Content marketing could now be simply referred to as ‘marketing’. Yet some companies still lag behind in this vital area. The good news is, getting started with content marketing in your business isn’t as difficult as it might seem.
American entrepreneur Seth Godin once famously declared,
content marketing is all the marketing that’s left!
and by 2016 he may have been proved right. Here’s a primer on the subject which might help you take the first steps.
What Is Content Marketing?
In one sentence:
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
Let’s look at the key qualities which have to be considered in deciding what content to use, and how to deliver it:
What value does this content give the reader for free, and is it presented in a medium that allows it to be seen by the intended audience?
Does the content need to be fresh and updated regularly, or should you use “evergreen” content that doesn’t date?
Does the content ‘speak’ to the reader in the familiar company voice?
Getting Started With Content Marketing – Building a Strategy
The average consumer sees thousands of carefully crafted marketing messages every day – so a clear, dedicated content marketing strategy is necessary to cut through noise and make sure your company’s voice gets heard.
Getting serious about content marketing means creating a documented content strategy and mission statement. Content marketing requires a mid to long term strategy, so don’t expect results overnight. Revisit your strategy regularly, and grade each aspect honestly according to its success.
Think Like a Publisher
Look at how to deliver the content your audience wants by mapping content to consumer journey, and knowing which different types of content buyers consume at different stages of their journey.
It usually goes like this: consumers become aware of available products through search engines, online communities or email newsletters. Then, they seek out more content to consider, from articles, podcasts, case studies, and free ebooks, to videos, demos and free trial software. Finally, the consumer finds their preferred product or vendor, makes a decision and purchases a product.
Focus on Content Subscribers
Don’t ‘build your house on rented land’ by trying to spread your message sporadically, competing against the noise of the web – instead publish your content on your own content website (not Facebook!). A company website should contain a blog that regularly covers company news, press releases, and posts about your industry in general. Add your own Twitter feed, free ebooks, demonstration videos, and webcasts to provide a steady supply of useful content to the consumers you know are already interested in your business.
This way you will earn your audience’s attention, instead of trying to buy it. Sharing valuable and useful information for free is the best way to do marketing in the modern era, so aim to become a trustworthy destination for your target audience and a voice of authority on topics that interest them.
Learn to Manage Your Content as an Asset
Balance paid, owned, and earned media – employ a SEO strategist to manage search engine rankings and consider paid distribution of your content online. There are a lot of options, many good free platforms that can be integrated into your online presence, and you should do your research carefully.
Track content marketing ROI – track performance of content, use conversion optimisation and manage your communications according to type and also timing. It’s not hard to get a great return on a relatively small social media budget, so make the most of every pound spent.
How to Use Content Marketing as a Mid to Long Term Strategy
With content marketing, success builds over time, so don’t expect overnight results. Instead, measure your outcomes and track progress to see that small changes add up to big things. Importantly, keep in mind content marketing requires both commitment and persistence to demonstrate your expertise, build authority and trust with your readers, all while enhancing the ranking of your website on Google search results.
What Could You Do With Content Marketing?
Every business can use content marketing as part of their overall strategy to generate more leads, so why not spend a little time and make a list of topics that you can write about on a regular basis. If you need some help with content marketing, just drop us a line via the contact page.