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Content marketing and the value of case studies

By Laura Greendale, PR Consultant at Bluestorm

Content marketing is the only marketing left. Or so says Seth Godin, one of the world's top marketing experts and thought leaders.

It's a bold statement and, although we don’t necessarily agree with it fully, we can understand where he’s coming from, as editorial engagement is on the rise. In fact, it's a £4bn industry.

This is reflected in Google’s latest algorithm update, Panda. It penalises websites crammed with thin, spammy content and rewards those with high-quality, rich, informative copy. The whole idea is that it's providing up-to-date information to those who are looking for it.

Where to start?

Content marketing is about building trust and loyalty with your target audience, and becoming a thought leader and an expert in your field. It enables people to leave a website, blog, Facebook page with valuable knowledge, perhaps a change of opinion, and certainly a positive view of the organisation whose page they have just visited.

Some of the world's leading brands are investing in content development as part of their marketing strategy – and it's not about hard sell and pushy sales messages about how wonderful you are (the Panda will penalise for this sort of thing). It's about becoming a valued voice and commentator for the industry you are in.

You are good at what you do. You have excellent products, a well-designed and accessible website, and presence on social media, but how do you engage with your key audience? How do you persuade those visiting your site to make an enquiry? Perhaps purchase from you? Or enlist your services?

Having effective content on the website is a large part of the answer. It's about telling a story well, provoking thought, answering questions and feeding knowledge. Capture your audiences attention and imagination with compelling copy and tell the story in an engaging way.

Show, don’t tell

According to a survey last year by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs study, B2B content marketers reported a 70% effectiveness rate for case studies in their campaigns.

Instead of writing about how good you are and what you offer, prove it. Blog pieces showcasing your skills are fantastic for content marketing purposes, but there’s nothing like showing your skills in practise and the results they generate. Show potential customers what product or service they could get from you by using current clients/customers as an example. This will hold more weight than an empty marketing message and gives them confidence to trust you. A rich customer first-person piece about their experience will encourage other businesses or organisations to use you.

Not only can it be used as content on your website, but it can also be shared in social media channels or even pitched to media outlets to create valuable PR coverage.

Size doesn't matter ...

Create content that is useful. Set out your key messages and think quality over quantity. Support a well-written, informative article on your website with an intelligent infographic or a video to help engage with the reader.

Content needs to be actionable. People want information they can use to answer a question or solve a problem. And it needs to be clear, concise and direct. You are an expert in your field and your confidence needs to shine through.

Although we agree with Seth Godin’s statement to some extent, we are firm believers in integrated, full-mix marketing. We continue to use a whole host of channels and platforms to engage with our clients' audiences. We know that traditional marketing methods, such as press advertising, are still incredibly vital to some of our key clients and generate great results.

It's not about shouting how great you are – it’s about proving how useful you are. And this takes time. Content marketing isn't a campaign that will harvest results overnight – it is a new culture.

Top tip:

- Like any news source, you have to be current to be competitive. Make sure your site is up-to-date with regular, fresh content and you are constantly flowing new posts onto social media feeds. People will come looking for information, so be armed.

Struggling to produce engaging content?

Bluestorm has a team of clever, creative copywriters who have bags of experience with digital and SEO content. We can create and implement a content marketing strategy for you and schedule frequent posts. Contact our PR Director, Julie Leydon, for more details at Julie.leydon@bluestormdesign.co.uk

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