April 14, 2014

The Key to Great Content Marketing? Understanding its Goals

There is a disconnect in the world of content marketing right now.

According to a recent study by Mass Relevance and The CMO Club entitled “At the Speed of Life: Fortune 500 CMOs Share their Priorities and Challenges for 2014,” 95 percent of CMOs say content marketing will be important to them this year. But repeatedly surveys have also found that the majority of businesses don’t feel their content creation is effective.

What is the problem?

Content creation can suffer from a number of ailments, but perhaps the most common of all is a basic lack of understanding of what its primary goals should be. In a recent Forbes piece, John Hall explains that content marketing is a long-term commitment. No matter how fantastic one piece of content might be, it’s unlikely to attract lifelong customers. But by creating a steady flow of interesting, informative content, companies foster authentic engagement and trust with customers over time.

Making a sale is always nice, but loyal, repeat customers are more valuable in the long run. In fact, according to Marketing Metrics, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70 percent, while the odds of selling to a new prospect is somewhere between five and 20 percent

Repeat customers are also more likely to become brand ambassadors. Brand ambassadors spread the word about their positive interactions with a company to friends, family, co-workers and others which is essentially an extremely effective means of free advertising for the company. A recent study conducted by the World of Mouth Marketing Association and the American Marketing Association found that 64 percent of marketing professionals feel word of mouth marketing is more effective than traditional marketing strategies.   

When companies contemplate content marketing, it might be helpful to think about strategy like they would with a new restaurant. No restaurateur would hire a great chef, buy prime real estate and work to create a terrific menu, have a wildly successful opening night, then shut the place down. The point is to consistently serve great food and keep people coming back—with friends in tow. 

Content creation follows the same logic. Content that provides value to the reader establishes a company as a thought leader and gives the reader a reason stay engaged with that organization. As they’ve said in show business for years, the key is to keep people wanting more. The same holds true for content marketing.   


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