What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is the practice of creating and distributing content that’s valuable and relevant to people in your target audience. It’s important to remember that what’s valuable to one person isn’t valuable to another. That’s why it’s so important to define your target audience carefully before you start developing your first piece of content.
Many business owners struggle with the idea of producing high-quality content and giving it away for free. After all, didn’t you go into business to turn a profit? Content marketing is highly effective because it helps bring new people into your sales funnel and gives you more opportunities to convert leads into paying customers. And while you may want to keep some of your “secret sauce” a secret, there’s still plenty of knowledge you can share with your audience. By giving away some of your knowledge in the form of content, you build your credibility and earn trust.
Even better, content marketing is much more cost-effective than many other marketing methods. Think about how much you’d spend to produce and air a 30-second television commercial or buy a half-page advertisement in a popular magazine. You’ll spend much less to produce a case study or write a series of blog posts, but you’ll still be able to connect with people in your target audience.
Benefits of Content Marketing
In addition to the opportunity to lower your marketing costs, content marketing has many benefits for businesses. It doesn’t matter if you’re a one-person shop or a marketing specialist at a Fortune 500 company; you can use high-quality content to increase revenue and keep customers engaged.
Improved Search Engine Rankings
A website full of useful content will rank higher in search engine results than a bare-bones site. Google and other search engines consider hundreds of factors when determining where each of your pages should rank when people search for relevant keywords. Some of those factors are more in your control than others, such as the length of the content, the use of relevant keywords and how often you publish new content. Content originality is also a major consideration for search engine algorithms.
Because content marketing involves the consistent production and distribution of content, it can help you show the search engines your site is updated regularly and contains content that’s highly relevant to your target audience. Additionally, more content creates more opportunities for other websites to link to your pages, giving you an additional SEO boost.
More Opportunities To Promote Your Business
If you only have a few pages of content, there isn’t much for visitors to do when they land on your website. You also miss out on opportunities to showcase your expertise and demonstrate that you understand the pain points of people in your target audience. Every time you publish a new blog post, article or other piece of content on your website, you create a new opportunity to promote your business.
When you have a large website filled with high-quality content, it’s also easier to attract inbound links, increasing awareness of your brand. Useful articles are also more likely to be shared on social media. Both web links and social shares will drive traffic to your site and build your audience of potential buyers.
Increased Conversion Rates
Conversion rate refers to the number of website visitors who take a desired action divided by the total number of visitors to the site. In many cases, the desired action is the purchase of a product, but it can also be something like downloading a free report or contacting the company to request more information. If you have 100 visitors and one of them takes the desired action, your conversion rate is 1%. Content can help you increase your conversion rate by building trust, increasing engagement and helping you convince potential customers you offer something worthwhile.
Better Relationships With Prospects and Customers
Think about how you use the internet to find information on topics of interest. If you land on a page riddled with typos or content that reads like it was put through a blender, you’re unlikely to trust that the website owner has any authority on the topic. You may even wonder if the site is owned by a scammer. That’s not a great way to start a relationship with a business.
High-quality content helps you demonstrate your expertise, show prospects you understand their needs and convince audience members you have their best interests in mind. When a business relationship starts this way, prospects are much more likely to believe you can solve their problems.
Types of Content Marketing
Initially, blogs were used as personal websites or journals where people could share information with others. Over time, the purpose of the blog changed, and so did the format. Now a blog is any site or page that’s updated regularly. Although people still use their blogs as personal journals, smart marketers rely on blogging to connect with audience members, improve their search engine rankings and grow their brands.
No matter the size of your company, blogging has many benefits. By linking to other pages on your site, publishing blog posts can help you drive traffic to landing pages and other important content. Well-written content also establishes your company as an industry expert, which helps build trust and makes audience members more likely to buy from you than from one of your competitors. Finally, your blog is online 24/7, ensuring potential customers can learn more about your business no matter what day or time they come across your posts.
Infographics are visual representations of information. Because they use eye-catching design elements and a minimal amount of text, they’re used to communicate key points to busy readers. A pie chart with a few bullet points below it, a colourful bar chart and a numbered list accompanied by carefully selected icons are all examples of infographics.
Infographics are ideal for providing topic overviews, distilling complex concepts into a few key points, displaying results from surveys or summarizing longer pieces of content. This makes them a valuable addition to any content marketing strategy.
Email marketing is the use of email messages to connect with people in your target audience. This type of marketing is especially helpful because it allows you to personalize each message and make it more relevant to the reader. You can even segment your email list to target readers of different ages and interests, making your marketing efforts even more effective.
Content is key to any successful email marketing strategy. If your website is static, there’s no reason for your subscribers to open yet another email promoting it. But if you have a new article that’s timely and relevant to your audience’s needs, they’ll happily open your email and click through to your website to read it.
Many companies release free apps to generate revenue from advertising, but you can also use apps to attract people into your sales funnel and help them develop a positive relationship with your brand. For example, if you offer personal training, you could release a mobile app that guides people through a set of exercises designed to help them improve their balance or flexibility. As they use the app, people will get used to your training style and come to rely on you as an expert, which can help you grow your business.
A lead magnet is something of value you give people in exchange for their contact information. It may take a bit of time and money to develop a high-quality lead magnet, but the investment is well worth it when you think about what you get in return. Once you have someone’s email address, it’s much easier to send them targeted messages, creating extra opportunities to promote your business.
Remember that a lead magnet must be something of value to people in your target audience. A good lead magnet should also be relevant and follow through on what you promised when you made the offer. If you offer one thing and deliver something else, the recipient is likely to be disappointed, which isn’t a great way to start a relationship.
Here are just a few examples of items that can be used as lead magnets:
- White papers
- Special reports
- Design templates
- Case studies
Social media marketing involves joining online communities and using them to create and share content with current and potential customers. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat are some of the most popular platforms. Social media can help you grow your business by making it easier to attract customers, conduct market research and establish your brand. Another benefit of using social media is that you can reach thousands of potential customers for a fraction of what you’d pay for traditional advertising.
Video marketing is exactly what it sounds like — the use of videos to educate, inform, entertain or persuade. Many types of content marketing involve the use of written material, but not everyone enjoys reading or has the time to read long blog posts, case studies or white papers. Video marketing helps you deliver your message to these audience members, increasing your reach and creating more opportunities to generate revenue.
Udemy, Teachable and other websites make it easy to create and publish online courses. Teaching online is an effective form of content marketing because it establishes you as an expert in your field. Publishing an online course also gives you direct access to your students, allowing you to deliver personalized messages that are highly relevant to their needs. This type of content marketing is especially effective for businesses that offer services like tutoring, music lessons and standardized test preparation.
As a marketer, delivering live presentations or publishing past presentations online is a great way to connect with people who can benefit from your expertise. This type of marketing works for almost any type of business, from a construction company that wants to show off its completed projects to a marketing firm that wants to share helpful tips with potential clients. Not only does giving a presentation establish you as an expert in your industry, but it can also help you drive traffic to your website or increase the number of subscribers to your social media channels.
How To Grow Your Business Through Content Marketing
Now that you understand what content marketing is and why it’s so beneficial for businesses, you can start using content to grow your company. To do this effectively, you must plan your content carefully, focus on quality and identify the right distribution channels for each type of content. Because the marketing industry is always changing, you should also review and update your content marketing plan regularly to account for new trends.
As noted earlier, the first thing you need to do is define your target audience. Content marketing isn’t about throwing something at the wall and seeing if it sticks; it’s about developing content for a specific group of people who have a need for the products or services your company offers. It doesn’t matter if two million people read one of your blog posts if none of those people is in the market for what your business sells.
Once you have a general market in mind, you can segment it to make your marketing efforts even more effective. Segmentation can be done according to where audience members live, how they behave and what they value. Customer demographics, including age, ethnicity and sex, are also an important consideration when identifying your target market.
The right market segments for your business depend on what you sell and where you’re located. If you have an e-commerce business, you can market to customers all over the country, but a brick-and-mortar business is better served by focusing on local customers. For example, a restaurant in San Francisco wouldn’t try to market to people in New York or Philadelphia.
Your product or service offering is an important consideration because it determines who’s most likely to buy from you. If you were promoting an assisted living facility, for example, you wouldn’t include teenagers in your target market. You’d develop content for older people and publish it where they’d be most likely to see it.
Now that you have a well-defined target audience, it’s time to develop content that’s relevant to its needs. A busy executive might want to read a white paper or case study on a piece of business software, while someone shopping for a new pair of shoes would probably be more interested in reading a blog post on how to choose the most comfortable pair of sneakers, for example.
Once you know what type of content you need, you can have your in-house marketing team develop it or hire a content marketing agency to help you. Crowd Content has experienced writers and subject matter experts available to craft blog posts, case studies, white papers, product descriptions and other types of content for your business.
Content marketing is an ongoing process, not a one-and-done task, so it’s important to identify a mix of distribution channels you can use to make your marketing strategy more successful. Again, the needs of your target audience should be one of your top considerations. If your content is aimed at business executives, for example, you’re more likely to reach them on LinkedIn than on Snapchat.
In addition to your own website, you can distribute content on social networks, video platforms, online courseware and digital marketplaces. If you have high-quality content that’s likely to attract a sophisticated audience, you may even be able to publish a guest post on a site like Forbes or Inc. Just remember to focus on channels where members of your target audience are most likely to spend their time.
Updating Your Content Marketing Strategy
Industries evolve over time, replacing outdated practices with new ones that make it easier to meet the needs of customers while turning a profit. Just as your business needs to adapt to industry-specific changes, it also needs to adapt to changes in marketing best practices. That’s why it’s important to review your content marketing strategy regularly and update it as needed.
Take Your Business to the Next Level
If content isn’t already a major part of your marketing strategy, now’s your opportunity to apply the principles of content marketing in your business. High-quality content increases awareness of your brand, highlights your expertise and helps you convince potential customers that your product or service could be exactly what they need to solve a problem or make life easier in some way.
Crowd Content is here to help you with product descriptions, landing pages and whatever kind of content you need to reap the benefits of having a cohesive content marketing strategy.