Content Marketing Explained to Your Boss

In short:

  • Content marketing and product/ service marketing work differently.
  • Business objectives can be organically supported with the help of content marketing.
  • Content marketing is about being more educational and less promotional.
Stacks of coins side by side.

You would have heard the term content marketing thrown around. 

Chances are that more than a few CEOs might have even already started investing in it without having the slightest clue what it means. But, hey, if all the internet people are doing of course you want your business to jump right into it. You don’t want to be left behind

For all of us who have just rolled their eyes at the familiar real-life individual that popped into our heads as I was painting the picture, I feel the strong need to remind you that having a simplistic, narrow-minded approach and being a CEO are not mutually exclusive. 🤷

For those who can attest to this firsthand, I’m sorry, and I hope it’s a thing of the past or it will soon be. 

What isn’t up for debate, however, is the competence of the team working for the persona sketched up above. Because someone actually has to make it happen. 

Marketer struggles

A nervous emoji.

It’s these people that are on the front lines, researching and learning how to leverage content to boost their company’s numbers that I feel deep sympathy for. 

Why? Because on top of worrying about the brand performing well, they are also the ones who have to translate everything content marketing-related to the boss invoked in the scenario above. 🙈

When a couple of lazy why this, why that are addressed to you, the person or team responsible for content marketing, your first instinct might be to briefly and elegantly talk to them about the saintly triad of content marketing: relevance – value – consistency, and then be on your way to make the most of your company’s content. 

But let’s be real here, you’ll probably have to spend a bit more time explaining the ways of content marketing before escaping the patronizing gaze

Most of us have been there enough times to lose track of it. 

If you haven’t yet, and now you’re nervous that you’re probably going to be next at some point, let’s get you as prepared as possible so that you can zoom through that meeting and be back at your desk doing what you love in no time.

Content marketing vs product/ service marketing

Chat bubbles coming out of a monitor.

The first thing that you’re going to have to be ready to remind everyone who isn’t savvy in content marketing is that it works differently than the product/ service marketing entrepreneurs everywhere have grown accustomed to.

Without wasting your boss’ time, and yours for that matter, in your quick overview remember to mention that with content marketing you leverage pieces of content such as informational articles, webinars, and videos put together in a way that would answer very specific questions your target audience has. 

And your target audience would have informed you of what it is they care about through their feedback or straight up inquiries. Your customer support is sure to know everything about it. 

This is the practical, not at all glamorous way to build your company’s P.O.V. into that authoritative/ expert voice SEO gurus advise you about online. 

This is how you provide your audience with content they:

1. care about (they’ve raised the issue and if they weren’t interested enough they wouldn’t have taken the time)

2. can’t find elsewhere (since their interest on the matter was sparked by their interaction with your business, you’ll be their go-to source)

Does content marketing work?

People chatting.

Next up, be prepared for the Does content marketing actually work question. We all know it’s coming. 

To you, the answer might seem obvious enough. You might be thinking Well, it supports the company’s business goals, so yeah, it works. But for your clueless boss, you’re going to have to do better than that. It’s not that you’re wrong, it’s just that you’re going to have to speak their language. 

You can break it down in an easy manner. 

Remind them that content marketing commonly has 3 major goals

  • bring in the traffic to your website
  • convert those visitors into high-quality leads 
  • convert the high-quality leads into sales 

That’s it. Once you start talking to them in marketing funnel terms, you’ll really reel them in. 😉

If you really want to leave them speechless (but impressed), bring up a super simplified version of the first-touch/ last-touch attribution model

Since you’re on top of your company’s leads analysis, you’ll know what kind of content appeals to someone that interacts with the business for the first time and what type of content makes them stay. In fact, you have a bookmarked report detailing the behavior of an average lead when interacting with your company’s website because you’re that good at what you do. You can email them that later if they ask for it.

Content marketing to attract customers?

An arrow straight on target.

And then just when you’re about to close the door behind you, your boss murmurs something about how informing potential leads means obviously informing the competition. 

It wasn’t quite a question and you can easily pretend not to hear and be on your way, but if you don’t address it then and there, it’ll surely come up some other time. 

So, turn around, put on the most sympathetic smile you can muster and remind your boss that content marketing, much like product/ marketing, relies on building a network of loyal customers

While it can be easy to be swamped by the idea of looking at potential clients as mere numbers in a report, content marketing does not work on that premise. 

In fact, content marketing is all about reminding people in all industries that their leads are humans with needs and wants. This means that their point of connection with your business is likely going to be through their needs, wants or both. 

As relevant as your company’s products/ services are, they are not what a potential client is interested in initially – they are simply interested in finding a solution for themselves in regards to who knows what circumstances. 

Therefore, pushing promo after promo on your company’s blog/socials isn’t going to appeal nearly as much to your potential leads as a mix of promos and educational materials addressing your audience’s virtual pain points. That’s how you get them to stick around. 

Will the competition also see it? Of course. But before you get bitter about it, weigh down the number of potential competitors scanning your expert advice and the number of potential leads. No matter the industry, the latter far outweighs the former, and that’s reason enough for you to go for it.

Now you’re finally free to go back to your desk and get right on investigating how those keywords from your last batch of content are performing. The worst thing they’ll tell you is what to do better next time. 💪

Blogging and SEO

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