spend time looking at the material you publish and learn to trust your brand.

3. You get what you give

The internet has changed everything; consumers get a lot of stuff free. These days, you can’t expect customers to just come along and give you their money, no matter how good you are at what you do.

Today, you have to give a little to get a lot.

This is the secret of content marketing. The stories and news that you publish as part of your content marketing campaign are freely given to your customer, and to the broader population (who might one day be customers). Yes, it’s taken you decades to build up your expertise, and it costs you money to write about it and publish on your site. And yes, you are now going to give away some of that knowledge for nothing to anyone who is interested.

That is the way it goes in the modern world of business.

But remember, every company that has risen to the top of its game has always spent money to win customers. It’s not that different from the old days. The real difference is that it is so much more effective, so much more rewarding both for you and for your customers because you get to talk about the work that you love to do with people who actually want to listen.