The personal touch. Introductions. Recommendations. Referrals. Prospecting.
This is why we network. To build personal connections that help us and allow us to help others throughout life. In discussions with business leaders and influencers, the topic of “people” and “relationship building” continuously remains front and center.
In a world full of noise, we are all trying to market ourselves or business. We try to open new paths or form new connections that lead to our next opportunities and growth prospects.
And this is where the digital world helps. We need to direct our message and motivations at the right crowd. In the marketing world, this is called content marketing.
Content marketing works like networking.
Many of us understand the need behind networking. And we understand it takes time. You cannot rush networking. You develop your name, demonstrate your ability and share your intellect with others. As a result, you and your company receive recommendations and referrals. Networking is a trust, yet slow, path to expand your business.
In content marketing, businesses provide information geared towards their target audience. For example, new businesses need to build a brand. Content marketing helps with this mission because we can gear our message towards influencers in our industry. Think about the purpose of networking? Targeting and connecting with specific people that help your business develop their name. In content marketing, the same underlying principles apply. Companies build a digital following and offer content that establish their mission. They answer that age old question of why they are in business!
Content marketing opens a conduit. Done correctly, content marketing generates awareness and engagement.
Content Marketing Methods & Purpose
Typically, most people think about blogs as the main form of content marketing. While blogs remain the easiest method, companies also offer infographics, podcasts, and even other methods, such as print magazines.
Regardless of your method, read through some case studies that show the merits of successful content marketing. Why are the case studies important?
Neil Patel, a content marketing expert, explains that although the main priorities (i.e., brand awareness, thought leadership and lead generation) remain the same between organizations:
“There are many different ways to achieve each of these 3 broad goals. Some will come to you naturally, but others won’t make sense until you see the successful example of others. The problem is that you can’t study just any random company because most don’t understand what your objective is.”
Furthermore, an industry report, found that only 30% of B2B marketers thought that their organization used content marketing effectively.
Therefore, understand why your organization undertakes content marketing and how it relates to your overall goals. Plus, in a see of internet noise, every company needs to find their authentic voice and perspective.
If your company sells health care products and your target audience is baby boomers, then your content should reflect things important to your prospective consumers. Keep your purpose and consumers in mind while generating content. For example, your imagery should be reflective of your audience. You should share and promote content on the right social platforms. So share on Facebook and not Snapchat.
Just like networking. You only attend trade shows and industry conferences that overlap with your target audience. If you view your content strategy with a similar filter, then you can simplify your efforts and focus on your execution.
Content Marketing is Part of the Plan
No company succeeds solely on networking. Execution, operations and adding value to your customers remain an integral part of success. Similarly, content marketing should be part of your marketing strategy.
Take lead generation. If you are looking to find and engage with prospective customers online, then it all starts with understanding the characteristics of your audience.
As the saying goes “measure what matters” and isn’t there anything more important than your customers?
Plus, with the low cost (and mostly free!) tools provided by Google and other large tech companies, business owners can find easy to use tools to get an understanding about their core audience.
Understanding Content Strategy
Understanding how to find relevant content topics is fundamental to success. Just like understanding the right qualifications and level of anyone looking to engage at a networking event.
To help, review our SEO Content Strategy Guide that provides an in-depth look at developing a plan. The guide offers a step-by-step analysis that hones in on the critical components to finding the right topics, such as:
- Find Your Target Keywords
- Building and Organizing Keyword Lists
- Turning Keywords into Content
- Prioritizing Content Topics
Working these keywords into your content will be critical for generating organic traffic. But the research doesn’t end here; the keywords are just the key.
Think about networking. If you meet a great person with aligned goals and never follow up with them, how will they help grow your business or obtain your goals?
Networking requires persistence. Typically, networking involves meeting a slog of contacts at an event and trading lots of handshakes and business cards. This transactional type of thinking rarely produces any new leads or referrals. Transactional based interactions are a thing of the past and your content plan cannot reflect antiquated thinking. Like networking, you need to do the work.
Networking requires attending multiple events, asking how you can help others and demonstrating value. Similarly, if you want to engage potential leads, your content must follow the same steps as traditional networking.
Content Marketing Produces Results
If you are searching for sustainable ways to grow your business or reputation, then think thru the benefits of content marketing.
The primary benefit is the ability to provide context and authenticity to your brand. Your brand includes all of the things you care about, which matters because it helps provide a bond with others.
After all, shared interests is one of the tried and true networking activities. It helps create long-term bonds and a sense of commonality between you and your audience.
So, set some time each week to dive into the foundation and strategy before making a commitment. Content marketing, just like networking, fails without a coherent plan and making a personal commitment.
- Set Goals
- Understand Your Audience
- Share Your Story (and Values)
- Engage with Your Audience
- Build a Relationship
And the kicker…providing fresh and relevant content helps improve your SEO results!
“Regularly updating your website with fresh content will not only garner appreciation and loyalty from your visitors, but will put you in good standings with the powerful Google.”