The top 10:
We answer your content marketing questions

You have questions, a lot of them. So we picked the ten most common. From the basics to the advanced, within these ten questions and answers are a complete starter pack for how to approach content, what not to do, and why when done well it drives revenue for your business.

Let’s jump right in.

1. What is the definition of content? What are we talking about when we say ‘content’? In short: it’s not your About Us page. True, in some circles content it’s seen as literally anything that your company produces to market your products or services, but when we say ‘content’ we mean material that demonstrates your thought leadership. That means boosting brand awareness and positioning you and your company as thought leaders in your industry.

2. Who writes the content? Ideally not you. No offense, but even if you’re a born writer, do you really have time to run a business and lose one day per week just on a single article? Then another on an infographic? And even with an in-house team, do you have who you need in place if you want to scale suddenly, or do a last-minute piece to coincide with an event, or even just turn a great article into an animation ready for a presentation? Select a great agency with a diverse team of writers, editors and designers – it’s the only way to ensure consistent output.

3. Does it deliver good ROI? Yes. Not only does it bring in leads, it nurtures them. How many people go to your site but are not ready to buy? Answer: it’s 90%. So what happens next? Do they return again and again to re-read your products and services page? Unlikely. What brings them back is high-quality, relevant content that is genuinely helpful. That builds trust. And it’s that trust which powers your ROI – because it means when it is time to buy they have an established relationship with your company. So they select you ahead of your competitors.

4. Is it hard to find a good content marketing agency? Yes, it is. While at the core a content marketing agency is very much like a traditional digital marketing agency, the addition of the ‘content’ part means a very different dynamic. Think publishing, not marketing – the ideal skillset being marketer-journalist. Also, when looking at leadership of a content marketing agency check for that same skillset among top management. Only storytellers can tell the story of your brand effectively.

5. How do you come up with content ideas? It’s about problem solving. What problems are your customers dealing with that your content can address? If you always ask yourself that, your content will always be always relevant. For example, if you’re selling home hardware then make sure you are offering home renovation advice – and make it specific to the time of the year or indeed other external factors your customers may be facing (such as an economic downturn, an upcoming holiday season, and so on).

6. How much content should I produce? As much as you can – as long as you maintain quality. It’s unlikely you can produce a new piece of content daily that’s of the highest quality. The costs would be prohibitive for most companies. So look at what you can afford and start there. Better to have a consistent quality output, rather than a huge burst followed by silence. Find your balance, stay consistent.

7. Is content like an advertisement? Yes and no. While content doesn’t resemble an ad, it can do the same job, albeit coming from a very different angle. So instead of those annoying pre-roll YouTube ads which you’re just waiting to skip, content tells a story and offers something helpful. It’s much less skip-able. Content adds value whereas promotional messaging is often just noise.

8. How do I reach my audience? First things first: You can’t put your content on the company website or blog and assume people will find it. That’s not going to happen. First, your content should be optimised for SEO so that its topics, keywords and key phrases closely match the intention behind the searches that your customers and prospects are carrying out. That will drive organic traffic by ensuring you rank highly on Google’s search results. Then there is distribution through social media and email – and truly great thought leadership can also find a second life through media syndication.

9. Is producing content difficult? Yes, it is. A tight workflow is required otherwise it’s impossible to track – from topic selection, brief preparation, research and writing, editing, iterations. A great agency will be set up for this and will ensure that you are able to sign off at each stage (without taking up too much of your time) and they will go through iterations accurately and quickly, so the content is exactly how you want, delivered exactly when you need.

10. Should I mention my products in my content? Don’t do it. Yes, it’s very tempting but it will undercut all your efforts. Think of it this way: a stranger at a party or event engages you in conversation. Since they’re interesting you oblige. They’re helpful with some issues you’re facing. You form a rapport. As the conversation comes to a close, they suddenly try to sell you something. You feel let down, cheated. The start of the encounter did not promise that type of conclusion. That’s what will happen if you create great thought leadership then end it with a hard sell. On a deeper level, it could make the reader feel you don’t care about their needs or situation. You were just buttering them up to get them to pay you. Just don’t do it – keep your promotional messaging separate.

Any questions?

In the end, all of the answers point in the same direction – that great content drives revenue through lead generation and, importantly, nurturing. It helps build your brand and positions you as a trusted thought leader. So, those are the top ten. But what other questions do you have? Feel free to send them to us.

Posted inContent Marketing Posted on
written by

Alex Ionides Managing Director, Silx