As digital marketing is evolving, traditional marketing is dying and becoming less effective eventually. If you are a modern marketer, you might know that content marketing(1) is one of the biggest aspects of digital marketing. There’s no better way to gain new customers and read than by effective content marketing strategies.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is basically a strategic, non-verbal or verbal marketing approach that focuses on delivering curative, useful, consistent, relevant and interesting content or information to your consumers and readers all across the globe to retain targeted audience. The main reason to imply content marketing strategies is to encourage customers to take profitable actions.
Instead of always using a promotional tone and pitching about your products, you provide relevant and useful information to your customers in order to help them with their issues. However, you can discuss your brand while giving them solutions at the end. There are many examples to demonstrate it further. But, before going to that, we would quickly discuss its types, uses, benefits and etc.
History of Content Marketing
When did content marketing start? Many modern marketers might not know this question’s answer. If you do not know too, you have landed on just the right page. The very first content marketing institute was built and found by Joe Pulizzi back in the year 2010. He had no idea then that content marketing would become such an effective marketing strategy that would obsolete the traditional ways of marketing in the coming time.
This institute was the biggest resource to get content marketing strategies for your business in the year 2017. In fact, they have also created a perfect video about the evolvement in content marketing.
The base of content marketing strategies for small and large enterprises is nothing but high-quality curated content for the audience and readers. Since people are good at doing this, it has been around and affecting businesses longer than we had expected.
Because of the internet and social media platforms, the concept and perspective of storytelling has completely changed. Businesses are telling real-life stories to their customers to encourage them to buy.
Why Is Content Marketing Important?
Perhaps the most important thing to understand is why it is effective for your business. I mean, you could opt for traditional marketing as well, right? To understand why content marketing technology is effective, we would have to discuss 4 most important steps of the sales cycle.
A person might have a problem or a need but what if he is not aware that there is a solution to his problem. It is nothing but a lack of awareness.
Whenever the person gets to know that there is a potential solution for his problem, he wastes no time in researching about it. For instance, if a person needs immediate medical assistance, he would straight up the search for the nearby clinics.
After research, a person compares different solutions and gets attracted to the one that is best for his needs or problem. He also tries to compare by keeping several factors in minds such as price and availability.
Finally, its time for him to proceed for checkout.
Traditional marketing was no doubt, a great way to create brand awareness and have an influence or impact over the audience but that time is long gone. For providing solution awareness or to be exact, brand awareness, you need to take the help of the newest technology so that your voice could reach millions of people with the same issue.
Moreover, content marketing is more cost-effective as compared to traditional marketing. You do not even have to spend a dime in curating valuable content if you have a tight budget.
Content marketing does not only helps to build social media family but also optimizes your website. Consequently, this would drive traffic to your website. And, more traffic means a terrific number of sales.
Types of Content Marketing
There are many types of content marketing. Some of them are:
They are typically long, detailed, vertical or horizontal graphics, charts, statistics or other types of information. There’s even a website where 197 infographics are available for content marketing. They can be really effective content material if they could be passed and circulated all over the social media platforms. You can also create infographics on your own, but this task would be time-consuming.
However, you can share your infographics with bloggers, fan following and influencers to spread it as far as they can. Infographics bring traffic to your website especially if they designed well and contain useful and relevant content for the readers.
Example: IBM- Online Retail Loves Dad
IBM, a leading tech company shared its business on Father’s day with amazing infographics. The design launched on that day was fun, seasonal and utilized many father’s day related colors and fonts.
Webpages are different from a normal website. Your website is part of your business where customers can know information as well as make purchases. However, you can get the developer to build your webpages for nothing but publishing content for your customers. But there’s a slight difference between just putting up content on your website and publishing marketing content.
Buzzstream combined gated content, evergreen content and other types of content on their website to position itself as a leading company in the industry. The 9th month of the campaign showed a massive number of sign-ups.
Podcasts can have content as well. In fact, podcasts give you a clear path in a world of complexity. It is a form of content marketing type that people use to guide listeners. This way, they can tempt people to buy their products or avail of the services.
Example: Marketing Over Coffee
Two hosts of this podcast, Christopher S. Pen and John J. Wall facilitate free-flowing chit chats with the most famous marketing minds in the world.
Visual content marketing is trending day by day. high-quality videos with content in it can boost up your sales more than you can imagine. Visual content marketing is now widely used to sell products, consulting services and much more.
Blendtec company proves that no industry is boring if you can hook your audience by compelling content. The ‘Will It Blend’ video series on their YouTube channels has resulted in a drastic increase in sales.
Social Media Content Marketing
Businesses can choose a number of social media channels to work with such as Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. They can create content and share on each platform to get a plethora of chances to engage with the audience.
An inspiring B2B social media content marketing example should be GE. Here, we are not talking about home appliances but locomotives, jet engines and etc. This company is known for bringing dull business into life through effective Instagram content marketing campaigns. By their hashtag, #GEInstaWalk encourages many people to upload the facility tour pictures on Instagram.
Blog Content Marketing
Blogs content marketing is a powerful marketing inbound for sharing relevant information to the readers to get them as customers. Not only does it increase brand awareness but convert readers into regular customers as well.
It is marketers’ favorite content marketing example because of their 3 pronged marketing strategy. The company basically took advantage of guest blogging for enhancing its initial growth and by publishing content several times a day for a high visibility rate.
The company focused more on writing content for their own customers so that they can be influenced and share their content on their social media accounts. Right now, Buffer has 4 main types of blogs, including their open and transparency blog. Moreover, they have been maintaining their content-sharing game via email marketing too.
Paid Ad Content Marketing
Increasing traffic to the website by inbound marketing is one of the best ways that businesses opt for. Paid advertisements for content help you to reach a wide base of an audience so that you can position yourself on the internet as per your wish.
Zomato is basically a restaurant finder app. Not only does it share humorous content on social media channels but its also involved in paid ad content marketing as it appears on Facebook and Instagram paid or sponsored ads all the time.
Content Marketing Examples
Here are some examples to give you a clear idea of how brands are using strategies to drive sales:
This is one of the biggest beauty brands that is using content marketing to grab the attention of a lot of readers and existing customers. Even if one of their posts does not say the brand’s name, people would quickly know that the content is relevant to lush cosmetics because of the information that they provide.
Their Instagram pages show visual content, explaining different ways to use their products. Moreover, they also flaunt their products in a variety of ways along with a combination of colors to have a firm market place.
IBM launched an infographic just after they introduced its cloud-based system. They launched an easy-to-read and well-organized infographic that explains every point of why they are switching to a cloud-based system.
One of the biggest travel-related brands has a blog of its own that only shares information related to traveling, hotels, places, beautiful destinations and etc. They primarily do this to keep their customers engaged. Customers want to know more about the places that they are planning to go to. Expedia uses content marketing strategies to give customers what they want.
How to Create A Content Marketing Strategy?
Content marketing is nothing but a long-term strategy that relies on persuading and compelling content. So, you need to be careful at every step while creating a strategy for your business. Here are some steps to create an effective content marketing strategy for your business:
Think About the Content You Are About to Create
Have you thought about the content you need to create? If not, then this is the first step. Your customers’ personas would help you to create compelling and curative content for all of the audience. You need to create content relevant to their problems, the solutions they want, their needs and etc. customers’ buying stages and patterns help you identify the type of content that they would like to read.
Keep Buyer’s Journey in Mind
A buyer’s journey is basically all the steps involved when one is going through the purchase process. Have you ever thought about the decision that the customers might make while going through the purchase process? For quick call-to-actions, you need to create different types of content that would appeal to everyone.
For making good content that explains everything about your buying stages no matter which stage one is, you need to map your purchase stages in accordance with your service or product.
After that, create a plan or a way that could allow you to speak directly to buyers regardless of what buying stage they are on.
Create Your Content Marketing Plan by Brainstorming
Planning a new content marketing strategy does not necessarily involve metrics. Planning to use your assets and brainstorming about your buying stages can be two of the biggest challenges. You need content that can inspire your consumers to buy. So, you need to have the willingness to brainstorm deeply.
Production and Optimization of The Curated Content
If you have invested your time and money both in creating compelling and high-quality content, you need to get the most out of it. After publishing it, you need to ensure that it remains updated and fresh. It does not only increase your brand’s credibility but also indicates the readers that you are active in the market.
It is not a smart move to create content regularly. However, using the same content in different ways is efficient and smart. Slice and dice through your content and present it in different ways in infographics, articles, and podcasts to reach out to more people with minimal efforts.
Suppose you have hired a costly content writer. He has produced a good piece of information for your customers. Now that it is published, people are engaging. But after 2 months or so, the engagement becomes less as the content is on the verge to die. What should you do? Should you hire the same content writer again? The answer is no. You can rewrite and keep updating the old content for spiking up engagement.
If content cannot be rewritten or redesigned, the time for it to retire has come. Every content comes with an expiration date. If the content is beyond its expiration date, you need to come up with more content ideas to keep your brand’s credibility and customer engagement alive.
Launch and Optimize
There are many types of content- early-stage, last-stage and mid-stage. The early-stage content does not bring any revenue. In fact, its purpose is to create brand awareness and visibility. You can create valuable early-stage content to entertain, educate and aware of your readers. But how can you know if your content is attractive enough? If your content has more shares, comments, and downloads, then you are on the right track.
Mid-stage and last-stage content really affect your sales and revenue. They are great opportunities for you to generate new leads and increase the conversion rate.
How to Measure ROI on Content Marketing?
It is a bit tricky to measure ROI on content marketing but with the right approach, it takes fewer efforts. If content that you are producing is your business asset and benefit your business, it’s a good start. Moreover, you can also measure it by having an idea about your brand’s credibility and place in the market and competition. if your content is creating 3 times more leads than paid advertising, you are getting a high return on investment.
Content Marketing Challenges
There’s not a business present on earth that does not face content marketing challenges. Content is hard to curate and so, many content creators have to face plethora of challenges while creating business relevant content. Here are some challenges involved in content marketing:
- They do not know which articles to rewrite or curate.
- Inconsistency in publishing content.
- Struggle to create compelling content in a short period of time.
- Publishing top-notch variable content material.
Gaining the reader’s engagement in the content
What Is Not Considered as Content Marketing?
To start with, promotional content is not considered as content marketing in the eyes of marketers. 80% of the material in content that forces the reader to buy a particular product is not at all considered as content marketing. Content marketing always follows the 80/20 rule in which 80% of the content focuses on educating the reader and the rest 20% is aimed at selling them the products.
Frequently Asked Questions about Content Marketing
Q. How to Get into Content Marketing?
A. To get in this career, you need to kickstart yourself by improving your writing skills. You can learn from experts, try to develop and build your technical and research skills and spruce up the company you work for or your own brand. Moreover, you can also enroll in content marketing courses available online.
Q. Why Is the Customer Journey or Buying Cycle Relevant to Content Marketing Strategy?
A. High return on investment from content marketing is only possible if the strategy is executed and implemented properly. By understanding your buying cycle, you can have the needed connection with your customers’ regardless of what buying stages they are on.
Q. Is Content Marketing Effective?
A. Content is the only way that allows the brands to have real-time communication with their customers. It is not only an opportunity to understand your customer needs but also one to encourage your customers to buy. Moreover, your message reaches out to a wider base of audience, thanks to technological advancement. It would not be wrong to say that it is effective in a world where people rely on social media platforms and search engines to look solutions for their problems.
Q. How Does Content Marketing Generate Lead?
A. Content is shareable. Brands can share relevant content on their webpages, infographics and podcasts for the readers so that they can boost up sales. If the content seemed interested to one reader, he can further share it with his friends, family and colleagues. Hence, creating new leads.
With effective content marketing strategies, you can increase conversion and reach out to targeted audience. If you are familiar with the ways, you know that there are hundreds of them to grow as a business and create brand awareness.
To get started with content marketing, determine the type of content that would work out best for your business and then, begin developing a strategy to boost your sales.