What is content marketing?
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. It ultimately aims to drive profitable customer action.
Content marketing is an “umbrella term” covering a set of strategies, techniques, and tactics to fulfill business and customer goals by using the most relevant content to serve, attract, convert, retain, and engage customers. Content uses blogs, podcasts, video, and social media sites as a vehicle. It’s a practice now being used by over 86% of businesses today. However, effective content marketing is not so easy to create.
I’ve been blogging for some time now and in this blog post, I want to share my learning and experiences on content marketing. We will cover 3 major areas:
- Goals of content marketing
- How to start content marketing and…
- Top 10 content marketing tips.
1. Goals of content marketing
Given the fact that content plays a role in virtually all marketing techniques and tactics, there are no goals that can’t be reached using content. However, from my content marketing perspective, I believe marketers need to focus on some key goals including;-
Do yourself and your brand a favor: sit down and map out exactly who you’re trying to reach, where they “live” online and lastly the budget.
In content marketing, lead generation is the initiation of consumer interest or enquiry into products or services of a business. Leads can be created for purposes such as list building, e-newsletter list acquisition or for sales leads.
Your content strategy can accomplish many things, but customer engagement should always be at the top of that list. Readily, you may think of engagement as simply getting consumers to act (clicking, buying, subscribing) and, on some level, it is. After all, if the consumer doesn’t click on your video, or blog article link, then you really haven’t engaged them.
To help get your creative wheels turning, here are some ways you can immediately begin boosting your customer engagement through content creation:
- Develop a Brand Identity and Personality.
- Create Engaging and Valuable Social Media Content.
- Understand the Ideal Channels and Content for Your Posts.
Demonstrate your product– Use a video in this case.
Curate User-Generated Content– While
Embed Calls to Action– Not every piece of content necessarily has to include a call to action, especially if it starts sounding too promotional in nature. However, a subtle call to action should be included often in order to guide the reader towards the next step. Each piece of content should have a clearly defined goal. For example, you might publish a blog post about an upcoming product or service, in which case you may be hoping to attract more subscribers to your mailing lists. Include a clear call to action close to the top of the page so that readers do not have to scroll down to find it.
Once you have leads in your pipeline, how do you nurture the leads? With so many industries cutting back on field sales, creating content that answers buyers’ needs and questions throughout their buying process is an effective way to nurture leads and speed up sales cycles. For your content to work, you have to be strategic. Your content needs to add value. And to create value for prospects, you have to get inside their heads. Map out the process your prospects go through.
Customer retention and loyalty
The most common and easiest is sending emails in the form of newsletters. These newsletters should be easy to read, and few on words. Make the captions bold and highlight discounts and coupons because that is what the customer will be looking for. An attractive discount will lure your customer to pay you a visit to buy something they don’t really need, as most people will not want to miss out on awesome discounts.
Other forms of customer retention marketing include, blogging, through social media websites, holding webinars, contests, sending help guides, and videos.
Although these are the typical goals found in content marketing research, think out of the box and look at the goals of your “audiences”.
2. How to start content marketing
So, you’ve heard a lot about the value of content and how important it is to your marketing efforts, right? From “Content is King” to the fact that more and more marketers say it is the most important element of success, content is definitely front and center when it comes to the marketing conversation.
Here is brief set of guidelines that you can follow to start content marketing:-
- First, find a reason to start using content marketing. Knowing what the reason and the purpose is important. In a few years from now, people will say content marketing doesn’t work. It’s like in social media: people start saying it doesn’t work because they often forget for what and whom they wanted it to work in the first place.
- Know the different people and types of customers and prospects you want. Be aware of how they “act”, what they want, and how they will use your content.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel. Before dreaming up new content, see what you already have. Often, the best content for your customers and business is already in the mind of your customers and the people in your business. You just need to present it in a way everyone understands.
- Once you know what content you have, figure out what you need.
- Now, it’s time to get that content organized and check out the best formats and channels. Know the different formats of content your prospective customers use and there are some good tips and tricks to make sure that your content is “engaging”. Align the content to the types of channels you think that it will be best received.
- It’s time to make sure that the content is found or used! If not there is little sense in spending all the energy, is there? Promote, connect and engage.
Finally, test, measure, and optimize continuously. Try different types of content. Check analytic. Monitor your expenditure. And always adapt.
3. Top 10 Content Marketing Tips.
i) Be Clear
There’s no way around it–confusing and long-winded content is hard to digest. You want your target audience to know you’re honing in on them and the less clear you are, the more likely they’ll ignore what you have to say. By being clear and concise with your messaging, you’re taking the time to develop content that your audience will appreciate and respond to.
ii) Keep Content Consistent
Always be consistent with your content marketing strategy. Whether you’re a marketer or content writer, try to ensure the voice of each article is consistent. It can be very jarring to read an article that has the tone of an influencer in your industry, but is then followed by a nonchalant blog post.
iii) Prioritize SEO
Search engine optimization isn’t just a buzzword. SEO can make or break your entire content marketing strategy. Initially, SEO was complex and complicated for marketers to implement. Now, with the way we search for information on Google, Bing and Yahoo, SEO is accessible and critical to your marketing strategy.
iv) Become a Storyteller
A lot of marketers can overlook the more creative strategies in content, but that’s why you hire great writers. When your content has a unique voice that others in the industry will recognize, you know you have quality writers working for you. The words on your blog are what make your company and you should never differentiate the voice of your blog and the overall company.
v) Be Present on Social Media
When it comes to content distribution, social media can be your best friend. While you might have hesitations about your content strategy mixing with social media, you should consider the following:
- Roughly 80% of CMOs believe future marketing trends point to custom content.
- About 70% of B2B marketers demand content across all channels including social media.
- 94% of social media marketing content is derived of original written content.
- 92% of marketers feel social media is critical to business operations.
vi) Keep Formatting Visual
There’s a reason why listicle articles have gained so much popularity–they’re easy on the eyes. You have to keep things visual for your audience so they’re locked into your content. According to a Social Media Examiner report, 19% of businesses believed original visual assets were the most important form of content.
You want a consistent flow in your articles and images, quotes, surveys and other visual media can break up blocks of text that seem overwhelming when put together. Nothing is more boring than a blog that only has text. Even 500 words can seem daunting when there’s no visual flow.
When companies are visual with their content marketing, readers stay on sites longer, click to more internal links and often plan to come back. All of this leads to higher chances of people buying your product or service.
vii) See What Your Competitors Are Doing
It’s no secret–brands lurk competitors all the time to see what they’re doing successfully. Monitoring your competitors is a great way to stay on top of industry trends and to see what made certain content so successful.
This isn’t to say that your brand should steal its content marketing ideas from competitors. There’s a major difference between keeping your ear to the ground and following the leader. Try your best to see what competitors are doing and use their methods to improve and adjust your own content.
viii) Listen to Your Customers
Whether it’s a question or a complaint, you have to listen to your customers. This plays a vital role in your content creation because listening to your customers on social media will give you new content ideas for your blog or social networks.
ix) Revisit Old Content
Part of your content marketing strategy should include revisiting and re-purposing old content. From a SEO perspective, this can help enhance your content’s ranking on search engines.
x) Think Long Term
Content creation takes serious time and effort from writers, marketers and SEO experts. You need to simply let your content breathe before you make any rash decisions. However, there are ways to help get some quicker results.
The more you build a catalog of content, the likelier you’ll see engagement with your brand in these marketing channels. By following these tips, you’ll easily pave your future of content marketing.
There is no one magical formula that will ensure successful content marketing. You just have to start doing it, test it, experiment with it, fail at it and improve it.