Courtesy of The Content Strategist
Content marketing is growing. Well, at least in the US. According to this report by The Content Strategist (heads up to Steve Rubel for the link), 90% of B2B marketers use content marketing.
To establish themselves in their various markets, B2B marketers employ a range of both traditional and social media channels in the creation, production and publishing of content. They include the writing of articles, organising of conferences, publishing of wikis, and authoring of white papers. Some of these platforms are seen in the diagram below:
While content marketing has taken off in the States, it is woefully absent here in Singapore. Most companies and businesses here are a lot more focused on advertising their wares and making a quick sale - often through deals and promotions - than to build their brands through quality content.
If you don't believe me, just look at the websites, and social media properties (Facebook fan page, Twitter stream, Youtube channel) of these companies. Most of these company-owned platforms scream "Look how great we are!", "Our products and services offer superb value!" or "Hurry, buy one get one free!"
Now, I'm not against hardsell marketing per se. There is a time and place for such practices to move old stock from your inventory or generate cashflow.
However, making them the core of your marketing strategy is hardly ingenious. Over time, your customers will label you as a "cheap and good" supplier, resulting in a downward death spiral of diminishing profitability.
How can Singapore companies leverage on content marketing then?
Here are some ideas to start you off with:
1) Be very targeted on who your niche customers are and concentrate on creating content that is relevant to them. Stretch your brand across neighbouring categories (eg diaper manufacturers can provide content useful for infant health) and look at your customer's contexts of use.
2) Supply information that helps your customers perform better at what they do rather than what you would like them to buy. If you're supplying say kitchen ware to restaurants, consider how you can provide the chefs and cooks with useful productivity tips or ways to optimise the use of your equipment to improve the taste of their dishes.
3) Keep your ear to the ground to understand what the underlying trends are in your industry. If you do know of a certain development that could impact your customers, be ready to provide that information through your platforms. Even better if you can link what's happening out there with what your company provides. This helps to establish your firm as a forward looking business while providing useful information to your customers or followers.
4) With Google and the ever transparent web, there are really NO trade secrets. Well, almost. In such an environment, it may be better to err on the side of generosity and provide as much content as you can afford to. Increase your utility. Make yourself likable and increase your fanshare. Remember that you should "give to get" marketing.
5) Most importantly, keep the content and conversations flowing AFTER the sale is made. Give your customers reasons to maintain their links with you by supplying useful updates, tips, techniques and strategies that help them become a better business/person/mother/whatever.
In an age where everybody is sharing and exchanging bits of information over the web, it is crucial for companies to establish themselves as thought leaders and knowledge brokers in the areas that matter. Develop your expertise as a content expert and specialist. Sooner or later, your customers will appreciate that extra help and reward you with business opportunities beyond your wildest dreams.
Labels: business strategy, community marketing, content marketing, information, intellectual capital, knowledge, word of mouth