THE WHAT, WHY & HOW OF CONTENT MARKETING
What is content marketing? Get all the information you need about the most powerful marketing technique for your business.
If you’re thinking of marketing your business online and haven’t heard of content marketing yet, then you’re missing out. This new marketing technique could be the most powerful form of marketing today that brings people to your brand or business organically.
Online marketing were once blanketed with paid advertisements. But people today are getting smarter: 30% more people blocked ads by the end of 2016, totaling the number to 615 million devices.
Think about it: what do you do when you encounter intrusive ads with content that are not useful to you? We didn’t think twice about blocking it with an ad blocking software or application. But what if these content are non-intrusive and educational? Well, we’d be more willing to stay with these content, and even go back to the brand for more content alike.
Here’s the crux in today’s marketing technique: People don’t want you to tell them how great your service or product is, they want to know what value it will bring to their lives. And that is what content marketing does.
But that’s not all to it. It’s hard to get the totality of what content marketing really is and exactly how it should be utilized. Every brand and every group of targeted audiences differ, and the same goes for every content marketing plan.
To get to the heart of this fascinating but tough subject, we’ll first dig into what is content marketing.
What is content marketing?
The creation of relevant, high-quality content to market the emotional and physical value of products and/or services that your brand or business offers to targeted prospects and existing customers.
In recent years, we consume humongous amount of contents daily. A study by Contently shows that Facebook users like posts 4,166,667 times in just one minute.
To shine among piles and piles of content, yours needs to be captivating. But that’s just to catch the eyes of viewers who might or might not be your targeted prospects. Who really matters are your targeted prospects — the ones who are potential buyers.
That takes much more than being interesting. You need to be able to anticipate the questions they might have, and answer those questions like you’re talking with them face to face.
Besides that, well-planned and written contents can even let your targeted prospects realize that they have an underlying problem waiting to be solved, and you are the solution.
That sounds right. Then we shall create loads of content!
Hold your horses.
Content creation is not content marketing. Content marketing requires a great deal of preparation work beforehand. You need to research, analyze, plan and strategize before you really get hands-on with the creation. Not to mention the work after — analyzing and measuring the success of your published content before re-adjusting your plan again. When planned and done right, it can be exceptionally fruitful for your business.
Let’s see why we encourage businesses to approach this powerful marketing technique.
Why content marketing?
Enterprises — giant, medium, or small — are turning to content marketing. That’s because they know content marketing can help meet a marketing goal, which is critical to the overall organization’s growth. If you own a business, especially a small-sized enterprise, there are tons of reasons why you should turn to content marketing.
We’ll split the benefits of content marketing into two categories — concrete and metaphysical. Let’s first get into what’s in it for you, factually.
#1 It attracts people who could need your products or services
A survey by Demand Metric show that 90% of all consumers find custom content useful.
When people need an answer to something, the first thing they do is search. That makes search engines like Google, bing, Facebook, Youtube etc. best friends to humans. Producing original and relevant contents ups your odds of being found online by these searchers.
After entering your site, you want them to stay and continue looking for answers within your site. Entertaining and problem-solving contents help you do that. You don’t talk about your products, you don’t talk about your services. Why so? Because it doesn’t benefit searchers. People want to hear about themselves — about things that directly impact their lives. They want to hear, read and watch content that solves, inspires, and stimulates.
#2 It propels purchasing decision
Let’s compare two washing detergent brands.
Brand A constantly tells you what high-quality ingredients they used in the detergent, the countless locations they are sold at, its value-for-money family size, etc.
Brand B talks about how plant-based ingredients in detergent (the one they used in their own products) have significantly less chemicals and are healthier for kids, the lives and schedules of various busy mothers who are also customers of the brand’s detergent with quick-dry technology, shares tips on how to use their detergent and other natural ingredients to make washing more efficient, etc.
Not that hard to make a choice, right?
And that trust you’ve gained from your content will be transferred from your contents to your products or services.
Consumers (in this case mothers) would be more drawn towards purchasing from Brand B because of the extensive knowledge on washing detergent to help make their lives easier. 85% of consumers prefer to return to buy from a company whom they’ve received custom content.
The right kind of content makes you a trusted source of knowledge and establishes your brand as a human being who cares about their well-being.
That’s the magic of content marketing.
#3 It helps achieve your business goals
Coherence in content — which means the need to develop a content strategy — helps attain concrete business goals. I.e. generate more qualified leads. So how can content marketing do that?
Qualified leads are people who may be in need of your products or services. So you don’t toss content out there without knowing who you’re writing for. Generally speaking, there are two basic tiers of communication. One, creating contents to build problem awareness — one that they could be facing. Two, creating contents in whichever formats that focus on helping them solve this particular problem.
When people realize they have a problem, and you’re the answer to it, they’ll be more willing to provide you with the information you need. And that’s how you generate qualified leads.
The same technique goes for attaining other business goals such as increasing online revenue by 20% (improve sales), acquire 15% buying customers in 6 months (expand customer base) etc.
As long as you have a content strategy adhering to your content marketing strategy and business goals, growing your business would be so much more efficient with content marketing.
Now, moving on to the intangibles benefits.
#4 It helps keep your brand at the top-of-mind
*Scary big numbers to show how many content are produced each day.*
Point is, we can only take in so much content everyday. But emotion-evoking contents beats everything. Other than being informative, the content has to be personal. You need to understand what prospects think and you need to talk with them through these contents.
While they associate your brand or business with authority through these educational content, the resonance through these content is what pulls them towards you. If you put in effort to build and engage an audience, the first brand that pops up in their mind, when they need products or services of your kind, is yours.
#5 It builds a relationship with your customers
Would you rather talk to a bot or a human being who thinks like you?
When you’re engaging with your audiences through these content, you want to be able to connect to them like a real human being. To do that, strategic and fresh content is imperative, but not enough.
Writing to please everyone makes no business sense — creating content like you’re talking to a particular consumer is what makes everything different. When you constantly offer contents that are useful to them, they’ll reciprocate the favour by returning to your brand for content. That’s how a beautiful relationship is formed.
#6 It builds your brand
Imagine you saw this funny video online. Would you enthusiastically want to share it with your friends on social networks or during a face-to-face conversations? Having people talk about your brand willingly is like hitting jackpot, except the latter happens unexpectedly.
Generating content gives your consumers a topic to talk about. When contents are talked about among people, your brand’s values, mission and story are also shared in the process.
How to start content marketing?
Written articles, blogs, podcasts, videos, social media posts…
To start, you just need to create a lot of content like this, right?
Yes, but this is just a small part of it. You don’t really just want to dive into content marketing just by creating content.
Content strategy paves the way for content marketing. Things are still up in the air if you don’t have a content strategy to tie it down. And developing a content strategy is so much more than the sharing of valuable information.
Below are a few guidelines for you to start planning a content strategy.
#1 Research your competitors
Find out what your competitors are creating. Are they actively blogging or creating social media posts? What topics are most popular among their consumers? Watch what you think works and what you think doesn’t. Dig deeper into the analysis using tools like Google Analytics to figure out what makes their ranking higher.
#2 Analyse high-performing content marketing examples
Staying plugged-in on current trends is one of the weightiest component to creating content. What contents do your targeted audiences love? Is the article long or short? Is the tone professional or humourous? Your content strategy is not complete without a strong understanding of your audience.
#3 Develop a fully integrated content marketing strategy
To strike marketing gold, develop a content marketing strategy that works hand-in-hand with your offline marketing strategy (events, free gifts with purchase, discount coupon etc.). Can you post printable coupons on your social media platforms? Can you create landing pages for people to sign up for your workshop?
#4 Establish a content strategy
Your content strategy, created to guide content creation activities, should correspond to your content marketing objectives and business goals. List out content titles and winnow them into the best fews by crossing out those that seems stuffy or fluffy. Will your targeted audiences be interested in those topics? Write for the people who are looking for answers to questions closely related to your industry.
#5 Content creation
That’s the best part we love because that’s when the best information about a brand or business is put out there into the world to know.
But content marketing is not just publishing articles on your website. It’s a whole lot more. Here are just some examples of content format that can be used to engage with your targeted audiences at different stages of their buying journey.
Types of content marketing tactics for business
- Article posting
- Landing page
- Live chat
- Email newsletter
- Press release
#6 Content distribution
Now you have plenty of awesome contents. But nobody knows it unless you spread the word, right?
This is where you would want to distribute the content to a focused group of people whom you think will be interested in your service or product. And here’s when social media marketing comes into (great) play.
Putting your content on social media is a great way to attract people to read it, right?
Content shouldn’t be thrown around like confetti. Or worse, sharing the content as-is on your social media platforms.
Imagine you have a beautifully-written piece of SEO article on your website, and you would like to share it with your fans or followers. Do you think you will be able to convey the ideology behind a 3000-word article into a single visual or condense it into 140 words effectively?
It’s the cruel truth — people on social media platforms have short attention span. Instead of sharing the content as-is (which can be boring), why not grip attention with a short and intriguing video or post, with a clear call-to-action to your original content? That’s just one way of doing it; the possibilities are endless.
Content marketing is a long-term plan. A selection of great contents is the best approach to attract qualified leads and potential buyers. Done well, it’s the single best way to connect with people.
For content marketing to work its magic, you need defined and achievable marketing or business goal(s) as its backbone. By defined, we mean attainable goals with specific number and dateline (increase web traffic by 15% at the end of this month is a great example).
A clear-cut goal lets you know for sure if you’ve reached the results you want and if you need to make any improvements. Goals that are too vague will keep you stuck in an endless loop of strategizing, creating, praying.