However, the idea behind content marketing is not about just producing a five minute read for someone who is bored. It’s all about engagement. About getting the reader to do something with the information provided.
That thing could be further research, requesting a download that you have available, phoning to find out more, thinking about what they need to consider in their purchase and then seeking out more information – ideally it’s some action that moves the reader along the journey towards becoming your customer.
But it needs to be a natural progression and not forced. If you are researching what headphones to get perhaps you’ll read an article about the latest beats headphones. A follow on from that could be a download for a checklist of the key attributes to consider when purchasing. Or it could be an online quiz that guides the reader to the best headphones for what they need, taking into account price, usage, size, availability.
Just putting out any old content in the name of doing content marketing is not going to yield the kind of results that justifies the effort involved and will ultimately be short lived, not a long term sustainable strategy that continues to deliver qualified leads to your website.
Your content strategy should be about moving the consumer along the path from never having heard of you, to entering their details to learn more and then purchase, in other words going from being a cold prospect to a customer.
The aim of each piece of content is to start them on the journey of getting to know you better, it’s about producing content that engages and starts a real (they pick up the phone, make a booking to find out more, send an email, reach out on social media) or virtual conversation (they visit your website and read more articles, click on a download, or enter an email address to receive an ebook or newsletter).
Google did a study a few years back called ZMOT or Zero Moment of Truth. This refers to the way that consumers have changed. The first moment of truth used to be the consumer standing in front of a row of products and trying to decide what to buy. The second moment of truth is after a product is purchased and whether they would tell others (friends, family, colleagues) about their purchase. The Zero Moment of Truth refers to the research that consumers now do before they are ready to make a purchase decision, particularly significant decisions but sometimes for smaller decisions too, like what type of wine is best with the lamb roast they are serving at a dinner party next week.
In Google’s study they emphasised the importance of multiple points of contact with a potential customer across multiple locations (physical or virtual) and for many hours. They came up with a formula referred to as 7/11/4 – 7 hours of content, 11 touch points across 4 locations. The locations refer to how those content and touch points are delivered and could be email, phone, website, different social media platforms, a showroom or meeting.
The aim of content marketing then is to draw your prospective visitors into spending the time to get to know you. It needs to be engaging enough for them to do something about it, to react and take action. How does your content measure up? Are you filling the well or providing cool respite to thirsty travellers?
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