Content marketing is a marketing technique that uses relevant articles, videos, podcasts, and other media to attract, engage, and retain an audience. This strategy creates expertise, raises brand awareness, and keeps your company at the top of mind when it comes time to buy what you sell.
What is content marketing
Content marketing is the creation and dissemination of relevant, valuable content to current and potential customers, such 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 non-blogging businesses.
- Before engaging with a sales representative, 47% of buyers view 3 to 5 pieces of content.
- Companies that use content marketing see approximately 30 percent higher growth rates than businesses not using it.
- According to 72% of business-to-business (B2B) marketers, content marketing increases engagement and the number of leads generated.
How content marketing works
Content marketing may help your company generate leads, build a case for your product or service when someone is deciding what to buy, and close sales.
To use it effectively, you must provide the appropriate content at each stage of the sales cycle, from awareness to consideration to purchase. Don’t worry if this sounds complicated: approaching content in this manner actually simplifies the process.
Here’s how businesses utilise content marketing to engage and sell at each stage of the sales cycle.
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. At the awareness level, the content should be educational and provide how-to advice. 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.
- 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 firm publishes an e-book titled “Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Architect.”
During the consideration stage, content should provide a combination of useful information and marketing. It should inform the reader about which features or functionalities to search for and how different features fulfil their needs. 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 the best content for this stage.
- 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.
- A landscaping company develops case studies on “The Biggest Mistakes Most People Make When Hiring a Landscaper.”
- 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.
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.
- 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 business encourages patients to provide testimonials about its cutting-edge technology and exceptional service.
How to get started with content marketing?
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by content marketing, but it doesn’t 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.
- Determine the appropriate forms. 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.
- Decide who will write, edit, and proofread your copy. Your content’s quality will be judged by an audience, as it should be. Determine the best internal or external resource to create this work. Hire a professional proofreader to check anything before it goes out the door, regardless of who created it.
- Determine how you’ll divide. Will you publish content on your website, send it via email, or print it for an event? Begin with “where” you know your audience is most likely to be, and then select forms that make sense. For example, an article is appropriate to distribute via email, a checklist or worksheet can be shared on social media, and a buyer’s guide is an appropriate follow-up to a pitch.
- Choose a schedule that is long-term. 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.
- Be daring and adhere to best practices. 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 best type of material is one that is brief, relevant, and actionable.
SEO and Social Media
Content marketing makes it simple for qualified prospects to find your company. Search engine optimization is one method for accomplishing this (SEO).
There is a wealth of SEO information available, but to get started, concentrate on a few key best practises.
Keywords are the cornerstone of your SEO strategy. When a prospect is looking for a company, product, or service, they will type these key words and phrases into a search engine.
You’ll get more visitors if you use the proper keywords in your content. The most effective keywords are:
- Plain-language: the language your target audience uses to describe their problems and needs.
- Relevant: keywords that are related to your expertise, products, and services.
- Specific: a blend of your emphasis, industry knowledge, prospect pain points, and other pertinent information.
Deliver on your promise
SEO has grown to the point where search success is determined in part by how well your content does what it promises. Search engines examine the copy, determining its relevance and whether it delivers on what the headline promises.
Because search engines value copy, including keywords throughout your material is essential. Follow the guidelines below:
- Concentrate on one or two keywords
- Make use of keywords in the title. Make it clear and unambiguous what the article is about.
- Throughout, use keywords. Find a technique to include your keywords into your text naturally.
- Maintain your focus. The best performing content is high-quality material that provides recommendations relating to a headline.
Once you’ve created content, it’s time to spread the word about it. Social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Medium, Instagram, and others are a tried-and-true approach to market your work. You compose a post and include a link to your article, and presto! People are interested.
- Concentrate on high-potential channels. The finest social media platforms for you are those that your target audience uses. Consider both the big, well-known channels and the smaller, industry-specific ones that are more likely to link you with prospective prospects. Ask your audience which channels they like and create a reasonable list based on their responses.
- Create copy that is appropriate for the channel. Each social media outlet has its own level of professionalism vs fun, a recognized voice, and other nuances. Spend some time studying posts before writing posts for a channel to become acquainted with these details. Then, inject some of your company’s personality into your posts.
- Test and tweak your strategy. A successful social media promotion campaign involves trial and error. Monitor the amount and quality of responses from various channels. Fewer high-potential engagements may indicate that a channel is a suitable fit, as opposed to a flood of clicks that never result in an audience.
Check out our comparison of our free social media management tools with others to learn more about how Mail chimp can help with your social media strategy.
Put content to work for your business
Create content to attract, engage, and sell, allowing your expertise and unique value to come through. With some forethought and systematic content marketing, you can reach the right people and generate brand loyalty.