Content marketing is, for many organizations, misused if not overlooked entirely. And that’s a shame because when used properly, it will generate more qualified leads for your business.
Let me give you an example.
People work in various professions and they are typically looking for ways to advance their careers. For some, that means staying on top of what’s going on in their profession.
Accountants read about accounting.
Nurses read about nursing and healthcare.
Salespeople read about communication and relationship building.
And today, they all read about the technology that is available and the technology that will be developed, impacting their professional careers in the near and longer term.
Now, I do a lot of work with businesses that sell that technology and I also do a lot of work with colleges and universities that offer a variety of certificate, certification, and degree programs that impact these people and their ability to advance their careers.
Unfortunately, a lot of those businesses and educational institutions are missing a huge opportunity to use content marketing to their advantage and to their audiences’ benefit.
How to use content management to generate more qualified leads
Let’s focus on those technology companies for a minute. Not everyone in their target audience is in the buying process. They are at that stage where they are happy with what they have but need to stay on top of what’s coming so they aren’t caught unprepared when a change occurs but they don’t feel they have a need at the moment.
Companies tend to create information for those that are in the buying process. They realize they have a need, a problem and they are looking for options. And the content tends to be “…let us show you how we solve your problems.”
Instead, they need to create content that shows those searching to stay current that change is coming and they need to be prepared.
Best in class businesses create content that is of value to those people now so that when those people realize there is an issue, a threat, an opportunity to achieve their goals through some type of change, they turn to those businesses that have been with them along the way.
Early in my career, working in tech, you would focus on small growth-oriented firms that could get by with a CRM or networking solution that was designed for a small business. You did this because you wanted to be the first call the owner or IT person made when they realized they needed to upgrade…and along the way, they came to trust us because we provided them with valuable, unique information they could use.
Those business owners or IT people didn’t call the hard selling, high-pressure companies that kept hammering them with “…buy our stuff now…” because the information was relevant, valuable or useful.
Content Marketing in Higher Education
In higher education, there is a tendency to run lead generation ads and then hit those that respond with “apply now” and “enroll now”. Unique benefits the students will enjoy are ignored – replaced with features like “our caring faculty and staff are dedicated to your success” and “online courses are flexible”.
The smart colleges and universities are reaching out to where the nurses and accountants and salespeople of the world unite – professional organizations. And they are going beyond the simple (also known as ‘lazy’) “Enroll with us and save $/%” message.
They are getting their faculty in front of the association members, talking about what’s going on in the industry – and what the employee of tomorrow is going to need in terms of skills and experience to succeed.
They offer interactive content that allows those nurses, accountants, and salespeople to assess their own skills and identify weaknesses that might negatively impact their ability to achieve their goals for advancement and security.
And when those people come to the realization that they need to take action, they turn to those that have been with the longest. The ones that have built trust over time.