Content Marketing: Attracting customers through thought leadership

Although you might not use the term “Content Marketing,” if you are in business and you have a website to convey information about your firm, you are a content marketer. How well you do it is another question.

Even those familiar with the term are experimenting and learning how to put a successful content marketing plan in place.

Essentially, content marketing – also known as inbound marketing — takes advantage of the fact that many people use the Internet to look for goods and services that they might purchase. A website that is correctly optimized for search gets people to your business. A website that is full of information about what you do and how well you do it promotes you not only as capable but as a thought leader who can offer more and better solutions than your competition.

A survey just released by the Content Marketing Institute demonstrates that more business people are creating content marketing strategies — and that they are getting results.

Survey findings include this:

· 86 percent of B2B companies say they create content marketing and 70 percent are creating more content than they did one year ago
· Measurement is a key area where B2B marketers are struggling: Only 21 percent say they are successful at tracking ROI; however, having a documented strategy helps. (35 percent of those with a strategy say they are successful)
· More B2B marketers say they are challenged with finding trained content marketing professionals this year (32 percent) than last year (10 percent).

Eighty-four percent of companies surveyed said brand awareness was their top marketing goal, but lead generation, engagement, sales, lead nurturing and customer retention/loyalty all scored at least 69 percent.

Creating content for social media was the favored tactic but e-newsletters, blogging and face-to-face events are also popular. Not surprisingly, in-person events were rated the most effective way to market content, but videos, blogs, case studies and similar types of content also ranked high. And 55 percent of respondents said they would increase spending on content marketing in the next year.

You can read the details of the report here, but the conclusion is clear. Creating content to engage potential and existing customers is a growing and effective trend.

Paul Steinmetz is the director of Community Relations and Public Affairs for Western Connecticut State University and the principal of Writing Associates, providing publicity and writing services for businesses, institutions and individuals.

About Paul

I grew up in Marin County, California, and moved to Connecticut to join The News-Times, a community newspaper in Danbury where I eventually served as editor for 10 years. I joined Western Connecticut State University and ran the PR and development offices. I now serve as director of community relations and public affairs. I have four kids, all with the same wife, and now run Writing Associates, a consulting service that makes writing easier for my clients.