What is content marketing?
Content Marketing is a digital marketing strategy that uses new and existing content on your website to attract and retain website visitors.
As a society, we have become immune to traditional advertisements and direct selling tactics. As soon as we realise we are ‘being sold to’, we switch off. Traditional sales tactics have become white noise. It’s now common for visitors to actively stop buying from a brand because their marketing is too ‘interruptive’.
Consumers are also much more accustomed to false claims and are wary of a degree of deceit from some companies so even though you may be 100% safe and legit, the consumer will come with scepticism if you’re not creative and clever with your marketing. This is where content marketing comes in.
If you’ve heard people talk about content marketing, you will usually have heard them describe blog posts or perhaps even video content. These are possibly the most effective way of harnessing content marketing, however, the strategy can also include podcasts, slideshows, eBook, whitepapers and dozens more formats. The reason why you are more likely to hear about blogs and videos is because this type of content is often the most cost-effective and the most engaging.
So what’s the general idea?
The idea is that you create blog posts (or any other form of content) that your target audience will find useful. By providing your customers with something of value, you quickly become known as an ‘industry thought leader’, providing useful, relevant and reliable information.
In effect, you are giving your customers and clients your expertise for free.
We recommend that where appropriate, you should always try to include a ‘blog’ section on your website where you can easily upload your blog articles, guides and other content.
What benefits can content marketing bring to your business?
If you create great content and promote it successfully, a few things should happen.
Your existing customers will find your blog posts and your relationship with them will improve because you have given them something valuable. They are then more likely to return and use your products and services.
If you produce great content, your blog posts may also be shared via social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter. These will reach the friends and connections of your existing customers and can result in more traffic being directed to your website.
At some point, Google will also find your blog posts and will place them somewhere in their search results pages. So when somebody searches for the topic in your blog post, yours may appear for them to click through, resulting in even more traffic to your website.
At Statement, we created a useful guide called ‘ 5 Creative & Cost Effective Video Content Ideas”, and now whenever somebody searches on Google for ‘cost effective video ideas’ - our blog post appears top of the list, as you can see below:
If these things happen, you can easily have a regular stream of traffic from prospective new customers and clients.
Of course, you can exchange the word ‘blog post’ for ‘video’ or ‘podcast’ and create any kind of content for your audiences. The more varied and engaging your content is, the better.
What makes ‘great content’?
Your content needs to be original, engaging and should give value to your readers. Amongst other things, this is how the Google algorithms will determine whether your content is worthy of appearing in search results pages. It will also determine whether your readers will be inclined to share your content with others.
What do you need to consider?
When using content marketing as part of a digital marketing plan, there are a number of things that should be considered:
- What kind of format will you want to produce? You will probably want to begin with blog posts or video and perhaps move onto other things, such as eBooks in the future, once you feel more confident;
- How often will you want to create and distribute content? Content marketing works best when it is regular and consistent. Will you post monthly, weekly or even daily?;
- How are you going to implement search engine optimisation (SEO)? This is the practice of using strategies to get new visitors through search engine results. This includes making sure you have relevant keywords in your content and making sure other key parties link to your content where appropriate.
What do you need to implement content marketing?
Lots of people are trying to implement content marketing, but many fail without the appropriate consideration, planning and monitoring.
First of all, whoever creates your content needs to be up-to-date with the latest industry knowledge if your content is going to be successful. They should also be up to date with the latest content marketing trends in order to convey key messages in the most efficient way.
Content marketing strategies constantly evolve for many reasons:
1. The attention span of audiences are quickly decreasing, so whoever creates your content needs to know how to engage your audience;
2. Audiences are bombarded with more and more content on a daily basis, so there is more competition than ever before. Because of this, whoever creates your content needs to differentiate it from that of your competitors;
3. Google constantly changes its algorithms, so if you want to appear high on search results, you need to get somebody involved who is up to date with latest SEO practices.
Basically, whoever creates your content needs to know their stuff!
Content marketing can also take a considerable amount of time. Whilst it may only take an hour or two to create a great draft of a blog post, it can take a lot longer for blog posts to get shared multiple times on social media and it can take even longer for blog posts to rank favourably in search results.
Content marketing is becoming one of the fastest-growing and most popular marketing strategies on the landscape. This is because it can really engage your customer base and help to position you as an industry leader.
The graph above shows the increase in people simply searching for the term ‘content marketing’. The popularity of content marketing has increased dramatically and this is due to the success that it can bring a business through driving web traffic and building trust in your brand.
The next blog post in the series is about the power of email marketing so click below to read that and don't forget to sign up to our newsletter on the right!