What the Heck is Content Marketing? (And How Will It Help My Business?)

What the Heck is Content Marketing?

Content is king.

You’ve probably heard this phrase before, but what exactly does it mean?

Quality content will always be the cornerstone of any effective marketing strategy. Without it, you run the risk of losing customers, as well as your credibility as an expert in your field.

With digital starting to take over just about everything, how can you make sure you’re consistently producing quality content geared towards your target audience?

With a content marketing strategy, of course!

But, um, what the heck is content marketing?

In a nutshell, content marketing is a strategy that businesses use to appeal to their target demographic by creating and distributing free, yet valuable, content. Producing original content on a consistent basis assists in boosting search engine traffic, which prompts more visits to your website and increases your business opportunities and leads. Of course, the ultimate goal is to gain new and repeat customers.

So how can you use content marketing to help your business? Let’s take a look.

First Things First

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Content marketing is a hot topic in today’s marketplace. Studies show that 76% of B2C marketers report using content marketing, yet only 37% say their strategy is effective.

Why is that?

Before you can create a successful content marketing strategy, you must first ask yourself these questions:

Who is My Target Audience?

But, of course! Why bother to produce content if it’s not aimed at the people who will actually be viewing it? Having a firm grasp of who makes up your target audience will be the first step in conceptualizing your strategy.

What Do I Have to Offer?

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. What would you want to know about your business if you were them? What would entice you to become a new or repeat customer? In order to draw people in, you first need to establish a trust by giving them a little taste of what it is you have to offer.

Is My Website’s Content Optimized for the Web?

An attractive website is key to drawing in an audience and converting visitors into customers. If your website is outdated and boring, it’s time for a serious facelift! Ultimately, your website is for your customers. If it’s hard to navigate, difficult to read, or riddled with errors, you could be missing out on potential leads.

6 Types of Content Marketing that Work

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You’ve pinpointed your target audience, you recognize their needs, you have a clear understanding of what you want your customers to know about you, and you’re confident your website is current, eye-catching, and a strong representation of you and your company.

Now what?

In order to connect with your audience, you need to understand where they’re getting their information. Social media? Email? Videos? Snail mail?

Focus on the content that will benefit your brand the most.

1. Social Media

For many, integrating social media into their content marketing strategy is a no-brainer. After all, most social networks are free and allow you to quickly get the word out about your company and things you want to promote. They also provide an outlet for your customers to voice their opinions and offer feedback on your services and/or products.

But with so many social sharing networks out there (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Periscope, Tumblr, Google+, etc.), it can be tough to keep up with them all! Know that it’s not absolutely necessary for you and your business to be on every single one. Evaluate the benefits of each network and choose a few to join. Hold yourself accountable and update the content on a daily or weekly basis.

2. Blogging

First of all, if your website doesn’t include a blog, what are you waiting for?? Now is the time!

Blogging is one of the most effective and valuable ways to market your business. In fact, 45% of marketers say blogging is their number one most important content strategy. Maintaining a blog helps to humanize your brand and will support your social media initiatives by providing you with an endless supply of shareable content.

There are a ton of different topics you can blog about. Topics can include:

  • Company news
  • Industry news
  • Promotions
  • Demos & How-To’s
  • Lists
  • Awards
  • Company goals
  • Q&A
  • Interviews
  • Product reviews
  • Opinions/rants
  • FAQs

3. Video

If your company just moved offices, create a video showing off the new space. Got a new hire? Allow them to introduce themselves with a video. Interview your employees, co-workers, or influential people in your industry and film it!

There’s no denying that some things are best explained via video. Anyone can upload a video to YouTube or Vimeo, so take advantage and let your audience see a different and more creative side of your business.

4. Infographics

People love visuals. In fact, 62% of B2C marketers report using infographics. Memes, slideshows, presentations, and charts are all types of infographics you can try out. Presenting information to your audience in a visual format is a unique approach to include in your overall content marketing plan.

Psst! Be sure to regularly upload photos to your company’s Facebook page and Instagram account, too!

5. Email Newsletters

Conveniently sent via an automated server (such as Constant Contact or MailChimp), e-newsletters are a great way for your customers to read a roundup of your company’s updates, event reminders, promotions, or services all while sipping on their morning coffee.

6. Paper Adverts

Let’s face it, if you have a more mature audience, it’s unlikely they’re updating their Facebook status every two seconds or scouting out videos to binge-watch on YouTube. For some businesses, sticking to the traditional marketing model of tangible, printed products is the best tactic. Brochures, flyers, leaflets, newspaper ads, and posters are all worthwhile options to consider.

The Do’s and Don’ts

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Today’s average consumer is smarter than ever before.

With OnDemand and DVR, they no longer need to sit through lengthy commercials while watching their favorite TV shows. They’re not fazed by the millions of ads and call to action buttons that seem to litter perfectly good web pages. And they breeze through magazines without batting an eye at the ad inserts that fill the pages.

And guess what? In order to get your target audience to take notice of you and your business, it’s your job to get the attention of the seemingly impatient average consumer.

Fun, right?

Having a well-thought-out and documented content marketing strategy is your best bet.

Let’s take a look at some do’s and don’ts of content marketing.

Do…

  • Commit yourself to creating quality content that is innovative and unique.
  • Hold yourself accountable and stay consistent with how often you write, post, and share your content.
  • Always keep your target audience in mind.
  • Try out a few different types of content marketing to see how your target audience responds.
  • Optimize your web content with images, links, and relevant keywords.
  • Keep track of your success and revise your plan of action if necessary.
  • Be active in the community and respond to comments, reviews, and feedback.

Don’t…

  • Don’t just publish content to sell or promote yourself or your business. Think of your target audience first!
  • Don’t get lazy and give up on updating your blogs, social media accounts, website copy, or e-newsletters.
  • Don’t resort to keyword stuffing in your blog posts or site copy. You run the risk of getting your site banned from ranking or even appearing in search engines.
  • Don’t overuse links.
  • Don’t just write and share things for the heck of it. Studies show that the average word count of top ranking content is between 1,140-1,285 words. Focus on quality over quantity.
  • Don’t make it difficult for your target audience to find you. Put yourself out there and get noticed!

Wrapping It Up

Content marketing should be an integral part of your marketing strategy. Quality and consistent content is what gets noticed by search engines, so set up an editorial calendar and stick to it! Evaluate your target audience and choose the appropriate outlets that make the most sense for you and your brand.

After all, if content is king, then all hail the king!

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