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Optimize Content Marketing for Conversions and Brand Credibility
Matthew Kumin / ClickZ / September 23, 2013
It’s standard practice in content marketing to say ‘brands must act like publishers’. But many brands ask: What kind of publisher? The New York Times? The Huffington Post? One model won’t work for all B2C and B2B businesses. So it’s key for content marketers to find the right publisher analogy for their business. Simply put, what kind of publisher do you need to be?
For most brands, there are two sides to the content marketing coin:
- Content that develops credibility for your brand
- Content that delivers a conversion
Many brands are investing in content as a smart way to build trust and authority with their audience as opposed to typical sales-focused advertising. Unfortunately, just creating content doesn’t guarantee that readers are going to engage in your content experience or react to your call to action.
When I was at Edmunds.com, we became an “Informational Publisher” like CNET, Bankrate.com or WebMD. We worked hard to ensure our content was delivering on both sides of this coin – attracting audiences through high quality content while ensuring it was also optimized to help consumers convert in our business model (connect with car dealers, financing and insurance options, etc.)
Delivering with the Conversion Content Funnel
In the case of Edmunds.com, the website is built to help customers move through a purchase funnel (awareness, consideration, etc.) that is becoming more complex and less linear. News, reviews, advice, and more are seamlessly tied together across a host of auto-specific categories and topics with marketing pitches from car manufacturers, dealers, financing, and insurance companies. Everybody wins because there’s high-quality, useful content for the buyer and the marketer’s messages are presented in the most engaging, contextual way possible. This is a tight content package designed to engage and inform, not just close a sale.
Keep in mind that the conversion need not be a traditional purchase funnel like car buying. Content can help you gather newsletter subscriptions, website or event registrations, Whitepaper or eBook downloads, or even contest submissions to generate leads. Some great examples of using content without a traditional sales conversion:
- KellyOCG’s web site provides original content with insight on efficient use of your business’ workforce tightly incorporated with the value proposition of their consultation services.
- HSBC Global Connections is site that uses licensed content to help businesses expand internationally while also effectively showcasing how HSBC can be part of that growth.
- SAP’s Conversations on the Future of Business microsite incorporates original content, curated content and tweets around targeted topics like “customer centricity” and “resource optimization” to drive registrations for SAP-sponsored events.
The scale of your efforts can be as small as a high-quality post or as large as a new microsite or blog. And if you can’t create enough content for your funnel, you can leverage a content mix strategy that includes editorialized curation and community-based content approaches to scale your efforts. If you want the benefits of publishing without the risks, curation provides real-time content without setting up a large editorial team.