Content marketing is all the rage right now--using “editorial” to establish yourself as a thought leader, to drive traffic to your website, to generate buzz about your business. According to the Content Marketing Institute, more than 90 percent of B2B businesses employ content marketing, and 70 percent of those claim it has increased leads and customer engagement.
Does this mean you need to hop on the bandwagon? Here are four critical questions to determine if content marketing is right for you:
- What do you want to accomplish?
If brand awareness and loyalty are big on your list, then content marketing could be key. The more you can engage with your customers (or potential customers) by providing valuable information and resources outside the business transaction, the more they will trust you. Tell a story to build emotional engagement, offer to solve a problem, care about their concerns, and they’ll like you even more.
- What are your competitors doing?
Do they have a blog? Are they constantly talking with their customers on Facebook? Have you seen sponsored content stories about them in the magazines your target audience reads? If so, you really can’t avoid hopping on the bandwagon to remain competitive. On the other hand, if your competitors aren’t taking advantage of content marketing, being the first and leading the pack could give you a critical edge.
- Do you have the time and resources to devote to it?
The biggest mistake businesses make when it comes to content marketing is doing it badly. If you don’t have the staff or resources to devote to creating valuable content that your clients and prospects will actually want to read and follow, then content marketing could hurt more than help. Writing a blog post just to throw your company name around will give consumers in this brave new world of relationship marketing a poor impression. By the same token, if you don’t keep that blog fresh by regularly posting useful information, your audience will lose interest. Don’t hop on this train if you can’t stay on it.
- How do you feel about video production?
It doesn’t have to be fancy, and you can probably even shoot it on your smartphone if it’s genuine and sincere, but you’ve got to be willing to do it...at least some of the time. Internet marketing experts say video will account for 80 percent of online traffic by 2019. If you’re not able to stay on board with that trend by posting short video clips on a regular basis and think a blog entirely in text is going to continue to draw and grow your market, forget it. You’re just treading water.
The bottom line is if you can’t make a commitment to doing content marketing right and making your business a trusted resource of information on subjects your customers are about, now may not be the time. Do your homework before you get started, make sure you have someone on your team who can devote serious time and attention to the effort, and do some real storytelling!