What comes to your mind when you think about content marketing? An easy way to get traffic? A new marketing channel? Both? Let’s take a look at what content marketing really means.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a marketing technique for crafting and disseminating valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and acquire a designated target audience – with the objective of triggering a profitable customer action.
The key term here is “valuable.” In other words, we are referring to content people really want and are ready to consume. The aim is to provide useful and relevant content to your prospects and customers to help them solve their issues rather than pitching your products and services. This is what makes content marketing so intriguing in today’s environment — it offers businesses, both small and large, ways to stay on top of the game not only today but well into the future.
That said, as a forward-thinking marketer, you should ensure that you are producing high quality content at all times; otherwise, your efforts may never pay off.
Leading brands use content marketing
If you thought content marketing is a small thing or something big brands don’t take seriously, then you are probably living under a rock. Many marketers worldwide, including prominent organizations such as Microsoft, P&G, John Deere, and Cisco Systems, are using it. Small and medium sized businesses are also not left behind. They are using this technique extensively. But why? Because content marketing works! It can also work for you if you choose to invest the time to learn how to do it the right way.
There are three main reasons why — and benefits — for organizations that use content marketing:
- Cost savings
- Higher value clients who are extremely loyal
- Increased sales
Marketing is impossible without great content
Content marketing is key to your business success regardless of the type of marketing tactics you use. It should be integral to your process, not something separate. Great content is a part of all forms of marketing:
- Inbound marketing: Content is vital to driving inbound traffic and leads.
- SEO: Search engines reward businesses that publish valuable, consistent content.
- Content strategy: Content strategy is part of most content marketing efforts.
- PR: Successful PR strategies address problems readers care about, not their business.
- PPC: For PPC to work, you need valuable content behind it.
- Social media marketing: Content marketing strategy comes before your social media strategy.
Types of content marketing
Below are some types of content marketing techniques that I encourage you to try. There are other types of content marketing— far too many to cover here. If you wish to learn more about them, then keep a close eye on upcoming articles.
Infographics are very useful if created the right way. They are appealing and informative and include charts, graphs, statistics, and other relevant information.
Podcasts give you unique visibility, which other forms of marketing can’t offer. In fact, some people have admitted they had never heard of certain influencers until they stumbled across them in podcasts. Here’s more reasons as to why you should start podcasting.
Here I’m referring to webpages that are content marketing, not the normal ones. To help you differentiate these two types of webpages, consider SEO Academy from Site Guru. These guides has been extremely valuable to them. It has been viewed thousands of times and brought in countless customers who otherwise might never have come across SiteGuru and the services they offer. This resource clearly shows the difference between simply putting content on your site and content marketing.
Videos work much like podcasts, only that they are far more visually appealing and engaging. The reason why most marketers don’t use them is because of the cost associated in preparing them. However, today it is less expensive to create great videos, thanks to professional-grade equipment being more reasonably priced. You can even use your android or iOS phone if you can’t afford to get anything else.
The perception that it is difficult and only reputable professionals can create and publish books has stopped many marketers from using books as a marketing tool. Savvy marketers don’t see books as just books. They see them as an effective marketing tool that they can use to build their business.
If you can see your own book as a part of your overall marketing plan then you can rest assured that you will benefit from your efforts. Check out our ebook creator, where you can convert your blog post into an ebook.
Bonus! Today it is much easier than ever before to publish your own books. Besides, if people don’t read them, you can still count on them as a form of content marketing every time you are introduced as “Author of…”
Social content marketing
With over 3.6 billion global social media users, it is easy to understand why so many businesses invest in social media marketing. There are several platforms available that you can work with (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat). You can create and share content on each of them. Some forms of content include, photos, live videos, pre-recorded videos, stories, and so on.
Paid ad content marketing
Paid ads can help you reach a broader audience and allows you to position yourself in all of the places you want to be seen. Paid ads are particularly valuable when paired with inbound marketing. There are several places you can share paid ads including on landing pages, banners, social media, and sponsored content.
Why is content marketing vital?
To understand why content marketing is important to your business, first, you need to understand the steps of the buying cycle:
Before awareness, your prospects may have a need, but they are likely to be unaware of a solution.
Once they are aware of a solution, they will research to educate themselves. For example, a computer buyer will try to determine what different types of computers are on the market and which one will best fit their needs.
Increase website traffic
When you offer valuable content to your target market, your business’ blog will build a reputation as a hub for trustworthy and accurate information. By sharing these content pieces on social media and through word of mouth, new visitors will be driven to your website.
At this point, the client starts comparing different products from different vendors to ensure they are getting a high-quality product at a reasonable price.
Drive direct conversions
If your prospect is convinced enough that you have valuable content, chances are they might just convert right then and there. A conversion can be a download, signup, account creation, sale or form submission.
Compelling headlines, the right calls-to-action (CTAs), and captivating images with succinct copy—all are essential in generating conversions.
Eventually, the customer makes their decision and proceeds with the transaction.
Increase client retention
Besides gaining new customers, you should always remember that content marketing also boosts your client retention rates. Remember, the key is growing your business for the long haul.
Most of your competitors don’t make true content marketing… yet. That’s why you’re going to have an advantage if you jump in. If you take some time to apply this method to your business, you will definitely see good results, particularly when all the content you create becomes a company asset. Let me know how it’s going.