What is Content Marketing?

It’s a buzzword that comes up quite often in today’s digital economy, but you may be wondering what is content marketing and how can you use it to build your business? In this quick guide, I will break down the basics of content marketing. I’ll also share some actionable tips to get started leveraging this powerful tool in your business.

a group of three people making a content strategy on a whiteboard | What is Content Marketing?

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a client-focused form of marketing that has been seeing great success in the online world. It requires a shift in the way that you think about your marketing efforts.

In the past, we focused on outbound marketing strategies that were designed to interrupt your potential audience member in their daily life by putting your product or services in front of them with the hope that it will resonate and lead to a sale. Examples include a television commercial popping up in the middle of your prime-time show, or a radio advertisement during your daily commute.

Today, with the rise of ‘unsubscribe’ buttons, ad-free streaming, and digital ad blockers, this approach no longer carries the same impact. Instead, brands need to reach their audience in a more natural way by providing valuable and engaging content. Connecting with your potential clients through this content, you are inviting them in to learn more about you, your business, and the products/services that you offer. This is known as inbound marketing.

Examples of content types that can be used for marketing purposes include:

  • Blog posts
  • Email newsletters
  • Social media posts
  • Video content
  • Podcasts
  • Infographics
  • Polls and Quizzes
  • Interviews
  • Charts/Graphs
  • eBooks
  • Giveaways
  • Surveys
  • Photos/Images

Why is Content Marketing Important for Your Business?

Now that we’ve answered the important question of ‘What is content marketing?’, you may be wondering if all the work described is worth your time and money as a business. Is this something that you should be investing in sooner rather than later?

To better understand this, you need to take a moment to get into the mind of your potential customers. According to HubSpot’s report The State of Marketing in 2021, 47% of buyers will view 3 to 5 pieces of content before making the choice to engage with a sales representative. This means that failing to provide the quality content that they are looking for may lead these prospective customers to move on.

If you are in a position where you see the value of content marketing but feel you don’t have the time to create the content needed to succeed, you may want to consider partnering with a content creation agency or connecting with an experienced freelance writer in your niche.

In addition to directing potential customers into your sales funnel, content marketing also offers the following benefits:

  • Building trust and reputation in the industry
  • Offering an opportunity to educate prospective customers about your product/service
  • Create loyalty and a sense of community
  • Provide value to your former, existing, and future customers  
  • Attract more website traffic from search engines like Google
  • Inspire collaborations with others in your industry
woman sitting at desk with notebooks, tablet, and smartphone | What Is Content Marketing?

What is a Content Strategy?  

A digital content strategy refers to the detailed plan made by a business to create, publish, and share content intentionally with the goal of attracting new traffic and converting new website visitors.

As with any other aspect of your marketing plan, you aren’t just going to invest your hard-earned money without knowing how this funding will be used to move your business forward. Instead, you want to create a plan that outlines what steps are going to be taken, how you are going to measure their success, and what benchmarks you are working towards achieving. This can be prepared internally or with the assistance of a content marketing agency, depending on your comfort level and current budget.

But what exactly is a content strategy and how do you create one?

There are multiple approaches to crafting a content strategy, each offering its own pros and cons. The one that I prefer uses a simple 3-step approach to identifying your content marketing opportunities, developing the content needed, and using it to convert your marketing efforts to sales.

Step One: Identify Pain Points

The goal of creating content that will appeal to your potential customers is to find a pain point in their lives that you can help to address or solve. This could be something large like addressing long-term medical concerns in senior dogs, or something smaller like the grease and grime that accumulates on a stovetop.

Step Two: Assign Appropriate Content

Now that you’ve selected the pain points that you are hoping to address, bringing value to the lives of your prospective clients, it’s time to decide on the appropriate content to offer a solution. You may already have a piece of content that could be reworked or reshared, or it may be time to create something new.

You will need to consider the topics to cover as well as what form of content is best suited for it. For long-term medical concerns in senior dogs, you may want to make a blog post addressing signs and symptoms, lifestyle changes that can improve their quality of life, and when to reach out to a veterinarian. On the other hand, for grease and grime on the stovetop, you may find that a video walking viewers through the cleaning process is more effective.

Step Three: Tie Your Content into Your Sales Funnel

The end goal of your content marketing efforts is to take these new website visitors and convert them into paying customers. To do this, you will need to make a clear transition from the content that drew them into the product or service that you offer. Maybe you sell dog supplements that can help to improve quality of life, or you offer a cleaning service for those that feel that the cleaning process outlined is simply too much work.

two people working with reports and a tablet | What Is Content Marketing?

SEO and Content Marketing

There are many different types of content that you may encounter when creating your content marketing strategy. Two phrases that you should learn are branded content marketing and organic content marketing.

Branded Content Marketing: Content that directly relates to your brand and highlights the value that your products or services provide. This includes content that is designed to share your brand’s story or history, behind-the-scenes content, product showcases, or guides discussing specifically how to use your products. These are commonly seen in paid advertising, such as Facebook ads or Instagram ads.

Organic Content Marketing: Content that leverages the algorithm of social media platforms or search engines to attract potential customers without having to pay for advertising or visibility. While this content can be branded, in that it can showcase your product or service, it is often content that discusses topics relating to your niche without focusing specifically on your brand.

When it comes to discussing SEO and content marketing, we are specifically going to be looking at organic content marketing.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) means optimizing your content so that it appeals to the algorithm used by search engines like Google so that your content will show up higher in the search results. This means that your brand will be able to get in front of more people that are searching for keywords related to your industry, introducing them to your brand as well as to your product or service.

Whether you’re blogging for business or creating video content to stand out on social media, you want to consider how your customer is thinking as they search.

Select keywords that someone with no knowledge of your business may type into a search engine like ‘vegan, cruelty-free green-tea facial cleanser’ or ‘how to train your dog to walk properly on leash’. Try to incorporate your selected keywords in a natural way, avoiding using them too often or sacrificing grammar and sentence structure to fit them in.

You want to create high-quality and informative content that will bring real value into the lives of your prospective clients.

Create a posting schedule and try to stick to it as much as possible. Not only does Google like to see consistency, but it will also create a routine to encourage your loyal audience to return. If they know that you post a new blog post every Tuesday at 2 PM, they will come to expect it and look for it at that time.

Always remember that content marketing, especially organic content marketing, is a long-term plan. Success won’t come overnight. However, it will be well worth it when you see your efforts start to pay off!

We would like to hear your answer to the question: What is content marketing? How do you use this tool in your business?

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