Content Marketing – Gaining Clients by Creating Value
By now, you’ve probably heard of “content marketing” several times over. It’s rightfully become one of the hottest trends in marketing over the past few years. Big companies like General Mills’ Betty Crocker provide some of the most obvious examples like printed cookbooks and online recipes galore. (The Betty Crocker story is, in fact, a fascinating one – particularly given its longevity.)
But content marketing isn’t just for business behemoths. Smaller companies are jumping on the trend more often than you’d think. Does your local garbage hauler have a YouTube channel? Are you following your favorite neighborhood restaurant on social media? Does your firm have a blog?
Each of these is an example of content marketing – where businesses use content as a promotional vehicle as opposed to traditional advertisements. The underlying idea is, when you provide prospects with practical information, they’ll develop an awareness and affinity for your brand. In contrast to traditional marketing that aims to tell potential clients about your firm’s qualifications and experience, content marketing shows them via such tools as articles, blogs, social media posts, informational videos and the like.
Think of it this way: Imagine looking for a lawyer to help you with a sticky real estate transaction. If you found two attorney websites that looked promising and featured comparable lawyers, wouldn’t you choose the site that also included a collection of helpful blog posts on a variety of relevant topics?
Make a personal connection
All things equal, the firm with the blog will have an advantage. One reason why: Valuable content breathes extra life into a website. It positions you as a subject matter expert and showcases your personality and unique style. In this way, content helps you forge a relationship with your audience and frames your firm as a valuable resource — even before you meet in person.
Provide value to media-weary consumers
Another factor to consider is the unrelenting media assault on the average consumer. Depending on what estimates you believe, we’re exposed to more than 300 marketing messages — billboards, commercials, emails, print and online ads — per day. Given that, it’s easy to see how people can become cynical and even immune to traditional advertising.
Offer helpful content, however, and you can lift your law firm above the clutter. The key is to ensure the content is actually useful. Today’s consumers are not only media weary, many are also remarkably savvy and able to detect (and tune out) anything that hints of a sales pitch.
Expand your influence — and your universe
Over the last few years, Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines have begun to reward businesses that publish useful content. The key word here is, useful. As content marketing has grown, so has the volume of content online. Search engines have responded to the content boom by improving their ability to sniff out content that reeks of spam or is primarily written for search engine optimization purposes. Offenders may face consequences ranging from decreased search rank to potentially being delisted altogether.
Above all else, remember this: Consumers expect quality content. They know it when they see it, and when they don’t. Deliver value to your audience and they’ll deliver value for your firm.