By All Things Writing, LLC
Content marketing. You might have heard the term once, or twice…or fifty-seven times. You might have a good idea of what the term means, too. Creating and sharing material without directly promoting a brand – but still generating interest in products or services – isn’t a new idea. In fact, content marketing has been around since at least 1672, when Jan van der Heijden and his brother, Nicolaes, improved the fire hose and marketed it through white papers, a book, visuals and media. It was the first documented instance of effective marketing that wasn’t really considered marketing. So content marketing is steeped in history. Why should that worry you?
Fast forward to our era. You’ve probably heard the expression coined by Bill Gates, “Content is king.” You might also have heard digital marketing expert Lee Oddin’s tenet, “Content isn’t king. It’s the kingdom.” And entrepreneurial icon Seth Godin says, “Content marketing is the only marketing left.”
With so much focus on content, especially as it applies to marketing, there’s good reason to be concerned that maybe you aren’t keeping up and that it might be hurting your business. Here’s what happens when businesses fail to utilize content effectively as part of a strategic marketing plan.
They lose exposure – If nothing else, content marketing provides a podium with a loud mic. Articles, blogs, white papers, social media…it’s all there with the potential to be consumed by an audience that yes, is busy, but no, not busy enough to ignore interesting, relevant content. Consider how you are taking in this article right now. Or think about how much time you spend on Facebook. People are reading, listening and viewing more than ever, and if you’re not on stage, you’re not part of the show.
They lose credibility – Have you ever searched for a business only to discover it was practically invisible on the web? What was your impression of that business? If you questioned its legitimacy, you had reason. It is now expected that businesses will have websites with professional content, active social media accounts, articles written by and about them, publications and more. It’s also expected this content will be shared, making it easily accessible. When there’s a void in lieu of web presence, customers and potential customers start to get nervous.
They lose potential customers – When a business cannot be seen and is thus perceived as shady, potential customers naturally check out the competitor. A recent survey cited by Entrepreneur revealed eighty-one percent of shoppers conduct online research before they make a purchase. Sixty percent begin by using a search engine. Search engines cannot find a business that has little or no online content. And that translates to business lost.
Now that you know, it’s time to stop worrying and start acting. By developing a content strategy and consistently writing, publishing and sharing quality, professional content through a variety of mediums, you can help ensure your business remains visible, trusted and relevant. Yes, it is hard work. But it’s the kind of work that will help your business stay competitive.
Serving private, government and nonprofit sectors, All Things Writing is a content development and content marketing company on a mission to help clients shine online and in print. They may be reached at [email protected].
“Your Words Mean Business” provides insights and tips to business owners, organizations and professionals seeking to better their performance and increase their bottom line through sharpening written communication skills.