Content Marketing – Importance, Why You Should Invest In It, And Creating A Strategy
Content Marketing – Importance, Why You Should Invest In It, And Creating A Strategy
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is the proven practice of generating interest in a business and its products/services by creating value for clients by engaging them and providing informative content. Content marketing is an important part of any successful marketing organization as it a marketing practice that spans traditional and digital channels.
There are four forms of content. They include:
- Written word
Why Is Content Marketing Important?
Content is the foundation of just about every type of online client interaction. Content helps consumers make decisions from search and discovery through consideration and on to conversion. Content marketing helps brands maximize their return on investment in content by ensuring that each content asset reaches the most receptive and relevant audience.
Why Should You Invest In Content Marketing?
Content creates brand equity when done well. This means that your brand becomes more and more valuable over time as you continue to create valuable content. In addition, the more you help your audience, the more your brand will gain a reputation as a leader in your field.
One of the main ways that content provides value to you as a business is through organic traffic. This is where people discover you on some kind of search platforms like Google, YouTube, or a podcast directory, and go visit your content. Organic traffic is fundamentally different from other kinds of traffic for one critical reason – these people are looking for you. They are actively searching for information related to your business and that is how they discovered you in the first place.
When using other platforms, you are basically interrupting what people are doing. They are passive observers instead of active searchers. Typically, it is much harder and more expensive to do that kind of marketing, think YouTube ads, Facebook ads, and basically every other kind of advertising.
The main difference is: on other platforms, you have to go look for an audience, whereas with organic traffic, your audience comes to you. Organic traffic should excite you because:
- Your audience has a problem
- They are aware of the problem
- They want to solve the problem
The three points are important ingredients for online sales, making content marketing uniquely suited to growing your business.
Creating a Content Marketing Strategy
A content marketing strategy is a plan for building an audience by publishing, maintaining, and spreading frequent and consistent content that educates, entertains, or inspires to turn strangers into fans, and fans into clients.
Your content will succeed if you create value and equip your audience with the information they need to solve their problems. Failure to this, all the fancy headlines and writing and strategies will not work. If you can help your audience realize a problem that they did not know they had, and provide them with a perfect solution, you will have created customers for life.
However, before you start releasing content out there, you need to do three things:
- Identify Who Your Customer Is
It all starts with who your customer is. What do your customers want? What are they struggling with? What do they look like? You need to speak your customer’s language. In addition, you need to thoroughly understand how your customer thinks before you can begin.
Your first step is researching and creating an imaginary version of your ideal customer. This character should generally represent who you are trying to reach with your content. You should make proactive content decisions based on the model you come up with here.
- Figure Out What Information Your Customers Need
You need to step into your customer's shoes and walk through their customer journey. What steps do they need to follow to do business with you? What do they need to know before buying from you, and in what order? This is your content roadmap, your first piece of content. Create content that addresses each step of your customer journey.
- Choose How To Say It
You need to come up with an artistic way of communicating information with your customers. What format will you use? Video? Or the written word? What stories should you tell? What kind of tone and voice will resonate the most? It will be easier to determine and make a decision if you know your audience better. Ultimately, you will need to run with your intuition and then experiment and adjust accordingly. With time you will find a perfect way to pass your message and find success with your content marketing.
How to Build an Audience
The key to building an audience is by writing useful, relevant content about a specific topic. To build relationships through your writing and content and add your unique voice to the world. In order to build an audience, you need to earn it. You need to create content that is good enough to warrant the most important resources anyone has which is their time and attention. If you produce average content, your readers will lose interest quickly.
Therefore, the first step is creating high-quality content that is worthy of attention. But, note that creating content and posting it is not enough. You need to drive traffic, and in today’s content marketing landscape, you need to give your content a push. Look at where your audience spends most of their time online and start posting your content there.
Another option of driving traffic is by running paid advertising. The advantage is putting your content directly in front of a highly targeted audience. The disadvantage is that it costs money and it is not a guarantee to build your audience.
The last option is borrowing someone else’s audience. This means asking people who already have an audience to share your content with them. You can publish a guest post on their site, or they can share one of your articles on social media. Either way, using your network is a perfect way to get major distribution for your content. Note that your audience needs to look like your ideal customer. You do not just want anybody. You want your people.
So, we have covered the benefits of content marketing, how to create a marketing strategy, and how to build an audience. Now, we will go over the different forms of content marketing that we listed above.
- The Written Word Form Of Marketing
The written word is the most widespread and popular form of content marketing. Writing is more relevant today than ever before. Let’s discuss how the written word works as content marketing.
The best way of using writing as a content marketing platform is through blogging. Through blogging you as a topic-matter expert, write about relevant topics to your audience on a regular basis. Blogs can take all kinds of shapes and forms, and no two are exactly the same.
A blog should live on your website, usually as a subdomain or as another section of your website. Technically, creating a blog is incredibly easy. Most website platforms have built-in blog features that you can simply enable. A typical blog consists of three components:
A post is your actual written text. Think of it as a single episode or unit of content. Usually, one topic gets explored throughout the length of the post. Most people argue on how long a post should be. How long your post is, should depend on the goal of the post and what you are trying to accomplish. A typical blog post is 500-1000 words.
How long a blog post depends on your writing, which is where your topic and understanding of your audience come to play. One rule though when creating posts is "Create what you would consume.” Your content should be an extension of you, therefore start paying attention to the content you like and try to figure out what you like about it. This way, you will be able to draw like-minded people to your content so you build the right kind of audience for you.
- Audio Form Of Marketing
Podcasting is the audio form of content marketing. There are more than a million podcasts covering various topics. That sounds like a lot of shows but it is a small market compared to other giant content platforms that exist. The main difference between these platforms and a podcast is one can listen to a podcast while doing pretty much anything, while video or written requires them to look at it. While a lot of podcasts are purely entertaining the appeal for most is that one can learn and better themselves while commuting or doing yard work.
Creating a good podcast requires thought, consistency, and effort. Podcasts are one of the best ways to develop a relationship with your audience. Therefore, if your business would benefit from building strong relationships and intimacy with your audience, you should consider podcasting.
- Video Form Of Marketing
Video marketing has been around since the first television. If a picture is worth a thousand words, video is worth thousands of pictures.
Video allows you to tell a story faster than any other medium. In an instant, you can make someone feel exactly what you want them to feel with the right characters, mood, and setting. It is why movies are a 50-billion-dollar industry in America alone. Although podcasting is an incredible way to increase intimacy with your audience, nothing beats video.
Some of the effective methods of using video include:
- Whiteboard Videos
- Product Reviews
Do not be afraid of getting into video marketing. It is a great way to build the know, like, and trust factor that helps people feel comfortable doing business with you. You can stick with the above video methods, however, there are tons of opportunities to get creative and create engaging content that attracts and holds the attention of your target audience. Make sure to point your audience to your other content as well, especially your website where they can sign up for your email list to get more relevant updates from you.
Content Marketing On Social Media
Social media is here to stay. The average American spends more than two hours a day on social media. Its widespread use and low barrier to entry make it a perfect candidate to start your content marketing efforts.
There are three things you need to remember to effectively use social media:
The main thing to know about social media is that it’s a sharing platform. People are motivated to share funny, thoughtful, or interesting content so they get more engagement from their friends. So when creating content to share on social media, make sure it is shareable.
What makes shareable content, you may ask.
Well, you need an amazing headline, to begin with. In addition, you need clean, user-friendly visuals. Make sure your content is big, bright, and bold. Lastly, your content needs to be interesting. When focusing on social media, you need to evoke emotion in order to touch people. If your content triggers happiness, anger, amazement, or hilarity, people’s human nature compels them to share.
Consistency is important regardless of what content marketing platform you choose. Social media is no different. You need to train your audience on what to expect from you. That means posting regularly, with content that has a consistent and specific style so they can immediately recognize it in their feed. This will help you build your brand and community, which will improve your engagement.
Social media revolves around engagement. You are dealing with real people on the other end of the line, viewing your content, liking it, commenting on it, and sharing with friends. Engagement is a powerful way to directly connect with your audience and build a tribe.
However, it starts with creating content that your ideal customer wants to interact with and then responding to each and every single comment you get. By doing that, you will create a community that feels connected to you and your brand.
Content marketing is a large discipline with a lot of variety. It can be overwhelming when starting out. The trick is not trying to do it all at once. Pick a content platform, test a few ideas, see what is working, and then build from there. It is better to do one thing perfectly and consistently than to do it all, only to crash.
Look into your audience, where they are spending time, and what content they consume on a regular basis. Combine that with what your interests and skills are and you have a higher rate of success.
Note that the best content marketing serves your audience, solves problems, and builds relationships.