What the… is Content Marketing?
According to the Content Marketing Institute:
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
Why do Content Marketing?
To understand why content marketing is important to your business, first we need to understand the five steps of the buying cycle:
- Awareness. Prior to awareness a customer may have a need, but they are not aware there is a solution.
- Research. Once a customer is aware there is a solution, they will perform research to educate themselves. For example, a car buyer will try to find out what different types of cars exist, and which one will fit their needs.
- Consideration. At this point the customer starts comparing different products from different vendors to make sure they’re getting a high quality product at a fair price.
- Buy. The customer makes their decision and moves forward with the transaction. Whoop!
- Loyalty. Repeat custom, cross-sell and upsell. Good ol’ Pareto tells us it is 80% cheaper to retain a customer than it is to win new business.
Traditional advertising and marketing work well for the second and third steps. Content Marketing on the other hand should be considered at all 5 stages of the buying process. Early stages focus on raising awareness of solutions and educating consumers about a product or service they may have never considered before. Later on in the process, good content builds trust and relationships.
By becoming a credible, authoritative resource on topics that matter to potential customers, your business is more likely to get discovered by the right audience and earn their loyalty and trust – which, in turn, enables your brand to strengthen its customer relationships, grow an active and engaged subscriber base, and even increase its profits.
What does content marketing include?
Content is, pretty much anything you create that is NOT overtly sales driven – it is really that simple!
The most common categories you should consider are:
- Blog and Vlog content
- Podcasts/ Interviews
- eBooks/ White papers
- Case Studies
- How to guides/ videos
- Social media
Answer the following questions about your target audience to help you narrow down the right types of content for them:
- What do they need from you?
- What challenges are they looking to overcome?
- Why do they need your product or service?
- How can you help them succeed?
- Where do they spend their time?
If this is all new and exciting for your business, we suggest you start by keeping things simple!
Remember: Quality is always better than quantity! As you’re getting up to speed you should avoid giving yourself too much to do at once. Instead, try focusing on a single type of content, on a single platform, so that you can learn over time how best to engage with that particular audience. And give yourself some time! Even if your first blog is good enough to change the world, it’ll more than likely take multiple posts to build up to the kinds of viewer numbers you’ll ultimately be aiming for.
How to do Content Marketing?
If we re-read the definition of content marketing the strategy starts to reveal itself.
Before you get started you’ll need to understand the who and the whys:
- Define your goal – why are you doing what you’re doing, and what do you want to achieve?
- Your audience – Understand and document your audience/s, eg. Personas or Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs). Speak to your current customers and sales teams if you can.
- Run an audit – what content have you already got? What internal or external resources can you call upon?
- Analysis – What content worked well in the past? What do your competitors do that works well? What is happening in your industry or sector? Where do you fit? What is your USP?
- Budget and time – Content planning, writing, production, promotion and analysis all take time and budget. What can you commit to? Who can you draw on to help? How much do you want to invest financially?
It’s crucial that you have a system in place to help create, manage, and track your content. As you get started this can be as simple as a spreadsheet, or as sophisticated as a content management system (CMS). A CMS will help with content creation, content publication, and content analytics.
How to measure it?
There are lots of way to measure success for content marketing. Here are a few goals and metrics:
Content Marketing: the secret to success!
Hmm – it’s not really a secret, but… add value, value, VALUE! The content you invest your time on is not about your business, it’s about how you help your audience, how you have helped others in their situations, and why they should care.
Our lead line is ‘We’re here to make YOU look better’ and that is our mantra. As good as we are, unless you win, you are successful, you and your business flourish, it means nothing!
By making your content valuable and relevant you build trust and a relationship with your audience. It is a longer game than pure sales outreach but the effort pays off in loyalty.
Don’t stop there!
CONTENT AMPLIFICATION – is one of my favourite terms! Not only is it rather nice to say out-loud, but it gets so much more out of your marketing dollar that it is, frankly, an absolute no-brainer!
What is it? Well, once you have that lynch-pin content (usually the more costly end, e.g. a research piece, white paper etc.) – look at how you convert it into multi-form content types: snippets, nuggets, quotes, social posts, animations etc. To ensure the widest reach, aim for the broadest content style. Not everyone consumes information in the same way so mix it up, break it down, and try other channels. Give your team a variety of things to share and use.
You can also pair that content with digital marketing techniques (such as SEO / PPC and paid social advertising) to increase reach and engagement.
It is not just us who understands the power of content amplicification…
So there you have it!
Boom! Content marketing and content amplification!
Some useful links:
- HubSpot’s Website Grader
HubSpot’s Website Grader is a great tool to use when you want to see where you’re at with your digital marketing. From your blogging efforts to your social media marketing, Website Grader grades vital areas of your marketing and sends you a detailed report to help you optimize and improve each area.
With this tool, you can figure out how to make your website more SEO-friendly and discover new content ideas.
The Feedly RSS feed is a wonderful way to keep track of trendy topics in your industry and find content ideas at the same time.
Discover popular content and content ideas at BuzzSumo. This company offers a number of market research tools, one of which uses social media shares to determine if a piece of content is popular and well-liked. In turn, this information helps you see which content ideas would do well if you were to create content about them.
- HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator
Get blog post ideas for an entire year with HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator. All you need to do is enter general topics or terms you’d like to write about, and this content idea generator does all the work for you.
- Content Calendar
Download HootSuites free content calendar and see who they structure it, then you can use it or create your own version.
- Challenge Marketing – Content Marketing Approach
Get more insights into our content marketing approach.