What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a specific style of marketing that is centered around creating useful materials for your customers. These materials can come in many forms:
The basic idea is to produce valuable content (mostly free of charge) that will encourage your audience to interact further with your company.
The ultimate goal is to get the people who view your content to become paying customers for your product or service. There’s no sales pitch here; consumers turn into customers once you’ve demonstrated your company's expertise by creating useful content.
Why is content marketing important?
When a content marketing strategy is executed effectively, you can establish yourself and your team as an authority on a subject. This can be done just by presenting information to users that they consider useful and relevant. At the same time, providing your user base with this information will help them build trust with your brand.
Content marketing is usually meant to give customers a positive experience and perception of your company before they do business with you. It gives you the unique opportunity to earn goodwill and rapport with your customers. Oftentimes, this can result in a potential lead contacting your organization for more help with their problem.
How does content marketing relate to SEO?
Content marketing allows you to plan out and create highly relevant content catering to a specific target audience. When done right, content marketing will bring you highly qualified prospects since they are finding you via specific search terms that directly relate to your product or service.
When you publish content, you’re most likely doing so in the hopes that it’s indexed by search engines so that the people you’re looking for can interact with it. This can lead to a higher conversion rate since your customers are finding you via specific search terms.
Simply stated; you can have the greatest and most valuable content on the internet, but if search engines aren’t directing people to it, then it’s essentially invisible. Part of your company’s content marketing strategy should be centered around learning and implementing a proper SEO strategy.
What is a content marketing strategy?
Similar to the way that a business plan is a birds-eye-view of where a company wants to go in the future; a content marketing strategy should map out the future of your content creation. Your plan should also detail the format that you plan to use as well as what platforms you want to promote and affiliate with.
The following are some basic questions you should answer with your marketing strategy:
- Who are your ideal customers?
- Who are your competitors and what makes you stand out vs. them?
- How frequently will you be posting content?
- What is the value of your content?
- How will you distribute your content?
- What analytics tools will you use to measure your results?
- Who will be creating what content?
- What are your company’s primary goals for content creation?
- How can a content marketing strategy benefit your business?
Providing your target audience with relevant and valuable content may seem like you’re providing free consulting services, but this gives you the chance to show off your knowledge and expertise.
Once customers are convinced you’re an authority in your industry they’re more likely to buy products or services from you. Furthermore, establishing yourself as a knowledgeable authority in the customer's eyes completes a large portion of the sales cycle before you even speak with a potential customer.
What are the important elements of content marketing?
There’s a lot of integral pieces that need to work together for content marketing to be effective, but for starters, here are some basic elements you’ll need to consider when building out a content marketing strategy:
- Buyer personas – identifies potential types of prospects, their needs, pain points & challenges.
- Buyer/user journeys – helps you to define and track the sales cycle for your prospects. helps guide leads towards a buying decision.
- Content maps – helps you ensure you’re serving the most relevant content to the right audience and helps prevent your content from overlapping too much and thus competing with your other materials and hurting rankings.
- Content outlines – lists topics, pertinent keywords, target audiences, and goals/objectives for each piece of content.
- Editorial calendar – dictates how, when, and by whom the content will be created.
Simple ways to improve your content marketing strategy
Create a marketing strategy action plan:
- Come up with an editorial calendar that defines what content will be produced and when.
- Address how you’ll be getting your content in front of your consumers.
- Let the plan be simple and flexible and expect changes over time.
Learn about your ideal customer and cater to their wants:
- Come up with a "consumer persona." In other words, identify who your target customer is.
- Create content custom catered for your ideal customer
Set objectives for your content:
- Set measurable goals for the content you create
- Track the progress and effectiveness of your content using analytics.
- Adjust your content strategy in real-time according to your analytics data.
Pay attention to trends:
- Make sure your content is relevant, engaging, and in a format that works well for your audience.
- Keep up to date with what search engines are looking for when it comes to SEO and create content that works well with the algorithms' wants.
Why users are at the center of the content we make
Content marketing can prove to be an invaluable tool in your marketing toolkit; one that can generate real profit and leads if used effectively.
Your content needs to be custom catered not just to attract your ideal customers but to help them, as well. Once they’ve engaged with you, it's up to the quality and substance of your content to delight them enough and turn them into a paying customer.
Learn as much about your customers and industry as possible. Prove to your audience you’re an expert and don’t give a pushy sales pitch. Once the prospect sees that you can understand and solve their problems, they’ll reach out to you and you’ll earn their business.