When you hear the words “content marketing”, you’d probably think that you are getting the idea of what it is, but have not really had the chance to ask anyone about it. Content marketing is a strategy that has been used for ages most people probably know what and how it works, but what is it exactly? How does it help the marketers in meeting their goals and objectives?
What is content marketing?
Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as:
“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.”
Let us take note of the keyword: valuable. This is what sets content marketing apart from other forms of advertising. The main objective is to provide as much valuable information as possible to your audience. With the digital transformation happening, marketers now have the option to become publishers of their own content rather than paying for other people’s media. Creating and distributing content that consumers find useful and relevant helps in increasing brand awareness. As the consumers move through the sales funnel, your content can also help in building a trusting relationship between them and your brand. Needless to say, content marketing is the least expensive form of marketing strategy, although it has a slower start because you have to grow your content library and reach more consumers.
What are the types of content marketing?
Now that we have a much clearer definition of what content marketing is, let us take a look at what content marketing looks like. We are seeing all types of advertisements every day, but not all of them are considered content marketing. Always remember the keyword—valuable. It has to be useful for the audience so that they consume it, and eventually trust your brand that it can provide products and services relevant to their everyday life. Here are some examples of what content marketing looks like.
Blog posts. Creating blog posts is one of the most helpful but cost-effective types of content marketing. Instead of writing about your products and how they changed the lives of so many people, blog about the topics related to your products or services. There is no need for you to convince people that you provide the best products—all you have to do is provide something new and valuable, and provide genuine impact to your audience. After all, your SEO would be more effective if you are going to publish quality content consistently.
Infographics. These are long vertical images that contain charts, graphs, statistics and other relevant information. What’s so good with infographics is that they can be posted both on social media and at the same time be incorporated in blog posts. The main objective of infographics is to convert a lot of different information into bite-size pieces.
Videos. Video content has been there—probably even before YouTube started. However, its popularity has noticeably increased due to the rise of Tiktok. Many content marketers are now including videos in their marketing strategy—a whopping 93% of them attest that this move is essential as video marketing trends for 2021 look promising.
Podcasts. Podcasts can be a bit demanding when it comes to getting the right equipment and preparation, but it appears to be extremely rewarding and beneficial for digital marketers. Podcasts are also tremendously helpful in terms of awareness for brands that have speciality niches and markets that are a challenge to penetrate. What’s more, podcasts can also be repurposed by slicing the material and creating evergreen content.
Social media content. Social media content might look like the easiest content to create, but keep in mind that this is all about getting your audience to look and directly respond to your content. As social media is probably where a huge part of your audience hangs out, you would want them to engage with your posts as much as possible. The easy part comes when you have already determined which type of content your audience would want to consume. Do they engage more on videos, infographics, or blog posts? Once you’ve identified their interests and triggers, you can repurpose the other marketing content that you have produced.
Why you should invest in content marketing?
It may appear to be a lot of work, but the content is at the centre of every single digital marketing strategy. Content marketing helps build your online reputation as a brand while your audience is provided with a variety of valuable and useful content. Here are some important reasons why you should invest in content marketing.
Obtain website traffic with strong intent
IMPACT: Companies that blog get 55% more website visitors.
Google’s number one goal has always been to provide its searchers with the information they need. So its algorithm is designed to look behind the searcher’s query and provide relevant content that matches the search terms. As you improve your SEO efforts, your blog posts landing pages and other web content will appear on the top of search results—the place where searchers are more likely to click.
Encourages the customers to trust your brand’s credibility
Demand Metric: 82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content.
In today’s sales cycle, customers’ trust is one of the many essential factors. If your audience does not trust what they see, they most likely turn away from your brand and avoid you. Through your content, you’d be providing them with useful content and valuable advice on a certain topic free of charge. As you build your content library, you are also building the trust of the consumers because they are finally seeing your credibility and expertise which will influence their purchasing decisions.
The return on investment looks promising if you are consistent in providing content
Demand Metric: 6 out of 10 are inspired to seek out a product after reading content about it.
Content marketing is not just about building your brand’s reputation and consumer trust, nor about building your content library or increased website traffic. There is an actual return of investment that we are after in content marketing. Content marketing can generate more leads compared to other traditional marketing, and it can actually increase your direct sales.
It brings your brand closer to the consumers.
Demand Metric: 7 out of 10 consumers feel closer to a company as a result of content marketing.
With social media making it easier for everyone to get connected, there’s no wonder that people cannot relate to those that they cannot connect with. Consumers in the digital age require personal connection—they want to feel closer and therefore opt for brands that reach out to them on a personal level. This can be achieved through content marketing. Custom content gives the feeling that you are speaking personally to your audience.
How to create a content marketing strategy?
Now that you’ve learned more about content marketing and why it is important, let us dive into the steps on how to create a content marketing strategy.
Determine your goals. You should have a solid and long-term goal on why you are creating your content. Do you want to improve the customer experience? Generate leads? Build customer relationships? It doesn’t matter what your goal is as long as they are sustainable and long-term. Remember that creating content for the sake of content should never be your goal.
Identify what will set your content apart. Thousands of companies are producing different content each day. That is a lot of content for your audience to consume, and a lot of content to compete with. Determine what will make your content stand out. Competition might be tough but hey, if your content is useful, educates, entertains, inspires, and motivates then you are really on top of your game. Keep in mind that you are allowed to make your story bigger.
Measure your content marketing. Make sure that you understand how to measure the effectiveness of the strategy. Create metrics that are easy to track and can help you determine if your content marketing strategy actually works according to your goal. Here are the 4 metrics where you can start.
- Consumption – how did the audience consume your content (views, visits, downloads, listens, etc.)?
- Sharing – does your content resonate with your audience?
- Lead generation – how many leads came from your content?
- Sales – how much money (if any) did you make out of that content?
Determine your audience. To be able to create effective content, you need to identify and understand the behaviour of your audience. You need to know what are their interests, what are the things that appeal to them, their jobs, and probably what you think they’re doing if they’re not at work (hobbies?). This way, it is easier for you to decide what type of marketing content you can focus on.
Know the needs of your audience. Apparently, it is not enough that you know what kind of audience you have—you also need to identify what they need and provide that need through your content. A lot of consumers have unstated needs, questions that they do not openly ask which Google keyword search can definitely tell you. It is not enough that you meet your objective, it is equally important to cater to the needs of your consumers.
Make the most of what you have. Building a content library might be a good thing, but with the amount of content we consume every day, it would be wiser to make the most of what you have. Reuse and repurpose your old content, create a new one out of curated content, or you can even ask the members of your social media community for content ideas.
Create a content calendar. A content calendar is a huge help in achieving consistency. It is to make sure you have a piece of information to provide to your consumers each day, or when needed.
Content marketing is one of the essential careers in digital marketing, as a huge part of the entire digital marketing strategy relies on content. It is therefore important that you strategise your content to maximise the favourable results it brings to your brand, and to your organisation. If you have a budget allocation for digital marketing, it is also best if you include SEM as it is one of the strategies for more effective content marketing.
Digital marketing is a rapidly growing industry, with various career growth and opportunities to offer. If you are curious about digital marketing and want to learn more, our Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing & Campaign Strategy course offers highly industry-relevant digital marketing skillsets that are immediately transferable to the workplace. Click this link if you want to learn more about the course and download the brochure.
Do you want to find out if you are fit for digital marketing? Read our article on why you shouldn’t be a digital marketer right here and see what qualities you should have as a digital marketer.