Since consumers had started backing off from traditional methods of marketing of the brands, they looked forward to seeing a few changes in the marketing strategies. This is how; smart marketers realized they needed to give buyers what they wanted: information. This information can be presented in a variety of formats, including video, news, white papers, e-books, case studies, infographics, how-to guides, Q&As, photos, etc. On the basis of marketer’s understanding of his consumer’s needs, he has begun with Content Marketing to provide quality information, which is developed to entice and engage consumers in hope that they will convert into customers.
What exactly is Content Marketing? How it can benefit business? What are the effective Content Marketing Strategies? If these are the questions popping in your mind, read this blog to find answers in an elaborative way.
Content Marketing provides an outstanding alternative to traditional advertising methods. It is an umbrella term that covers a set of effective techniques, strategies and tactics in order to fulfill predefined business goals by using content across the customer life-cycle. Its main purpose is to attract and retain customers by consistently creating valuable and relevant content with the intention of satisfying and enhancing consumer behavior. Content Marketing cycle starts from research work and then creating, optimizing, publishing, promoting the content and finally measuring your success.
Businesses, small as well as big, can enhance their brand image and overall marketing efforts by creating and sharing optimum quality content. The research conducted by Kapost has found that per dollar value, Content Marketing contributes three times more leads than that of traditional online advertising. In addition to being cheaper as compared to alternative forms of marketing, Content Marketing also allows you to send interesting, original and valuable information to potential and existing customers, which is why it has been an intriguing subject for online marketers. An effective Content Marketing can:
Furthermore, I have collected some stats, facts and insights that will force you to shift a big percentage of your marketing budget to Content Marketing.
If you aspire to be successful in Content Marketing, you need an effective strategy. A well-thought out plan is essential for valuable communication with your target audience and gaining a higher return on marketing investment. I present to you an eight-step process of Content Marketing, which after implementation results in a successful and profit making business.
Before starting Content Marketing, you should first find out what do you want to achieve through Content Marketing and what do you want to gain from the money and time you put into the creation, promotion and distribution of eBooks, blog posts, and white papers? Some common goals include leads and customers, increasing web traffic, building awareness of your brand, becoming more active online and generating blog subscribers. In addition to this, you should also evaluate current marketing data like bounce rates and conversion.
Understanding your target audience is the key to create Content Marketing Strategy that works. You should research the demographics as well as online behavior of your target audience, and consider your ideal customers’ occupations, personalities, needs and wants. Further, you can conduct surveys via email, your company website or social media platforms to get a grasp on what potential consumers are looking for. You can start by focusing your content efforts on just one customer segment at a time; however that segment must include your best customer. After that, this customer should serve as the model for your target buyer persona.
In addition to this, one of the simple and budget-friendly research tactics is to track keyword, product and brand mentions on social networking sites such as twitter and Facebook. You can find out what are your target audience doing online and how can you use your content to reach them?
You should take a look at your competitors and analyze what they are saying and how they are disseminating the information. The type of content they are creating should also be noted. You can also find out whether they focus on offering downloadable white papers and eBooks, or they are going the business blog route? Further, you can gain an advantage over your competitors by offering something that you know your competitors are not. For example, you can use a backlink analysis tool like MajesticSEO and WooRank to see who is linking to them and why, and search their company name on Twitter and various other social media sites to notice if, and how, their brand is being discussed.
Good content informs as well as attracts, persuades, serves and engages buyer’s persona, prospective customers and other target audiences. Companies that focus on quantity of content often lose out over companies that focus on quality. High quality blog posts will get more shares on social media platforms, will interest other industry stakeholders as well, and will position your company as more of a thought leader, educator or expert.
While writing content, think about your target consumers: Are they small business owners? Fathers? Mothers? Dog lovers? Teenagers? Exercise Fanatics? Keeping your target consumers in mind, decide on the type of content you want to offer. Some popular forms of content include blog posts, eBooks, infographics, interviews, case studies, surveys, podcasts, contests and webinars. Once you are well-aware of your demographic and content type, find out competent writers who can write excellent content for the purpose of apt brand communication.
In addition to this, you can also take-out the stock of old content that you have already created and distributed and find out how it performed. Look at page views, social shares, downloads, lead generation and comments, and identify which pieces were exceptionally well-received by the audience, if any.
Content Marketing does not mean a lot of writing and cranking out text-heavy blog posts, lots of eBooks and various white papers. In reality, variety and creativity will help you stand-out in your industry. You should think about using a variety of media such as videos, pictures, infographics, checklists, webinars, audio content and even live events, in addition to written content. Furthermore, variety can extend to what kind of content you create. You can create thought leadership pieces and “behind the scenes” content like pictures of your product/service, interviews, customer features, list of resources and many other types of content. Just use your imagination power! It will pay off in terms of attention.
Content Marketing is successful because it has the ability to combine your content (which can establish your expertise) with Social Media Platform (which can help you spread your information) with Search (helping you being found via Bing, Google or other search engines). Some companies limit the “Search” part of this equation as they are not aware about the basics of SEO, by using terms that people do not use (for example, internal company jargon vs. commonly used terms), and by not posting enough keyword-rich content on their blog or website. Take a simple example– when embedding a YouTube video in your website or blog, why not include some of the key points or a full transcript (if it is not too long) in text below it so that Google can pick up on these terms? If you want to make your content search engine friendly, I recommend hiring SEO experts who can perform this task more effectively.
Social media is an ideal complement to Content Marketing. Content works as the fuel that keeps the social media “engine” humming as people share and re-share content on these platforms. You should find out which social media platform your target audience spends maximum time on. If you are not sure, do some research-work. In order to make your task simple, I have mentioned percentage of B2B as well as B2C marketers who use different social media sites to distribute their content.
In addition to this, you can also use tools like Bitly that will track click backs and Google Analytics that will check traffic to your website; by doing this you will be able to see which social media channels are bringing your website the most traffic.
After a few months of posting content, check to see which ones were mostly shared by people and design your Content Market Strategy accordingly. You should not be afraid to filter out what is not working and write more about the topics that are gaining the most of traction. In addition to monitoring, engaging with people who responded to your content can be a very powerful way to spread your reach and to connect with target audience or industry stakeholders. You should keep in mind that Content Marketing is not just creating content, but it is about sharing as well as engaging people who resonate with the content.