“I get why a blog would build my community. But I really don’t think it’ll help us with our revenue stream.”
The B2C marketing director that says that may be used to watching his audience come in at the bottom of the sales funnel. These customers know what they want, direct their searches accordingly, then make the purchase—or head to a restaurant, store, or other retailer.
Because of this mindset—let’s call it “bottom-of-the-funnel” thinking—Daniel DiGriz’s experience has been that these brands care most about search rankings and appearing in the right directories and aggregators, like Yelp, Seamless, and Google My Business.
But growth isn’t as simple as that. With a clear, focused strategy, content marketing can be a powerful way to evolve and sustain yourself.
Differentiate Your Brand
As DiGriz—digital marketing strategist at MadPipe—observes, “So often, opportunity sits in the gaps.”
There’s a multitude of businesses offering massages in New York City: many of them resourceful with marketing. A few savvy spas and parlors might hand out flyers or offer discounts to attract bottom-of-funnel customers.
But let’s say your brand provides a premium massage experience—great therapists, a pampering setting, and luxurious pricing. You might get some customers at the bottom of that funnel, hunting for an upscale experience. But there are plenty of customers you’ll need to—pun intended—massage your way.
This requires cultivating your brand. It’s a slower process, but it can pay off in droves, yielding far more sustainable results.
Great Jones Spa is an example of this. The spa’s been around for twelve years, and has won numerous awards for excellence. A pedicure costs $65, versus the going rate of $15 to $25 in a more run-of-the-mill nail salon. Massages start at $145.
Content helps you have the relevant conversation sooner, developing more sophisticated interest at a higher point in your sales funnel. Not only does this entice the prospect gradually down to the mouth (resulting in a sale), it gains you memorable, impactful recognition for your brand. And if you do it well enough, it can even earn you reverence.
Expand Your Audience
It might sound counterintuitive, but one way to do this is to stop focusing on search.
Blogging increases visibility when consumers are trolling Google for brands in a given industry. If you’re blogging randomly or inconsistently, the seams will show. You can’t just blog about your business—you need a plan that is fully fleshed out.
You can divide your blog posts into categories, determining how much attention you will allot to each. If your brand is a restaurant, you can focus your blog according to your strategy: 25% about the lifestyle your restaurant caters to, 25% about the category of food you serve, 15% about differentiators, 10% about restaurant updates, etc. A digital strategist like Daniel can easily parse this out, and then content strategists, topic editors, and bloggers like us can populate each category.
Of course, blogging wouldn’t be your only plan. Your blogging efforts might be effective in a vacuum, but you can amplify their impact by broadening your channels. Employing related content ads, for example, can magnify your blog’s value. Ideally, you’d extend your reach by incorporating social, PR, and advertising—an integrated approach.
Worried about negative reviews? Content helps shape the way customers perceive your brand.
Say you own an Italian restaurant, and the only way you shape perception for it is through Yelp. Uh-oh. That’s a passive approach, over which you have no control. To attack this concern head-on, try actively setting expectations for your customers.
Complaints happen when expectations don’t match reality. If you’re on hold to speak to a representative, and Time Warner lets you know the hold time (10 minutes), you’re less likely to grow more peeved every passing minute. Similarly, if your restaurant’s meatballs are cheesy and dense vs. airy or fluffy, let your customers and would-be customers know in advance. It’s a more proactive approach, and requires vivid content—including blogs, social media posts, your website, and your menu… everywhere it appears.
And when you get good reviews—either from your customers or a critic, spread the word. Rave reviews drive business, and blogging can drive the reviews.
Content is All-Powerful
Not only can your blog draw revenue your way—it can be the lifeblood of your brand. Engaging content builds loyalty, creating a community of people who appreciate and enjoy the product or service you provide.
When centered around an objective-driven strategy, your blog posts, social media interactions, and content marketing can keep your business at the top of search results—and top of mind for fans.