The term content has become prominent in the internet marketing space. Internet marketers, bloggers, and small business owners have come to understand the power of fresh, timely, targeted content. Content has become a valuable way of sharing information about your product and/or services, with the masses.
Content marketing provides you with the opportunity to generate online authority, unlimited traffic, leads, and sales. This validates the famous saying “content is King”, to a degree.
However, despite the enormous benefits that content marketing offers, it will be a wasteful endeavor without the right tools, approach, and strategy.
We’ve created this simplified guide to be a resource for all the information you need about content marketing. The article provides a complete introduction to the basics of content marketing.
What is content marketing?
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
In fewer words, it is a marketing methodology that involves the use of content to achieve marketing goals. Content marketing isn’t just about creating content, but creating content with a clearly defined purpose. For instance, a blog post is a piece of content; however, content marketing involves creating a blog post for specific reasons like brand visibility, driving traffic, and sales (or sales lead) generation. Or, like this post – educating ecommerce professionals about content marketing, in order to bring visibility to your company.
Content marketing takes a different approach from traditional marketing, where customers are interrupted with ads. Content marketing offers free content in exchange for the implied permission to advertise a product to the client. Instead of creating ads to interrupt your customers, you’ll create digital content such as blog posts, infographics, videos, podcast recordings, free guides, and so on. The content that you create, should be content that your customers are interested in reading.
The content could be informative, educational or entertainment content. The underlying factor here is to create content of value that your audience will love to get.
Case in point: You’re reading a piece of content, written about content marketing, by an insurance company. Why? It has absolutely nothing to do with what we do here, right? Well, because it’s something that is important to a great many companies who sell products. We’re an insurance company that insures parcel. When you sell a product and ship it to a consumer, we insure that shipment. You’re reading this, on our website, and now you know what we do and how we can help you. This is why content marketing is so important. It’s highly likely you’d never have heard of U-PIC Shipping Insurance if it weren’t for this highly targeted content, that you have access to, for free…whether we ever speak, or not.
Why use content marketing?
Content marketing offers plenty of opportunities to achieve your marketing goals and grow your business. Companies are using content marketing to create brand awareness and generate sales successfully.
According to the Content Marketing University, over 89% of marketers who use content marketing attribute their campaign successes to the quality of their content.
Content marketing help you achieve the following:
- Brand awareness
- Lead generation
- Sales generation
- Increased traffic inflow
- Connecting and nurturing a relationship with prospective customers
- Improved search engine ranking
The level of success that you attain in content marketing is dependent on the quality of your content. You should create content that is engaging and shareable; it should be geared to either inform, inspire, educate, or entertain your audience.
Let’s Get Started!
Determine Your Audience
The first step in content marketing, is to determine who makes up your target market. This will influence your content creation processes significantly.
It’s not unusual to hear people say that they are targeting anyone who can buy their product. But the truth is that if you target everyone, you target nobody. It doesn’t always pay to paint with a broad stroke. You can’t create content that will speak to all categories of people, from adults to kids. You will most likely lose touch with your prospects, hence, the importance of understanding your target audience intimately.
Ask yourself who will most likely buy your products or services. What other things are these people interested in? What is their age group? What is their gender? Is there a salary range that is important? How about geographical locations, is this important to your business? Write down everything that makes up your target audience. This will enable you to to make a more accurate estimation of what you should produce in terms of content, and how to target these people.
Develop a content marketing strategy
Your content marketing strategy will guide your content creation and customer engagement process.
It should define:
- Your content market goals – what you intend to achieve with your campaign.
- Your target audience. As discussed above.
- Your content type. The sort of content you will be delivering your audience – will it be videos, blog post, audio files, white papers, etc.? Always consider your audience when creating your content. You can experiment with various content types before making a choice.
- How will you capture your visitor’s attention?
- How will you keep them on your engaged on your site?
The creation process is the most critical aspect of content marketing, here are some characteristics of great content.
- Relevant. Your content should be relevant to your audience.
- Useful. Create contents that offer value to your audience.
- Simplified. Ensure to create contents that are clear and easy to understand.
- Timely. If you sell football jerseys, your content marketing push may not be best timed if you begin it two weeks after the season ends.
Content marketing tips.
- Create evergreen content. Create content that will remain relevant for a longer time. Keep in mind that while timely content is important, some content may remain timely for a very long time. “How to change your tire…” will likely be important to many people, for many years, or decades even. Content that is evergreen will provide you with more of a return over a long period of time. For example — you’re reading evergreen content right now. This will likely be as valuable five or ten years from now, as it is at the time of writing.
- Use available tools. Use marketing tools when creating your content. There are lots of them out there. For instance, you can use the Google keywords planner to generate and analyze keywords for your content.
- Look at your competitors. What sort of strategy is working for your competitors? What is their best performing content? Learn what works for them, and plan your content accordingly. However, make sure to (see below)…
- Be unique. When it comes to content creation, originality pays off. It makes you stand out among the crowd and establishes you as an authority.
- It’s more about quality than quantity. Focus on the quality of the content, rather than the quantity of it. Providing fresh and valuable content will keep your audience engaged, no matter the length.
- Determine when best to post. For effective marketing, you have to determine when your audience will be more disposed to engage your content. You can test this out by putting out different types of content to different channels, at different times, while utilizing tracking and reporting tools to measure effectiveness. If you don’t have time to do that, just Google “best day and time to post (whatever you intend to post) on (whatever channel you intend to post on)”. The cool part is, many people have already done this, so you can find some good information by just looking it up.
- Create content that can be easily read. Poorly constructed content can turn-off your audience and make you lose followers.
- Track your progress and make adjustments. Occasionally track your progress to know how you are fairing. You can use keyword tools like Google Analytics to see the progress you have made.
Successful content marketing is dependent on one’s ability to create good content to propel customer engagement and generate sales. It’s not easy, but with dedication, it becomes mechanical. If you have any questions, as always, I am very happy to assist in the comment section. We’ll have more marketing pointers coming soon!