What is content marketing and why should I use it?
In this digital age where almost all people are now online, traditional marketing is slowly becoming less effective. So what to do?
As marketers, we never stop thinking of better ways to take marketing to the next level. And with that, content marketing comes into the picture.
The phrase “content marketing” was born in 1996 at a discussion for journalists at the American Society for Newspaper Editors. Little did John F. Oppedahl know when he said the phrase that it would become one of the most important terms in marketing. (Wikipedia)
Content Marketing is a widely used marketing strategy today, it is a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.
In the age of the internet, whereby the whole market for any particular industry is visible and accessible, outbound marketing isn’t as effective as it once one. Content marketing is the here and now of marketing strategies, and it’s here to stay.
Types of Content Marketing
What are these contents we are talking about? Content is, arguably, anything you create that doesn’t contain an overt sales message; it is really that simple. But it is also fairly vague, so we broke it down into the most common categories you are likely to encounter. Those are:
Words can be powerful, but pictures pack a punch. They convey a world of meaning with a quick glance and make complex content understandable and scannable.
Of course, you can’t use an infographic for everything, nor should you. But choosing the right time and graphic can elevate this content format to the sublime.
Successful infographics are simple, impactful, and meaningful. The point of them is to take a lot of complicated information from a study or survey and break it down into the most important points.
Infographics provide these visual vehicles in the form of graphic design to both simplify and clarify more complicated content. These are just some of the reasons why infographics are so valuable and versatile in content marketing.
Blogs have been one of the most trustworthy sources for gathering online information. It is an important part of any content marketing strategy because it is the part of your site that you will most frequently update with new posts and information to keep readers engaged.
It’s one of the best ways to improve SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and drive more organic traffic to your site from search engines since it is often through blog content that you first entice people to your site and start to build your brand’s audience.
When people find the content in your blog helpful, they will also create links to individual pages which can build your organic backlink profile. These benefits will help boost your ranking, and therefore your visibility.
Many marketers would consider using visually-based content like graphics, video, blog, etc., but audio-based content types, like podcasts, are gaining popularity nowadays.
According to Edison Research, over 57 million Americans listened to podcasts, and that number continues to grow. It’s clear that the resurgence of podcasts is not to be set aside in your marketing strategies, but rather a unique way to approach and deliver content to an ever-growing audience of highly educated and affluent users.
Use your professionally composed podcast to bring more awareness to your brand from difficult to penetrate markets with specialty niches, and also as a way to showcase your brand’s personality in a very big way.
Video content can be expensive to produce, as well as time-consuming, but it is hot and in demand among many consumers.
Although many prefer written content, those that want video are still wanting to see even more than they can get their hands on right now.
It’s no longer a secret that small businesses can harness the power of social media to reach their target audiences.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram help businesses reach new audiences and nurture relationships with customers.
It can take some effort to find both the type of content and medium that really resonates with your social media followers, but if you are already producing other types of content for your marketing, the good news is that you can easily repurpose them for social media, too.
Effective content marketing always uses, if not all, most of these types of content.
But why use content marketing? Content marketing overcomes the challenges associated with traditional methods by starting conversations rather than merely stating an offering’s unique value proposition.
How effective is content marketing? Just look at the well-known companies, even if they already have a big name, they still make use of this Marketing Strategy.
Take Coca-cola for example. Everyone knows this big-time beverage company, but they still implement a content marketing strategy to increase their revenue.
For anyone who still thinks that content marketing is some kind of fad, take a look at the thinking and amount of money going into Coca-Cola’s marketing strategy, aimed at doubling worldwide consumption of Coke.
In order to meet their goal of doubling the size of their business in 2020, Coca-Cola created a multifaceted content strategy based on two key content pillars: liquid and linked. There’s a balance between control — keeping your content “linked” by a coherent idea, and chaos — allowing your content to be “liquid” and to wander around the internet, being shared and even altered along the way.
They are on every social media platform, creating and sharing content, and engaging with their consumers with the goal to create a lasting relationship with them and ultimately increase revenue.
Brands, especially with the use of digital media need to provide an engaging platform to provoke and facilitate conversations.
There have been questions about moderating or controlling these conversations. But the less you do, the more you get. All you need is the right communication strategy and the right target audience.
The strategy is not just to engage the audience and facilitate the conversations, but also to create the right connection to inspire purchase and enhance the brand value.
Setting up your content marketing plan
Sixty-three percent (63%) of businesses don’t have a documented content marketing strategy (CMI). So the first step to getting a leg up on the competition — and actively engaging your audience — is to have a solid, smart content marketing plan in place. To do that you have to do the following:
- Set Your Mission and Your Goals
- Set your Mission and Goals as to why you need to use this Marketing Strategy. May it be for Boosted website traffic, Increased lead generation, Wider brand recognition, and Brand Awareness. Make them specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
- Know Your Audience
- Who's the target audience for your content? For how many audiences are you creating content? Your content needs to speak directly to an audience, not the masses. It should be directed to people who need your service or product.
- Craft Your Voice
- To get a brand recognizable even if there are a lot of brands or companies doing the same strategy as them your content must break through the noise by crafting an original and specific voice for your brand.
- Figure Out the Best Content Channels
- Where to post or publish these contents? The first thing you need to think about is, where your target audience is. One content channel may work for your business, while another may not. Take time to test various channels and determine which performs best in reaching your goals.
- Map Out Your Strategy
- Once you know your goals, audience, crafted your voice, and figured out the best content channels you now need to plan out what types of content to create and develop your own unique process for planning content.
How to implement content marketing
Once you’ve determined what type of content needs to be created, published, or posted, and distributed, it’s important to make sure you have everything you need to deliver on your content marketing strategy.
That involves answering questions like who’s in charge of producing and maintaining content? What human, physical, or digital tools and resources do you need to create the content? What will your publishing workflow look like, including content scheduling
So before implementing this strategy you have to:
- Have someone in charge of content production.
- This will depend on the size of your company and content team, and on whether you’re doing everything in-house, or farming out content production. You’ll need to assign people who are overall in charge, as well as who is responsible for delivering individual content items.
- Determine what tools and resources you need.
- Once you have someone in charge of content production look for tools and resources you’ll be needing to organize and make the content creation easier. Some helpful tools like HubSpot's Website Grader, BlogAbout, Feedly, BuzzSumo can help you a lot.
- Work out what your content production process is going to be.
- Have a content workflow laid out. For example, for a typical blog post, you might have to create an outline and have it approved, write the post, create accompanying images, send the post to the editor, make any changes, upload then publish.
Expanding your content marketing
Content marketing is a very powerful Marketing Strategy as it focuses on attracting prospects to you like a magnet instead of pushing out a message and hoping it sticks.
If you are thinking of long-staying clients or customers, content marketing is a must to have in your marketing strategy.
It takes time, organization, and creativity to grow a successful content marketing strategy. From building the foundation of your content marketing plan to adding tools to better manage your content, setting up your strategy for the new year won't be a hassle if you follow the steps and explore the resources available for you.
And if you are just starting or planning on making your content marketing strategy we in Margo can help you out. With our team of professional marketers, we can help you make the best Content Marketing Strategy that suits your needs. We match independent marketers with our platform clients to support one-time or ongoing projects with an agile marketing team.
You can try our 14-day free trial.