Content marketing is most effective when brands understand self-interest has to take a backseat. This doesn't mean ignoring sales goals; it means investing in the customer relationship so when the time is right, the customer wouldn't choose anyone else.
The most obvious touchpoints of content marketing are owned media — blog, email, Facebook, YouTube, etc. While there's no hard rule against publishing "Why You Need Us" content, those messages aren't going to resonate with someone at the top of the customer funnel. Instead, we encourage brands to consistently publish "helpful content."
We define helpful as "tools people can use." While a comparison chart that shows how you're infinitely superior to your competitors might work when trying to close a deal, it's not going to help anyone casually looking at your site for more information. So, rather than a hard sell, produce something that explains new trends in your industry or offers tips to save time or money.
Helping customers should continue after they convert, too. A solid resource center on your website can help reduce customer service costs, and thoughtful content can power customer relationship management (CRM). This can increase lifetime customer value by giving your brand a reputation for taking care of customers throughout their life cycle.
Customer relationships are built on trust and service, and content that is less self-serving can help you create loyalty whether the potential customer is shopping or not.
Susan Shimotsu - Content Specialist