Content marketing is the buzzword that’s sweeping across the marketing world, and yet many digital marketers are still unsure what content marketing is and how to use it.
Content marketing is a creative approach to marketing whereby a business or brand produces their own media with the aim of publishing it to spread awareness, educate, and/or share information. Unlike other forms of Internet marketing, there’s rarely a big pitch or call-to-action at the end.
In short, solid content marketing strategies center on valuable and relevant information, delivered in an easily digestible format to a target audience.
What Does Content Marketing Include?
As a means of communication with limitless creativity, content marketing has no boundaries. If you have an area of expertise, you can use content marketing as a way of sharing your knowledge on a given topic whilst educating your customer. For instance, a restaurant or food company may decide to start publishing articles about nutritional trends, recipes, presentation ideas, etc.
Companies ranging from Microsoft and P&G to your local small business are employing content marketing strategies. As a result, these companies are successfully cultivating greater credibility and trust, as well as building a larger audiences. While these benefits may be ambiguous in terms of measurability, there are ways in which companies can leverage content marketing to generate sales, leads, and other tangible performance metrics.
Can Content Marketing Improve Conversions?
It’s no question that traditional advertising platforms are expensive, difficult to track, and questionably effective. Consumers are not only more intelligent and conscious, but individuals have become more aware of standard advertising and have established mental filters to block out ads and information that doesn’t serve them.
Content marketing helps to replace these traditional advertising mediums by communicating to an audience that actually has interest or need to hear what you have to say. While this may or may not result in direct conversions (depending on the strategy), a company can actualize a number of goals and objectives by fueling other forms of growth (i.e. better search engine rankings, more social media followers, etc.) Content marketing can also fuel SEO and social media, which are two very powerful means of generating quality traffic to a site.
Informative content that your company publishes can provide the message that not only are you good at what you do, but you’re willing to share that information with the customer. It’s this very “being in on the secret” feeling that builds loyalty between customer and company. So, whilst you may not be able to directly measure the number of sales made from this approach, you can rest happily knowing that content marketing is about the long-run: creating loyal customers who are truly engaged with your brand and what it has to say.
Getting Started with Content Marketing
We recommend that if you’re interested in implementing content marketing, start small and highly focuses. Choose a niche topic that you really know about and produce a great, thoughtful, informative, and/or solution-oriented piece on it (i.e. article, video, infographic, etc.) Further, you can optimize and focus your content on specific keywords that will help support your SEO strategy. For example, an electronics retail could produce informative, review-based articles for specific products they’re trying to rank for, such as “Altra Men's Lone Peak 2.5 Trail Running Shoe Review.” Per the latter example, a content marketing-infused SEO strategy can be best achieved targeting long-tail keywords.
Lastly, share the content by any means you have available – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, colleagues, and other networks that can help increase the visibility of your content. Once your content marketing efforts gain traction, you can start writing and producing more once you know what your audience is looking for (and what’s working.) Just remember, everything you publish should be addressing a specific need or question in minds of the audience.