"The art of interacting with customers and prospects without selling"
What is Content Marketing?"Content Marketing" means creating and distributing relevant content to a clearly-defined audience in a consistent way in order to attract and retain customers. One might also say it is the art of communicating with your customers without pitching your products. Instead you are delivering information that will provide value to potential buyers who will ultimately reward you with their business and loyalty.
The Challenge"Content is the means, not the end. The objective is to succeed in business because of good content."
Most marketing executives have traditionally been educated to focus on promoting products and services. They may pay lip service to the importance of creating valuable, relevant, customer-centric content, but when it is decision time for the allocation of resources, many decision-makers really just want thinly veiled advertising materials. This mindset is actually one of the common reasons preventing successful content marketing programs.
Situation Appraisal"You want to engage the customer"
Consumers and patients have a voracious appetite for relevant advice
and actionable insights that would make their lives easier.
Thus, you help your readers improve their situation with no strings
attached. The readers have the choice to implement your call to
action or simply move on. Thus, the future of branding may be in
"debranding" and in offering value first.
Many companies want to distribute imaginative, engaging, and entertaining
content, but are struggling to find the skilled writers, also called "Subject Matter Experts" ("SME") to produce that content,
Creating really engaging, top-level content is a tough challenge.
The question is how to identify great writers that can create original content
or can translate rough ideas from subject matter experts into easy-to-read articles.
It is certainly not sufficient to write one short post every week.
Producing quality content requires the talent and ability to convey information
in a unique, compelling, and helpful way - with a unique perspective and voice.
Good business articles contain engaging subject lines, attractive titles,
and compelling visuals - and finally ask the reader to do something,
in other words, they contain a clear call to action.
In other words, you are not looking for "consumption", but for "engagement" -
meaning that the reader or the audience actually did something after they
have read the page, listend to the audiotape or viewed the video.
To gauge your success, you have to measure planned criteria, for example,
unique visitors on a website, number of downloads, or conversion rates.
Valuable, Relevant, Educational Information: Examples
- Updates regarding new trends
- Background information about the business
- Know-how or how-to-guides
- Recommendations from experts
- Lessons learned from case studies
- Tip sheets and checklists
- Summaries from published articles.
In a nutshell, your content should help your audience get
better at something.
Keep it short and sweet"KISS"
Whatever you communicate, your content should be:
Give Insights and Increase Understanding"Relevant information at the right time is the true lifeblood of any business"
It is not enough to just report things.
You want to give more value to your readers.
Make sense of the facts by piecing the facts
and background information together so the reader
can figure out what it all means, in other words,
Some authors use the term "nut graph" in this context,
A nut paragraph in a news story is the paragraph that explains,
in a nutshell, the point of a story.
In effect, the nut graph answers the reader's implicit
or explicit question "So what?" or "Whatís the point?"
How To Get Better in Content Creation
First of all, there is no shortcut. It requires work to constantly create helpful, new content: Having said that, here are some tips that can help you or your "content creator" perform your task more effectively:
- Read and do your research on the subject
- Try to discover unexplored angles on a familiar subject
- Use Google Alert or another alert service
- Keep all your resources handy
- Talk to other experts in your field
- Reflect and think before you write
- Create your own editorial calendar.
Sometimes companies start content programs without really knowing what their prospective customers' information needs are. The companies just assume that they know, but often they donít. Therefore: Do your research and ask your clients good questions - and then listen to them. Find out what is worrying them and which topis are top of mind. Then use that information to develop content that really resonates.
One final tip regarding volume:
Do not spread it too thin: It's better to produce a smaller number of truly excellent pieces of content which will spur engagement than to produce a vast number of mediocre content.
Verify What You Are SayingMisinformation has exploded, especially online.
You should therefore check the facts before you
publish anything, that is do your own verification.
- Never take information directly from a press release.
- Check all names, titles and dates.
- Ask: Is alleged competitive superiority based on facts?
- Avoid adjectives such as excellent, super, efficient, extremely useful, etc.
Checklist- Do I truly answer a question my target audience has in mind?
- Are my answers pithy or do I cover a topic too broadly?
- Are my headlines attractive or boring?
- Are the length and the depth of my content appropriate?
- Is my content original or just "me-too"?
- Is my content in the format that my target audience prefers?
- Is my content well-balanced or does it read like an advertisement?
Creating Too Much Free Content Weakens Your BusinessThere are lessons to learn about how to strike the right balance
between content marketing needs and commercial objectives.
You need to provide the right amount of free information
without compromising the value (and the revenue)
of the product you are sellling.
You will find some more suggestions at:
Links to Useful WebsitesBy Arnie Kuenn published August 24, 2016
Content Creation Advice
15 Experts Reveal the No. 1 Thing You Should Do in Content Marketing
By Dawn Papandrea published August 30, 2016
How to Create a Marketing Team That Cares About Revenue
Some Critical CommentsThere are people that view content marketing in a disapproving way.
They say that there is hidden agenda going on in content marketing.
My answer: You should make your agenda open and your goals very clear.
First, you give value to the listener and/or reader by
helping him or her to improve his or her personal
or professional situation.
At the end, you are of course trying to sell a
product or a service. Make it clear that there
is indeed commercial objective you are trying to reach.
But this option is optional for the prospect or client.
If he or she chooses to just read your articles
and watch your videos (and never order anything
from you) that is fine for you, too.
Let us finally take a look outside the pharma business.
Three blogs, namely "The Huffington Post", "TMZ", and "Business Insider"
are among the most popular blogs. They garner millions of visitors
every month. They manage to do this with content
tailored to their target audience's needs - which
are very different from those in the healthcare sector.
Have a look at these blogs to find out how they do it.
Questions You May Want to Ask YourselfThe following (overlapping) questions may prove useful:
- Do you know your target group's problems?
- Are you providing a customized solution?
- Are you getting the prospect's attention?
- Are you providing relevant information?
- Are you answering overt or implicit questions?
- Do you give your readers what they want or need?
- Did you run a spell-check program?
Why searching for a content marketing agency through a RFP is not a good ideaThe RFP (request for proposal) does not help you find innovators that look to the future. You are not trying to identify agencies that can create perfect responses to RFP, but rather agencies that will create unique communications that fascinate your audiences.
To create good content, agencies needs to ask good questions. However, RFPs provide little space for agencies to ask these questions and show how they think.
More Insights in Dr. Umbach's Articles and Business Books
Book "Successfully Marketing Clinical Trial Results:
Winning in the Healthcare Business"
(The Blue Communication Book), Gower Publishing, London
Download free checklists Listen to free audiobook version
Book "Erfolgreich im Pharma-Marketing"
Second edition, German-language, Springer Science+Business Media
(How to succeed in pharma marketing)
Book "Erfolgreich als Medical Advisor und Medical Science Liaison Manager"
German-language, Springer Science+Business Media
(How to succeed as a Medical Advisor and Medical Science Liaison Manager)
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