Think of content you paid to consume, be it an article, newsletter, podcast, music, movie, etc. The content that comes to your mind is the kind of content you’re interested in, so much that you genuinely want to consume and are willing to pay for it.
What is Content Marketing?
As per Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is a strategic approach that is focused on creating and distributing valuable and relevant content, with consistent efforts to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer actions.”
You avoid pitching your services and goods like a sales representative and deliver your content in a way your audience is looking for and genuinely want.
Difference between Content Marketing VS Traditional Advertising
Traditional Advertising refers to mass communication to distribute messages to a mass audience. It is a one-way communication where only the brand speaks, and the audience listens. The audience might not be necessarily interested in the content, and the products or services are pushed into their faces. A one-way dialogue to communicate is now a thing of the past.
A typical consumer buying cycle includes four stages: Awareness, Research, Consideration, and Purchase. Consumers are aware of the need but not the solution. Once the solution is presented, they research the various alternatives and bring a few into their consideration. Finally, they decide to purchase a selected good or service.
Traditional Marketing focuses on the final two steps: Consideration and Purchase. Content marketing focuses on raising Awareness for the various solutions and pushing your product or service into their consideration set.
What are Common Problems that Content Marketing Solves?
Content marketing brings in better customers who have a higher customer lifetime value and are more loyal. Moreover, since these customers are interested in the products and services, they stay loyal for longer.
Moreover, since you do not advertise to an audience uninterested and a mass audience, there are cost savings where you only target selected audiences. As a result, return on investment is much higher than sales figures.
Why is Content Marketing Important?
Consistent use of content marketing develops a relationship with your potential and current customers. Your audience thinks of you as someone involved in their success and looks up to you as a source of information and guidance. As a result, you’re at the top of their mind when it is time to make a purchase.
Content Marketing has been proven to provide a competitive advantage to businesses. Businesses with updated and SEO-optimized blogs have 67% more leads than their competitors. Moreover, 47% of purchases are followed by viewing 3 to 5 pieces of content. Not only for B2C (Business to Customer) businesses, content marketing increases engagement and leads for B2B (Business to Business) for up to 72% of businesses.
Types of Content Marketing
You could create various content types for multiple channels. Each has its pros & cons and objectives. They also target different stages of the consumer decision journey, starting from Awareness, Research, Consideration, and then Purchase.
Social Media Content Marketing
Currently, there are numerous social media channels for various users and objectives. For example, Facebook has more text, while Twitter restricts it to 160 characters. Likewise, YouTube has longer videos, while Instagram and TikTok have shorter reels. Regardless of their nature, relevant social media platforms are an excellent way to incorporate your content marketing strategy.
Ideally, focus on high-potential channels where your audience is available. Next, conduct competitor analysis and invest in what your industry uses the most. Next, adjust your copy to fit the channel; for example, Instagram reels should be a portrait rectangle while posts should be a square, Twitter content should be limited to 160 characters, and so on. Lastly, use A/B testing or other approaches to test your content and modify your strategy accordingly.
Infographic Content Marketing
Infographics are charts that represent statistical information and convey findings in a graphically pleasing manner. They simplify complex data into an easy-to-navigate graphic.
They can help grab the attention of users just sifting through your content since audiences are more likely to pay attention to visuals rather than text. Infographics can also give the missing boost to your SEO strategy since they increase search marketing results because audiences often share infographics on social media and other channels. Finally, since most infographics are used as learning tools, they also establish your brand as a credible learning resource, and the audience is more likely to trust your brand resulting in loyal customers.
Blog Content Marketing
Blog content marketing is helpful for customers in their awareness stage. First, you should do comprehensive keyword research to understand what customers want. Once you identify their needs, pain points, wants and motivations, design your SEO strategy. Your keyword research should help you select focus keywords, which you should use in the headings and text.
Once you’ve completed all the user and keyword Research, develop your content in an educational tone. At the awareness stage, users are just looking for information about the solutions to their needs and pain points. Do not directly sell; selling is for the last two stages of the customer cycle.
Podcast Content Marketing
Video and Podcast content is expected to reign even in 2023. An average podcast listener stays connected for 22 minutes on average. As a result, the relationship developed with the audience is deep and rich. More than ¼ of the weekly podcast users consume six or more podcasts every week.
Audio and video podcasts are consumed on the go in a world of hustle, offer a new perspective, and are engaging. These educate the customers and are also an excellent tool to embed your products and services to reach customers at the awareness or consideration stage.
Video Content Marketing
Content in the form of videos is beneficial for customers at the awareness and consideration stage, depending on the video content.
Educational videos that address customers’ pain points, challenges, and questions are ideal for the awareness stage. However, if your content includes how-to videos and videos that educate the viewer about what features to look for and how a particular function can address their needs blended with your business offerings, it addresses the customers at the consideration stage.
White Papers and Reports
White Papers and Reports are helpful for an audience that is more cognitive and information-seeking.
A white paper is quite technical and used to establish credibility by a brand. As a result, the brand sets itself as a thought leader in the industry and the customers’ minds. The white paper educates the target audience to make informed decisions about their needs. They talk about original or compiled Research to explain the trend insights and the best practices for a particular topic. It would be best if you did not market your brand offerings at this point because 78% of white paper readers describe minimal marketing as a sign of an excellent white paper.
Reports are generally not restricted to being technical or non-technical. They are usually a compilation of research results conducted by the business or a third party. These could be qualitative studies or quantitative studies or could include mixed method research.
Content Marketing ROI: Metrics to Measure
Content Marketing ROI (Return on Investment) is a percentage figure that indicates the revenue gained from content marketing as a portion of what you spent on it. How would you attribute return to content marketing?
The first step is to calculate how much was exactly spent. First, add up all your expenses in producing the content, such as the content creators’ salary, photography, videography, and the pay for any other outsourced work. Next, figure out how much it costs to distribute the content via paid promotions, tools you used, and so on. Once your expenses are calculated, calculate the return you received and put it in the formula:
ROI = [(Return – Investment)/ Investment] * 100%
Depending on your content marketing strategy, you should track multiple metrics to measure your return. These could be:
- Lead Quality metrics such as conversion rate of leads, time for lead conversions, and so on
- Sales in the form of revenue
- Website Traffic is attributed to social media, referrals, search engines, and direct traffic.
- Bounce Rate
- Social Media ROI metrics such as Network Referrals, traffic attributed to social media, engagement rates, and so on
- SEO success metrics such as SERP (search engine ranking position), DA (Domain Authority) score, and so on.
How to Make Content Marketing Strategy?
Rule number one for content marketing is always to add value. To find out what adds value for your customers, find out what they would want more. What would be helpful for them when you were looking for your product, and what would benefit them at this point?
Identify Your Audience
You will never be able to understand what your customer wants if you don’t know who your customer exactly is. You need to understand their pain points, challenges, needs, motivations, and the context they are surrounded within.
You could have multiple target audiences but choose to write for one or your primary target audience. A good idea is always to create user personas initially to bring everyone in the company on the same page.
Set Smart Goals
Do not be overambitious in designing your content marketing strategy. Post regular content for a month and then go missing for the next two months. It would help if you established SMART(Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Time-based) goals for your content marketing strategy. These could be:
- Increase direct traffic by 10% in the next four months
- Increase email click-through rate by 15% during the festive season
- Redesign blog content by comprehensive keyword research and excellent SEO strategy to increase landing page conversion up to 10% in the next six months
Choose Your Content Channels
Choosing content channels depends on where you are likely to find your audience. For example, Gen Z will not be reading printed newspapers, and 60-year-olds would most likely not be using social media platforms frequently.
Research what platforms your audience uses frequently and what time they use primarily to choose your content channel and publishing time.
Determine Your KPIs
Choosing the correct KPI (Key Performance Indicators) depends on your content and channel.
For a video, a good KPI could be the number of minutes watched. Similarly, for a blog article, the number of scrolls on a mobile phone or the number of minutes spent on the website could be a good indicator. Finally, for social media advertisements, the click-through rate on your website would be a good metric.
You could be spending too much or too little on content marketing. A good idea is to your competitor analysis on content marketing spend. The rule of thumb suggests that you should designate 25% to 30% of your marketing budget to content marketing. Next, you should divide it into channels according to where you find your audience and where you receive a better return on investment.
Create and Distribute the Content
Who creates your content depends on their credentials. You cannot have a blog writer develop a YouTube video and vice versa. To make your content, look for experienced and qualified resources, internally or externally. However, get it proofread by one or two professionals to avoid backlash or poor branding.
The distribution of content depends on your content channels. For example, will you be putting it up on billboards, printing for an event, sending out emails, use on your website or publish on social media platforms? Answering these questions will determine the distribution of your content.
Track and Analyze Results
Creating and executing a strategy without monitoring the results is similar to throwing an arrow up in the sky and not caring where it lands.
Content marketing is a consistent marathon that you run with lots of trials and errors. Analyzing the results will help you understand where to allocate more budget, where to distribute content, and so on.
Develop your content marketing strategy with one primary objective: to provide unique value for your target audience and automatically attract results. It takes time to produce results, so you need to hang in there patiently and monitor your metrics.