Content for successful digital Marketing
Content Marketing refers to the creation and distribution of relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
Content Marketing is:
- The most complete advertising strategy available to advertisers today as it speaks to consumers at every stage of the purchase funnel – from building brand awareness, to generating interest, to – garnering consumer interest and finally initiating purchase
- The perfect accompaniment to PPC
- Going to killthe advertising industry as we know it
Why Content Marketing?
Perhaps more important than understand what content marketing is, is understanding why content marketing is important to your business. First we need to understand the four steps of the buying cycle:
Awareness. Prior to awareness a customer may have a need, but they are not aware there is a solution.
Research. Once a customer is aware there is a solution, they will perform research to educate themselves. For example, a car buyer will try to find out what different types of cars exist, and which one will fit their needs.
Consideration. At this point the customer starts comparing different products from different vendors to make sure they’re getting a high quality product at a fair price.
Buy. Finally, the customer makes their decision and moves forward with the transaction.
What content should I produce?
Okay, so you have an idea of what content marketing is. Now, what content should you produce?
Try and think in the traditional sense of a sale in a bricks and mortar shop. If you wanted to buy a rabbit and you walked into the local pet shop, as a customer, you do not expect to walk out with just the rabbit. Walking out of the store, you expect to have the rabbit as well as information and care advice for it. Although the pet store is under no obligation to give you advice, it is an essential part of the sale for the consumer. It builds relationships and paves the way for repeat purchases.
Online content is no different. You need to cover relevant topics that are broadly related to your product or service that give customers advice and guidance. Customers will appreciate your expertise and patience in not trying to push a sale on them
Why Do I Need A Content Strategy?
This is a simple argument: the web, social and mobile revolutions have changed the world connecting all of us and enabling the seamless flow of instant information. We are all now the most popular and trusted source of news and information for each other.
marketing is not just about promotion. Traditional marketing techniques are no longer as effective as they used to be. The amount of content and messaging being delivered to consumers every day is increasing exponentially. And so, a content strategy can save marketing and maybe your entire business!
In short, your content has to be awesome. It has to be truly helpful. It cannot be about you. It has to be about your customers’ wants and needs.
How to be successful with content marketing?
It starts with culture and changing the deeply-held belief that marketing has to promote your products. Content strategists need to be able to articulate why you need a content strategy and start to focus your organization on helping your customers.
Define your measures of success. Look at how many “early-stage” search terms are driving traffic to your website. This tells you if you are answering your customers’ top questions. Look at your percentage of leads from inbound sources. This tells you how well you attract customers and earn their business vs. buy it. Finally, look at how much early-stage content you produce and how well it engages your target audience.
Create an inbound content destination that answers your customers key questions, does not promote your products directly but invites your visitors to explore your solutions. If your content is great, your conversions will be too.
- Get a mobile planso that you can deliver content to your customers in the format that they want.
- Know your audience and keep the content relevant.
Each social network has a unique identity and audience, so take time to research the demographics of the social marketing platforms you use to share. All sites are not the same. Some skew highly to men (Google+) and others are more popular with women (Pinterest). Check the current information on the sites to determine where to share your content to best effect.
Whether you market to businesses or consumers, you no doubt have a grasp of their interests. Blogs are still a great way to build an engaged community around your brand and interests. An example of a blog that successfully uses content marketing is SavvySeller.co. This is a community site offering helpful advice for online sellers while displaying ads for its parent company, World Lister.
Check what your customers are sharing on social media. By making your blog posts relevant to readers, they may pass along your content as well and become your advocate, awarding you with free, yet most valuable, marketing.
Content won’t replace advertising, will it?
Of course not. For optimal impact and maximum success, content and advertising should be integrated — or at least interrelated. In tandem, the two can more fully express a brand story. As marketers become more ambitious about creating content for more technologically sophisticated channels, their need to ramp up skills, hire and budget effectively, and plan for the future becomes more complex. Consumer preferences and trends put increased pressure on this area. Blogs have receded in significance as more social channels and video have come to the fore. Today it’s Pinterest. Tomorrow, who knows? As marketers become less reliant on advertising, they must keep a close eye on channel effectiveness and emerging trends in content-marketing channels and technologies because it’s free?
Content marketing can indeed significantly reduce the media spend associated with advertising. But the more mature a company’s content marketing efforts, the better it’s understood that effective content initiatives require significant investment in staff, production and distribution resources, and often in new sources of external support ranging from new agencies to technology partners with skills in fields ranging from mobile app development to video production.
You have to remember that content marketing is part content, part MARKETING. And, unfortunately, content cannot promote itself. As Upworthy CEO Eli Periser says, “You can have the best piece of content and make the best point ever. But if no one looks at it, the article is a waste.”
You need to push out your content as soon as it goes live and promote the hell out of it. Otherwise, you end up with content that no one shares and a visual reminder like this:
At the very least, if you create content, you should advertise it through social media. If you are too embarrassed to share your content, then you need to create better content. If you create content that you are proud to share, then others will share your content, too.
The promotion of your content will largely depend on the campaign. While a blog post may be shared on social networks, a new white paper might require a bigger push in the form of paid content amplification.
Here are a few ways to promote your content:
Google AdWords campaigns: If you’re promoting a new white paper or eBook, you can create display campaigns to raise awareness and remarketing campaigns to retarget abandoned visitors.
Social media campaigns:
Blog post content can benefit from promotion two to three times per day on Twitter so don’t be afraid to share content on that platform more than once. Remember to share content on both personal and branded pages.
Email marketing campaigns:
Whether you launch a new blog post or new eBook, make sure you inform your email subscribers. These people are already engaged with your brand and are powerful promoters who can spread your content across social networks.
Understand where the content gaps are in your buying cycle.
Make sure you understand where the content gaps are in the buying cycle for your different buyer personas. To achieve this, you should conduct a content audit. Also, ask yourself if your buyer persona has all the information they need at each point of the buying cycle.
For example, at HubSpot, we create content that attracts Mary to our site and helps her evaluate our software based upon what we know about her goals and challenges. We then ask ourselves if she has everything needed to feel confident in purchasing our product based on those goals and challenges.
As I mentioned, most content marketing efforts fail. But when done right, they can transform your business and turn your website into a traffic and lead-generation machine.