Content marketing is not selling; however, it is marketing.
While there is no set definition for content marketing, one that most people in the content marketing industry are comfortable with is that it is a marketing program based on the sharing of quality, credible, and pertinent information.
It should be noted that content marketing does lead to sales but indirectly.
What happens is that as a potential customer interested in your services finds your information helpful and educational, that person views you and your company as experts in your field. Your expertise and the trust that evolves leads to sales.
In many ways, the potential customer has already selected you and your company before he or she has even met you simply because the person already believes you are the best in your field.
Content marketing is certainly not new. What is considered the first form of content marketing began more than 100 years ago when John Deere, who started the John Deere company making farming equipment, started publishing The Furrow.
This magazine was not used to promote John Deere equipment, although all the farmers receiving the publication were well aware of who published it. Instead, it was intended to share helpful, educational information that farmers could use, and when it was first published, starting in 1895, there was no other publication like it. John Deere believes this publication is what made the company so successful over the years, and for that reason The Furrow is still being published today.
Many companies have branched out into content marketing. Some are very large and well known, such as General Electric, American Express, IBM, Grainter, and Coca Cola. Others are small and relatively unknown beyond their immediate community.
How Content Marketing Can Help You
Selecting a product or hiring a service provider can be a very difficult decision for a facility manager. Put yourself in her shoes. The building may be several floors high with scores of tenants, each one with their own personal needs and wants. Selecting the wrong service provider can have serious negative implications.
But other than checking references and doing as much due diligence as possible, how can she select a contract cleaning company that will meet her facility’s needs as well as those of her tenants?
What typically happens is the manager will go online but likely find one service after another promoting themselves with what are essentially online brochures. These websites are just trying to “sell” her something.
However, then she encounters one contractor’s website that offers article after article providing quality, credible, and educational articles. Using a cleaning contractor as an example, this site includes on such topics as:
- How to select a contract cleaner?
- Should you have a Green cleaning program in your facility
- What role does sustainability play in cleaning?
- Are there ways to reduce costly refinishing cycles?
- What new technologies have evolved in the professional cleaning industry?
Now this manager is not being “sold,” she’s being educated.
It’s a big difference. “These people are trying to help me,” she thinks. “I can see they know what they are doing; I can trust them”?
By providing quality information – in other words, using content marketing – this education opens doors and those doors can lead to sales.