During this fascinating webinar, held on Vistage Village earlier this summer, content marketing expert Michael Stelzner – founder of Technorati’s #1 small business blog in the world, Social Media Examiner – shares why it’s vital for businesses to create original content to drive their marketing efforts.
Below Stelzner and Marc Figueroa, Vistage’s VP of Brand Communications, discuss…
For many business owners, there has been a lot of change in marketing. Describe the current marketing environment today and how it relates to small and medium sized businesses.
There has been a lot of dramatic change in the last couple years. It’s impacting the way we operate our businesses, the way we acquire our customers. Some of the biggest challenges we’re facing today is how to get customers. Because of the internet and social media, marketing that used to be very measurable and predictable is now very difficult.
Customers are overwhelmed with marketing messages everywhere they go. They’re tuning out, they’re not paying attention. I call this Channel Overload Syndrome. People now have iPhones, Facebook, instant messaging applications, email; even in bathroom stalls people are getting messaging thrown at them.
That makes our job as business people very difficult to get through to (our audience). They don’t trust us anymore. The marketing environment today is hostile and now you’re seeing big established businesses going out of business overnight. Look at Blockbuster who dominated the industry and now the online company of Netflix is putting them out. Almost every kind of traditional business you can imagine, it’s all getting completely transformed by the new of world of new media and it is really scary for a lot of businesses.
What is content marketing and why is it integral for driving business growth?
People don’t necessarily care what you’re trying to sell them anymore. Instead they care about solving problems. Content marketing provides info that people find valuable. Take a cookware company for example. People aren’t concerned about the difference between stainless steel and aluminum pans.
They do care about more efficient way of cooking to lower their electric bill, or better tasting food. So as a company that makes cookware, you could come out with content from great new chefs who talk about recipes. You focus on what your audience is interested in. You can attract them to you. It’s a way to bring customers to you by talking to them about things that are near and dear to their heart.
So it’s about the conversation. This requires creating original content, which requires resources. How can companies create this content?
Companies have always paid someone to create something such as an ad, or even more, the cost to place the ad in a publication. We’re used to paying for creative. When it comes to content marketing, it’s really not all that different. You can find writers out there and there’s a bazillion journalists out of work who are willing to work for next to nothing. They can create that content for you. If you think about marketing investments and we take them out of traditional marketing put them into content marketing, you spend a little money. You could generate some really high quality content and it doesn’t require a lot of money.
Is content marketing something we should balance with traditional marketing channels?
Last year at Social Media Examiner we generated $1.7 million and we did zero advertising. It was all content management. I think you should consider saying goodbye to traditional forms of marketing and focus a quarter of that effort on content marketing as far as dollars go.
Content marketing is significantly less expensive than traditional marketing; it’s like one tenth the cost. All you need to do is set up a blog and find somebody to write for you. You’re wasting tens of thousands of dollars a year on marketing that’s just not working for you. Writers are cheap – it can be done on a shoestring budget.
Other than saving money and keeping marketing costs low, what are other benefits?
Creating valuable content means consumers will share. At the end of the day, you want people who are raving fans. Some can become advocates for your company and you can rapidly start to grow. You could never do that through an advertisement.
TEC members wishing to listen to the full webinar, How to Rapidly Grow your Business with Content Marketing, please click here.