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Four clues that content marketing might be right for your business

You’ve heard the buzz about content marketing:

Every company will be a media company!

You’ve got to create compelling content to cut through the all the noise and clutter!

You can’t just by attention any more, you’ve got to earn it!

Blah, blah, blah.

Those statements all contain some truth, but we all know that not every business needs to invest in content marketing.

The local pizza place, the convenience store on the corner and the handyman I hire when I need a little home improvement work done will all probably do fine without it. Based on reputation, convenience and referrals, plenty of businesses, in fact, get by without much marketing at all.

But other businesses — and potentially your competitors — will invest deeply in content marketing. For them (and maybe you) it’s a way to attract the right potential customers, earn their trust and market to them.

Content marketing can be used for almost any kind of business or organization, but it’s better suited for certain kinds of businesses. Does it make sense for you?

Here are four questions you should ask yourself to decide whether content marketing is for you.

1. Is your product or service new?

If you’re an innovator with a new product or service, content marketing is probably the right choice for you.

Most of us, even if we’re buying something expensive like a car, have a pretty good idea of what we need to think about (mileage, how much cargo it will carry, safety features, etc.). But if you have a new product or service that people aren’t familiar with, or if your industry is new, you’ll have to do a lot more education for your potential customers.

You’ll need to explain to them what problem your product solves and why it’s the best solution to that problem. You may even need to convince them there is a problem to solve.

Likewise, if you operate in a new or emerging industry (nanotechnology, for example), you may need to educate buyers about your industry so they’ll understand the kinds of needs your industry fills and the difference between you and your competitors.

2. Is your product or service complex?

If what you’re selling is simple, it should be simple to communicate its value to buyers. If what you’re selling is complex, though, you’ll need to spend a lot more time explaining all the elements of your offering, why they are important and what each element does.

If you’re selling something that’s heavily customizable or tailored to individual customers, such as business consulting services, you’ll need to explain exactly what you do. This is the kind of situation where case studies can illustrate exactly what you do for customers.

3. Is your product or service expensive?

The more money you’re asking customers or clients to spend with you, the more care those individuals are going to put into the purchase. They’ll probably have more questions, do more research and carefully consider all their choices — from doing nothing to buying the most expensive, full-featured product or service available.

B2B buyers will want to feel that they’re making the best decision by going with you, a decision they can defend to their boss if something goes wrong down the road. That means they’ll be looking for information — case studies, white papers, ebooks and guides, product demos and more — to help them make the right choice.

4. Do you sell to other businesses?

Finally, B2B companies can often earn a higher return from content marketing than B2C companies. Business buying decisions are different from consumer buying decisions: More people are involved, more research is involved, and there may be specific cost or ROI factors that come into play. All of those factors suggest that content will be helpful as buyers work through the decision-making process.

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions you should probably take a serious look at content marketing. Chances are your competitors have already.

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