What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a term that is thrown around a lot in the business world. However, if you are new to business then chances are you not quite familiar with it yet.
I wanted to write this article for those who are new to starting a business and keep hearing this term.
First, I will provide a brief explanation of what content marketing is, why you should use it, and then give you some valuable tips that you can action yourself.
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as a strategic marketing approach that focuses on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
You have definitely come across content marketing before, in fact you are reading a piece of content now that is intended to provide you with valuable information.
I am also hoping that if you are reading this then you have probably started or are planning on starting a business. If this is the case, then this content should be relevant to you.
The profitable action that I am trying to drive is to get some of the readers of this content to eventually purchase our services. This will come at a later stage. Something to look forward to ;).
For now, I am purely trying to engage you with relevant information that you find useful.
My thought process is that if you find this useful then you might want to hear what we have to say about the other ways we can help your business. (Plus, regular content helps with our Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) efforts.)
Types of content marketing
Blogs are just one type of content marketing. Although an effective and popular form of content marketing, there are many other forms that you can utilise within your business.
Video is a great way to engage people and supply them with concise information in a format that is easy to consume.
People love video! This prediction from Cisco proves it. They predict that video traffic will make up 82% of all consumer internet traffic by 2020.
The viral potential of a video is also much greater than many other forms of content.
Here is a great example of a small business creating amazing video content.
Saddleback Leather take a comedic approach to explaining the quality of their products by telling people how they can create fake versions of their bags.
This approach is sure to pique the interest of their target audience, increasing its engagement.
With over 500,000 views, this successful piece of content has increased their exposure and helped to build a relationship with their audience.
Podcasts are a fantastic way to consume information without needing to read or watch anything. Meaning you can listen to them when engaging in other activities.
This is a great way to give information to people who are busy and don’t have time to read long blog articles.
Check out Neil Patel’s Marketing School podcasts where Neil Patel and Eric Siu discuss all things marketing in short and easy to consume episodes.
These are similar to videos but are usually broadcast live. You have no doubt heard of a seminar before. Well a webinar is essentially a web seminar.
These offer a great platform to interact with your audience in a live setting and are very popular with most demographics.
Here is an article I wrote recently explain a little more about webinars and how to run them as a small business.
Social Media Posts
Social media is also another platform which uses content marketing to engage relevant audiences. The posts you create are a form of content.
The form this content takes will differ depending on the social media platform you are using, but they are all still content marketing.
Even something as basic as an image is a form of content. If you are a business who sells something that is very visual. Think photographers and even physical products, then images are actually a very important piece of content for you.
By creating amazingly beautiful images, you are more likely to capture people’s attention.
Another form of content marketing that you probably see all the time are eBooks. These, if done right, can create immense value for your audience.
Think about how much useful information you can fit into an entire book. You don’t have to create a behemoth of a book, you can keep it short if there is some value in it.
Here is a great example of an eBook by FlyWheel.
If you own an agency of some sort then this offer is going to be incredibly valuable to you.
Who doesn’t want to increase revenue?
If FlyWheel have some insight into this then why not check it out.
One of the simplest forms of digital marketing content is your website’s pages. They are rich with information about your company and products.
When creating your website, you want to make sure you are creating a good user experience. Providing valuable information directly on your website it going to help this.
By taking a value added approach when designing your website, you will find engagement levels will increase, visitors will stick around longer and you will receive a higher conversion.
Infographics are a fantastic format to display meaningful information in an engaging way. They are perfect for those who don’t have much time to read longer blogs.
If done well, they are also known to go viral, which is going to really help your new business.
Fix created this infographic just before New Year’s Eve. In true NYE fashion, it shows you how to avoid a hangover on your night out drinking.
As you can see, there is a lot of information presented in this infographic. It was used as a fun and engaging way to build a relationship with their audience.
Other types of content
These are just a few of the more standard types of content used for content marketing.
If you consider the definition above, then a piece of content engages our audience without trying to directly sell them something.
This means the scope for what a piece of content is huge. Just use your imagination and I am sure you can come up with some great ways to create engaging content.
Think GIFS, memes, slide decks.
Why use content marketing?
Quite simply, to build excellent relationships with your audience.
At the end of the day, business is all about building relationships and connecting with people.
This obviously changed drastically with the new digital approach to business but building relationships is still at the core of any business strategy.
Content marketing helps you build meaningful relationships with your customers and potential customers.
I like to look at it this way. You customers are incredibly valuable to you. Without them you don’t have a business.
Because they are so valuable, don’t you want to provide them with some value as well?
The answer to this question is a big fat yes.
Content marketing helps you to provide value to your audience before they purchase a product or service like yours.
If you provide them with fantastic value and create a great relationship with them, then they are more likely to purchase your product over your competitors.
Here are some stats from Demand Metric that demonstrate why content marketing is so valuable:
82% of consumers feel more confident about a company after reading customer content.
70% of consumers feel closer to a company as a result of content marketing.
78% perceive a relationship between themselves and company using custom content.
Here are some tips that will help you to create your own content marketing strategy.
Tell a story
Creating a great story is the best way to build a relationship. This is how you can get potential customers to buy into your brand.
All the best brands have a great story. Just look at the Nike story. In 1964 the founders of Nike originally wanted to create a higher performance running show.
Fast forward over 50 years and the Nike brand is synonymous with high performance athletic gear.
You might not have the same story as Nike but you definitely have a story worth telling.
Think about why you started your business and what problem you want to help people solve.
Now tell this story through rich relevant and engaging content.
Know your audience
This is the most important thing you can do as a business. So it goes without saying that this should drive your content marketing efforts as well.
Tailoring your content to what your audience is interested in is going to increase their engagement with it. This goes without saying.
Make sure you consider this when creating your content marketing strategy.
Articles with images get 94% more views. This simple fact should make you think about how you can include a visual aspect to any piece of content you create.
Everyone knows the age old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well use that to your advantage.
You will see a higher engagement which will help you to build better relationships.
Keep it regular
Not only is regular content going to help increase engagement with your audience, but it is also going to really help your SEO efforts.
Google loves regular updated content on a website and so does your audience.
Work within your means
If you have a large budget then fantastic. Hire a content marketing agency or freelancer to help you create a steady stream of content.
If you have a smaller budget and have to create content yourself, then make sure you are not giving yourself too much to do.
A blog is one of the easiest, and in my opinion, best forms of content you can create as a new business.
You can write blogs yourself with a little practice and they really help to increase the number of keywords that you can be found under by search engines.
Start creating more content today
Hopefully this blog has cleared up what content marketing means and has given you some useful insights into how to create a content marketing strategy for your business.
Now it’s time to consider how you can approach it.
Think about what you target audience will be interested in and create a story around the value you plan to provide them.
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