Brands grow by being interesting and relevant to people – connecting with those who are interested in what they offer and engaging with them so they progress from being merely interested to becoming customers or returning customers, investors, partners... whatever the goal is. And content is the most valuable marketing communications asset. It can be created to communicate, dramatize and amplify brands' initiatives, so they can succeed.
I adopted Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing methodology because I've seen their process help brands build engagement and became Inbound Marketing-certified to enhance the Narrative Build three-step process, Inspire, Inform, Invite.
For budding brands like startups, as well as legacy brands, inbound content attracts the right people to the brand, converts them into leads, nurtures them and helps them close to become customers and your biggest promoters.
I’ve broken out three aspects of inbound content that show entrepreneurs and changemakers within larger organizations how valuable inbound content is to establishing the credibility and trust that’s essential for creating growth.
A: Content is a savings account
While a savings account might be worth a bit more next week, it’s most valuable as part of a long-term plan for financial success. Like a bank, the more you put in, the longer it can work for you and the more it’ll do for you. Investing in content is exactly the same, a step towards the goals you have for your brand.
Regardless of their size, successful brands are using content to attract, convert and close customers, influencers and decision-makers. Inbound content engages the audiences you want to reach and encourages them to move from mere interest through the stages of engagement to become key brand advocates for you. As your brand’s content inspires, informs and invites those you want to reach, it builds momentum over time.
B: Proven processes make an effective content strategy
I was pretty shocked when I read that only 32% of B2B marketers have a documented content strategy! And for consumer-targeted businesses, it’s hardly better, just 37%. Hubspot’s methodology applied to content strategies make them responsive to clients' goals and objectives with four simple processes:
C: Pick the most effective kind of content
There are so many choices for content when planning for how to connect with customers. Someone suggested you need a video, but do you really need one? How do you choose? There's a bewildering array of options that’s simplified with Inbound Marketing’s process by organizing the content across three categories:
Purpose: What is the point of producing a piece of content? To attract attention? Get people to visit your website? Promote your latest success? Convert prospects into leads? Whether it’s an email campaign, a social media post or a case study, every great piece of content has one single-minded goal.
Format: What will most strongly convey your content? It might be a mix of case studies, videos, worksheets, e-books, research reports, webinars, checklists or infographics (3x more views on social media than other visuals!). The best format is never the same for everyone.
For one client, we found that pitching articles to select publications was super effective in helping him create awareness for the tech solution, build credibility for his expertise and educate people about the effects of the product.
Topic: What’s the one topic that makes each piece of content relevant? By committing to just one topic for clarity and impact, and making sure the lens is audience-centric, it ensures the content is always meaningful.
By applying Inbound Marketing's processes to content strategies, clients can connect with the people they need to reach in ways that are meaningful and relevant, with content that adds value immediately (with tactics such as email and social media campaigns) and over the long term, like digital content for websites can bring. At the end of the day, the best content strategies help clients address their unique needs within a specific market, to grow audience engagement from awareness to customers to brand advocates.
In my next post, I’ll be discussing how your opportunity is to inspire people and use content to give them some knowledge they can take away, with a reason to engage further with your brand.
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Brenda van Ginkel
Every brand that is making a difference to people or the planet deserves to stand out and be noticed. I write about creative direction and brand strategy for entrepreneurs and those supporting them, packaging concepts with messaging for growth and audience engagement in a crowded, noisy digital space.