What Is Content Marketing? complete guide

Content marketing is a marketing technique that uses relevant articles, videos, podcasts, and other media to acquire, engage, and keep an audience. This strategy builds expertise, raises brand recognition, and keeps your company front of mind when it comes to purchasing what you offer.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is the creation and dissemination of relevant, valuable content to current and potential customers, including as blogs, newsletters, white papers, social media posts, emails, videos, and the like. When done correctly, this content displays competence while also demonstrating that a corporation appreciates the individuals to whom it sells.

Consistent usage of content marketing builds and develops relationships with both new and existing customers. When your target audience perceives your company as a partner invested in their success and a valued source of information and direction, they are more likely to pick you when the time comes to buy.

Why it’s important

Content marketing is a tried-and-true strategy. It also gives you a competitive advantage. Consider the following data on content marketing:

  • Blogs generate 67 percent more leads than other businesses.
  • Before connecting with a sales representative, 47% of buyers view 3 to 5 pieces of material.
  • Companies that use content marketing grow at a rate that is approximately 30% greater than firms that do not.
  • According to 72% of business-to-business (B2B) marketers, content marketing enhances engagement and the number of leads generated.

How content marketing works

Content marketing may help your company generate leads, build a case for your service or item when an individual is deciding what to buy, and close sales.

To use it effectively, you must provide the appropriate content at every stage of the sales cycle, from notice to evaluation to sale. Don’t worry if this sounds complex: addressing content in this manner actually simplifies the process.

Here’s how businesses utilise content marketing to connect and sell at each phase of the sales cycle.

Awareness stage

At the beginning of the sales process, your content should address your audience’s key concerns. Writing about their problems, difficulties, and concerns provides you the best chance of engaging with them. The content at the awareness level should be educational and how-to in nature. Save your selling for the phases of contemplation and closure.

Articles, blog entries, e-books, videos, and newsletters are the best types of material for this stage.

Examples:

  • In the spring, a restaurant produces a blog article about how to design a menu for a graduation party.
  • A bike touring firm produces a short film titled “3 Ways to Choose the Right Bike Trip.”
  • A design business publishes an e-book titled “Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Architect.”

Consideration stage

Content in the consideration stage should include a mix of useful information and promotion. It should inform the reader about which features or functionalities to search for and how different features satisfy their demands. Of course, your material should be geared toward what your company has to offer.

Case studies, how-to articles, how-to videos, and checklists/worksheets are ideal at this stage.

Examples:

  • A cloud-based phone system provider develops a checklist named “8 Ways to Improve Your Phone Customer Care” that outlines the capabilities and functionalities that enable exceptional customer service.
  • Case studies about “The Biggest Mistakes Most People Make When Hiring a Landscaper” are created by a landscaping company.
  • Case studies of successful events with a focus on the benefits they provide, such as “How to Accommodate Food Allergies at Your Next Event” or “How to Ensure Your Caterer Uses Sustainable Practices,” are featured by a catering firm.

Closing stage

When a prospect is on the verge of making a purchase, content marketing is critical. At this point, you can concentrate on sales as long as you continue to emphasise why you’re the greatest option rather than just how good your services or products are.

Your main message should be your expertise, knowledge, and the unique benefits of what you sell.

Case studies, user-generated content, a buyer’s guide, a product film, and a research report are all good options for this stage.

Examples:

  • A consulting firm creates a research report demonstrating that organisations that engage in strategic planning, external assessments, and other services—defined by the services they provide—experience higher growth.
  • To highlight its wide capabilities, a design studio develops short videos showcasing the variance in its work across various industries.
  • An orthodontist office encourages patients to provide testimonials about its cutting-edge technology and exceptional service.

How to get started with content marketing

Content marketing might be intimidating, but it does not have to be. A effective content marketing plan must be controllable and long-term. To begin, follow these steps:

Determine your target audience. To produce content for a specific reader, you must first understand their priorities, issues, and preferences. Choose one or two segments to write for if you have extensive descriptions of them. Otherwise, before you begin, create profiles of your audience members and prospects.
Choose the appropriate formats. The appropriate format is determined by the stage of the sales cycle for which you are providing material. Another crucial factor to consider is what formats will best assist you demonstrate value. For some, this will be a film, while for others, it will be a checklist.

Choose someone to write, edit, and proofread your copy. Your audience will judge the quality of your content, and they should. Determine the best internally or externally resource to perform this work. Hire a professional proofreader to check anything that goes out the door, regardless of who created it.
Determine your distribution strategy. Will you publish content on your website, send it via email, or print it for an event? Begin with “where” you think your audience will be, and then select forms that make sense. For example, an article is appropriate for sending through email, a checklist or worksheet is appropriate for posting on social media, and a buyer’s guide is a smart follow-up to a pitch.

Choose a schedule that will last. It’s simple to create an excessively ambitious content marketing strategy. Develop a short-term (3-6 months) plan for a realistic quantity of content items you can create based on your budget and resources once you’ve identified your target readers and formats. Keep note of how long it takes you to develop each piece of content so that you can plan accordingly.
Adhere to excellent practises. Content that is compelling is clearly written, with no jargon that only you and your peers will understand. It should also offer how-to information. The finest material is succinct, relevant, and actionable.

Five Content Marketing Examples

There are as many different sorts of content marketing as there are different types of content—far too many to list here. My goal is to introduce you to content marketing and get you thinking like a content marketer so you can identify possibilities everywhere. You’ll soon be generating 50 content marketing ideas every day. You’ll find yourself always looking for new ways to create content. Here are five instances to get your mind working.

Infographics. These are typically long, vertical drawings containing statistics, charts, graphs, and other data. If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are 197 infographics on content marketing selected by Michael Schmitz, head the Content Lab at P&g, Munich. Graphs can be effective since a good one can be shared via social media and posted on sites for years. You can get a professionally produced infographic by employing a contractor on a site like upwork, or you could go with a firm like Visua.ly to remove some of the risk. A good infographic should cost at least $1,000 to produce, but it can cost many thousand dollars if you hire a contractor or agency to incorporate strategy and planning, research, authoring, and design. There’s also the issue of getting that infographic in front of blogs and the media. You may also create a Pinterest board and compile infographics on a topic relating to your business. That is also a type of content marketing, and it only costs you your time. It worked for Michael, after all.

Webpages. What’s the distinction between a regular webpage and a content marketing webpage? Consider Moz’s The Beginner’s Guide to SEO, a provider of SEO tools and information. This free resource has been seen millions of times, resulting in numerous consumers who would not have discovered Moz and the services they provide otherwise. Consider a case study from of the design studio Teehan+Lax. The majority of case studies are tedious. Their case studies are enthralling. That is the distinction between merely posting material to your website and content marketing.

Podcasts. Michael Hyatt, best-selling author of Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, lives what he teaches. His podcast “This is Your Life” gets downloaded 250,000 times every month. “A podcast gives you awareness in a completely other world—primarily iTunes,” Hyatt writes in his blog piece 4 Reasons You Should Consider Launching Your Own Podcast. I’ve had a slew of new fans tell me they’d never heard of me before discovering me on iTunes.” In his podcast, Hyatt provides useful information and guidance for free. However, that podcast leads to increased book sales, course registrations, and invitations for him to speak.

Videos. Take a peek at Gary Vaynerchuk’s YouTube channel to see how he uses internet video for content marketing. He began by making films to advertise his family’s wine shop, and through those videos and other forms of online marketing, he eventually grew it to a $45 million empire. People believe that videos and podcasts are an expensive and difficult form of content marketing. However, with the decreasing cost of professional grade equipment, producing high quality video and audio content is easier than ever. Amateur video content marketing has been used to sell blenders, introduce new dentistry goods, and promote Hong Kong immigration consultation services. What video could you create for your firm that could change its fortunes overnight?

Books. People frequently think of books as selling themselves, as they do movies, but effective marketers don’t sell more books just to sell books; they sell a book as promotional tool. While I’m certain Michael Port loves selling his book, Book Yourself Solid is a mechanism for attracting customers to his tutoring and speaking services. Although self-publishing has made it easier than ever to produce a book, there is still a widespread belief that it is difficult and that only respected professionals can do so. Publish your own, and even if no one reads it, you can utilise it as digital marketing every time you’re presented as the “Author of…”

How Do I Get Started?

Many companies provide content marketing services, which are frequently combined with SEO or PR. If you’re simply too busy to do it yourself and don’t have the resources to manage it in-house, hiring a firm may be your best alternative. However, if you want to get started with your own content marketing, the simplest option is to start blogging. It will most likely be difficult at first, but the more you do it, the better you will become. You’ll rapidly discover how to create content for your website or blog that will interest readers and convert them into customers or clients if you follow advice from websites like Copyblogger. However, while technically superb writing and catchy headlines can help,

Great Content

If you’ve ever slogged your way through a piece of marketing and only completed because you had to, you’ve encountered poor content marketing. When I talk to businesses about content marketing, I remind them that content is good if people want to read it. If they’re prepared to pay to read it, the content is fantastic. Look at what you’ve recently paid to read, watch, or listen to for fantastic instances of content. If you saw The Lego Movie this year, you witnessed one of the most brilliant examples of content marketing to date. Oh, you believed that movie was made to sell movie tickets? Consider again.

The #1 Secret of Content Marketing

Increase the value. That is the key. It’s not exactly a secret. We’ve already discussed it in this article. However, when you look at some of the marketing strategies used by firms, you wonder if they are avoiding the obvious on purpose. When advertising gives little to no value, we avoid it. Find a skateboarder and offer to observe him look through a skateboard magazine if you want to learn about effective advertising. You’ll notice that he spends just as much time looking at the advertising as he does the articles and photographs. Alternatively, visit The Berrics’ website.

Most of the content is advertising, but skaters don’t skip them; rather watch them with the other videos because they’re receiving the quality they want—good skating. As a skater, I’d like to claim that skate companies pioneered digital marketing generations earlier, but I realize they were just doing what came easily, and selling more stuff was second to the fun and creating movies and publications. Hiring a skateboarder might not be a bad idea if you want to add someone to your marketing division who understands digital marketing naturally.

If you’re not certain how you can add value via digital marketing, tell your loyal clients what kind of material you can create that would be useful to them now or when they are looking for you solution or service. They will inform you.

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