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Why You Need a Content Marketing Strategy

Acquiring and Engaging Customers More Efficiently and Effectively

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Google sites handle about 88 billion searches each month. YouTube is the second most popular search engine second only to Google. Facebook is now over 600 million users. Twitter has nearly 200 million accounts. LinkedIn is at 101 million users and FourSquare grew 3,400% in 2010.

The variety of options for customer marketing and engagement ranging from social media to SEO to email marketing to online advertising can be overwhelming. As a result, some of the most common online marketing questions I hear from client side marketers revolve around, "How to decide which tactics are best?"

Answering that question starts with a clear understanding of goals, customers and a flexible online marketing strategy that assembles the right mix of tactics and measurement practices. Most companies are looking for more customers and to retain those they have, but the question is,

"How to acquire and engage customers more efficiently, more effectively?"

A big part of the answer is through the intersection of social media, SEO and content marketing. If Social Media and SEO fit together like peanut butter and jelly then content is the bread that holds them together. Content is a crucial part of a social media strategy and therefore an understanding of customer-centric social content is essential.

Content Marketing

Consumers are not interested in traditional interruptive marketing. They want to be educated and their behaviors for information discovery, consumption and sharing have changed. B2B an B2C customers alike expect to find solutions via search. They also expect to interact with what they find via search.

Consumers expect content from brands. They expect ease of discovery (via search or social), the ability to interact with and socially share content and to interact with others with similar interests (social networking). These aren’t "nice to haves" anymore, they’re expected.

Most corporate marketing is structured to create content around products & services vs. becoming a publisher. As a result, the idea of implementing a content marketing program can seem foreign. However, the abundance of publishing tools and platforms now makes it possible for companies to create content and media that rivals some news organizations.

Content fuels customer engagement at all stages of the customer life cycle from top of funnel to ongoing relationship. Content can educate customers about your products and services. It can help educate about the buying process and how to get the most out of the purchase. It can continue to reinforce the relationship and inspire renewals, upgrades and referrals.

The challenge is for companies to rethink their content marketing strategy and incorporate Social Media and SEO in order to fulfill customer expectations for ease of discovery, consumption and sharing. On top of that, content must educate and make it easy to follow a logical conclusion to buy.  The companies that do those things best, will win the incredibly competitive online marketing race we’re in.

I’ll be talking about this topic today at SES Accelerator in San Diego, providing specific guidelines for companies that want to leverage the most effective tactics for customer acquisition and engagement through search, social and content marketing.  If you don’t catch me there, I’ll be discussing similar topics "Content Optimisation & Integrated Online Marketing" at SES London in a few weeks. I hope to see you there.

Originally published on TopRank Online Marketing Blog

Why You Need a Content Marketing Strategy
About Lee Odden
Lee Odden is CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, a digital marketing and public relations firm in Minnesota that specializes in search, social and online PR consulting and training for companies worldwide. Odden has been cited for his internet marketing expertise over the past 10 years by the Economist, Forbes and U.S. News and contributed a chapter to the book, "Online Marketing Heroes" published by Wiley. For the past 5 years he has also been the editor of TopRank's Online Marketing Blog, a Technorati 100 favorite blog and one of the top marketing blogs according to Advertising Age. WebProNews Writer
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  • http://www.dydacomp.com Molly Griffin

    Great article! Here at Dydacomp, we are constantly trying to show our clients the value in content marketing. It might take more time and effort to create meaningful content, but the effort is well worth the reward. Content is the key to a successful marketing strategy and there is no way around it.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Molly Griffin
    http//www.dydacomp.com

  • http://www.twitter.com/influxx Adam Mercado

    I love this article. I’ve been espousing the same ideas for months trying to convince my clients we need to be strategizing content built around their brand that lives outside of the whole ‘campaign’ mentality. Branded content is the new paradigm for online advertising. It’s nothing new. BMW Films did this 10+ years ago. It’s just becoming more prevalent online and as you say, its become expected and more effective. It now has its place within the SEO and social driven web economy.

  • http://www.socialnoobie.com David Lawyer

    Having worked for a number of large enterprise size companies, I know for a fact that if it’s content they need they got plenty. If anything, many have content overload. The challenge I see is in determining how best to mold it and work it into something malleable and appropriate for social media.

  • http://www.webtrooperz.com Internet Business Promotion

    Looking for more focus content marketing strategies from Lee. This article has been very informative and helps start-ups to develop their marketing strategy.

    Thanks,
    Rahul.

  • http://www.clickextracash.blogspot.com Best blogger templates

    If everyone starts to explain things like this, no business is going to fail.

  • Jonathan

    Great post Lee! This was highly informative.

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