What is Content Marketing?January 8th, 2021 by Socially Powerful
The digital marketing space has become inundated with various new phrases and marketing terms within the last few years, and it can be tricky to keep on top of them all. With traditional marketing becoming less relevant by the minute, it’s important to know your digital marketing terms and what they actually mean. One of the most important and popular marketing methods at the moment is content marketing.
Content marketing is the creation and distribution of valuable, relevant and consistent content, made for the purpose of attracting and retaining a clear audience, and to drive consumer purchases. The ultimate goals of content marketing are to increase brand awareness and improve search engine rankings. The best content marketing strategy is carefully tailored to your brand messaging and audience. Customers and buyers are flooded with more and more marketing messages than ever before, so it’s crucial to have content that can break through the static. A well-crafted content marketing strategy positions your business as a thought leader and helps build brand loyalty as you educate and inform your audience. Content that entertains and educates can help form a strong relationship between brand and customer, which will only continue to grow overtime.
Traditional marketing meant businesses had to rent users’ attention through other people’s media with ad displays on websites. Creating your own content gives you more control over your business or brand, and lets you build the audience you want, rather than relying on another business’ audience. Brands have the opportunity to establish themselves as credible and trustworthy, further developing a trusting relationship with their audiences. In the age of social media, 58% of consumers visit a brand’s social media page before visiting their website.
Content marketing is something that is needed at every stage of the customer’s buying journey. 85% of consumers trust brands that proactively guide them to a purchasing decision and prove they are a brand worth investing in. It shows consumers you trust their ability to come to their own decision that your brand or product is something they need. In addition, content marketing is generally a low-cost method of reaching your target audience.
How To Create a Content Marketing Strategy
You might be thinking “what is content creation? What is content strategy?”, so let’s look into that. Creating a content strategy involves planning the long-term implementation and optimisation of the content you create. The first step to this is understanding your target audience.
To understand who you’re targeting, you can create customer profiles to reflect your audience. These profiles include their needs, challenges, spending habits, careers, hobbies and the types of content they like to consume. Understanding these will help you figure out their content needs at each stage of the buying process. Accessing each touch point of the journey will help you go from just another brand to a favoured brand.
Once you understand your audience, you can start brainstorming your planned content. While you can have a general idea of what content you’ll produce, you still need to be receptive and responsive to changing trends within your industry. If you are one of the first to cover a topic, you’ll gain the majority of conversations. An editorial calendar will help you keep track of your content marketing distribution; it also allows others within your team and business to plan other activities around the upcoming content.
When producing your content, you’ll want to make the most out of it. Feel free to reuse ideas and topics and translate them into different content styles, for example, make a blog post into an infographic. This ensures you are able to target more potential customers as they will each have their own preferences on consuming content.
As you publish your content, ensure you are tracking and analysing its engagement and analytics. Keeping up old or poor content can tarnish the credibility and authority of your brand. If a piece of content performs outstandingly well, you will be able to re-write and publish it again at a later date. In addition, make sure you are tracking relevant analytics and data to help you improve your content for the future.
Examples of Content Marketing
The type of content marketing used will vary depending on the brand and audience. The way to find out the best content marketing strategy for your company is trial and error. You need to think about what your audience wants, and how you can relate this back to your brand aesthetic and voice; listen to the feedback your audience provides to improve and amend the content you create. This will not only help you gain more brand exposure, but will make your existing audience feel valued, further improving your relationship with them.
There is an exhaustive list of content creation methods out there, so here is just a handful of content marketing examples:
- Blogging is arguably the most important content marketing strategy. Having a blog on your website allows you to write industry specific content that is hyper-relevant to your audience. You can react to trends and movements in a timely manner, encouraging interactions and conversations. Blog posts also improve SEO and promote trust and credibility with your customers.
- Videos are a great way to engage your audience quickly. Video content is the most desired content by consumers, with 54% wanting to see videos from brands they support. They are a versatile method to visualise your brand messaging effectively. You can cover a range of topics within one video and leave your audience wanting more.
3. Influencer/paid ad content
- Around 2 million people join social media every day, so it’s safe to say influencer content is important. Influencers can bring immense value when paired with the right brand. Having relevant influencers associated with your brand can bring in a whole new audience you might not have been able to previously reach. There are various types of influencers, categorised by niche and follower count – it is important to research your audience before choosing which influencers to work with.
- Infographics are an informative and fun way to speak to your audience. Visually led, they are a bright and captivating way to present key statistics and information. Infographics can be presented across various digital platforms including social media, websites and blogs.
5. Case studies
- Case studies are data driven sources of information, and provide potential leads with in-depth explorations of a brand or product. These miniature reports are able to heavily influence the purchasing decisions of prospective buyers as it lets them see how the brand or product will be of value to them.
6. User-generated content (UGC)
- UGC is content actively created from your audience. It encourages user engagement which increases the likelihood of raising brand awareness to those who haven’t previously engaged with you. It’s a free method of expanding your brand’s reach.
7. Gated content
- Protecting valuable content behind a contact form or pop-up is a good method to prompt visitors to enter their contact information. If the visitor deems the potential content to be valuable enough to provide their details, you have gained a lead. It’s the easiest way to build your brand’s contact database.
- A meme is a culturally relevant image or phrase that is shared virally on the internet. It is one of the newest forms of content marketing, but can work incredibly well for your brand depending on your audience. If you are able to perfectly time and align a meme with your social aesthetic and brand messaging, it can be a great way to increase awareness and traffic.
- Reviews are the online version of word-of-mouth marketing, and is one of the best marketing tools out there. Real customers provide their personal experiences with your brand or product, giving leads more information which can influence their purchasing decisions.
- Whitepapers are a source of densely packed information and data. They aren’t the most visually appealing content, however they are good for convincing potential customers in the research phase of their buying journey.
Benefits of Content Marketing
There are countless benefits to content marketing. It is a unique approach to engage with potential customers and helps ease some pain points within the digital space if done correctly.
One of the main benefits is that it is a cheap way to convert leads to customers, and to manage your own reputation. You are in full control of your brand narrative, meaning you will directly attract the audience you want. Furthermore, you are able to fully engage your audience in conversations, and make them feel valued by taking actions from their direct feedback. Just make sure your content is directly relevant to your audience, otherwise you have wasted time and resources creating something that is useless.
This type of marketing is easy to measure and provides actionable steps you can take to improve content to further your reach – online content accessible to everyone with an internet connection.
Content Marketing: The Takeout
Content marketing is a great way to directly speak to your customers and potential audience. By using a variety of methods you will be able to increase your reach and present yourself or brand as a thought and industry leader. It helps with a seamlessly integrated marketing plan and allows your brand to be active and reactive to industry trends.
The more specifically targeted your content, the better the results and feedback. The type of content marketing you choose will depend on who you want to target and how you want to position your brand. It is important to listen to your audience and see what they want, rather than following what your competitors do. This will keep you ahead of the game, and position you as a favoured brand.
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