Content marketing is transforming the way the world does business. Gone are the days of traditional marketing where companies focus on finding customers using techniques that are interruptive like cold-calling, print advertising, TV commercials and junk mail.
Not only is technology making these techniques less effective - the costs are typically substantially higher and the return, much lower.
Content Marketing Flips the Traditional Marketing Model on its Head.
In today’s world, buyers have all the power. Think about the process you went through the last time you made a purchase or sought a service. Did you call up a sales person right away or...did you post ‘looking for recommendations’ on your social profile? Maybe jump online and do a little research? All of those methods are examples of content marketing.
- It’s that problem solving blog post that shows up near the top of the search engine
- The podcast you listened to on your drive to work
- It’s the ad that came up in your social newsfeed
- It’s the new solution that was found on LinkedIn
- The customer review that was found on Facebook
- The video you saw on YouTube
- The inspiring design you found on Pinterest
- The ebook you downloaded to learn all about inbound marketing.
Content marketing is about creating helpful, relevant content for your audience. It’s about drawing people in.
Why do Content Marketing?
The purpose of content marketing is to create and share relevant content so your target audience can learn about you as a brand, your products or services and your expertise.
Without content, there is nothing to deliver. In fact, without content, the internet would be empty.
Let's consider how you use the internet You visit a search engine, type in a question, and what you receive is content - whether it is a website page, blog, review, video, social profile or other.
You might have heard how important content marketing is to the growth of your business, but exactly how important is content marketing?
- Content marketing gets 3X more leads than paid search advertising (Content marketing Institute)
- 20% of people will read text on a page while 80% of people will watch a video (My SMN)
- After watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online (Forbes)
- Studies show that people have the ability to recall 65% of the visual content they see almost three days later (HubSpot)
- 51% of B2B marketers and 45% of B2C businesses believe visual content is their most important type of content (HubSpot, Content Marketing Institute)
- 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a business (Demand Gen Report)
Struggles with Content Marketing:
Many businesses and marketers create content, but few feel that they are doing it right. A study by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) stated that many business’ and marketers believe that content is one of the most effective ways to promote a business, yet 63% of businesses don’t have a documented content marketing strategy.
What is one of the main struggles for businesses and marketers in creating the strategy? According to Zazzle Media, 65% of businesses find it challenging to produce engaging content. Followed by measuring ROI and consistency.
Image source: Zazzle Media
Finding Success with Content Marketing
The first step and most important step in finding success with content marketing is to define who you are creating the content for. By clearly understanding your customer, you'll be able to create the types of content and choose the channels that are most appropriate to your business. Although this is often the missing piece with most businesses, it is the most important for any successful content marketing campaign. (If you need help defining your audience, use this free template).
Once you understand your audience and the problem that your brand or service is solving for them along with what makes you unique, you'll need to determine what types of content you will create, taking into consideration the resources and time you have available.
There are a variety of options to choose from:
- Blog Posts
- Social Media
- Case Studies
Once you know what forms your content will take, you'll have a better idea how to express your position, brand and service offering.
What Channels Should be used to Distribute your Content?
Just as you create various forms of content, you have various channels to choose from. Again, taking into consideration your customer (or persona), their demographics, interests, where they spend their time, along with the content types you will create, you’ll be able to better determine which channels to publish to.
For example, a B2B company focusing on lead generation for software sales may want to incorporate a content marketing plan with blogs and LinkedIn as their social platform; whereas a B2C, independent store may want to include social media (such as Facebook and Instagram) with a secondary focus on blogs.
PRO TIP: We always recommend trying to incorporate blogging as part of any business’ content marketing strategy as it assists with SEO - search engine optimization (remember how I mentioned that problem solving blog post in the search engine?). It also offers shareable content for social platforms along with the opportunity to position your brand or company as a thought leader in your industry - but often, with local business owners or solo entrepreneurs, time is the most limited resource and blogs do take a bit of time.
Final Tip: Start Small
Start by creating a series of processes to follow focused on turning your business into a content creation machine. The more content you create, the better - with each piece of content, the process becomes easier and more effective.
Think of it like a savings account. Maybe your goal to retire in 20 years. The only way you’re going to get to retire is to have a plan and be consistent with installments. If you stick to your plan, then over time, you’ll earn returns on your investment bringing you closer towards your goal.
Every piece of content you create is an investment towards your larger content goal If you’re consistent in the approach, then overtime you’ll have the opportunity to become content wealthy and build a robust content database to help attract, convert and close your prospects into customers and delight those customers into fans.