Content marketing as defined by Wikipedia is
Content marketing is any marketing that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire and retain customers. This information can be presented in a variety of formats, including news, video, white papers, e-books,infographics, case studies, how-to guides, question and answer articles, photos, etc
The Content marketing institute gives a more precise definition of content marketing as
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.
So what’s important in the above definition is the stress on content being Valuable, relevant and consistent.
Food for the thought is that all the areas of internet marketing like social media and SEO are really only around because of content.
We talk to our customers, our clients, and our readers, and what we say to them regardless of what form it takes is our content.Every email, every tweet, every landing page, and every product description—they’re all examples of content.Without content, SEOs would have nothing to optimize for search engines, Every link earned by every marketer points to a piece of content, and the keywords that people type into search engines are an attempt to find—yes—content. Content is the heart of any marketing strategy.
Content marketing is the use of that content—any of it—to help meet a marketing goal for your organization. That could be an acquisition of potential customers, retention of existing ones, making more people aware of your brand or your products, or really anything else.
Regardless of what type of marketing tactics you use, content marketing should be part of your process, not something separate. Quality content is part of all forms of marketing:
- Social media marketing: Content marketing strategy comes before your social media strategy.
- SEO: Search engines reward businesses that publish quality, consistent content.
- PR: Successful PR strategies address issues readers care about, not their business.
- PPC: For PPC to work, you need great content behind it.
- Inbound marketing: Content is key to driving inbound traffic and leads.
- Content strategy: Content strategy is part of most content marketing strategies.
I hope by now you would have buy in the idea of content marketing and understood its importance in delivering your organizational goal, So the very obvious next question is where to start from. Let’s dive in to get started.
Content Marketing: Where to start from?
Every successful Content marketing plan has two essential parts:
- An understanding of your goal(s)
- A mission statement
These two elements are very important because they help you decide what content you should be creating, and figure out if there’s something in particular that you should not be doing.
Let’s explore each of these in more detail:
Content creation based on Understanding of goal(s)
Content should always be created for the sake of supporting at least one core marketing or business goal.Remember to constantly ask yourself, “How will this project support our business goals?” There should always be a clearly understood purpose behind any content creation.
- Is the content created to raise awareness for your brand?
- Is the content created to build your email list?
- Is the content created to nurture prospects along their buyer’s journey?
- Is the content created to convert your audience to paying customers?
- Is the content created to retain customers and/or increase their purchases?
If you find that the content you have planned will not support those goals, chances are that it should not be a priority.
Content marketing based on a solid mission
By now you have a clear understanding of your goals now you must be clear about what are you trying to achieve with your created content. Here is where a solid mission statement will guide you.
As such, it should speak to three components of any successful marketing endeavor:
- The Target audience: The type of person you can help most with your content
- What will be the value addition to the audience: The types of information you will provide through your content
- The desired outcome for the audience: Things your audience will be able to do once they have consumed your content.
To see examples of mission statements, check out this complimentary chapter from Epic Content Marketing.
So we are now at a point where we understand the reason why we would be creating content and what outcome do we expect from it. Next step is creating a valuable & attractive content.
Assuming that we have the team & the technology. Now we have to actually start “doing” the content marketing.We would be discussing two most important aspects of content marketing
1) The types of content assets a content marketing team could be creating to demonstrate the opportunities available to the content marketing team.
2) Who should be involved in creating those assets?
Blog posts are the most successful and popular way of content marketing. An SEO Optimized and a good keyword researched blog post can help improve the site’s SEO, and drive organic traffic and leads. Blog posts are typically written by the bloggers.
Types of Blog Posts:
- How-to Posts that teach readers how to do something; these typically perform very well in organic search if they align with long-tail search terms.
- List Posts Curated examples that can be informative, and thus also rather search-friendly, or simply entertaining.
- Thought Leadership Posts that explain fundamental shifts in an industry, or ask the reader to rethink convention wisdom.
- Newsjacks Timely content that either reports on industry news or finds unexpected tie-ins with popular news items.
- Infographics/SlideShares Blog posts that primarily use visual content to tell a story.
Compared to many other content marketing tactics, Premium Assets represents a longer form of content that can educate prospective buyers about topics important to buyers and the brand. It’s a great way to demonstrate expertise in a creative way. They might be used to generate leads or contacts, or for brand-building purposes. These are typically created by the dedicated long-form content creator.
Types of Premium Assets to Create:
- Ebooks An incredibly popular format, typically presented as a PDF and redeemed behind a form.
- Research Reports Often presented as a gated PDF or an ungated microsite.
- Webinars Though time-intensive, webinars may feature a guest speaker who brings his or her own audience, which can help broaden the top of the funnel. Recorded versions of webinars can live behind a landing page to extend their lifespan.
- Tools & Templates Because they’re extremely utilitarian in nature, tools and templates often prove to be incredible for the long-term lead generation despite the upfront resource investment required.
The success of Visual contents in content marketing is huge. Visual content is a key component in each of the top most effective B2B marketing tactics. Data reveals that marketers who are leveraging visual content are seeing significant increases in their blog traffic, social media engagement, visitor-to-lead conversion rates and inbound customer acquisition results.
Types of Visual Content to Create:
- Infographics These can be embedded in blog posts, and shared on social media.
- SlideShares Some social media managers focus a lot of energy on SlideShare as a channel and create content exclusively for it.
- Video Whether for YouTube or a blog post embed, short videos for the sake of entertainment or education can help you diversify your content portfolio and improve your SEO.
There is no use of creating an awesome content if no one knows about it.So here comes the crucial part of distributing the awesome created content. It’s all about making sure the content you create gets found by the widest audience possible.
So let’s explore the most valuable channels you have at your disposal for distributing your content.
Your job is to make sure as much content as possible appears as high up on page one as possible. This means your writers should be working closely with your SEO specialist to determine what keywords to go after — ideally a combination of long tail terms and head terms, at an appropriate level of competitiveness given your domain authority and how aggressively you can go after the terms. Of course, that content should also be optimized for on-page SEO to improve its chances of ranking highly.
Google’s algorithm considers social signals as one of its most important ranking factors, Social media is essential during two key content marketing processes:
- Listening to your audience to understand what they care about, so you can create content that they will find engaging and relevant
- Distributing content
You should also invest in growing your presence on social networks so that the content you share reaches an ever-growing audience. Your online network will help in the content spread, so the larger the networks, the better your content’s distribution.
To minimize wasted efforts, time, and data, it’s essential to spend time in developing a unified and comprehensive social media marketing strategy
Email lists are marketer’s most treasured assets and they’re a smart way to drive traffic, conversions, and re-conversions on your content. No content distribution strategy is complete without email. Mailchimp, in addition to having one of the best brands out there, leads the way when it comes to email distribution. The service allows you to send well-designed marketing emails, automated messages, and targeted campaigns. These emails are then tracked through detailed analytics reports, so you can continuously improve your email campaigns over time.
Pay per click (PPC) & Social Ads
Pay per click advertising & Social media ads work, and they’re cheaper than really any traditional advertising option. Each network brings its own advantages and audiences, but all businesses can and probably should tap into some form of social media advertising as part of their content distribution strategy.In fact, targeted spend can help certain pieces of content get unprecedented amplification when you find an efficient CPC.
How to measure content marketing success
Content cannot be measured with a single metric because no one data point can successfully or satisfactorily tell you whether your program is working. Instead, you need to create an array of metrics that are selected from four primary buckets.Following key metrics might be used to determine success.
- Brand awareness: share of voice; website traffic; impressions; reach; video views; mentions
- Engagement: Likes, shares, comments, retweets, etc; blog comments; link clicks; inbound links generated
- Lead generation: form completions/downloads; email subscriptions; blog subscriptions; conversion rates; cost per conversion
- Customer retention/loyalty: Brand evangelists; Net Promoter Score (NPS); customer retention rate; customer reviews
Click to know more in detail about Measuring success.
Was this guide helpful? What other topics would you like to see us cover? Let us know in the comment section below.