Content marketing. It’s a term that’s hard to get a grasp on. I found a blog post that lists six definitions … and helpfully includes a link to another post with 21 more. No wonder we’re confused. In one form or another, content marketing is the answer to the questions, “Why should I have a blog?” “Do I need to be on Facebook?” and “What’s a Houzz?”

Consider: A recent study by the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) revealed that, on average, consumers will contact a salesperson after they have completed about 60% of the decision-making process. (The study was based on B-to-B transactions, but people being people, we can assume that the process is similar for most major purchases.)

That’s a little sobering, isn’t it? By the time a phone rings or an inbox chimes, that potential customer is more than halfway to a decision. That’s great news if it’s your phone or inbox, not so good if not.

Consumer Benefit

So what does all that mean to a remodeler? Many things, but primary among them is the need to take a good look at your Web presence. Most of that 60% number is research being done on the Internet. If your footprint on the Web — including social media and blogs — is a valuable, frequently-updated resource for that research, then you’re probably in good shape. If it’s a self-promotional digital postcard with a few job photos, maybe not so much.

At its heart, that’s what content marketing is about: putting your story, wherever you tell it, in terms of the benefit to the consumer. To put it in old-school sales terms, content marketing puts the benefits before the features so that potential customers know what you can do for them.

And, just like the best salespeople, good content plays the role of a trusted adviser who doesn’t need the sale. Potential customers are drawn to you because you are the expert in your field, because you’ve not only attracted them but engaged them, educating them and holding their interest.

Of those 27 definitions listed above, I like this one from Robert Rose: “Traditional marketing and advertising is telling the world you’re a rock star. Content marketing is showing the world that you are one.” 

—Jim Rafferty, principal of JMRketing, provides outsourced marketing leadership to companies in the home improvement industry and beyond. [email protected]

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