I am 100 percent a student at heart. I long for the days of hour-long college lectures spent dissecting nuances and gender deconstruction in Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre.” I still experience brief moments of frustration when I try to recall the difference between igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic geology rocks (as a marketer, science was certainly not my strong suit).
And I still wish I could find the time during a busy work week to meet a professor for “office hours” and sip coffee while I pick his/her brain about some esoteric psychology theory.
So making the recent decision to complete my Social Media Marketing professional degree at Purchase College was one of the easiest choices I made.
I love learning. I love social media. And I love following the social media strategies of my favorite brands. No brainer.
While finishing one of my final classes a few weeks ago, the topic of content marketing came up—particularly how content marketing has become increasingly ubiquitous among corporations thanks to the proliferation of social networking sites.
During the discussion, a peer stopped our professor. “I love the idea of content marketing, but how could I convince my clients—physicians—that content marketing could help them?” she asked.
“Very simply,” my professor said. “Because content marketing can benefit all industries.”
“Really,” I thought to myself. Every industry? Well, let’s think about that for a moment. I mean what could a dog grooming company really do with content marketing? I guess the company could create a blog that touches on all the organic dog cleaning products they use, the importance of routine cleaning for your pets and the animal-friendly techniques that are employed.
Well, what about an accountant? Let’s see… the CPAs of the world could talk about the latest tax laws, top tips for passing the CPA exam, the dangers of filing your own tax returns and the possibility of leaving money on the table when managing your finances. Who wouldn’t want free advice from a top CPA? The blog will probably even make you more likely to call the firm to enlist their services. After all, they certainly care about their clients the way they dispense tips and tricks.
See, the point with content marketing is that every company has a story to tell—and it’s up to you to figure out what story you want to share.
According to the Roper Public Affairs, 70 percent of business decision makers say content marketing makes them feel closer to the sponsoring company, while 60 percent say that company content helps them make better product decisions. Moreover, 80 percent of business decision makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles, versus an advertisement.
You may find yourself thinking, “Well, I’m a [lawyer, personal shopper, therapist]. This doesn’t apply to me; I am not a company.” But you’re wrong. Your business is your company, and your “customers” can be everyone from patients to clients to actual consumers.
So if you are that person “sitting in the class” who is convinced that content marketing is not for you, think again, because we’re looking at you. You have a message to tell and you have a target market that is waiting to hear from you.
There’s nowhere to hide in this classroom. Your assignment is to develop a content marketing strategy. Your task is to reach your thirsty-for-knowledge target market. And your responsibility is to figure out how to employ a successful strategy to get you that “A.”