This is the real question, isn't it? After writing good content that educates and entertains, after posting on web pages, blogs, and a few key social media sites… how does content work to generate sales?
"Show me the money," you might say.
For some people, if the ROI can't be pin-pointed, forget about it. I'll leave the analytics to experts. Google keywords like "return on investment content marketing," for example.
There's no question that the return on investment of content marketing can be measured and proven. If it didn't, then why would 6 out of 10 marketers be spending more money on content marketing in 2010?
What I do know is that content marketing works on a fundamental psychological basis. If you want proof beyond anecdotes (like stories of successful professionals with few staff and little budget who are making good money online), then turn to the analytical experts to find these answers.
Here's what I think about why content works: people are hungry for information and they're bored. They're not hungry for advertising, they're hungry for solutions.
They're also a little warped. They want gossip and tabloid headlines, and absurd and ridiculous videos. They want a good laugh, and relief from the monotony and routine of their lives. For many their computers are a good friend that, although frustrating at times, gives them a good poke in the ribs.
TV has ceased to amuse them. Besides, everbody has access to the same sit coms. On the Net, they can find something really weird and point their friends to it, which impresses the hell out of them.
How does a funny video work to get sales? Who knows, most of the time it doesn't. But then who would have thought that you could sell pet rocks or a ghia pet? Think about the sales on those had they been introduced on the Internet…
People search on the Web for solutions to their problems because it's anonymous. Whatever their secret desires are, for fame, for picking up girls, for discovering inner peace, there's a place on the Web that sells answers.
If you want to train your cat to do tricks, you can find a way to do it. If you want to buy a car, you can find best deals and comparison shop. It's all done through content. But not any kind of content. Not content that sells, but content that persuades.
Content marketers are masters at this.