Monday, December 3, 2012

Marketing for Entrepreneurs: Content Marketing

We're running a featured series of guest posts on positioning and content marketing between Thanksgiving and the Winter Holidays, authored by David Chapin, CEO of Forma, and author of the forthcoming book "The Marketing of Science: Making the Complex Compelling."

This series springs out of an extended interview that CED's Jason H. Parker conducted with Chapin, and will cover topics on positioning your business to stand out as unique, crafting a successful go-to-market strategy, building a content-marketing strategy that works, and how to develop a working strategy with only 1-2 hours of dedicated time per week. This week's contribution is a piece on the importance of content marketing.

Content Marketing: Yes, It Works

We are at a turning point in the history of marketing, where the importance of content (and a clear point of view which must underlie that content) is beginning to be broadly understood. The importance of content marketing is growing; we’ll look back from 5 years in the future and wonder why the trends were not more obvious. Well, the trends are there for you to see right now. So, content marketing is absolutely necessary for life science companies. And yes, it works. 

For example, open a browser window and type in “life science marketing” as a search engine query. When you look at the results, our firm, Forma, typically comes up at the top of this list. This is almost exclusively due to the content on our site – newsletters that we have been writing for the last four years. Before we started this effort, we were so low on the search results that our page rank was in the double digits. Our current page rank drives inbound leads; content marketing does work!

Content marketing actually is an extension of an exchange that was invented by scientists more than 300 years ago. It’s called “peer-reviewed publishing.” In this exchange, scientists trade the results of experiments by submitting them for review to a journal created for this purpose, publishing them for free. In return, the scientist’s reputation is enhanced. Over time the enhancements to their reputation accumulate, which leads to them being regarded as experts, which results in myriad benefits not the least of which is the enhanced ability to get funding for their next experiment.

Content marketing for organizations works in much the same way: organizations develop and then give away valuable thought leadership for free, in exchange for an enhanced reputation. This “reputation” begins with the search engines, which have developed algorithms to quantify your website’s “reputation.” Sites with better “reputations” (that is, greater relevance to a particular search query) are returned in a higher position than sites with less relevance (a poorer “reputation”). 

Sites without valuable content can use tricks to improve their search engine results temporarily, but all the search engine companies (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) state that the single most important thing in determining relevance in search engine results is valuable, relevant content. 

Content marketing should be a key component of every marketing mix. If you are not actively creating this valuable content, you are falling behind. This is especially true since search engines use the age of your content to influence their search rankings; sites with older content combined with more recent content are typically ranked higher than sites with only more recent content. 

Of course, the significance of content marketing extends well beyond search engines, but many small organizations have trouble being found or noticed, so search engines are crucially important for getting traction early.

This previously published article on the CED Blog also contains valuable insights on content marketing for entrepreneurs

Guest Post is authored by David Chapin, CEO of Forma, a CED Member. David Chapin has a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from Swarthmore College and a Master’s degree in Design from NC State University.  He is the CEO of Forma, which provides strategic and tactical marketing services to life science companies ( well as medical device development services ( David is author of the forthcoming book “The Marketing of Science: Making the Complex Compelling.” 

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