Yeah… it’s a little hard to believe, but this is the 400th blog post I’ve published since Harpeth Marketing opened its doors a little over 7 years ago. And it’s not just the blog posts… we’ve also published a dozen eBooks, numerous Tip Sheets, as well as delivered several conference presentations and a bunch of webinars.
There’s a ton of time and [some] money rolled up in all that content. Has it been worth it?
The answer is a big, unequivocal “YES!” And here’s why…
Unlike every other marketing channel – some costing far more – content marketing has a direct impact on every step of the Buying & Selling process. That is, regardless of where a prospect or client is in their relationship with you… content marketing can help to move them forward. It certainly has for me…
Awareness. Every time I publish a new blog post, I also implement as small promotional campaign to get eyeballs on it. The fact is, a blog post has no value if no one sees it. Through email and social media marketing (and also digital ads, press releases, etc. for eBooks and webinars), I drive people to my blog… and that promotion builds awareness for me and our firm. Beyond that, while someone is on our website reading a blog post, they’re also likely to look around and learn a little about what we do, building even more awareness for our firm and its services.
Positioning. Write one blog post about a topic and no one cares. Write ten… and that’s interesting. Write 400… and I am [humbly] one of a handful of recognized Marketing & Sales experts in our industry. People know me and our firm… and what we stand for.
Lead gen. Blog posts are available for anyone to read at any time. But if a visitor wants to download an eBook or register for a webinar, there’s usually a charge for it… in the form of them giving us their contact information to gain access. And that means a new sales lead. Far better than a business card in a fishbowl at a conference, this sales lead has told us something about themselves – that they are interested in the topic contained in the content. And that can be a very good way to start to a conversation.
Lead nurturing. Virtually no company becomes a client the first time I connect with them. It takes time, diligence and frequent communication to stay on their radar until they are ready to make a buying decision. And there is no better way to stay in touch than by sharing useful, beneficial content. Whether in the form of a monthly enewsletter that links to our latest blog posts or a one-off email promoting our newest webinar, sharing content is a helpful, non-salesy way to stay top-of-mind at buying time.
Lead qualifying. If someone downloads one of our eBooks, that tells me a little something about their interests. And that’s good. But imagine if a potential buyer reads one of my blog posts on a particular topic… then a week later, she downloads an eBook we published on that same topic… then a few weeks after that, she registers for a webinar we’re putting on about the topic. That potential buyer’s interest – strong interest over a period of time – is a qualifying factor, making her someone we absolutely need to reach out to.
Acquiring first-time clients. There is nothing more difficult in business than acquiring first-time clients. We’re either:
- Trying to convince a company to stop using their current supplier (one they know, like and trust) and switch over to us.
- Or, more likely, trying to convince them to start doing something entirely new (like proactive marketing) and engage us to do it.
One of the key elements to getting sales prospects to make that leap is “proof sources”… and ‘content’ is a great proof source. When I write an eBook on a particular topic or speak about it at a conference, I am ‘proving’ to the marketplace that I am an expert in that area. And buyers want to do business with experts.
Repeat clients. Don’t assume that your ‘good work’ is enough to keep clients loyal. It isn’t… because everybody does good work. Whether you are on a long-term retainer with clients or doing project work, proactively staying in touch with clients can help ensure that they do keep coming back for more. And like nurturing sales leads (above), sharing beneficial content is a great way to stay in touch… because if you’re not talking to your clients between projects, I promise – your competitors are!
Whatever your inclination – blog posts, articles, white papers, eBooks, infographics, webinars, live presentations, social media posts, videos, podcasts – Content Marketing should be a part of your market mix. And as long as the content you’re creating informs, educates or solves problems, the more you create, the better!
I’m at 400 blog posts so far… with another one coming out next week. And the week after that. And the week after that.
How about you? What’s your content marketing goal?!