According to data released by Statista, the United States had around 298.8 million active internet users as of January 2021. The number of active mobile internet users stood at 269.5 million, and there were a total of 240 million active social media users. As a brand that’s hoping to grow, this presents a great opportunity of becoming a part of what your target audience is reading, watching, or listening, or talking about. What’s important to achieve desired results is that you have an effective content marketing strategy in place.
A study conducted across five countries highlights that daily consumption of online content has increased from an average of around 3 hours and 20 minutes before the COVID-19 pandemic set into just under 7 hours. It suggests that 44% consumers give new brands a go after watching relevant ads. It also points out that younger consumers show a preference toward social media ads.
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Given the vast population of internet users across age groups, socio-economic classes, and geographies, businesses now have means to reach out to their target audiences in a quick and efficient manner. It comes as no surprise, then, that 84% businesses had content marketing strategies in 2020. Unfortunately, only 11% felt their efforts delivered excellent results.
One common problem that most content marketing managers face is that of oversaturation. In this highly digitalized world, the internet is awash with blogs, videos, podcasts, and other types of content that do not have any takers. To get it right, businesses need to deliver their well-planned content through the right channels by relying on structured content marketing strategies. Then, they may expect a boost in traffic to their websites as well as increased sales.
What is Content Marketing?
According to Lexito’s content marketing definition, content marketing is “a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.” Simply put, it refers to a strategy through which a business creates relevant and valuable content with the aim of engaging with its target audience organically.
The long-term aim of content marketing is to attract new customers and boost sales. In the short-term, the goal is to deliver valuable content regularly and to get your audiences interested in more. Any successful content marketing manager will tell you that it’s important to acknowledge the audience’s presence and make it feel heard. Your audience needs to know that you understand its pain points, and you need to work on building trust in the products/services you provide.
Types of Content Marketing
Irrespective of the type of content marketing you use, your aim should be to build your brand’s reputation and trust. For instance, if you’re relying on email marketing as one subset of your overall content marketing strategy, it should offer value to readers that other similar emails do not. While content marketing is far-reaching in scope and can make use of different tools, types of content marketing boil down to five basic categories.
- Written content. This can come in the form of blog posts, landing pages, case studies, press releases, white papers, answers to frequently asked questions, instructional guides, and emails.
- Graphics. These include logos, infographics, charts, call to action (CTA) buttons, and suitable use of color schemes.
- Videos. Videos may include vlogs, behind-the-scene brand stories, customer testimonials, instructional guides, webinars, live feed to events, and virtual reality (VR) tours.
- Audio. Audio-related content marketing examples include podcasts, interviews, and ads on online audio streaming services such as Spotify and Amazon Music.
- Social media. Social media presents a great opportunity for content marketing through user-generated content, sponsored content, customer reviews, celebrity endorsements, contests, and hashtags. Popular social media platforms that businesses turn to for content marketing include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Content Marketing Channels You May Use
You may consider any avenue that you use to share your content as a channel. Determining which channels will be the most effective in delivering your message is crucial for running a successful content marketing strategy. The different channels you may employ include:
- Organic searches. Organic traffic refers to the web traffic you generate through search engines such as Google and Bing without the use of paid advertisements. By providing relevant and useful content that is created keeping search engine optimization (SEO) in mind, you increase the possibility of ranking high when users conduct searches related to the subject matter at hand.
- Paid searches. Traffic that comes through this channel is the result of showcasing your content through carefully crafted paid ads on prominent websites and/or search engines.
- Social media platforms. These include popular platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Pinterest.
- Emails. Well-crafted, relevant, and useful emails have a long history of working as an effective content marketing tool. By delivering your message via emails, you get the ability to capture an audience that has already demonstrated some interest in your brand (by signing up for them in the first place).
- Link building. Link building involves an online platform that links to your website/content and sends web traffic your way. This aspect plays an important role in SEO and can work as a rather effective way to boost traffic to your website.
How Your Brand May Benefit By Content Marketing
Irrespective of which industry your brand belongs to, content marketing gives it a cost-effective way to boost the results of its overall marketing efforts. Benefits of content marketing include:
Creating relevant and useful content gives your brand easy means to build long-term relationships with your target audience. When you build trust, it has a direct effect on improving your brand’s reputation. Engaging with your audience remains an ongoing exercise, through which you keep it interested in your existing and upcoming offerings. The content you provide helps foster positive customer experiences, which is always good for your brand’s bottom line.
Generating Leads and Increasing Conversions
Content marketing gives you the ability to share information with your target audience in a streamlined, engaging, and compelling manner. Content marketing managers often look at this as a highly cost-effective way to generate new leads. They do this by providing content with engaging CTAs that capture your audience’s attention.
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When done right, online content marketing has a positive effect on conversion rates as well. This is because it lets you connect and share information with your audience directly – be it new leads or existing customers. If you can manage to provide valuable content consistently, you get to influence your audience so it may make well-informed decisions surrounding the value your brand provides. Once your audience gets a good indication of what your business is and what it stands for, there’s an increased possibility of it investing in your brand.
Improving SEO Effectiveness
People who ask “What is content marketing in SEO?” should know that the former can help improve the effectiveness of the latter. SEO has an important role to play in the online visibility and accessibility of your brand, which is why it is important to use content that highlights your brand’s value. By creating and publishing SEO-based content regularly, you get to increase your brand’s online presence. This is why most prominent websites have blogs through which they offer content that their audiences might find useful. More often than not, content provided through blog posts is optimized for search engines.
Creating a variety of online content helps your brand build its reputation. By offering high-quality content regularly, you get to build respect. While the content you provide can help differentiate your brand from its competitors, it can also help you in showcasing your expertise. Over time, this helps you establish yourself as an industry expert and your audience will look at you as a form of credible authority. With consumers becoming increasingly conscious about where their money is going, establishing a sense of authority can go a long way in boosting your business.
Coming Up With a Good Content Marketing Strategy
Any content marketing strategy is only as good as the results it produces. Formulating an effective strategy requires paying attention to different aspects. While there is no set strategy to follow, some factors remain the same across all good content marketing strategies.
Setting Uniformity Across the Brand
If multiple people speak on behalf of your brand, it’s important that they maintain the same voice, tone, language, and personality. Businesses that have no set protocols in place may benefit by taking a look at what industry leaders are doing right. While your content marketing strategy should account for your audience and employees, it should also factor in other stakeholders such as suppliers and vendors.
Assessing Resources and Capabilities
The lack of a standard content marketing definition results in several businesses being unsure about what marketing strategy to employ, and they end up spending valuable resources in the process. Determining the right content marketing fit and identifying what’s in and out of scope gives marketers the ability to focus on the right combination of resources for formulating and executing their strategies.
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After you establish which type of content you wish to do extremely well in, you need to address aspects such as what your content marketing budget is and how you wish to break it down, who will create the content, the types of creative specialties you are looking look for, and the technologies and processes that might come into play when implementing your strategy. At this stage, it’s important that you take complete stock of the resources and capabilities you already have access to, so you may then look for external help accordingly.
Setting Clear Objectives
Your brand’s content marketing requirements help determine its key performance indicators (KPIs) and goals. Different types of content with relevant metrics may come in the form of content that caters to building brand awareness and consumer perception; content that focuses on performance marketing through a variety of promotional content; content that caters specifically to local markets; as well as content that relates to specific business objectives surrounding products, pricing, promotions, and placement.
Creating Customer Personas
A number of successful businesses now create customer personas (semi-fictional representations of their ideal customers) based on data and research. This gives you the ability to focus your marketing efforts on qualified prospects and to develop products that align with the needs of your target audience. Factors that go into creating customer personas include age, gender, income, location, marital status, employment status, personal values, likes, dislikes, needs, and media preferences.
When it comes to getting customer insight, data and research play vital roles. This can come in the form of data from your own research, historical data, and data acquired from third parties.
Mapping Customer Journey
A journey map comes from your customers’ perspective and gives you an indication of how they progress when interacting with your brand. In this fast-paced world, a customer may switch from one stage to another depending on a range of factors, and might even skip a touchpoint or more completely.
Following a Streamlined Process
Effective content marketing requires following an iterative process from the creative stage to putting forth your content. Grouping your content into separate sections is a good idea, as is creating and following a best practices approach to deal with different types of content.
When handled in the right manner, content marketing can help boost your business’s online presence as well as overall sales. However, creating and implementing a content marketing strategy requires considerable research and planning, which is why several small and mid-sized businesses steer clear of taking this path. Fortunately, expert help is available more easily than you might imagine. Besides, when you get a content marketing agency to work on boosting your business online, you get to focus on the internal working of your business.