Have you already figured out your digital marketing strategies to take your business to the next level? Well, if not, we have an excellent guide to help you get there!
Content marketing is a great way to notch up your business goals. It is a process of attracting and engaging your audience in a cost-effective manner. Content marketing creates an immersive environment for prospective customers to find how your products or services will solve their pain points or fulfill their desires. Implementing this strategy will dramatically improve your clients buying decisions.
Your existing and potential customers want valuable information from your business, and it needs to reach them in a way that feels natural and not forceful. Indulging in a practical and planned approach will help your business increase conversions, brand awareness, and revenues, establishing yourself in your niche market.
While devising your content strategy or revamping your existing plan, you can continually re-evaluate your process and invent new techniques to create and share the content your audience wants. This guide will help you know and understand everything you need to include in your content marketing strategies. So before further ado, let’s begin!
What is Content Marketing?
Gone are the days when content marketing used outbound strategies to interrupt your audience and forcefully try to resonate with them. Today, your content needs to reach your target audience more naturally than ever. The best way to do this is by creating a story for your content - storytelling approaches are an excellent way to convey your message across social media platforms. This will make your content look more original, engaging, and personalized to your audience.
So again, what is content marketing? Content marketing refers to planning, executing, and sharing valuable content via social media channels, websites, blogs, apps, press releases, podcasts, print media publications, etc. It aims to reach your target customers and boost brand awareness, engagement, sales, and customer loyalty.
Content marketing is a long-term strategy that aims to build a solid relationship with your target audience by providing them with high-quality content that resonates with them. Effective content marketing techniques can show care and concern for your customers compared to aggressive advertising strategies.
Why is Content Marketing Strategy Important?
Designing a content strategy that suits your specific business needs and potential customers is how you stay relevant to your brand and make your marketing efforts as successful as possible. Moreover, content marketing is the basis for your digital marketing strategies and complements them in several possible ways.
No matter which digital marketing channel you choose - social media marketing, email marketing, video advertising, etc., you will always need compelling content to succeed in your marketing strategies. After all, content is the king!
In a sea full of content, people have the power to choose which content to consume. They are drowning in a sea full of information; you might want to give them the best content to pick your brand over others.
So, how is content marketing important?
Inform your audience about the products or services you offer.
Establish customer relationships that result in increased customer loyalty.
Show your target users how your products or services will solve their pain points or fulfill their wants.
Create a feeling of community
You can achieve all of this with an effective content marketing strategy in mind.
How Are SEO And Content Marketing Related?
Content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) strategies go hand-in-hand. You need superior-quality content to rank high on the search engine results pages. And you need SEO to know which keywords you need to place in your copy. You can’t follow content marketing strategies without SEO in place.
SEO is most likely the best tactic to achieve your content marketing goals. Search engine optimization is a centerpiece of content marketing strategies and campaigns. Enhancing your content allows you to update your brand message for a modern audience, outshine competitors for high-ranking keywords, and keep your website aligned with Google’s search engine page.
While considering ranking factors, you must know that there are over 200 criteria the search engine considers when it crawls and indexes your website. And based on your website and content, your pages will rank in the SERPs.While some factors are considered more important than others, Google doesn’t reveal exactly which factors weights higher. However, the top factors that determine your ranking are:
Direct web traffic
Keyword-rich anchor text
User behavior signals
The bottom line is that - you can’t do content marketing without SEO and vice versa; they’re inseparable.
The Benefits of Content Marketing
Content marketing campaigns can help you achieve your objectives without wasting time and money on short-term strategies or expensive advertising. A straightforward way to look at the content marketing benefits is to ask yourself: What does your business want to accomplish? Once you answer this question, you can frame your business objectives to particular content marketing goals and activities.
There are almost endless benefits of using a content marketing strategy; some of them include:
Attracts visitors and drives more website traffic
Helping people discover your business among many other companies in your industry is challenging, but the content marketing strategies you employ make you visible, especially to Google. Likewise, relevant content drives more social media attention, making more people visit your site.
Provides helpful and valuable information
The content you formulate and offer is valuable and spreads an important message about your brand to the right people at the right time. It will surpass the expectations and generate value for your brand and audience.
Engages your target audience
When you provide your audience with valuable and relevant information, they will consider it incredibly important to share it with their family and friends. Furthermore, people will interact with your content by leaving comments and reactions.
Informs the audience about your products/services
Most people don’t even realize they have a problem that can be solved unless it is informed to them. Content marketing has the potential to educate your audience that a solution exists and can change their lifestyle.
Creates a positive brand image
Besides everything, content marketing helps generate a positive brand perception and establishes goodwill in the market. And people usually tend to do business with those who are well-known and have a good reputation.
Generates more revenues
Sales is the primary objective of any business, and by leveraging content marketing at all the stages of the buying process, you can drive more traffic to your business. By embracing content marketing techniques, you gain bigger coverage, reach more customers, and target them most effectively.
Drive more leads
Lead generation is every business’s goal. It’s that part of your marketing strategy that will drive sales. A lead is your website visitor or an individual who is most likely interested in your business. Despite having more visitors to your site, investing in content marketing can convert them into leads, offering attractive deals that encourage them to close the deal. And the higher the leads, the higher the chances to sell.
Improves the customer lifetime value
The lifetime value defines the total value invested by your customers on your products or services. The more they buy or stay as your customers, the higher their lifetime value will be. Offering valuable and relevant content to your consumers will keep them more engaged and loyal to your business. They will feel a sense of belonging, making it easier for you to lock the deal.
Reduces Client Acquisition Cost (CAC)
CAC is a KPI that indicates the overheads spent in the sales & marketing areas to gain a new client. Content marketing can help your business lower the CAC because a small piece of information can reach a larger audience. Besides, most content is everlasting, meaning its educational content will produce results for the long haul. So, besides lowering CAC, content brings massive value to your business and helps your customers without needing efforts from your sales team.
The Different Types of Content Marketing
marketing formats can vary based on customer expectations and demands. With websites and social media channels becoming more responsive, they can grant greater opportunities for marketers to reinvent the wheel.
Content typically fits into five categories:
Written - blogs, landing pages, FAQs, eBooks, case studies, ad copy, email copy, etc.
Video - video blogs, GIFs, product demos, animations, AR/VR, event footage, and more.
Graphic - call-to-actions, wireframes, illustrations, infographics, etc.
Social - quizzes, contests, polls, user-generated content, etc.
Audio - podcasts, interviews, webinars, and more
Let's discuss some of the most commonly-used content marketing types.
1. Social Media Content
Today, with more than 3.6 billion people using social media, it's easy to understand why several businesses spend on social media marketing. Social media posts can also promote content published on other marketing platforms. There are some ways to leverage the power of social media, but the best one is to create a relationship with customers and engage them with your brand.
There are many platforms to work on (e.g., Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc.) and several ways to design and share content on each platform. (e.g., live videos, stories, pictures, pre-recorded videos, etc.) Social media posts are about high-quality images to illustrate the posts and write short copy with a call to action (CTA).
2. Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the best content marketing strategies to boost your ROI. You can fulfill your different business objectives using various formats, such as promotional, transactional, and relational emails.
Newsletters: This is a great way to share news about your company and the new blog posts. Moreover, after choosing the content you want to promote, you can even add a link to your web pages that are engaging for your subscribers. You can include links to additional content using CTAs. Your CTAs should be appealing and specific.
Email Nurturing Flow - This specialized email marketing campaign uses on-site content to provide value to prospective customers. You can create a personalized email flow by utilizing user activity data to help build your brand's trust.
3. Blog Posts
Blog posts are an excellent way to boost an SEO strategy and the basis of your overall content marketing strategy. Blogs and articles can attract organic traffic from search engines like Google. However, before beginning the blog post, you first need to list specific keywords for that content. Keyword research is crucial is see what your target audience is searching for. Later, you need a content writer who will draft good-quality content.
Content-writers and copywriters have modernized over the years with several strategies to write compelling content that persuade the readers to take the next step. After writing the content, you'll need to optimize it as per the SEO rules. Always remember that optimization is the key to notching up your content to the first position on search engines.
4. Case Studies
The case study describes a client's actual problem and how your business solved it despite several challenges. It usually helps inspire potential clients and convince them to turn to you. The layout for a case study is generally like this:
Explain the real issue that the client faced.
Telling the story of how your business helped them solve it.
List down the challenges and how your business successfully met all the difficulties to solve the issue.
Displaying the long-term benefits and success clients gained from your solutions.
For this, you can also interview the client and ask them about the problems they were trying to solve and how your business helped them weather their issues.
Infographics display content and information in an easily understandable graphic format. They're fun to view and chock full of information. It takes readers via visual resources such as pictures, graphics, vectors, and beautiful typography. Infographics aim to explain something quickly so that an individual just glances and understands the message. Hence, including infographics in your content marketing strategy is a brilliant idea.
Moreover, the infographics process is similar to blog posts, but after reviewing, it will be designed by a graphic designer before it gets published. Infographics can also be shared on landing pages to drive more leads.
5. Video Marketing
Today, it has become more crucial than ever to find a way to captivate your audience's attention, and videos can help your business do that. It is necessary to include videos in your content marketing strategy to survive in this cutthroat competition. Moreover, it can be consumed by people wherever they are and whatever they are doing.
Video marketing can capture your audience quickly and efficiently. People are consuming more content in video form than any other. This makes videos one of the best content marketing types for your strategy. As per sources, 80 percent of people switch between online and video searches when they research stuff to buy.
By posting your video on Youtube, you can use some optimization tactics to ensure that your video gets found by the users on the platform. You can use tags, subtitles, linking, video descriptions, and more to other pages related to the content.
Testimonials are the best way to boost your brand's goodwill. Testimonials can provide prospective clients an inside look at what it's like to work with your business or use its products or services. You can also showcase testimonials on your social media pages and websites to improve your credibility.
Zendesk is one of the best examples that display the best customer testimonial examples. When visitors click on a testimonial, they can read a detailed profile about the business and the solution Zendesk offers.
Webinars are a great way to establish relationships with your customers and educate them. Webinars are online forums that you can create and host for your target audience. They can be live or pre-recorded videos or both, and it's an excellent chance to share your viewpoint on an industry theme, your product, or something else.
To create a webinar, you must have a plan and a presentation about the subject you will discuss. You can prepare a list of details to ensure that everything is ready for the event. During the live sessions, you can answer several customer questions in real-time.
Did you know there is also something like collaborative webinars? - Yes! It's a great way to partner with another brand. For instance, several webinars presented by Content Marketing Institute are affiliated with another brand, such as Sitecore or Drift. This brings in a lot of expertise, making each webinar session valuable and attracting more viewers.
Podcasts are gaining traction for consuming online content nowadays, and it's easy to understand why. It renders a straightforward, user-friendly way to maintain a continuous connection with your audience. Podcast helps you strengthen the marketing message without being too hard-selling about it. They are quicker and more cost-effective to produce than videos, so they are an affordable way to notch things up.
Podcasts bring in a lot of creativity as they can be about any topic. Moreover, you decide on other factors related to the Podcast like the theme of episodes, who's on the Podcast, how long the episodes are, and where you advertise it.
9. User-Generated Content (UGC)
UGC is content created by people outside your business. This technique engages real people as it is unique, creative, and pocket-friendly. Small to big-sized businesses can create user-generated content using social media to arouse interest and engagement from their followers.
10. Paid Advertisements
Sponsored ads help you reach a wider audience, not just those who follow you; they allow you to be seen everywhere per your targeted locations and demographics. It is an excellent way for a new and emerging company to gain momentum, generate leads, and raise brand awareness. Paid ads deliver quick, reliable, and predictable returns while implementing marketing strategies and deadlines.
You can incorporate paid content marketing plan through several platforms - including social media, landing pages, sponsored partnerships, and banners. Consider paid ads as a way to launch and increase brand recognition for your business and inbound marketing to add depth and longevity to your efforts.
Paid advertisements are a fantastic way to showcase your company in the market, but your inbound marketing efforts will tie your customers to your brand.
The Best Content Marketing Examples
Over 90 percent of brands use content marketing because it allows them to share their story with their customers. The examples below will give you a better understanding of implementing content in your marketing strategy.
1. “Share A Coke” Campaign
If you haven’t heard about this campaign, this is the right moment. Coke’s “Share a Coke” campaign gave everyone a chance to customize their favorite drink. They chose the 150 most famous names in Australia and placed them on the side of the bottles. People went crazy about it! Literally, everyone was talking about Coke.
Since then, the campaign got super popular. The “Personalization” factor made it successful. This personal touch is the essence of content marketing.
Coke wasn’t retargeting customers or tracking online behavior. They just targeted what matters the most - special treatment (using their names). Ultimately, everyone loves attention. And if you want to get someone’s attention, the best strategy is to use their names.
Coke stirred emotional connections by asking the audience to share their products. As per studies, 74% of marketers know personalization boosts customer interaction. But, only 19% of them employ it.
2. Lush & Customer-Created Content
Lush fresh homemade cosmetics are all about the luxury bathing experience and transformative self-care with their natural skin care products and bath bombs. And this cosmetic brand has welcomed and cultivated a community of natural bathing enthusiasts. They need a way to keep such customers, known as “Lushies,” engaged with the brand.
Lush needed a budget-friendly solution to continually deliver vast amounts of compelling content while captivating the community. Lush knew they could rely on the community for genuine and influential content. User-generated content (UGC) is a promising way to generate massive content that performs extraordinary and engages the community.
UGC is an innovative way of word-of-mouth marketing on digital platforms, as per the Community Manager at Lush. Lush implements authentic UGC content across its social media channels and website while saving time and money. And it’s crucial to make sure that people are engaged enough to create user-generated content - eventually leading to making more purchases in the future.
3. Hubspot & Inbound Marketing
Hubspot is a marketing innovator. They are a pioneer in inbound marketing. Yes, that’s right!
Hubspot follows a simple process:
Hubspot produces ample valuable content to help people progress in their marketing efforts. They provide free and detailed guides, such as e-books, webinars, video tutorials, and user guides. Their content is relevant, engaging, and high-quality, which is crucial for higher search rankings. So whether or not you purchase from Hubspot, you’ll always consider them a vital resource.
4. TED - ideas worth sharing
TED is a global conference platform where experts, authors, celebrities, and other motivational speakers give short talks about groundbreaking ideas. This platform has massive growth due to its excellent free content. Most videos have over 10 million views, and they are doing so well because of their commitment to creating ideas worth sharing.
TED isn’t SEO or research-centric. The platform focuses on locating and creating top-notch content they think would be worth spreading. Henceforth, they have become a worldwide sensation, even though most of their content is only 15-min watch.
Takeaway: Finding and hiring innovative thinkers to contribute to your content is the best way to build an audience. You can begin by interviewing them on a podcast and turn those podcasts into emails, blogs, and more.
5. GoPro & UGC content
GoPro is a maker of action cameras mainly used in adventure sports. These cams are typically used in dangerous or adventurous locations, making it difficult to encourage them to share their videos. They’ve run the thought of letting the product market itself via UGC. And as per research, 79 percent of customers say that UGC highly influences their buying decisions.
GoPro took UGC to the next level by designing a million-dollar challenge. Here people send their adventure videos for a chance to win a million dollars. This camera brand used the winner’s video to create a marketing campaign, and it was a massive success, as it not only inspired users to share their videos but also created free marketing content. GoPro’s YouTube channel is filled with a collection of adventure sports, which captures the attention of users interested in similar activities.
Spotify is the lord of personalization in the music world. They offer personalized emails and playlists celebrating every user’s listening habits.
A few years ago, they released their first “Wrapped” campaign wherein users received an email featuring their most-listened-to songs in a story-like style. And after its success, each year, they come up with new “Wrapped” campaigns.
P.S. - Personalization is an excellent way to boost engagement with your audience.
The Strategies for Content Marketing
Thousands of different content marketing strategies exist these days. This wasn’t the case in the initial days of content marketing. Marketers had only a few options - newspapers, magazines, leaflets, etc. However, today the possibilities are endless with digital marketing in the picture.
You can consider your content marketing strategy just as your content marketing plan. Let’s go through the steps you want to work through to build an effective strategy.
1. Build SMART goals
The first step of your content marketing strategy is to create SMART goals - specific to your business. The following are some of the SMART goal examples:
Increase brand awareness
Boost customer loyalty
Improve customer engagement
Attract strategic partnerships
Establish bonds with existing & prospective customers
2. Decide your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Determine KPIs for your SMART goals. KPIs are eligible data points you can use to gauge your actual performance against your goal.
Brand awareness: social media followers, website traffic, subscriptions, registrations, etc.
Conversions: wish cart abandonment rate, competitive price trends, conversion rate, etc.
Customer loyalty: referrals, promoters, feedback, returning customers.
Rapport & trust: followers, returning customers, and promoters
Customer engagement: shares, likes, comments, follows, backlinks
Strategic partnerships: backlinks, mentions, and new partnerships
3. Choose the Content-Type
Determine the type of content you’ll create by considering your target audience and their persona. Answer the below questions about your target audience to narrow down the correct content type for them.
What are they looking for?
What pain points are they looking to solve?
Why should they buy your product or service?
How can you offer them value?
How is your product or service different?
4. Select your Content Marketing Platforms
Once you have determined the content type, it’s time you pick the specific content marketing platform. Some channels might be obvious to work with, such as Facebook and Instagram. However, some might be thought upon based on the type of industry you are in. For example, if you are a blogger, YouTube and Twitter might be excellent platforms for your content type besides Facebook and Instagram. But if you are into B2B business, LinkedIn is the best platform for you. It varies from one industry to another.
5. Determine a Budget
After choosing the content type and marketing platform, determine your budget. Consider everything carefully before making a final call. The following are the questions you must ask yourself:
Do you require to buy new software to create the content, such as Adobe Photoshop, a Canva subscription, or a camera to shoot high-quality photos or videos?
Do you require access to specific resources or tools to measure your content type?
Do you need to recruit content marketers or graphic designers?
Do you need to pay for advertising and marketing space?
Consider these questions before deciding on your budget, and check if there’s an increase or decrease in your budget estimation.
6. Create & Share the Content
Create and spread your content on various social media channels to share it with your target audience to possibly convert them. You can also use a social media calendar to ensure you generate content and share it with your customers and prospects. This will help you stay on top of all the produced content and schedule it before time.
You can also use a free editorial planner to schedule and optimize your marketing content to help you drive conversions.
7. Evaluate & Measure the Performance
Finally, evaluate and measure your results to make any necessary adjustments to improve your content marketing strategies and reach more audience. Take a glance at your SMART goals and KPIs to ascertain the success of your content marketing efforts. Did you attain your objectives and KPIs? Were you almost there or way off in your projections?
Please note that this is just a blueprint of your content marketing framework; the actual ideation, implementation, and execution of your strategies depends on your budget and the tools you use.
The Best Content Marketing Tools
Yes, that’s true; no content marketing tool can substitute a creative and talented human; however, having the right tech stack can help you get the job done quickly and efficiently. Many content marketing tools are available for cheap or free, and they serve hundreds of purposes, from content creation to optimization, promotion, and more.
The growing landscape of content marketing technology only calls for an easier way to solve your problem. However, with the end number of fish in the sea, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one. How do you know which one is the best for your business? The following tools outlined will help you make the decision.
1. Google Docs
Best feature: editing & collaborating with content-writers & copywriters
It’s free to use and pretty straightforward. Google Docs is where all the work is done before showcasing the final presentation. You can quickly share documents with just a few clicks. Moreover, you can also provide editing access to specific team members and view their suggestions and comments. There aren’t any content writers who won’t be using this tool since it’s the best shot you have got at collaboration with a pleasant user experience.
Best feature: editing and reviewing content before publishing
Grammarly is used across several communication platforms, from documents and emails to social media. Even the most detail-oriented writers can use this tool to look over their work and shed light on weak areas to improve.
Grammarly is a must-have content tool for detecting grammatical and punctuation errors, spelling mistakes, and plagiarism that would otherwise ruin your interesting blog post or copy. This content marketing tool has a browser extension that works on Safari, Firefox, and Chrome. Moreover, did you know that it offers the basic features for free?
Best features: blogging, sharing editorial content, and building portfolios
WordPress is a commonly-used content management tool in the world. This tool is pretty powerful; at the initial stages and as you grow your content marketing strategies.
WordPress is an open-source CMS that lets you host and develop websites. It’s a bespoke platform, widely used amongst bloggers. You can even host your website via WordPress.com. This blogging platform has plugin architecture and a template system to tailor any website that fits your business, portfolio, online store, or blog.
Best feature: Gathering research and writing academic reports
With Airstory, there is no room for writer’s block. Airstory efficiently organizes and exports your ideas, research, and notes all in one place. This powerful platform is yours if you want to notch up your writing game. Airstory will help you with images, multimedia, quotes, and more, and it’s also an incredible tool for collaborating with other writers.
Best feature: Performing content research and measuring progress.
This powerful tool removes all the guesswork business from content creation and is handy for those short on time. Buzzsumo is an excellent multi-purpose content marketing tool. It helps you evaluate which content performs the best for any topic. You can check metrics, such as backlinks, social shares, and influencers sharing content pieces. Buzzsumo can help you find trending topics across multiple platforms and headlines that receive the most engagement.
Best feature: Designing marketing material for your business or personal use.
With Canva, you don’t need to be an excellent graphic designer. This platform is great for all your content marketing efforts, such as blog cover photos, social media images, and much more. Canva’s intuitive user interface facilitates the design of newbies to create social media posts, presentations, visiting cards, and other similar content. Stunning, original, professional graphics are a must, and Canva can help you get it right.
However, you must remember that content marketing tools won’t save your poor content marketing strategies; they will help you get the task done quicker and more efficiently. Many content marketing tools exist out there; we have just a few best tools that are widespread amongst business professionals.
The Bottom Line
This blog is indeed all you need to know from start to end about content marketing. There are multiple ways you can leverage content to boost revenues, improve your brand awareness, and establish long-term relationships with your customers and prospects. With effective content marketing strategies, you can reach more people and boost conversions.
To begin, determine what content type works best for your business and audience, and accordingly develop a content marketing strategy or you can select any content marketing agency that helps you achieve your marketing goals.
With the world getting competitive each day, it’s a must to utilize content marketing tactics to remain successful. You will undoubtedly win in the long run by focusing your marketing efforts on good storytelling.