In the internet age, information is a commodity: content has the power to be an inexhaustible gold mine, and anything can be a million hits away from being a literal lottery jackpot. The internet is a noisy marketplace where everybody is competing for a precious second, a coveted one minute, a bustling metropolis of ideas and arguments exchanged through one, sole medium: words.
Content marketing is the most important digital marketing process available to businesses across industries. The psychology that guides this process is deceptively simple: people click on links that interest them. After that, the stopwatch begins: every tick of the clock becomes a frantic race to get to the point, which is, for marketers, to non-intrusively present a case (or offer) within the first few sentences, to show that they have whatever the reader might have been looking for the moment the link was clicked.
Content marketing is walking on a swaying tightrope: hook, and you've made; say the wrong thing and you end up as a closed tab. You are, after all, a business, and the ultimate goal is to provide and sell. Content marketing is a powerful tool to have in your arsenal; a tool that serves (and over-delivers to) those who know how to wield it.
To put it bluntly: content marketing is all about good writing.
But how does one define good writing? To push the envelope further -- what are the metrics with which one could measure good content marketing?
The Art of Good Content Marketing
Good writing is understanding and communicating. In terms of content marketing, writing is talking to your target audience in a way that would assure them: you understand; you can help. For businesses, this thin line is the difference between a potential lead (and eventual customer), and a missed opportunity. Good writing is clear, succinct, no-nonsense, and in a world so used to distractions, entertaining. It’s a common experience -- reading something is so sloppily written, an obvious attempt to say the same words over and over again to get to a particular ranking. Bad writing is selfish -- it does not offer anything substantial, anything useful, anything that leaves a mark. It is the kind of writing that turns people off and makes them wary and distrustful.
Writing has the power to delight and inform, and when a piece is designed to achieve more than a simple ranking, it can gain the trust of one individual after another through shares and likes, paying back with steady growth in a loyal following. When most hack content pieces handle words negligently in an obvious attempt to hard sell, good content fosters a delicate tone that aims to communicate and share.
Marketing institutions like HubSpot have certainly caught on to this. The premium is on getting to know the reader (a.k.a. the buyer persona) and taking care of them by providing them with non-intrusive solutions to their problems in the form of information. This method is something that delights the readers, and would, should the time come, inevitably run to their trusted source of information the moment they need the particular service it provides. A reader impressed is worth more than a click -- he or she is a strong lead, a certain customer.
Content marketing could come in a lot of different forms such as eBooks, handbooks, studies and white papers, and blog articles.
Investing in Content Marketing
Content marketing is a two-pronged investment: investment in good writing and strategic distribution of it. If you have resident writers and social media managers that know the ins and outs of your industry, you’re way ahead of the game.
But the thing is, not all businesses have the luxury of opening up a space on the payroll for full-time writers and/or social media managers. In this case, outsource content. Outsourcing allows you to hire people that write well.
Another benefit of process outsourcing? You can handpick the quality of the work that would represent your business. You can publish the kind of writing that you yourself would read. We’ve all read an article so informative, and so well-written the “Share” button felt like some kind of an understatement. Start there: ask for samples, and get a good writer on your side. The services that a good writer provides involve in-depth research; they can pitch in topic ideas for blogs, email marketing campaigns, and white papers that inform, entertain, and delight.
Social media management is another skill that requires training and experience: it involves programs and tools that would expand the reach of your content. Look for a social media manager that breathes trends, knows various platforms like the back of his or her hand; that uses management and engagement tools with precision and ease.
High-quality writers and social media managers working hand in hand to get your brand out there is an investment you cannot afford to forgo.
Content marketing exists for one simple reason: everybody’s online. You have two choices: get out there, screaming gibberish, and get drowned out in other sounds, or get there with your goods and get your sweet talk on.
Have the writers that you read write for you. Let’s talk about how you’ve always wanted to talk to your customers!