What makes content marketing hard to understand, to implement, and to profit from?
It is the fact that it’s a markedly different approach to what worked until recently.Traditionally, businesses have been trained to push messages to customers. In a stark contrast, Content marketing operates on the “pull” principle. It’s premise to attract customers to businesses.
Earlier, putting up marketing messages on customers’ face was all that marketing function of any business hoped to achieve. Traditional marketing blitzkrieg doesn’t work as well as it used to because the consumer behavior changed drastically. Best practices in marketing reverted back to 1960s and the “mom-and-pop” way of doing business. Today, Conversions are based on word-of-mouth, likeability, and trust.
Content marketing is inbound marketing; it’s based on providing relevant information in the hope of adding value to customers. It’s a relentless act of publishing to make customers take notice, like, trust, and then buy from you.
Here are some examples of at least seven companies that do this well, and certainly profit from it:
Hubspot offers inbound marketing software, and it actually demonstrates what it hopes to achieve for its customers. The folks at Hubspot, for one, use their own software for their blog and website. Their blog is one of the most frequented blogs as far as inbound marketing, content marketing, corporate blogging, social media, and analytics are concerned. They do everything a business ought to make content marketing work for lead generation, lead nurturing, customer engagement, and brand building.
Talk about leading by example.
Founded by Neil Patel – one of the most influential bloggers who blogs at quicksprout.com, Top 100 bloggers on Technorati, and also a founder of Crazy Egg and MolarGeek – Kiss Metrics is another of example of a company that gets content marketing work for it. While it primarily offers solutions for analytics, metrics, and insights on website traffic for your business, it’s the KissMetrics blog [http://www.kissmetrics.com/blog] that does most of the heavy lifting. Further, do note the use of a sticky sidebar on the blog, which doesn’t move when you scroll through the blog content. How about some sticky content marketing?
If you thought that content marketing needs an intensive team working round the clock and heavy marketing budgets, Rand Fishkin is a good example of a blogger who started with blogging feverishly on SEO and turned his passion for search marketing into a full-fledged business (Seomoz.org now stopped doing SEO consulting and focuses exclusively on creating SEO Software).
SEOmoz.org is a true story of a one-person operation growing wings to take flight as a profitable company. What worked for them? Creating awesome content, some of the best references on the subject of Search Optimization, and a super-responsive effort to engage with community.
The potential reach, effectiveness, and the sheer multiplicity of video as a marketing and engagement tool is staggering. Every business- small or big – is now looking for ways to tap into the growing (…ravenous hunger, if you will) demand for video consumption. Wistia is a company that offers exclusive hosting and analytics for your videos. What’s so special about the company? It’s young, it focuses on propelling video as a marketing medium for businesses, and every word on their blog (or other content) reeks of personality, humor, fun, and a distinct air of just being “cool”.
Hunch does what the name rightly suggests, it’s an API that determines your affinity and personalizes the Internet as per your taste. It predicts what users like and allows for customization. Ever wondered behind the technology that seems to know what you browse for and recommend things for you? Amazon shop? Discover similar music, artists? Discover similar movies? You get the drift, don’t you? Hunch.com was recently acquired by ebay.com. What makes hunch.com worth listing here is their blog, which focuses on infrographics and using graphics, which takes it to a whole new level. It’s an API, but see what it does with content.
What do designers know about content marketing? Aren’t these two specialties distinct by themselves? They are. Smashing Magazine grew from a normal blog into a publishing powerhouse featuring content on design, coding, tutorials, illustrations, and business. Today, it produces print books, e-books, blog posts, reports, and is one of the foremost blogs for web design and development community. It’s a true example of a blog growing into an authority site, publishing house, and a strong community all together, running on the huge potential of strong, relevant content.
Much like Hubspot, Eloqua does everything right with its content and engagement to keep the trust train moving. Its readers devour the information it provides on its Revenue Marketing Blog. Eloqua’s It’s All About Revenue blog is one of the top B2B blogs on the Internet. It’s a B2B marketing Official Rockstar, an AdAge Power 150 blog, and a Stevie 2011 American Business Awards winner.
Content marketing takes effort. It’s never-ending, painful, hard, and long-term. Yet, it pays like no other.
It’s the new way of marketing, love it or hate it. Can you point out some other examples of companies that content marketing right? We’d love to hear from you. Please leave your comments below.