Many SMEs misunderstand what content marketing actually entails, and it could be losing them valued customer loyalty and sales.
Particularly with the news that Facebook will effectively block business posts from this year, businesses will need to employ new means of attracting and engaging with customers.
“Content marketing is all about creating different forms of content, be it video, podcasts …, long-form articles, infographs, as opposed to your traditional banners,” explained Jo Cronolly of Spike Native Network.
“It’s a way where you can really engage with your audience … you can engage with your audience on an intellectual level and also on an emotional level, and, really, the means of it is to gain a larger audience and, at the end of the day, sell more products or services to them.”
As colleague Tim Johnson noted, content marketing is designed to position you and your business as a subject matter expert to educate them about a particular issue and then demonstrate how your business can provide such a solution to the customer’s needs.
“The sales side is completely separate to the content side and the marketing side of it,” he said.
“Probably the best example I can give you is Coke, right? When it comes down to Coke, what are the ads that you see? There's no ad that says ‘Buy Coke’, it's just not out there. The way Coke is marketed is a lifestyle, right? You see people running around on the beach, and there's beach balls and you name it,” said Tim.
“Summer of Coke, whatever it is, it's always about a lifestyle, about what you become, who you can be, if you're drinking Coke. That's not a sales pitch, that's framing Coke as a lifestyle that's something you want to be a part of.
“The salespeople behind that are making sure that you've got Coke in your fridge, rather than Pepsi, so Coke's there and available for you to buy, right?”
According to Jo, another prominent example of content marketing at work is that of Xero.
“Xero, who are a media company as well, they have thousands of videos about how to run your business,” she said.
“They don't necessarily sell Xero products, but it's everything from your website to your SEO to all different technical aspects of it. They're trying to add value and help their clients. The back end of it is that they will get sales eventually, further down the line.”
Hear more insights on content marketing and how SMEs can use it to boost their bottom line on the My Business Podcast below:
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.