In this article…
- What Is Content Marketing?
- What Is Content Marketing Strategy?
- Types of Content Marketing
- Why is Content Marketing Important?
- Who Uses Content Marketing?
- When To Use Content Marketing
- Where To Use Content Marketing
- Why Should You Use Content Marketing?
- How To Use Content Marketing
- Content Marketing Tips
Content marketing is a great tool to utilize when you want to reach more audiences or make your company more profitable. Understanding what content marketing is will allow you to better implement an effective strategy that could prove successful for your company. In this article, we will define content marketing, the various types, its relevance, and provide you with tips to consider when creating your own content marketing strategy.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a branch of marketing that involves creating and sharing online material or content for a targeted audience. Various marketing materials can include videos, podcasts, photos, blogs, and more. Rather than promoting a specific company, content marketing seeks to provide valuable content for audience consumption.
Content marketers aim to meet a customer’s needs in order to gain their trust and business. This form of marketing is utilized for various reasons including increased brand awareness, online sales, community, and overall attention to a particular brand. The goal of content marketing is to turn readers or viewers into loyal customers. Doing this will drive company profits at the end of the day.
What Is Content Marketing Strategy?
A content marketing strategy refers to a content marketing plan that aims to grow or create a targeted audience. In essence, it is the reason behind implementing content marketing in your business. Content marketing strategies are great for businesses that are hoping to expand their brand awareness and customer reach. Having a strategy in place can increase confidence, improve organization, and ease any stress for marketers. In addition, having a content marketing strategy sets you up for success in achieving your business goals.
Types of Content Marketing
There are several types of content marketing that you can utilize to reach a greater audience. Here are some of the common types:
1. Blog Posts
Blogging is one of the most popular forms of content marketing you can use. When creating a blog post, make sure the content you’re creating is helping the user and not just about your brand, product or service. It’s important that you’re continuously adding value. This is not only appealing to your audience, but it will keep them coming back to your blogging platform or website. In other words, blogs help boost your SEO and your website’s future traffic.
In addition, blogs are very cost-effective and easy to implement on your website. For example, if you’re trying to expand the reach for a particular product, you can write a blog post that corresponds with that product—just be sure that you’re helping your audience and keeping your topic and audience at the forefront.
Infographics are a great way to provide your audience with a visual element. Many people are visual learners and your content marketing strategy should account for that. Infographics allow you to create fun and compelling designs that are eye-catching. They’re also a great way for your audience to visualize and better understand a dataset, general information, or statistics.
It’s important to only use topics or subject matters that are conducive to an infographic. For example, if you have a lot of information to provide your audience, an infographic might not be the best type of content to utilize. This is because infographics allow you to provide valuable yet concise information through graphics or charts rather than lengthy paragraphs. As with all forms of content marketing, make sure your infographic has a purpose and adds value.
Videos are another very popular form of content marketing because audiences appreciate visuals. Videos are a quick and efficient way to share about your product, service, or brand. Audiences of all sizes appreciate brevity and videos allow for just that. If you believe your product or service’s story would best be told through a video format and your audience would respond best to that approach, make a video. Tailor not only your content to your audience, but tailor your platform choice to your audience as well.
For customers who aren’t able to watch a video, creating a podcast is a great way to draw them in. For example, if someone is driving, they’re unable to engage with your company’s video content. They would, however, be able to listen to your podcast. If you’re already creating a video for your product or overall brand, consider isolating the audio and publishing it in a podcast format to reach this particular demographic. Giving consumers an option—especially one as easy as this—is a great way to keep them interested in knowing more.
An eBook is a piece of long-form content that’s available to customers digitally. As with most content, it should provide value and keep your audience engaged. It should also address problems they’re hoping to resolve.
EBooks are a great way of retaining customers because oftentimes, customers are asked for their contact information such as an email address or phone number in order to receive the eBook. This provides you with a means to contact them in the future in order to gain their business. With that said, while this type of content is lengthier than other formats, it can also become a worthy investment for your company for years to come.
6. White Papers
White papers are in-depth reports that strive to solve a problem. They’re persuasive and tend to include a lot of data for a better understanding of how the said problem can be resolved. White papers are also an opportunity for you to expand on some points that you wouldn’t have the opportunity to in an infographic, for example. They can be compared to eBooks for the length of their content, though, white papers are more detailed and data-driven. Throughout your white papers, make sure your design aesthetic is clean and that your pages are formatted nicely.
Checklists allow customers to see all the problem-solving steps laid out in front of them. Not only do they get straight to the point, but they’re also relatively easy to create. Checklists should always be easy to follow and understand.
For example, a toy store could create a shopping checklist for the various types of popular children’s toys. In this case, they could include popular video games for the video gamer in your life, popular dolls or various board games that are popular among families. This type of checklist would help parents decide what to get their child and therefore provide value and resolves the problem of showing up to a birthday party or other occasion empty-handed. Checklists are also easily shareable on your other content platforms.
8. Memes and GIFs
By definition, a meme is a cultural idea, catchphrase, or form of media that’s often humorous and spreads online from person to person. Though they’re a new form of content marketing, memes are a great way to show you keep up with the latest media and cultural trends. Because of this, they allow you to engage with younger generations of customers and those who are well-versed in social media.
Showing some humor is a great way to show customers you’re relatable and a great way to increase traffic and engagement on your other forms of content or channels. Typically, memes are very successful on social media platforms. GIFs are also useful for their cultural relevance and effectiveness. Because of their imagery and humorous tone, memes and GIFs are a great way to catch someone’s attention and keep them coming back.
9. Case Studies
Case studies provide you with the opportunity to showcase your business through the eyes of your audience. This can be appealing to your future prospects because it gives them insight from a different perspective. Generally speaking, they detail how your company or brand has helped customers in the past.
Customers like to be provided with evidence that your product or service works and a case study provides just that. Though it’s great for customers to hear from your company, providing them with real-life scenarios further builds company-customer trust. When selecting case studies, make sure to select ones that had successful, significant results.
10. Social Media Posts
Social media is a great form of content marketing that’s on the rise. Many brands and companies today can be found on various social media platforms. As with memes, having a social media account allows a brand to remain culturally relevant. It also provides you with direct communication to your current or prospective customers.
For example, existing customers will be able to comment on your posts and hopefully provide your company with praise that can be seen by other people who might be interested in purchasing from you in the future. Because so many people today spend time on social media, marketing your content through this medium can be highly beneficial and give your company or brand the boost it needs to succeed. Make sure to utilize your social media accounts wisely and ensure they’re presenting your company in an honest, positive light.
In relation to social media, there are several industry influencers that can be beneficial to your content marketing strategy. Influencers are people with a strong influence or reach on these social media platforms. They provide you with yet another avenue to promote your company and content while reaching an audience you might not have reached before. Make sure to select influencers who would attract the type of audience you want to reach. For example, if you’re a makeup brand, you’ll likely want to select an influencer that’s also in the beauty industry.
12. Live Streams
Live streams have become more and more popular thanks to various social media platforms. Though this is similar to video, a live stream provides a more real connection to your audience because it’s done in real-time.
A live stream also allows for live interaction with potential customers. Whereas someone could leave a comment on one of your videos and wait for someone to respond, a comment on a live stream can be answered more immediately. This type of dialogue can help your brand seem more genuine and real and therefore boost your sales and overall revenue. There are also several places such as different social media platforms where you can live stream. This makes it that much easier to reach different audiences.
13. Quizzes and Surveys
Though this type of content marketing is often overlooked, your implementation of quizzes and surveys can make a huge difference for your company’s reach and overall sales. Many people like answering questions about themselves or their experiences. Quizzes provide them with the opportunity to do just that.
In addition, they’re fairly quick to complete, making them rather favorable for a variety of audiences. Quizzes and surveys are also interactive and provide you with the opportunity to glean insightful knowledge about your audience’s opinions. You can then use this data to benefit your brand, company, product, or service.
Another valuable form of content marketing is an interview. Interviews can be conducted with various industry experts or current customers in an effort to drive traffic to your company. These interviews have the potential to influence your targeted audience.
Interviews can be hosted in a live stream, recorded on a podcast, shown in a video or written out in a blog post. Make sure to choose significant interviewees that can speak to your company, its success and the way it can help other people, as well. These interviews should provide valuable information to the public in an effort to gain their business.
15. Customer Reviews
Customer reviews are a great form of content marketing that can drive company sales. When a consumer seeks out a service or particular product, more often than not they’ll be looking for customer reviews. This is because customer reviews are unbiased opinions on the service performed or product purchased. Customer reviews are generated straight from your own audience. Because of this, it’s important to keep in mind that a variety of opinions will be available to new audiences.
With that said, if you’re sharing a company review on social media for a post, you can select the review of your choosing. In other words, you can select a review that highlights your company’s strengths in order to influence potential customers. For example, an athletic store could greatly benefit from using a review from a highly influential athlete because the athlete’s opinion is likely to be held in high regard by the public.
On the other hand, if you’re a small business, you can choose to have customer reviews listed on the product pages on your website for consumers to peruse. They can also include short reviews in the form of quotes on signage, emails, and other marketing materials.
16. How-to guides
If you sell products that would benefit from a list of steps that helps a customer understand how to build or use it, consider a how-to guide. How-to guides are a great way for customers to get an idea of what your product or service is like before they purchase it.
If you’re explaining how to operate your vacuums, for example, a consumer might find your product easy to use and might want to make a purchase because of this. This type of content marketing can also be interactive which would help a customer understand the product even more.
Why is Content Marketing Important?
Content marketing allows you to educate and inform your audience about your various products or services. The more your audience knows about your brand, the more apt they are to purchase from you in the future. In addition, content marketing can be a means of communicating with your audience. Communicating with your consumers can build a foundation of trust for years to come.
It’s important to note that your content marketing strategies must remain current in order to continue to make a difference. The digital world is always changing so staying ahead of current trends is vitally important. In addition, the easier your audience is able to digest the information you’re feeding them, the better they’ll be able to make an informed decision of whether or not they want to do business with you.
Who Uses Content Marketing?
There are various types of companies or brands that use content marketing to drive their business. Here are a few examples:
- Small businesses: Small businesses have particularly small audiences compared to larger corporations. Because it’s likely they’ve just started out in the business world, some of their main goals would include increasing brand awareness and overall revenue. Both of these can be accomplished by implementing an effective content marketing strategy.
- Mid-market and enterprise companies: Mid-market and enterprise companies use content marketing through their work with small businesses. Content marketing allows them to raise brand awareness, recruiting efforts and helps them acquire clients. Since these companies have fewer resources than larger firms or agencies, they focus on quality content marketing that targets specific customers through their own mediums.
- Companies looking to improve their reputation: If your company has gone through a serious of public struggles or other misfortunes, it’s likely that they’ll want to reinvent themselves and not only increase revenue but shed a positive light on their business again. Content marketing can help them do just that.
- Companies looking to create a new office: If your business’ headquarters is located in San Francisco, but you’re hoping to open a new office in Dublin, you’ll want to increase brand awareness in Ireland. Doing so would involve knowing the Irish population in order to target their needs and creating a content marketing strategy that would benefit them in particular.
- Companies wanting to expand: Similarly, if you own a clothing business but you’re hoping to expand to include shoes and handbags, you’ll need to rebrand yourself to encompass your new products. This would involve increasing your brand awareness so your customers are aware of your expansion. Once they’re aware of the changes, they’ll be more apt to purchase these new products.
When To Use Content Marketing
Here are the most optimal times to implement content marketing strategies:
- When you want to increase sales or revenue: Because content marketing seeks out new audiences or the expansion of existing audiences, these people have the potential to become lifelong customers. This results in increased sales and hopefully, a profit for your company.
- When you want to build relationships with your customers: Various forms of content marketing such as social media and memes are great ways to build not only trust but a solid relationship with your customers as well.
- When you want to build customer loyalty: When you’re continuously creating beneficial and informational content, your customers both now and in the future will keep coming back to your business because they trust your product and your company’s vision.
- When you want to build your brand: Using content marketing is a great way to expand your reach, particularly if you’re a small business. Publishing various forms of content will get your name out there and will help you be recognized in the future. In addition, it helps to build your professional reputation in your industry.
Where To Use Content Marketing
Where you use content marketing is highly dependent on the channel or platform you plan on using. For example, a blog post would be beneficial when published on your company’s website whereas a video can be used on both your website and social media. Here are the two common places to use content marketing:
1. Your Website
When content is directed back to your website, it generates traffic. This is highly beneficial because customers are lead straight to the source where they’re able to see what your company is about and the potential products you sell. You can place various forms of content marketing on your own company website.
For example, a blog would be a great addition to your website. Within your blog, you can publish posts that are relevant and that provide quality information for your audience to absorb. If you have an eBook, you can have the purchase site as a page on your website, as well. Lastly, if you have a podcast, you can house the file on your website. Once someone finishes listening to your podcast, the odds of them clicking on something else on your website has now increased because they’re already on your website.
2. Your Social Media Accounts
Your social media accounts are a great place to publish your content as well. This is a particularly good place to showcase your content because of its shareability.
For example, if you post a meme or start a live stream on one of your social channels, social media users can then share your content through the platform on their individual accounts. This means they’ll be sharing your content to audiences outside of your current scope. Members of these audiences could eventually turn into potential customers solely because your content appeared in their feed. This has the potential to not only increase brand awareness but increase revenue and build a relationship with varied audiences, too.
Why Should You Use Content Marketing?
Content marketing provides many benefits whether your business is large or small. Here are some reasons why you should use content marketing:
1. To Increase Revenue
Increased revenue is often considered one of the main reasons to use content marketing. All companies want to be profitable and an effective content marketing strategy provides the platform for achieving that. When you create content that your audience deems valuable, they’re likely to become a costumer which then increases your revenue. The more this happens, the more money your company will be making. The more money your company makes, the more successful and profitable it’ll be.
2. It’s Cost-Effective
Content marketing has the potential to save your company money. For example, if one video generates continuous views, you can continue to use this video in future content marketing endeavors by linking back to it from a blog post or other medium. This is especially true for evergreen content which is likely the majority of the content you’ll be creating.
Rather than implementing an ad campaign that could potentially be costly, content marketing is a great and cost-effective tactic that gets the same job done. In addition, it provides your business with a means of directly communicating with your customers.
3. It Improves Customer Loyalty and Trust
The more you create content—and do so on a consistent basis—the easier time you’ll have building trust. For example, if an essential oil company has a blog that they frequently publish to, it would leave the impression of their continued interest in helping others potentially interested in the wellness industry. The greater your trust is with your audience, the better your odds are of them purchasing from you in the future. People have been known to purchase from trusted brands time and time again.
4. It Helps Foster Current Relationships
Similarly, if a current customer sees you actively engaging with them and continuously posting content, they’re more apt to continue their relationship with you. For example, let’s say someone purchased a grooming kit from you two years ago. Two years later, you’re still posting blog posts, creating videos and other forms of various content. This customer can then see that you’re still invested in helping people and providing not only quality content, but quality products as well. The more they see this, the more likely they are to continue purchasing from you.
In other words, if you keep up appearances and remain active, they’re likely to remain more loyal to you and your brand’s product versus that of a competitor. In addition, it provides an outlet for company-customer communication.
5. It Increases Brand Awareness and Traffic
If your business is new, your audience may be smaller than your target. Creating an effective content marketing strategy can help you achieve the boost you need. In other words, utilizing various forms of content to educate and promote your brand will gain you exposure. The more your brand name is out there, the better chance you have of making a sale.
For example, the more people see your website name, the more you’ll see increased traffic to your site. This can then lead to them telling their friends, family, or others in their inner circle about the new brand they just heard about—yours. Therefore, the more they see your name out there, the more familiar with it they’ll be and the more apt they’ll be to visit your store or website in the future. This could lead to an increase in revenue for your business.
6. It’s Shareable
As previously stated, your content has the capability to be shared on various platforms for years to come. This means that not only will your content never go to waste, but the more it’s shared, the more visibility your product or service will receive. As can be predicted, the more visibility you receive, the more revenue you’ll see.
Whether you write a blog post that can be shared by a simple link exchange between people or you post something on social media that’s shared on a user’s profile, your content—and therefore, brand—is getting more views.
7. It Creates a Backlog of Content
The more content you create, the more you’ll have to share later on. For example, if you create several evergreen blog posts in one year, you can repurpose them and use them in future content marketing strategies. This is not only cost-effective, but it will save you a lot of time, too. This older content can also be shared again in the future either on your website or on your social media channels.
8. It Provides Your Audience With Value
The ultimate goal of content marketing is to provide your audience with quality information and knowledge of your product, services, or company. The more you’re able to educate your audience, the more knowledgeable you’ll be and be perceived as being. This helps build trust.
How To Use Content Marketing
You can follow these steps to implement an effective content marketing strategy:
1. Know Your Goal
When you start building your strategy, start by understanding your goal. Consider why you want to create a content marketing strategy and what you want your content to achieve for your company. Once you can answer these questions, you’ll be able to create and implement a better and more effective strategy. Some common objectives include increased revenue and better customer experience.
2. Conduct Audience Research
In order to create an effective strategy that will help your audience, you’ll need to understand your audience first and foremost. This means researching not only what your audience needs, but who they are. Determine what problems they need to resolve and what information they need in their lives. Then you can determine how you can be the one to assist them, what your target audience is looking for in a product or service, and what they are not looking for.
Knowing your audience will help you decide what content you’ll need to direct your attention to in order to interest them. It’s also important to note whether or not this content is aimed toward a new audience or if you plan on expanding the one you currently have. If you want a new audience, your strategy will change from what’s worked for you in the past. This is because your new strategy will need to be tailored to the group you currently want to reach.
3. Select a Content Management System (CMS)
There are several content management systems that you can implement. Make sure to select one that would be the most effective for the content you’re producing. It’s also important to choose one that’s easy for you and your team to navigate as well as one that’s SEO-friendly. The better your team is able to use it, the better they’ll be able to present content to your audience. As for SEO, the more your CMS is optimized for it, the greater your chances are of appearing on the first search page.
Image via CopyPress.com
5. Think of Ideas
After you’ve tackled these first few steps, start brainstorming content ideas. What content would your audience benefit from? What content would make you stand out from your competitors? What type of content would your audience most respond to? Make sure to think of ideas that your team can effectively execute. In addition, make sure these ideas serve a purpose so you’re not wasting valuable time.
For example, if you plan on creating a video and draft a plan for making one but later realize that you don’t have anyone on your team with video editing experience, you’ll have wasted time that could have been spent on a more worthy and valuable project.
6. Decide On the Type of Content You’ll Use
Once you’ve generated a list of ideas, narrow down your list and finalize the types of content you’ll use. This can include anything from infographics to videos, webpages, social media, or blog posts. Make sure you’re selecting the most effective content for your audience and your resources. Whereas an infographic helps your audience visualize data, a video is easily shareable through various social media channels. No matter your choice of content, sharing through social media is a great way to extend your reach.
7. Publish Your Content
Now that you have honed in on your strategy, create a content calendar and decide who will be doing the publishing. This will keep things organized and avoid confusion and potential headaches down the road. Keeping a content calendar will help you publish everything in a timely and effective manner as well. Make sure you’re publishing timely content and coordinating your content in a way that would best benefit your audience. For example, if there’s a date or time of year that’s important to your audience, plan to publish something valuable and relevant around that time.
8. Stay Ahead of Current Trends
Because trends change so often, this can affect your content marketing strategies going forward. Make sure that your past strategies stay relevant or adapt them to fit the current ways in which audiences consume information. The more your audience changes with the times, the more you should adapt to the changing digital landscape as well. This will help you retain customers while hopefully attracting new ones, too.
Content Marketing Tips
Here are some things to keep in mind when creating a content marketing strategy:
- Acknowledge your audience: As you create your content marketing strategy, keep in mind the audience you’re creating for. The better you’re able to understand a customer’s needs, the more success you’ll have in earning their trust and business.
- Keep your main goal in mind: Keeping your mind at the forefront will help you stay on task and ensure your goal is achieved.
- Make sure your strategy solves a problem: If your audience has a problem, you should aim to solve it. Your content should focus on providing them with the steps to solve that problem. This ensures your content remains valuable to customers.
- Be unique: The best way to make your content stand out is by offering something your competitors aren’t. As previously stated, make sure your content is offering a solution in a fresh, new, and unique way.
- Select the platforms you’ll be using: Whether you’re creating a video, podcast, or webpage, make sure you know what you’ll be focusing on when drafting your strategy as well as what you’ll need to create a budget for.
- Know where your content will be published: Your content can be published on various platforms including video websites, social media channels, or your company’s blog. Once you know the appropriate channels, the better you’ll be able to tailor your content for those mediums.
- Understand who’s responsible for managing the publications: As you’re developing a content marketing strategy, understanding who will be publishing the content will give you and your team peace of mind. Make sure to coordinate well in order to prevent any confusion.
- Create a content calendar: Once you’ve narrowed down what you plan to create, decide when each item will be published. This will help keep things organized and ensure you’re not publishing everything at once. Time your publications in the most effective manner.
Content marketing is widely used by various companies today. Your company’s ability to make sure your content is valuable to both you and your audience largely depends on your implementation. Though there are several forms of content marketing, selecting the types that make the most sense for your company will prove most beneficial at the end of the day.