As competition continues to stiffen across all forms of business, now, more than ever, consumers have numerous options to choose from. As such, to survive in such a cutthroat environment, your business needs strategies that allow it to build awareness and trust, as that is what ultimately drives sales.
Content marketing offers you just that. This article is a guide to content marketing and how it can help you grow your business.
What is Content Marketing?
This is a strategic marketing tactic that focuses on creating valuable, relevant content and distributing it consistently in order to attract and maintain a particular audience.
Content marketing, therefore, involves sharing of educational, insightful, or entertaining information that will ultimately help enhance the lives of your readers. This can be in the form of a change in their personal behavior or, hopefully, in the way of a buying decision.
Offering valuable content to your target audience shows that your business is about more than just making profits. It also cares about their livelihood. That is a business that most consumers are likely to get behind.
Additionally, a content strategy allows you to employ SEO so that you can rank highly in search engine results pages, thus getting, even more, leads to convert into sales.
The Four Elements of a Content Marketing Strategy
For your content marketing to be successful, you must ensure that certain elements are in place. They include:
How Well You Know Your Buyers
You intend to create value with your content. However, that value won’t mean much to someone who isn’t interested in it in the first place. As such, you need to understand your target audience.
What kind of people are interested in your products? What drives or motivates them? Who influences their purchasing decisions? What might prevent them from making a purchase?
As such, you will have to create a buyer persona. Knowing your buyer intimately is what allows you to create the kind of content they would look forward to reading.
The Actions You Desire from Your Buyers
What would you like the buyer to do after reading your content? After all, you are not creating content just for the sake of it. Your goal is to convert the reader. This can include actions such as:
- Going to a certain page on your site
- Downloading something
- Opening an email
- Signing up for a newsletter
- Sharing that content
These steps are designed to get the customer’s involvement. A visitor that responds to a call-to-action is a lot easier to convert into a customer.
The Type of Content You Will Create
Ultimately, this is what is either going to make or break your strategy. This is why understanding your buyer is so important. Additionally, you should also look into your buyer’s journey. For example, the kind of content that will get a random internet user interested in your offerings is not the same that will keep an already converted customer yearning for more.
As such, you have to create your content accordingly.
There are multiple channels through which you can get your content to your target audience. These include blog posts, social media posts, e-mail and even advertising. The method you choose will depend on your goals.
Generally, however, it is recommended that you utilize multiple channels in order to enhance the success of your strategy. For example, blog and social media posts allow you to channel traffic to your website, while e-mails are important for keeping current customers interested in the brand.
Once you have a solid grasp of these element, organize the information that you gather into a single framework to see how well they work together.
The Advantages of Content Marketing over Traditional Advertising
For a long time, businesses relied on traditional media such as TV, radio and newspapers/magazines to get word out about their brand, and hopefully, get some customers. In the digital world, however, a business doesn’t have to utilize those channels. Content marketing allows you to generate buzz around your business more effectively than traditional adverts.
Here are some of the advantages content has over traditional media:
For a user to access your content, they do so out of their own volition. Traditional advertising, however, forces the user to watch what you have to offer. For example, adverts that air when watching your favorite program.
In content marketing, since the visitor is the one who willingly accessed your content, you are more likely to convert them as they already have an interest. This is not the case with traditional advertising as the consumer might not even be interested in what you have to offer.
Content marketing aims to enhance the lives of its target audience through offering useful information that they can apply in their daily lives. It goes beyond marketing your products. This value offerings allow you to build customer engagement and loyalty.
Traditional advertising, however, focuses on selling the product, thus only containing information about that product. This approach does not offer any substantial value to the consumer, hence making it less effective at creating engagement and loyalty.
The value you provide through your content is what makes consumers seek you out. As such, they willingly become your audience, meaning that you own them.
In traditional advertising, however, your audience is bought. You pay media platforms to air your message to their audiences.
As such, the rented audience listens to your message because they have to, not because they want to. This makes them difficult to convert into customers.
Content marketing aims to encourage conversations or interactions between the brand and its consumer market. Through providing them with value and communicating with them consistently, you establish yourself as a reputable figure in your niche. This breeds trust, which makes customers more willing to purchase from you.
Traditional marketing, on the other hand, is a one-way communication channel. The marketer just displays their goods to a target audience with the hope that some of them will be interested.
Content Marketing Statistics – Does it Really Work?
Still not sold on the powers of content marketing, maybe these statistics will convince you:
Lead Generation: Compared to paid search or traditional advertising, content marketing generates three times as many leads per dollar spent.
Cost Effectiveness: In addition to being a more effective lead generator, content marketing costs 62 percent less.
People are Getting Fed-Up with Paid Ads: In a bid to avoid ads during their online surfing experience, more than 615 million devices have had ad-blockers installed in them.
More and More People Getting Information Online: Nearly 50 percent of 18- to 49-year-olds get their information online. That information is the content that you provide.
Consumers Making Purchases after Reading Blogs: More than 61 percent of online consumers in the US have made a purchase after reading recommendations on a blog. This just goes to show how effective content marketing can be.
Popular Types of Content Marketing Assets
Content marketing assets are the various tools that allow your content to attain more visibility. They include:
Your Website: A website is the online representation of a business. Without it, therefore, your strategy will be useless as the point of the strategy is to direct users to your website where they can take action.
Resource Pages: This is the section in your website where visitors can find more useful information. As such, they typically contain blogs, eBooks, whitepapers, and other resources.
Videos: You shouldn’t limit your content to just the written format; videos are important as well. Studies predict that over 80 percent of global consumer traffic in 2021 will be from video.
Whitepapers: These allow you to showcase your knowledge of your industry. They are an incredible asset for convincing customers who are still on the edge.
Guest Blogs: This means publishing posts on sites that receive high traffic. If the reader is impressed by your offering, they’ll click on the link that directs them to your landing page.
Content Marketing Tactics
To further enhance the success of your content marketing efforts, consider employing the following tips.
Create a Schedule: Content marketing needs consistency for it to be fruitful. As such, have a calendar for when you will be releasing your posts.
Repurpose Your Content: This means getting as much value from any content that you create. For example, repurposing a blog into a video.
Be Everywhere Digitally: You have to be where your customers are. This means having an active presence across all social media platforms.
Content Marketing Mistakes
Some of the pitfalls you should avoid include:
Being lazy with social media: You need to be actively finding and trying to engage with your audience.
Pitching instead of providing: Try not to come off like you are trying to sell, instead, provide value first then ask for something in return in the form of a ‘call-to-action.’
Saying yes to all guest posts: Before you make a guest post, do research to ensure that the site you are going to post on is of high-quality.
How to Measure Content Marketing ROI
Are your content marketing efforts bearing fruits? There are many data points to consider when determine the value of your content marketing efforts. There are 8 metrics to take into consideration.
- Lead Quality
- Web Traffic
- Onsite Engagement
- Social Media ROI
- SEO Success
- Exposure and Authority
Content marketing requires a significant amount of time and effort for it to bear fruits. After all, you are trying to win over people’s trust. As such, consistency is key. But when the results start showing, you will be grateful that you invested in this strategy.