We live in a world dominated by content. From the deluge of daily newsletters to the constant scroll of social media, information seems to be everywhere. Amid all this content, you may think it’s easy for government decision-makers to find any information they need. But anyone who has wandered down page six of a Google Search knows that finding the answers to today’s largest problems aren’t always at our fingertips. Moreover, the challenges that many of us face — especially in the government space, where meeting the mission and serving constituents can look different day to day and department to department — can’t be tidily entered into a search box.
This is why when government leaders look to move the needle on today’s challenges, they need not just information but relationships with trusted partners who can help them figure out where to start. So, how can government contractors start to forge these relationships and grow trust with potential government customers? Smart, strategic custom content is designed to do just that.
What Is Content Marketing and How Does It Differ from Typical Marketing?
When you think of content marketing, you may immediately think of social influencers pushing products on your newsfeed or the advertorials that plagued magazines in the 90s. However, true, thoughtful content marketing aims to fill a gap: Anticipating the needs of potential readers — like an agency CTO faced with the need to move to a secure, compliant cloud infrastructure — and meeting them where they are with the information they need — like a whitepaper that paves a path to successful government cloud migration served up through their favorite trade publication.
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” — Says the Content Marketing Institute.
Ultimately, content marketing strives to provide useful resources and information to consumers in order to position a company as a thought leader in a specific area. The main goal of content marketing is to build trust between the reader and the company; this means it should avoid containing ad copy or misinformation, which will erode trust instead of inspire it.
How Does Content Marketing Fit into the Government Landscape?
With budgeting, procurement cycles, mandates and staffing shortages at play, the government space is unlike any other and the challenges decision-makers face are often nuanced.
When government leaders need to solve a problem, they need to know they are working with a provider who understands this landscape — and is as passionate about solving these challenges as they are. Content marketing provides the space for companies to put their thought leaders front and center to showcase their expertise, innovation and dedication to helping government leaders solve today’s most pressing challenges.
Moreover, not any one person consumes media in the same way. And so, with a plethora of content options to choose from — articles, digital events, whitepapers, podcasts, videos, social posts, and more — marketers have the opportunity to meet their audience wherever they are and however they want to engage. However, with so many options available, agencies must think strategically about how to engage their audience.
Below are a few best practices for government content marketing.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Good Government Content Marketing
- Dig into your audience! For any marketer, figuring out who you’re looking to reach is the first step to meeting them where they are. What do they need to know? What are the problems they are facing? Why is THIS story or info relevant to them? An informed audience is able to make the best purchasing decisions. It’s important to remember that content marketing isn’t about selling, it’s about educating, building trust and forming relationships.
- Tell a story! Content marketing is really just “specific storytelling.” The goal is to focus on a specific problem and present a solution, ultimately helping people better understand how to solve their challenges and serve the community more effectively and efficiently. These stories are powerful — make sure you tell yours!
- Take a global view of the problem the company is trying to solve. Products don’t exist just to be sold, they exist to provide a solution. Figure out what this problem is and how the tool at hand can help people, or, better yet, how it already has!
- Be ethical! When companies provide materials that are misleading or overpromise on results, it often results in the opposite impact content marketing is looking to have: It makes the company seem untrustworthy instead of building trust. Ensure all information is accurate, and include outside sources and relevant research where possible, such as reports, news articles, whitepapers from objective sources, etc.
- Spout ad copy
- Use biased resources
- Focus solely on the company or solution
- Neglect the audience’s needs
- Try to hide that this is content marketing
A Strategic Government Content Marketing Partner
Still stuck on where to start? Have no fear: GovExec has provided thoughtful, trusted editorial content to a government audience for more than 50 years. We have our finger on the pulse of what’s important to government decision-makers today and a robust workforce with experts in all facets of custom content creation. This means we have the expertise and resources to help government contractors reach their audience strategically and effectively.