We hear the phrase repeated all the time – content is king. But why is content marketing so important? And, what makes it different from traditional marketing efforts?
When beginning your exploration of content marketing, it’s important first to understand how it works in relation to the customer cycle. Traditional advertising seeks to capture prospective buyers or clients while they are immersed in unrelated tasks – often, interrupting other activities, and adding little value to consumers. This is not only annoying, it is expensive – and often, counter-productive.

Content marketing approaches customers without intrusion, by seeking to add value within the customer’s self-driven journey. Within most industries, the buyer’s journey can be defined in three stages: Awareness, Comparison, and Commitment. Familiarizing yourself with the needs and challenges of these three stages will not only shed some light on the value of content marketing – but also help you decide what kind of content to offer at each phase.

Awareness. In the awareness phase, potential clients or buyers receive their first introduction to your products or services. They are generally aware of an issue which requires resolution, or are seeking to fulfill a particular need – but many are just beginning the process of exploration (and may not even be aware that a solution exists!). This presents your business with the perfect opportunity for establishing itself as a valuable and authoritative resource, with expert knowledge and insight.

Providing clear, easily digestible content which outlines industry basics, answers common questions, and introduces available solutions will catch the attention of your audience at this phase in the buyer’s journey. Any content provided during this stage should focus exclusively on adding value to your prospective customers, and providing them with informative content which supports their exploration of needs.

Simply maintaining the customer connection at this point is key – so your content marketing plan for this phase should involve frequent communication in the form of social media posts, blog articles, or other informative updates.

Comparison. Once your buyers have gained some clarity regarding their needs, they’ll begin to seek out and identify viable solutions. At this point, it is usually safe to assume they’ve obtained general knowledge of the industry, and some familiarity with your competitors. Basically, they are narrowing the available options down to pinpoint those which can fulfill their needs.

Providing content which focuses on your specific strengths and characteristics can help you differentiate your business from other potential solutions, and gain a competitive advantage. You may also find it helpful to delve into deeper aspects of your business, describing those features, services, or solutions which make your brand unique.

At this point in the buyer’s cycle, your content marketing plan should include rich, detailed content such as informative webinars, product demonstrations, white papers, or case studies. By tracking interaction with your content, your brand can assess the interest of prospective clients (as well as the effectiveness of your content), and use this information to nurture potential leads.

Commitment. At this point in the buyer’s journey, it should be clear that your brand is best suited to fulfill the needs of your audience – which means this is where your content marketing plan should be focused on gaining a commitment.

Content provided during this phase should include a clear call to action. And, if you intend to offer a free trial, promotional special, or discount – now is the time. You may also consider providing detailed information regarding any warranties, guarantees, or ongoing support offered by your brand. These details can help reinforce your prospective’s decision to make a purchase.

Remember – the focus of content marketing should always be on adding value to your customers. By creating strong, value-added content, you’ll establish your brand’s authority and expertise, and inspire trust in your potential clients and customers. When done right, by the time you’ve gained a formal introduction, they’ll already be aware of your strengths, and convinced that your brand is right for their needs.

If you’re ready to eliminate the need for high-pressure sales, and add value to your buyer’s journey – all while improving your ROI – Strongpages is here to help. Contact us today, for more information!