In 1996, Bill Gates declared that “Content is King” in an article he wrote for Microsoft’s website. In 2020, his words will be proven truer than ever. It feels like we are in the golden age of content. The world is granted instantaneous access to photos, videos, live streams, podcasts, social media, and written articles. Content can be structured or spontaneous. There is so much information available that one may become overwhelmed by the sheer volume. How can your message pierce the clutter and reach your target audience? This can be done using quality content. You reach your customers by using carefully curated media content disseminated through the most suitable channels.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a multi-stage process to get created media to your target audience, consisting of:
With proper content marketing, you can expect:
- Improved brand awareness
- Increased sales
- A better connection with your identified market segment
- Increased engagement with prospective customers
- Potentially more lead conversions.
- Increased Search Engine presence
- Social Media Algorithms working in your favor
Why is content marketing important?
One of the most popular marketing tactics is inbound marketing. Through this permission-based method, users seek out your content and contact you. Instead of shouting to the world your brand message, people come to you for exactly what you offer. There are several other benefits of content marketing, including the ability to:
- Educate prospective customers about your product and/or service lineup
- Set up different marketing messages tailored to where a customer falls in the marketing funnel
- Develop relationships with your customers
- Engage with your audience for product and/or service demonstrations, address challenges they face, and possibly receive feedback
- Generate the feeling of community for your brand.
How content marketing helps
- Reach more customers while keeping costs low. Per Forrester, leading research and advisory firm, today’s customer has strong negative feelings about marketing interrupting their daily lives. Such campaigns are met with distrust and disdain. Customers are generally more receptive to marketing that feels like a natural conversation. They also want content that is relevant to them and their interests, and that grows with them over time. Investing in such content can pay dividends into the long-term. This effect is compounded as you grow your content library.
- Increase the volume of the organic search. If your audience cannot find you, they can’t buy your goods and/or services. 93% of all sales cycles begin with a customer looking in a search engine. 51% of the content consumed originated from an organic search, according to Kuno Creative. Brand awareness at the top of the marketing funnel can be successfully built through organic searches and social media shares.
- Create brand preference. When customers engage with effective content marketing, it can alter their preferences using thought leadership. Your brand and content are seen as trustworthy and educational. Through this, a company may improve their emotional availability with their current customer base. Doing this is essential for maintaining market share and solidifying repeat customers. People frequently buy from companies they know and trust.
- Engage customers. Successful content marketers know it’s not only about selling; it’s about becoming involved with your audience. The brand chooses to freely share something valuable with customers, who in turn realize the brand’s value. They are more willing to pay for the brand’s goods and/or services. When trust is built, it becomes your most powerful and most sacred tool.
- The return on investment (ROI) of a content marketing campaign. Content marketing can be a lower-cost alternative to traditional marketing. Thus, it is considered to be one of the top ways to increase your marketing campaign’s ROI.
Components of content marketing
Content marketing can be done in several different ways. To have an effective content marketing campaign, a company should select the most appropriate type of content for their customers.
- Blog posts. A blog post schedule can be easily integrated into a content marketing strategy, resulting in regularly published articles. Blog posts can be used to cross-promote other content, so keep that in mind as you develop your marketing strategy. Note: a marketing team without strong SEO experience should consult a professional to assist them. This will help their posts get organically picked up by search engines.
- eBooks. The purpose of an eBook is education. These are great for creating a narrative structure with good visual design. Just remember that an eBook is an extension of your brand and should use language consistent with it.
- Video. The most effective video content strategies have the same thing in common: the videos are timeless. Creating video content that has longevity saves time and money. A company doesn’t need to update the content as often, if even at all. If possible, brands should invest in high-quality video, which can be used on YouTube. This exposes the brand to a larger, more active audience.
- Infographics. Customers love pictures more than they do reading long paragraphs. Use infographics with as little text as you can get away with. If your in-house graphics artist needs assistance, consider using a talented freelancer who has been vetted thoroughly.
- Cheat sheets. These are short documents about 2 – 3 pages long. There isn’t much room for large images. Using a text formatting program can help make the sheets easier for others to read or scan.
- Workbooks and templates. These combinations of information and marketing work well to keep a customer’s attention on a brand. Workbooks and templates should be practical, ready-to-print and very interactive.
- White papers and reports. These are informative and educational tools, similar to eBooks, but written in a more formal language. White papers and reports are usually co-authored, which provides an opportunity for partnering with other organizations. They usually have fewer graphic designs than eBooks.
- Slide decks. A slide deck is a presentation. It can be great for breaking a complex topic into manageable packets of information. Slides should be kept simple and use minimal text (of the same font) while employing large graphics.
- Case studies. Use real numbers and full stories to emphasize value and results. Case studies to not focus on the brand.
- Demos. The use of a free assessment, trial or evaluation is a powerful way to engage customers and qualify your strongest leads. Discount codes can be leveraged against an e-commerce-based product to generate urgency for your customers to make a purchase.
- Owned: Use free company-owned social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Pinterest) to share content. It is an easy, quick and customizable way to connect with customers.
- Paid: Many social media networks allow paid promotions. A company may choose sponsored content, search engine marketing (SEM), pay-per-click (PPC), display and retargeting. Choosing the right promotion can be determined by matching the social networks demographic to the brand’s personality.
- Earned: When your audience chooses to share your content among their network, you have earned social media promotion. This kind is the hardest to develop, but is also the most valuable.
- Organic: Companies should consider applying SEO best practices into their content. Not only will this raise their ranking in searches, it makes it easier for customers to find the brand. A strong content marketing strategy is one which provides information and answers that your customer wants to know. Design a strategy so it’s easy for them to find.
In 2020 quality original content that is targeted to your audience is a necessity to be in the marketing game. If you would like to work with the company that takes an in-depth view of your marketing needs – we might be the right partner for you.
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