You already understand branding. And you know that many of the largest companies spend a lot of time and money building their brands, investing in graphics that identify them across all platforms, and paying for advertising campaigns that further push those brand images, jingles and marketing messages to their customers.
As you can imagine, those same marketing principles must be applied by smaller businesses too; however, since their budgets are usually much smaller most cannot fathom being able to compete with the marketing dollars of larger companies.
The Internet and Content Marketing Have Leveled the Playing Field
We already know that the internet has opened up incredible opportunities for business owners. Now, with a good content marketing strategy combined with an entire army of worldwide freelancers that are working by outsourcing their skills, even the kitchen table entrepreneur can build a brand and internet presence that would make the mightiest Fortune 500 company blush.
In the past, paid advertising, a physical sales force, or investing in costly mailers were how companies got noticed. Today, the internet offers a multitude of free or low cost entry points to deliver your message and your company’s expertise to your customers. This is where your content marketing strategy comes in.
Content Marketing is More than an Industry Buzzword
We live in a digital age, that’s true. And your customer loves the convenience of being able to type their questions into a search box and find exactly what they are looking for.
However, those same customers also crave the personal touch that sales people of the past provided. They still enjoy word of mouth recommendations from their friends and peers. They still want to know, like, and trust the people and the companies they choose to do business with.
Your content marketing efforts fill in that gap.
The articles, blogposts, videos, tweets, digital books, podcasts, webinar trainings and a multitude of other forms of content all work together to put you, your brand, your company, your product and services in front of your customers. You show up where they are looking exactly when they need your product.
And, once you have those content pieces posted on the internet, they stay there as long as the webpage that is hosting that content is in existence.
The value should be very clear. Imagine the possibilities of paying for something and having it continue to work for you days, weeks, months, and even years after you put it on the internet.
Can a paid advertising campaign do that?
Should you Use Only Content Marketing and Forget About Paid Ads?
Every business is different. Every business is in a different cycle of growth. Whether you use one, or both methods of marketing will be a decision you must make based on your company.
There are 2 major criteria that you should use when deciding what to do:
1) Where do your customers hang out and what kind of habits do they have for consuming information?
2) Test, track and tweak. Monitor the things you are doing and make adjustments as you go along. You may decide that a Facebook ad campaign for a new product is the perfect complement to your ongoing blogging efforts. One of the major benefits of the internet is that you can quickly make adjustments based on your customer’s responses.
Many companies use a combination of marketing techniques; however, more and more are seeing the long term value of consistently investing in a content marketing strategy.