With the modern emphasis on digital marketing, it is often believed that content marketing is a newly-conceived marketing strategy. However, content marketing has been around for decades, existing offline in the form of newspapers, books, fliers, magazines, TV, and more. What IS new about content marketing is our increased access to it—in regards to both creation and viewing—due to the increased prominence of the Internet and social media. While greater access to such platforms presents more potential to market, it also subjects the business owner to more responsibility. This post will discuss the basics of content marketing as they pertain to digital marketing, helping to ensure that you’re best incorporating it into your business strategy.
Related: Business Blogging 101
Content marketing has become a marketing necessity, more important to utilize than ever before in terms of attracting customers and growing your business. So, what exactly is content marketing? At its core, content marketing is the strategized distribution of valuable material that has the ultimate purpose of incentivizing a profitable action from a target audience member or customer. A profitable action may be a sale, or even as simple as a lead providing an email address or linking to your website. With content marketing, content is used to educate and inform your target audience to gain their trust and to build a relationship.
Content marketing is essential because when you provide material that aligns with relevant trends and relays your expertise, you appeal to the values of your ideal customers and build a niche audience—thus creating opportunities for leads and sales.
Content marketing is also important because it attracts potential customers to your business on their own terms rather than relying on overly aggressive, promotional sales tactics that lack organic depth. Because the goal is not to be overly self-promotional, your business can build a wider repertoire of trust and your customers can feel more secure enlisting your services.
Content marketing assumes a variety of forms that can contribute beneficially to any business’ marketing strategy. Working in confluence, these strategies will help boost the presence and value of your business.
An eBook is an excellent, inexpensive way to attract customers through education and building trust. It’s also a great lead generation tool, as you can require people to provide their contact information in exchange for the free download.
Condensing your expertise into an easily-digestible, downloadable format appeals to an audience who likes to have all of their information abbreviated into a single source. The best eBooks present information in a way that is well-organized and visually attractive and employ recognizable aspects of your brand—such as your logo colors, slogans, and writing voice. Informing your customer through these tenants will strengthen brand recognition and make them more likely to engage with your services.
Blogging not only helps relay your personality in an informative, distinct manner but also draws people to your website—people who are searching for your products or services on search engines. Additional benefits of a business blog include brand familiarity, enabling your individual approach make you distinct from your competitors and allowing for an open channel of communication with customers.
Visual content helps to diversify your content marketing strategy while emphasizing important statistics, engaging your audience, and providing unique ways for them to absorb the information you’re trying to highlight. Visual content includes infographics, customer photos, videos, graphs or charts, behind the scenes videos, interviews, how-tos in photo or video format, and more.
Email marketing is an important way to keep customers and leads clued-in to the happenings of your business. Optimize your emails by making them relevant and interesting for the reader by having strong and engaging subject lines that incentivize the viewer to, first and foremost, open the email. It’s also important to make the consumer feel as if they are receiving something of value from the body of the email.
An excellent way to generate strong email content is repurposing already existing material. Feature customer reviews and stories, photos, information from your website, and recent blog posts.
The websites that excel at content marketing are informative ones that are clearly organized, directional, and visually pleasing, offering information that is easily absorbed by the consumer. To do this, make sure that your website utilizes a clear navigational menu, strong headings, and calls to action.
Thought leadership pieces are an excellent way to relay your expertise in an accessible and informative way that appeals to an audience seeking industry advice. Strong thought leadership pieces present actionable, clear solutions and relay tangible examples of challenges as supporting anecdotes to the work.
Embracing content marketing will amplify your entire marketing strategy, allowing you to see growth both organically and externally. The right actions will appeal to customers at all stages of conversion through the sales funnel and boost your business in ways that traditional marketing cannot.