As is true with every industry, marketing loves its terms. Don’t let the phrase “Content Marketing” intimidate you. Once you break down the concept, it is quite straightforward. Put most simply by Dictionary.com:
Content marketing is marketing that tries to attract customers by distributing informational content potentially useful to the target audience, rather than by advertising products and services in the traditional way.
In other words, content marketing involves creating and sharing online materials like blogs, social media posts, videos, and so on. This content doesn’t overtly promote the brand pushing out the material. Rather, its purpose is to spark interest in the brand’s services or products. By focusing on the distribution of relevant, valuable content instead of conversion, a brand can utilize content marketing as a strategy to attract and build long-term relationships with their targeted customers.
Successful content marketing requires a strong understanding of the needs and interests of your target audience. If you are simply pushing out content for the sake of content, you might attract an audience but they most likely will not be prospective customers. You also might just be wasting time and resources by creating irrelevant and off-target content.
Content marketing doesn’t bombard potential customers with sales messages. Instead, it edifies, it enriches, and, sometimes, simply provides entertainment. Much of the power of content marketing comes from its focus on building a narrative, telling a brand story that reflects the views and principles of the target audience. It connects with consumers by providing value-added, educational content instead of a sales pitch.
Advantages of Strong Content Marketing
The benefits gained by a business that effectively uses content marketing are many. They see an increase in website traffic that helps to increase their number of leads. CMI found that 80% of brands reported increases in site traffic as a result of content marketing strategies. In addition, CMI’s study found that 72% of brands say it has increased their number of leads. The increase in traffic and leads result in a natural increase in conversion rates.
Content Marketing also brings more attention to your business, increasing your brand recognition and growing your reach. Publishing relevant, valuable content also lets you position your brand as a thought leader in your industry. Such positioning builds your authority and increases consumer trust in your business.
Principles of Content Marketing
Successful content marketing makes your customers successful. Consumers often arrive at a website looking to answers to their problems. If your content helps visitors not only address their pain points but also solve their issues, everyone wins. The key is to offer a value-added solution with an expectation of anything in return. If you require contact information before providing relevant information, you’ve missed the point of content marketing.
Authenticity is important as you create content. Address real issues that people are trying to work through in their daily jobs. Concisely write about real struggles and in common language provide advice that is immediately actionable. Avoid clichés and industry-driven language. Avoid generic solutions and instead, provide content that someone can read and directly apply to their work.
Don’t write and push out information simply to add a page to your website. Strive to create content that helps the reader by addressing and solving a problem that is specific and tangible. Provide actionable advice with concrete steps that can immediately be applied to the situation at hand.
Successful Types of Content
There is not a one size fits all approach to content, but there are some types that are more successful than others when it comes to driving traffic to your site and attracting leads.
Anything that saves readers time is an excellent idea. They would much rather read five minutes on your blog and benefit from the five hours it took someone else to research and write. This sort of content can be anything from a summary of changes in search engine algorithms to a meta-analysis of the information available on a hot and pressing topic.
It can also be in the form of a “how to” video or outline. Content that provides step by step information about completing a task is incredibly popular. The more concise and simplistic, the better. Be sure to have a colleague, friend, or family member attempt to follow your instructions prior to posting!
Posting unique content is also an effective way to gain viewers and increase stay time on your website. If all you post is the same information people can find on 20 other websites, there is little value offered and little inspiration to engage with your content. If you can provide original data, a fresh approach to an old topic, or a new idea all together you will increase the chances of attracting and retaining site visitors.
Refining Your Content
There are a few more sophisticated touches to add to your content marketing strategy once you’ve gotten the basics under your belt. Remember that your goal is not to create conversions but rather to build customer relationships and trust. Provide value with no expectation of gaining something in return.
Use language, images, and video content that helps people remember your brand and the value propositions you bring to the table. A side goal of your efforts is to stop the reader from scrolling and searching to engage with your content. Avoid obvious sales language and communicate the benefits gained in a compelling and interesting manner.
When you’ve exhausted the information you have to share, don’t eradicate the trust you’ve built by shifting to a hard sell, completely obvious call to action. Instead of “BUY NOW!!!” Go with a “free download” or “more information” button that will lead readers further down the path of conversion without disrupting the relationship building you’ve been working on.
What Content Marketing is NOT
Your content marketing should be part of your overall marketing strategy and in line with your brand values, mission, and goal. Any and all content you create and publish should be connected to who you are and keep you moving in the direction you want to go.
Content marketing is not just a blog. The information can be published on your social media accounts, included in emails, streamed live, and so on.
Content marketing is not aimless. The key is that the information should have a specific purpose (address or solve a problem) and should have a specific target audience in mind. The content should provide value and make a positive difference for the reader.
Content marketing is not rented advertising space. Your website, live streams, social media accounts, etc. are distribution channels owned by your brand and are the best means by which to execute your content marketing strategies.
Always consider the purpose behind your content. Know the audience you are trying to reach, their pain points, their needs, their interests. Present solutions to their problems in a concise manner and provide actionable advice with easy to follow steps.
The experts at Strategy Driven Marketing understand the power of content marketing and the importance of including it as part of a brand’s overall marketing strategy. The team at SDM also know how important it is to measure the performance of content and making data supported improvements along the way.
Whether you have a content marketing strategy and need assistance executing it, can’t find the time to create all of the content you want to offer, or need to address things from step 1, SDM is here to help. Contact us today to get started!