Content Marketing is a strategic marketing approach that involves creating and distributing a range of content, most commonly online. The goals of content marketing are to attract, engage, entertain, inform and convert prospects by supplying them with valuable, relevant content. Good content marketing also increases customer loyalty and customer retention.
Done well, content marketing plays an important role in the marketing arsenal. In fact, according to a 2020 report from HubSpot, 70% of marketers are currently investing in content marketing. Content marketing is important because it helps marketers build trust with their audience in a way that many other types of marketing cannot do. It helps brands to tell the story of their company and what it stands for in an authentic and engaging way.
What are the benefits of content marketing?
Content marketing offers a variety of benefits to businesses of all sizes and from all sectors. Here are some of the main benefits of content marketing.
Increases brand visibility and brand awareness.
Builds loyalty and trust.
Drives high-quality traffic to your website and can improve search engine rankings.
Helps build strong and lasting relationships with your customers.
Gives you the opportunity to answer questions, provide valuable and useful information and overcome barriers to sale.
Helps position your brand as credible, an expert in its field and a thought-leader.
Helps you move customers through the sales funnel.
Delivers genuine value to your customers and community.
There are a number of goals associated with content marketing. They are as follows:
Lead conversion and nurturing
Delivering great customer service
Increased customer loyalty
Upselling and cross-selling
Providing information and guidance
Positioning the brand as thought leaders
Increased brand reach and enhanced brand awareness
Better engagement on social media.
If you’re looking to increase sales and conversions, drive more high-quality traffic to your website and build trust and customer loyalty you would almost certainly benefit from a good content marketing strategy. In order to achieve your goals, your strategy must be robust, credible, well thought through and designed with your audience in mind. More on this later.
There are a few key differences between content marketing, inbound marketing and content strategy. Your content strategy is the initial step in this area of your marketing activity. Your content strategy involves the planning, creation and delivery of the content you produce. Content marketing refers to the process of creating your content itself — perhaps with a content creation platform. Inbound marketing focuses on how the content strategy fits in with the rest of your lead generation and PR activity. How you develop and use tactics to attract and nurture your leads over a period of time with the relevant, authoritative content you’ve included in your content marketing strategy.
When done well, content marketing is an excellent tool for businesses. Here are some frequently asked questions about content marketing for businesses.
Content marketing can help a wide variety of businesses. No matter what size your business is, what sector you operate in or where you are based. If you want to increase conversions, enhance brand awareness and build trust, content marketing can help you achieve your business goals.
There are a number of types of content marketing. They are as follows:
Vlogging and video marketing
E-books and downloadable guides
Quizzes and games
Social media posts
User-Generated Content (UGC)
Testimonials and reviews.
Good content marketing takes time and resources - it also requires a financial investment - therefore it’s important to make sure you use the right types of content marketing for the individual needs of your business. Here are some key points to consider when deciding what types of content marketing to use for your business:
Think about which formats will work for your specific products and services. For example; if your product is complex, a how-to guide or video might be useful. If you are trying to distil a lot of information, infographics could work well.
Use formats that are appropriate to your audience. Think about how your customers consume content; the platforms they use, how much time they would spend reading or watching the content, where and when they might be consuming it etc. If you want it to be shared on social media, make sure you create formats that are easy to share.
Find out what your competitors are doing. Naturally, you want your content marketing strategy and activity to be unique to your business, but it’s useful to do some market research to find out what is currently engaging your target audience, or not. Don’t know where to start? Try BuzzSumo. Simply enter a keyword that is relevant to your business and BuzzSumo will deliver a list of the top-performing content for that search term.
Good content marketing is all about being authentic and listening to the needs of your audience. The most common content marketing mistakes happen when brands fail to do these things and simply put their efforts into activities and tactics that they want to do or that brands they like in different sectors are doing.
Even some of the more established brands make the mistake of trying to be everything to everyone, and it rarely works. For example; just because a new and exciting social media platform has launched, it doesn’t mean that it’s right for your business if your customers don’t use it. Be where your customers and prospects are, give them the information that they want and need, be honest and authentic and don’t copy others. Keep these things in mind and you’re in with a good chance of engaging and converting those customers. Keep listening to their needs and focus on makes you and your brand special and unique.
If you get your strategy and execution right, content marketing can be very cost-effective. A 500-word blog that is created in-house, can be just as effective as an extensive video campaign featuring top influencers if the content hits the right note with your audience and provides them with what they need. On the other hand, if your content marketing vision requires external expertise or expensive technologies then you’ll need more budget. If you want to produce a polished, professional video it won’t benefit you to scrimp on quality to save money. If budget is an issue, test the water with smaller campaigns first. You can then capitalize on the content that performs best as you get a better understanding of your audience’s needs and the messaging and formats that attracts and converts.
Content marketing is generally a long term investment. You build trust and engagement over time so ROI is unlikely to be immediate. You might not see any changes in Google rankings for weeks or even months and customers may visit your site via several channels on a number of occasions before they convert, so it can be difficult to track and attribute conversions to a particular content marketing activity. However, there are a few ways to measure content marketing success. Which brings us neatly on to the next question:
Measuring how successful your content marketing is can be done using a number of metrics. These include:
Analyzing the consumption of your content marketing activities. Depending on the format, this could include website analytics (unique and repeat page visits, time on page, links clicked, click patterns, downloads etc). It could also include social media engagement metrics such as likes, comments and shares.
Monitoring your sales activity. Success being the actual sales recorded since the campaign began.
Lead generation. This is particularly useful for businesses who sell products that aren’t a quick sale. Make a record of how many enquiries you had and segment them, if appropriate. If you can attribute them to different content marketing activities and different channels, even better.
Track your social media engagement. It’s not always appropriate to assign ROI to likes and shares. They aren’t directly boosting your profits, after all. However, social media engagement can be a vital tool in your content marketing strategy so keep an eye on what is proving popular, or otherwise, and capitalize on any successes in the future.
We hope this guide to what is content marketing has been useful and informative - as content marketing itself should be! Content marketing can seem a little intimidating when you first get started. But providing you take the time to think about your goals, what your key messages are, what will drive sales and conversions, what formats are most relevant and helpful to your audience and - perhaps most importantly - what your customers need from you and your products and services, you shouldn’t go far wrong.
Even if you don’t have a lot of resources to devote to your content marketing strategy, try to set aside some time every week to monitor and track your progress. There’s little point in creating amazing content if you don’t learn from your mistakes and capitalize on your successes, after all. Be prepared to reevaluate and refine your content marketing strategy as your campaigns progress. Earn your audience’s trust and your content marketing efforts should pay dividends. Good luck!