What is Content Marketing?
Digital Marketing is impossible without great content.
Content Marketing is a marketing technique of distributing and creating valuable, relevant, and consistent content. To attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – to drive profitable customer action.
Useful content should be the basis of your digital marketing.
Traditional marketing is becoming less and less effective by the minute; as a forward-thinking marketer, you know there has to be a better way.
Content marketing is a strategic marketing process focused on creating and distributing valuable, consistent, and relevant content. To attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
Instead of pitching your services or products, you are providing truly relevant and useful content to your prospects and customers to help them solve their issues.
Why Content Marketing?
Maybe more important than understanding what content marketing is understanding why content marketing is essential to your business.
First, we need to understand the 4 steps of the buying cycle:
- Awareness…. Before awareness, a customer may have a need, but they are not knowing there is a solution.
- Research…. Once a customer is knowing there is a solution, they will perform research to educate themselves. For example, a car buyer will discover what different types of cars exist, and which one will fit their needs.
- Consideration…. At this step, the customer starts comparing different products from different vendors. To make sure they’re getting a high-quality product at a fair price.
- purchase…. Finally, the customer makes their decision and moves forward with the transaction.
Traditional marketing and advertising are great when it comes to the second two steps. Content marketing taps into the first two stages of the buying process by raising awareness of solutions and educating consumers about a product they may have never considered before.
Entrepreneur Josh Steimle said
“At my own company, we’ve used content marketing to grow more than 1,000% over the past year. Potential clients find our content, find value in it, and by the time they contact us, they’re already convinced they want to work with us. We don’t have to engage in any high-pressure sales tactics, it’s merely a matter of working out details, signing an agreement, and getting started. The confidence that usually needs to be built up during an extensive sales cycle has already been created before we know the potential client exists.
The return on investment for content marketing can be amazing if executed correctly. We haven’t spent a dime on our content marketing, or even that much time. 95% of the success we’ve experienced with content marketing can be traced to a handful of articles I’ve written, adding up to perhaps 20 hours of work.”
-Content marketing also provides additional advantages in that it supports other digital marketing channels. It provides additional content for social media marketing and contributes to SEO efforts by generating natural inbound links and building up good content on your website that gets found in search engines. In fact, for many companies, the bulk of their SEO efforts should be focused on content marketing.
-Content marketing is used by leading brands
Our annual research shows the vast more than half of the marketers are using content marketing. It is used by many prominent organizations in the world, including (P&G, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, and John Deere). It’s also executed and developed by small businesses and one-person shops around the globe.
-Accurately, there are three key reasons — and benefits — for enterprises that use content marketing:
Better customers who have more loyalty.
Tips for a Successful Content Marketing
View Your Content as Data
A great content marketing strategy can engage audiences at every turn, and to do this, a good strategist needs to know how their content is working. When you know exactly how to spin your content so that it’s effective in one phase, then you can use that information as you move into the next phase in the funnel.
Your strategy will be guided by analytics. The job of the strategist is to meticulously monitor, track, watch, and report on the numbers to continuously refine and adjust toward better conversions. You will need to track where your customers are “coming from,” and where they are “going.” In other words, you need to be continually assessing traffic patterns.
Continually testing what you’re doing is how you’ll get a solid idea about your audience’s preferences, interests, and purchasing behavior. You need to know how well the material is performing to make it to the next step of the process.
Understand the Content Marketing (Sales) Funnel
The sales funnel is a broad-based term that describes the buyer’s decision-making journey, with the three key phases being awareness, evaluation, and purchase. Anyone involved in sales and marketing needs to pay close attention to this process to gain a better understanding of what makes buyers move through the funnel.
To some extent, content marketing is considered outreach, which means it’s something that sits at the “top” of the sales funnel.
There is a fourth stage of the sales funnel which essentially translates to establishing brand loyalty.
Four critical stages with the customer.
Outreach: attracting new customers
Conversion: convincing customers to buy
Closing: making the sale
Retention: establishing brand loyalty and returning customers
It’s where you have the opportunity to cast a net over the broadest possible customer base and not only build your audience but also engage with them to understand more about your entire strategy.
Make a Plan
Creating a calendar is vital to a successful strategy. Just like an editorial calendar for a traditional publication, a content calendar can help to guide your strategy throughout a given timeframe and add major holidays and events that are relevant to your industry.
Think where different distribution channels will fit well into your sales strategy along the timeline of the following months.
Establish Specific Direction for Your Content
Let’s say you are a content strategist or manager, and you have a solid framework of content and writers at the ready. You’ve developed a strategy, you know the funnel, you have a calendar. You’ve
established, in a general sense, what you want to say.
Many businesses already have a bunch of content and a team of writers on hand to create it; these are essentials, as are a set of tools for analytics. But strategists must understand which piece of the marketing framework different types of content fall into.
But it’s a good idea to select down content good types, from Facebook ads, landing pages, explainer videos, infographics, Social media, informational blog posts, case studies, quizzes, Email series, reviews, e-mails, and surveys.
Must know which type of content performs well in different contexts, that is, with different audiences and also across platforms. Coming into 2018, trends that you can bank on in most instances are video infographics and AI-based applications such as voice search.
Must develop a strategy based on chunks of content that can easily be repurposed through different channels and for different purposes.
So, as you develop all of your content (think multimedia), consider the ways that it can be easily converted into the future.
Promote a webinar into a series of email courses to sell.
Create PDF clues out of old blogs.
Write articles about your product.
Develop blogs so that they can later be used to easily create a case study or whitepaper
Create an infographic out of a slide show (or vice versa)
You can also build each piece of content with the intention of a mixed-use strategy. Tweet buttons are a great example of this. Anything that provides an easy way for you and your audience to broaden the distribution of a given post is gold.
Content marketing must be valuable to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers.
The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell, you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you.
Content marketing uses blogs, videos, and social media sites.
Copywriters write attractive headlines, persuasive landing pages, and conversion-driven emails.
Content marketing is being used by 86% of businesses today.
Ineffective content marketing when you utilize proven copywriting techniques to create your online content, you’ll find readers will:
Subscribe to your content.
Share it with others.
Repeat this many times over and you’ll have a loyal audience for your digital business.
There’s a big audience out there for almost every topic, you need the right formula to stand out, stay on top, and keep growing your base.
People don’t want to advertise when making purchasing decisions, they want valuable information content.
That it’s content that people desire and seek out. And it’s great content that Google wants to rank well in the search results so those people can find your business.
That content is the best way to achieve what advertising is supposed to achieve but doesn’t do so well online to get people to know, like, and trust your brand.
Content is the present – and future – of marketing