Marketing used to involve a lot interruptions. Marketers and advertisers placed ads in newspapers to spread the word about a product or service.
Other efforts were subtler, such as paying celebrities to endorse a brand or showing a favorite character using a specific dish soap. Others were more in line with today’s content marketing: educational brochures placed on front desks, checklists sent to your home, and sponsored articles published in popular magazines.
The Rise and Fall Of the Content Farm
The internet was a great place to produce cheap, high-quality content quickly. Companies realized that they could get new customers by answering customer questions, rather than producing expensive printed materials.
Many businesses “hack” the system using shady SEO techniques to get their useless content higher up on search results pages.
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Google was quick to catch on and started rewarding quality content and punishing junk. Marketers today face a unique challenge, but also a chance. The internet has made it easier for consumers to access more information. Consumers can decide which media they want and which ones they prefer to ignore.
What is the solution? Content marketing.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing aims to be the media customers love to consume. Content marketing does not interrupt a TV program, but it is the TV program.
Content marketing doesn’t have to be limited to one media type. It can span many channels and formats, with new ones being created every day.
Content marketing can be:
- Loose-leaf printed material
- Movie, TV Show, or YouTube Episode
- Video game
- Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn post
- Interactive content such as quizzes or interactive content
Why Content Marketing is Important
Let’s now discuss what content marketing is and why it is so important. Content marketing is designed to engage and attract consumers while also creating value for businesses using a content marketing strategy. Here are some questions we can answer.
How can you build loyalty between customers and businesses?
Loyalty is about showing customers that your business values them more than just customers. You can monitor feedback channels and provide solutions for common problems. You can make them feel special by making sure they are valued customers and highlighting their accomplishments. Customers can share their experiences and ideas with others.
How can you increase conversions?
Conversions occur when the target audience completes the desired action (e.g., clicking on an advertisement, reading a blog or purchasing a product or service). Make sure you use a clear call-to-action (CTA), and mention a trusted authority figure.
How can you build a sense community around a brand’s products?
First, identify the brand beyond your products and services to create a sense community. Define what makes people emotionally invested in your brand. Find your audience and use your content marketing strategies to engage them. Give them reasons to keep coming back. Encourage new conversations and respond to questions.
How can you demonstrate to your audience that your products and/or services solve their problems?
You must first understand the problems of your prospects before you can show them how your products and services solve them. Customers and employees in sales, support and service can provide information. Use images and videos to demonstrate specific uses of tools and apps. Make sure to let the audience know what your needs are.
What are the benefits of content marketing?
Companies and customers both benefit from effective content marketing. What value can content marketing bring to companies?
Client’s lifetime value (CLV), increases
The lifetime value of a client is the amount of revenue that they generate throughout their entire relationship with the company. You want your client to come back to you for more of your products and services. Clients will be interested in quality content that is relevant and useful.
Lowers customer acquisition costs (CAC).
Customer acquisition cost (CAC), is the cost of acquiring a client through marketing and sales. A good piece of content can reach large audiences and produce results over time. This lowers the CAC. This allows the sales team to concentrate on client contact and personalization.
If you offer content that answers customers’ questions but they have to fill out a form to access it, this information is called a lead. The information can be viewed and decided if the lead will become a client. Customers will come to you because of the content.
Increased coverage leads to more sales
Content marketing allows you to have a smaller number of pieces of content that has greater coverage. This increases the chance of sales. Content marketing can reach more customers than salespeople could, and it is always available. Targeting potential customers with targeted content can help drive the audience to the sale or final decision.
Site traffic grows
Growing site traffic is all about content creation. Search engine optimization (SEO), and keyword optimization are key components of generating search traffic from a good piece of content. If you optimize content and make sure that it is useful and satisfying, people will find it. This will increase their interest in it. Promote relevant content via email marketing campaigns or social media to increase brand awareness and drive more traffic to your site.
Leading brands use content marketing
Do you remember the Coca-Cola commercial that asked everyone to search for the Coca-Cola can or bottle bearing their name? Did you ever “Share a Coca-Cola” with anyone? This was a prime example illustrating the power of content marketing and a great idea. Coca-Cola Australia discovered that young people admired the brand’s iconic status, but didn’t feel it spoke to them. It is better to have open conversations with an audience than broadcast advertising. The company’s content marketing strategy was based on three elements: storytelling and consumer-generated content. It also emphasized a consistent brand experience. Coca-Cola now has almost 1.7 million Facebook fans and the campaign was used in over 70 countries.
Porsche wanted to influence the future car buying habits of Gen Z and millennial consumers. In a collaboration storytelling partnership, they used branded content like The Art of Drive to give a glimpse into the lives of innovators and creators. This included a Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and a tech founder. They used branded videos and interviews, panel discussions and editorial articles in Conde Nast magazines, which combined digital and traditional marketing. These stories were created to encourage aspiring creators to follow their dreams. Porsche hopes that these creators will consider Porsche when they are able to afford a car.
Marketing should be based on useful content
There are many opinions on what constitutes useful content. It is important to understand the needs of your audience before you can create useful content. What are their frustrations, needs, and challenges? It is not about what you can do to help the customer, but what you can do to help the customer. It should be entertaining and educational. It must also help the company achieve its goals.
This can be complicated. According to research from business-to-consumer content marketing, it is difficult to create content that appeals diverse segments of a target audience. Each business must define what content is valuable to them. Sometimes, content is valuable to the audience but not for conversion. Sometimes content is useful but not effective in converting customers.
Whatever content type you use, blog posts or social media posts aside, consistent content will keep your brand, product or service front and center. Google Analytics provides data that can help you determine what your target audience considers to be useful content. Consistent, quality content will draw and retain a defined audience and eventually result in a conversion.
Your Content Marketing Strategy
Like any other digital marketing strategy your content marketing strategy should be linked to your larger business goals. Do you want to launch a new product or expand into new markets? Or do you want to increase customer loyalty and enhance customer lifetime value? Identify your business goals and you can then create the framework for your content-marketing strategy.
Next, think about the topics that are relevant to your business and how you can connect them to your main business goal. For example, if you are a nursery that sells plants and wants to increase brand awareness, your topics could be “landscaping”, “vegetable gardening”, “annuals” or “perennials.”
Before you dive into the details of what you will create, it is important to identify and get to know your target audience. Remember that content marketing is about the people who consume your content and not you. It isn’t effective content marketing if it doesn’t provide entertainment, information, or education.
Knowing Your Audience
Good content marketing is all about defining your audience and tailoring your content accordingly. This is perhaps the most difficult part of content marketing, but also the most important. There are many ways to gather information about your target audience’s beliefs, interests, and problems.
- Talk to your sales team. No matter how small or large your sales team, they interact more frequently with prospects than any other. Your sales teams will be able to identify common objections, questions and concerns of your leads and provide insight into what drives customers to purchase.
- The data is important. To learn more about your visitors to your website, what pages they like, and what search terms lead them to your site, create a Google Analytics account. You can use Google Search Console for basic keyword research, or you can opt for a paid service such as SEMrush and Moz for more detailed functionality.
- Do primary research online. Your audience’s behavior on social media, review websites, and forums can reveal a lot about their issues. This can be a great tool to brainstorm content ideas.
- Contact them. Content Marketing Institute reports that only 43% B2B content marketers speak to customers directly. Open conversations are the best way to obtain accurate and current information. For feedback, you can conduct a survey, panel, focus group, or contact individual customers.
Once you have data about your target market, create customer-persona documents for your content marketing team. This will make your writers and designers very happy. However, a clear definition will help you in the next step of your content marketing efforts: choosing what types of content to create.
Content planning for content marketing
Marketers can make the biggest mistake of creating a bunch of different content pieces and publishing them all at once.
Even though they may be related in subject matter, their impact on your business will not be the same if they don’t relate to each other and work together to move customers through your sales funnel.
Your marketing funnel should guide your content production to get the best out of your strategy. Certain types of content are better for closing a sale than others.
Top Funnel Content
This content is for cold leads and prospects. These are people who have not heard of you, or don’t know enough to make a purchase decision.
Your potential customers should be excited about engaging with your business by reading top-funnel content. This phase is where humor, authenticity, and uniqueness are key. Top-funnel content has two main goals: to generate leads and nurture prospects. These are the types content that perform well as top-funnel content:
- Blog posts
- Lead magnets (valuable and free resources)
- Explainer videos
- Newsletters that are helpful and/or interesting
Check out our video series to learn more about using content marketing to attract new customers through content marketing.
Middle Funnel Content
Your brand is well-known but not yet purchased by middle-funnel customers. They might not be able to fully comprehend your product or service, or see how it will improve their lives.
As a content marketer, your job is to help prospects in the middle of the funnel weigh their options and provide a deeper understanding about your products. This is the best content for the middle funnel:
- Flyers and one-pagers
- Software downloads
- Educational resources
- Emails from coupon or discount club
Bottom Funnel Content
Customers in the bottom funnel have their credit cards in hand and are ready for purchase – but they haven’t pulled that trigger. These customers may be former customers, who might be thinking about buying again.
Bottom-funnel content should be focused on securing the sale. It should demonstrate why you are trusted, exceptional value or the best at what your company does. It should encourage existing customers to return for more.
- Newsletters for companies
- Case studies
- Landing pages
- Demo videos
- Reward programs
- Trials are free
- Postal and direct mail
Learn More: Try these Content Marketing Ideas
Writing creative briefs: The nitty-gritty
After you have identified the content that you require for each stage of your funnel’s stages, it is time to start writing your creative briefs. You can have a brief of any length, from one paragraph to several pages, as long as it clearly explains to your designers, writers, video editors and other professionals what you want to receive. These are some of the things you should include:
Headline or Title : You can plan your headlines, video titles and lead magnet titles based on what topics you are interested in or which keywords you prefer to focus on. Your title should be clear and concise. Prospects won’t read it even if you have great content.
Final format – What will the final piece look? What format is it? A blog post, PDF or printed eBook? Are you looking for video content? You can specify whether final files or design files are required for design content.
Distribution channels – Where will this content go? You could have it on your website, guest posting on a media site, YouTube or a podcast platform. A Facebook organic post requires different technical requirements and best practice than an Instagram post. So be clear about your expectations.
Word count: How long should it be if it is a written piece? Blog posts can be anywhere from 800 to 1500 words, while long-form content could range from 2,000 to tens or thousands of words.
Description and purpose: What is the content about? What questions should the content answer and how should it make the reader or viewer feel after they have viewed it?
Call for action: What should the prospect do after reviewing your content? Send an email, click a button or make a purchase?
References – If you have transcriptions from SME calls, URLs for reference URLs, images from Pinterest or Shutterstock (for designing projects), or any other information that will help your creative group see your vision, please include it.
Learn more: How to create a list of blog topics
How to create high-quality content marketing
We believe that content marketing success is more about quality than quantity in 2019. You will see the greatest return on your investment when you create top-quality content.
These are some tips to help you create content that is successful:
Keep in mind that you only get what you pay. Many content farms are still in the ground, charging very low for content creation. This comes at a steep price. Your content can be perceived negatively by others if it is unclear or poorly designed.
Focus on specialists and not generalists. It is easier than ever for you to find the right person with the experience and skills that you need. To find the right contractor, use freelance platforms such as PeoplePerHour and Upwork.
Measure, improve and share your content with the world. Use the tools you already have.
Do not be promotional. Content marketing is not about promotion. Ads are there for promotion, but even these ads are moving towards a customer-centric approach. You’ll create something that’s worth sharing and reading if you focus on your customer’s world.
Do the only thing you can. Having answers online is not enough to convince prospects. Share your unique viewpoint or story – no one else has the same gift. Your content marketing should have a unique touch that your audience will not find elsewhere.