Why Do Content Marketing?

why do content marketingWhy do content marketing? I get asked this question all the time. The answer of course is that you should do it because it works. The answer is that you should do it because most of your marketing is getting less effective.

We know that if we create content our customers want, content that is helpful or entertaining to them, then we will attract buyers. We will earn their trust. And ultimately that will translate into business value in the form of revenue and loyal customers.

This is one of a the questions I answered in a recent interview and I thought I would share the rest of the questions and answers here…

Why does SAP use Content Marketing?

We employ content marketing in order to deliver on the information needs of our audience. Our goal is to help our audience find the information they need to run their business, grow their revenues and beat their completion.

We know that if we put the needs of our customers ahead of our own, that we will earn their trust and ultimately, they will come to us when they are looking for technology, services and advice on how to be innovative.

So we create content that our customers want to consume and we are proving that it is helping to grow our business. Instead of creating content that focuses on what we do, we seek to create content that focuses on what we do for our customers and what value we can help them deliver.

What is the biggest mistake content marketers make?

The biggest mistake content marketers make when getting started is they create content focused on their products or services. Effective content marketing has to focus on delivering value to the content consumer. It takes some courage and even a leap of faith to begin to show that the value cycle comes full circle.

Additionally, there are some great tools out there. Some brands try to outsource too much, too soon. It’s important to builkd a team that understands how to think and act like a publisher. Then go out and find the tools that support your business objectives.

Finally, an effective content marketing strategy needs to include a clear business goal with measurable outcomes. You have to define your target audience, understand their information needs and develop a plan to deliver that information in the formats and channels they want. But all this must come with a defined call-to-action, next step or conversion activity that allows you to begin quantifying the business value.

How important is testing and experimenting to content and social marketing?

Testing and experimenting are extremely important to content and social marketing. Not everything you create or share is going to work. It’s important to setup the culture of “fail, fast, forward” accept that not everything will be a winner but that each piece of content provides an opportunity for learning what works best.

The main challenge in content marketing is figuring your way through the quantity vs. quality dilemma. Once you’ve established your goal and start measuring your business outcomes, ROI is not that hard to track and communicate. The bigger goal should be to increase your share of the customer conversations and in today’s fragmented media landscape, that is tough to do. You have to create enough content to have a chance of being involved in the conversations. But you also need to make sure you have a high enough quality that it reflects positively on your brand and even compels the audience to see you as a thought leader in the space.

Is there an early-adopter advantage to being first in some social media platforms?

I think it’s important to go where your audience is hanging out online and offline and make sure you have a presence there. That means creating content that is appropriate to the channel and helpful or even entertaining to the audience.

Research should guide which platforms you chose and what in what context your participation should take on. Content has to be appropriate to each channel and matching the expectations of the audience that’s already there.

Are there advantages to using outside channels alongside your owned media?

The best media plan is an integrated one. So we work across paid, owned and earned media in what we call a converged media strategy.

We know that if we create great content, it will attract an audience to our owned properties. We then amplify that content through our earned social channels and in some cases will sponsor that content into paid, 3rd-party platforms in order to reach new audiences.

But it all starts with having content your audience wants to consume!

Michael Brenner is a globally-recognized keynote speaker, author of The Content Formula and the CEO of Marketing Insider Group. He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael shares his passion on leadership and marketing strategies that deliver customer value and business impact. He is recognized by the Huffington Post as a Top Business Keynote Speaker and a top CMO influencer by Forbes. Please follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook and Subscribe here for regular updates.

5 thoughts on “Why Do Content Marketing?

  1. Great article! Drives home the point that businesses need to really understand their target customers in order to create relevant content. I agree that doing research to guide which platforms to use is critical. It probably also makes sense to continually ask customers where they hang out online. It may be that a platform that wasn’t relevant a few months ago, may become a good vehicle for communication/content. Perhaps Instagram or Vine for B2B? Thanks Michael.

    1. Thanks so much Paula. I am so glad you mentioned this. Whenever I talk to anyone about personas I always ask them to ensure the data they get is useful. And specifically I mention these aspects: identify where they go, what kind of content they read and which topics are important.

      PS – I’m really trying to find a way to incorporate Vine into our work!

  2. Michael,

    Do you you know what the average number of content is required and the time it takes before a conversion takes place, which may be a purchase in B2C or contacting a salesman in B2B?

    1. Hi Jay, I would assume that number would differ by industry, title, role, etc. I have heard something like “it takes 9 pieces of content to get a buyer from the early stages to the latter stages of the buying process” but I have a lot of issues with those stats. For example, is a tweet a piece of content. Also is that for one person or all of the 10-25 people involved in the typical B2B buying process. So I think each brand would need to research their own target audience in their industry.

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