Content marketing – it may seem like yet another (not so) fun catch phrase; however, the concept has been around for ages (check out this cool example from 1672). Content marketing falls under the umbrella of inbound marketing – the more effective, current alternative to traditional outbound marketing (think fliers, advertisements, cold calls). We have a great blog about what inbound marketing is and why it works if you’d like some background information before diving in.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is defined by Wikipedia as “a form of marketing focused on creating, publishing and distributing content for a targeted audience online.” This could take on a variety of forms including, but not limited to, blog posts, videos, social media posts, infographics, ebooks, podcasts, etc. Contrary to what you may be thinking, content marketing isn’t specifically about your brand or products that you’re selling. The goal is to put out educational content that is beneficial to potential customers. The intent is for potential customers to enjoy your quality content so much that your brand is top of mind the next time they need your product or services.
Let’s say you sell your own meat products; you could provide resources such as infographics or video demonstrations about how to properly prepare various cuts of meat, and distribute that content via social media platforms, like YouTube, and your website. For example, you could produce a how-to video all about smoking brisket or wood grilling the perfect steak. You’re providing educational content that is not specifically promoting your own product; however, after watching your videos and seeing how perfectly tender your brisket turned out, the viewer may be further enticed to try your products and think of you for their next barbeque. This is even more beneficial if you have an online storefront as you’re able to offer that buying option to an even wider geographic range.
Why Is Content Marketing Worth My Time?
Now that you know what content marketing is, it may seem time consuming and labor intensive to create the content you need. Is it really worth your time? In short, yes! Content marketing generates three times more leads than traditional marketing while costing 62 percent less – that’s pretty great for your return on investment (ROI). Not to mention, in today’s technological era, 70 percent of people prefer to learn about a company through articles as opposed to advertisements, and 78 percent feel more connected to a company that utilizes custom content. If there’s one thing that drives brand loyalty, it’s creating a personal connection that sticks. One of the main reasons people continue to follow brands on social media is for the interesting content they provide.
Maybe you don’t have it in your budget right now or you simply aren’t comfortable diving in to creating videos to post online. No problem. Writing informative, interesting blog content is practically free and can easily be reused over multiple platforms (more on that shortly). It just takes some creativity to see how you can apply this effective strategy in production agriculture and nonprofits.
For example, as a seedstock operator, you may be wondering how you’re going to create content that isn’t time sensitive, only being relevant to your upcoming sale. That’s where your expertise in the field comes into play. You can provide content on everything from bull selection and maintenance to pre-breeding nutrition and heifer development. You could even share information regarding your working facilities. The content will be educational for your readers/viewers – possibly even entertaining – and it will surely come to mind as they begin their search for a new bull, resulting in more potential buyers!
Content marketing is also relevant to a nonprofit organization; however, the perspective shifts slightly. The product being sold is a membership or member services. As a breed association, for example, your content can include information about incorporating new breeds into your breeding program, providing infographics about artificial insemination (AI) protocols, or explaining how to utilize breed-specific EPDs. This educational content is a preview of the great customer service and support people will receive as members.
How Do I Incorporate Content Marketing into My Business?
So, where do you even begin?
Identify your goals
As in any new business venture, you must first establish your goals and values. Knowing these will help start you in the right direction. You’ll want to also determine your goals regarding the types of content you want to put out and how often. Be sure you assess your resources to ensure your goals are attainable. For example, are you going to be developing all the content yourself, or do you have staff or family members who may be able to help?
Understand your customers
Identifying potential customers and their online habits is extremely important to ensure you’re reaching the correct audience.
To ensure your content is seen, especially what is published on your website, search engine optimization (SEO) is vital. Begin researching how to write and create content that has the most effective SEO in order to best drive traffic to your site from search engines. It may also be valuable to research competitors’ content and see what catches your eye.
Start generating ideas and begin writing, videoing and designing your new content. Be sure to repurpose content whenever possible. For example, going back to our brisket smoking tutorial, when prepping for the video, write out a quick blog post for your website that outlines the procedure in case someone would rather read it (post this link in your video description, as well, to drive traffic to your site). It would be a great idea to capture photos of the smoking process while you create your video to post on social media. You can repurpose the written blog content to generate captions. Understanding the different social media platforms and how to tailor your content to their specific designs is important. Visit our blog that explains all about social media platforms for more information.
With all your new content developed, you’re eager to put it out into the world! Consistency is key with your online presence, so developing a schedule of when and where you’re posting content will ensure you don’t fall behind.
Last, there are many great resources available to analyze the performance of your content, many of which are free and built into social media platforms. Be sure to analyze what content performed well and what your viewers engaged with most to keep in mind for future content creation.
Content marketing may not be the norm in production agriculture (yet) but it can be extremely beneficial when utilized properly. While it may require a bit of time, creativity and possibly money up front, the overall return on investment speaks for itself.
BluePrint Media can help you develop and execute an effective content marketing program. Click here to get started.
Emily grew up in rural Connecticut with a passion for agriculture. She attended Texas A&M University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science and a master’s degree in ruminant nutrition. Emily has joined the BluePrint team as a designer and feature writer after previously working in feed sales and as the marketing manager for a large ranching operation in central Texas. Emily and her husband look forward to raising their family in the agricultural community they both love.