If you’ve brushed off content marketing as nothing more than an industry buzzword, we can understand where you’re coming from. In today’s advertising world, you can’t escape its mention. But, while we hate to tell you this, you’re completely mistaken. Content marketing utilizes any and all digital channels available to you to build awareness, guide purchases, and foster customer loyalty. And as a publisher, you already have all of the tools to create a content marketing sales program that works.
We sat down with Charity Huff, CEO of January Spring, to discuss the current state of content marketing. As a digital veteran in the magazine and newspaper space, she is ready to share what you need to know about selling these services to advertisers.
What is content marketing?
At its most basic, content marketing is the art of creating truly compelling content that resonates or speaks to a very specific audience. The content is resource-driven with the end goal of (eventually) making a sale and building a loyal customer relationship. Content marketing is especially hot in the B2B world, where the purchasing journey can be a long one.
Charity adds, “Purchasers have a journey. You have to move people through this journey. Content marketing says ‘Hey, here’s who we are, here’s what we do, and here are the problems we solve.'”
So, why is content marketing especially hot right now? One big reason is how SEO works today. Google’s search algorithm has moved far away from its basic, keyword-driven past. Resource-rich articles and video are necessary to scratch Google’s itch for unique, quality content that provides the answers real people are seeking.
Publishers Have the Backlink Mojo That Advertisers Want
But there’s another side of SEO that benefits from content marketing, too. Backlinks. The premise behind backlinking is simple. When an authoritative website, like a magazine, links to an outside website, the outside website’s content absorbs the “domain authority” of the linking site.
Knowing this, it’s easy to see the value proposition for advertisers. If your articles contain links to their website, their search rankings see a direct benefit. Now let’s dive into some of the nuts and bolts of selling this opportunity to advertising businesses.
Content Marketing Sales In Practice
First, let's talk length of terms. If you're used to chasing advertisers by the issue, you need to rethink your strategy for content marketing sales. Charity says:
"Instead of chasing the next issue, you can do this as a 12-month buy. It’s a lot of work to get [a content marketing effort] going. Setting up a content calendar, content ideation, etc. But [your efforts] also build over time. Each article has a positive effect on the last."
There's another bonus to this long-term sale: most advertisers never want to stop the momentum once it starts. Charity mentions that among all of her publishing clients, she rarely ever encounters an advertiser who wants to stop after an initial long-term contract.
Now, let's talk about what your advertisers get for their monthly spend. "[An advertiser will] get access to your editorial team for x number of articles. You price these articles at several thousand dollars. Then, you add advertising on top of the articles to drive traffic to the advertiser's website. Ultimately, this can run an advertiser $2500-5000 per month."
Leverage Your Strengths With Content Marketing Sales
Content marketing is an amazing way to complete an advertiser's digital strategy with the tools you're already using. Moreover, it's significant recurring revenue that provides exposure to your arsenal of advertising products across digital and print.
With a little bit of imagination, you can create packages that not only show data-driven results in digital, but also help you bundle your advertising services in a "sticky" way that leaves advertisers always wanting more.