Stop Advertising – Start Listening

Published by: Meredith Thornton    |   Category: Advertising, Blog, Marketing, Sales    

How to Become a Content Marketing Powerhouse

Have you ever turned on online ad blockers while you were reading an interesting article online? When you purchased your DVR last year, was it for the sole purpose of skipping through commercials? Do you remember a time that you ripped out a magazine advertisement in frustration, just so that you could feast your eyes on actual content?

If you’ve answered “yes” to any of the above questions, welcome to the club. The last thing I want when I am entrenched in prime time television is to be interrupted by a commercial for Beggin’ Strips when I don’t even own anything furry. Plus, when the volume on television seems to blare so much louder during commercial breaks than it does during the scheduled programming, I’m more inclined to turn the T.V. off in disgust rather than continue watching my daily shows.

What does this mean for marketers? Is Marketing Dead As We Know It?

It doesn’t mean we must slash our marketing budgets and fire our marketing team. However, it does mean we must change our communication strategy from a “buy this now” approach to a “let me educate you on topics that you find relevant to your current lifestyle” message. This shift represents an opportunity to stop advertising and start listening. If you scale back your sales pitch just a tad, you just might hear that voice on the other side in desperate need of a solution to their problem and simple reassurance that your company is equipped to fulfill that need.

Smart marketers will take action through content marketing – the act of communicating and engaging with your target audience without selling. If done correctly, you can improve your organic search engine rankings and drive profitable traffic to your website.

The idea behind content marketing is simple: You are building your trust and credibility as a business rather than going for the hard sell. If you come across as someone solely interested in your commission rather than providing your prospective consumer a value-added opportunity, you will be left trying to salvage what’s left (if anything) of your alleged “reputable” character. Reading How to Avoid the Hard Sell will give you a more in-depth and better understanding.

We, as experienced marketers, are aware that sales are rarely made upon first contact with a customer. When words are coming out from a seller’s mouth at a one-time meeting, event, or phone conversation, how is anyone to know whether it’s pure bullshit or whether the seller is actually concerned about the well-being of the prospect? More often than not, someone interested in a particular product or service will be inclined to conduct further research to justify their spend. Whether it be through product reviews, blogs, press releases, case studies, or client testimonials, the content that’s there must be worth making a remark about. Crafting your content so that it reads like an editorial column will give users the impression that it’s not your typical intrusive advertisement, but rather a dissemination of free, valuable content that serves as an ongoing stream of advice.

Content marketing isn’t a new phenomenon. We’ve been producing great content for hundreds of years. However, with the expansion of the Internet and knowledge of its magnified reach, it’s more crucial than ever to employ this approach through all marketing channels available and within your means.

It’s a way to create a fan base without the dreaded cold calls. The more people that follow your blog, the more it will be recognized and indexed in all major search engines. If your content is closely related to what you sell, it will attract and convert leads into customers, customers into repeat buyers, and repeat buyers into referrers of your product or service. Once you’ve generated a substantial number of newsletter sign-ups of those who have put their trust in you and are interested in hearing more of what you have to offer, you have the ability to continue the conversation with effective email marketing. With this highly personalized media platform, you can intermix your quality content with sound promotional messaging. Investing in the design of an eye-catching email creative that is customized to your business, your active subscribers will be up-to-date with your latest and greatest offers and incentives.

Great content is the best-kept secret of marketing today. It’s about time you join the bandwagon and get noticed.

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