A Beginner’s Content Marketing Guide
Content marketing is a broad and expansive topic. There are many different reasons for using it. In this guide to content marketing, you’ll learn what content marketing is, why you should be implementing it, and the various methods to accomplish it.
From blogs and ebooks to emails and social media, learn how to drive traffic to your site, get more leads, and engage your potential customers through content marketing.
There are many digital marketing strategies available, and content marketing is among the most effective and least expensive to implement.
WHAT IS CONTENT MARKETING?
Today’s audiences don’t connect as well with traditional outbound marketing strategies as they once did. They are looking for a more authentic and engaging experience as they search for products and services. Content marketing can provide that experience.
Reasons You Should Implement Content Marketing
● Educate prospects about what you have to offer and how your products can solve their problems
● Build relationships with your customers that lead to repeat business and loyalty
● Drive conversions – Over 60% of consumers are influenced by custom content
● Create a community based around your brand
Benefits Of Content Marketing
● Increased sales: Content marketing can increase sales by providing prospects with essential knowledge and data.
● Customer engagement: Content like blog posts and social media posts increase traffic to your site and engagement from potential customers.
● Brand awareness: Quality content and thought leadership content can establish your brand as a leader within your industry.
● Generate and nurture leads: Keep potential customers engaged and interested with content throughout the sales journey.
TYPES OF CONTENT MARKETING
There are many different types of content marketing efforts that you can employ to grow your business, build your brand, or increase sales.
When focusing on content creation for any channel, it’s important to make sure that you provide valuable content and relevant content to your core audience. It can be a good idea to map out a few buyer personas and pay attention to the feedback you get on every piece of content.
Blogging is an integral part of any content marketing strategy. Your blog is the part of your website that will be continually updated with articles and information that will keep your visitors engaged.
There are tremendous benefits to establishing a blog. The largest one is boosting your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results. A strong SEO game will increase your traffic through better rankings in search engine results.
You can also establish your business as an authority in your market by writing fresh content about topics that your target market really cares about.
Ebooks and Whitepapers
Ebooks and whitepapers both have their place within your content marketing strategy. While quite similar in their use for content marketing, there are some key differences between an ebook and a whitepaper.
Ebooks are electronic books and generally serve as guides for broader topics. They make great lead magnets for both B2C and B2B businesses.
Whitepapers are usually a way for a company to break down a more complicated subject for the reader and help them sort through a complex solution or form an opinion about something.
Video content is often published on YouTube or social media, but can also be in the form of webinars, courses, or livestreams. The great thing is that video production is becoming more accessible to more people. There are more and more resources available to create video content without having to hire professionals to shoot and edit.
Video can be used in many ways, depending on your goals and target audience.
● Post a video to social media
● Create webinars
● Go live on social media
● Record and send a quick video message to a prospect
Case studies take online reviews and testimonials to an entirely different level. Utilizing brand storytelling, case studies are one of the most powerful forms of content you can offer your audience.
Case studies are longer-form content that keep the customer at the center of the story. They go more in-depth about the journey your customer takes from their initial problem, through the solution, to the outcome.
Email and Newsletters
Well-crafted emails and newsletters are the perfect way to connect the dots between leads you’ve generated and satisfied customers. Through regular emails and newsletters, you can effectively move people through your funnel, drive sales, and strengthen your brand.
Reasons to use email marketing include:
● Emails and newsletters are crazy-effective at generating new leads
● You can use email to more accurately establish your brand voice
● Email can be used to drive traffic to your evergreen blog content
● You can drive more sales by segmenting your lists and diversifying your campaigns
● Emails are a great way to mine data about your audience
● You can build a post-conversion relationship with your customers
Social media is yet another place where your content marketing strategy can shine. There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to social media. The first thing you’ll want to do is determine which social media channels your target audience likes to use. That is where you’ll want to focus your efforts.
Consumers not only want to purchase your products, they also want to engage with your brand, especially if you share similar values. Generating engagement through social media is a great way to grow your audience.
Here are some guidelines for how to reach your audience with social media:
● Decide on the best way to reach your audience
● Develop a brand persona
● Be authentic
STRATEGIES FOR CONTENT MARKETING
A solid content marketing strategy requires some specialized skills. It may be helpful to have a team working on your content strategy so that you can utilize all of the expertise offered within the group.
Here are a few things you’ll need to do in order to be successful:
● Be a subject matter expert
● Define your brand
● Leverage SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
● Analyze results
● Create content
While it is possible to learn how to do all of this yourself, you may find that the bigger you get, the more it makes sense to hire out for some of the work.
Set SMART Goals
SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-sensitive. Having goals helps to define the mission of your business and keep your team focused and motivated. It also creates a higher likelihood of success by allowing you to realistically assess risks, opportunities, and challenges.
Setting goals improves collaboration and keeps project tasks consistent. It’s a great way to hold everyone accountable and keep you moving in the right direction.
Quantify Your KPI
KPIs or key performance indicators are data points you can use to quantify your actual performance versus your SMART goals. Measuring your performance helps you to know what’s working for you and what’s not so you can make necessary changes for better results.
Pick Your Content-Type and Channels
Choosing the type of content you’re going to create, as well as the channel you’ll offer it on is an important decision. Your choices have everything to do with who your target audience is and what they want from you.
● Why do they need your product/service?
● What challenges are they facing?
● How can you help them succeed?
● What do they need from you?
When you’ve decided on the type of content you’ll produce, choose the channel by which you’ll make it available to the consumer.
Create a Budget
If you’re just starting out or have limited resources to invest in marketing, this step may need to come before the choosing content type stage. For example, if you’ve decided videos are the way to reach your audience but don’t have the skills to produce those videos nor the funds to hire someone to do it for you, that’s probably not going to be a path you can travel.
Analyze the Results
Once you get started, analyze your results. Keep track of your SMART goals as well as your KPIs to make sure you’re on track. Revisit this data often and readjust when needed.
DEVELOPING A CONTENT MARKETING PLAN
Now you know what content marketing is, what the different channels are, and a strategy for being successful. Next up is to make a plan that will work for your business.
A successful plan will bring your target audience through each stage of your funnel and keep them engaged even after they’ve made a purchase.
1. Who’s going to be reading your content?
Who’s your target audience? This is the basis for any marketing strategy to be successful. You have to know who is going to be buying your product or service so that you know how to address them in a way that is engaging and compelling.
2. What problem are you solving?
Your content should identify a problem your customer is facing and educate them on how to resolve it, with lots of nurturing along the way. As your content reinforces the solution you’ve offered, you build trust and credibility with your audience.
3. What’s your USP (unique selling proposition)?
There are likely other businesses out there that offer products similar to yours. Use your content to let your prospects know what makes you better. Use your content to tell your customers why you are worth buying from and listening to.
4. What formats will you focus on?
As mentioned above, you’ll need to choose which content format you’ll be publishing. This has nothing to do with what is trending currently in the content marketing world and everything to do with your target audience and which content they will be the most likely to consume.
5. Which channels will you publish on?
Keep in mind you’re trying to reach your target audience where they are. Just because podcasts have exploded in the last couple of years in popularity doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the best choice for reaching your target audience. Marketing is for the customer, not for you.
6. Managing the creation and publication of your content.
It’s important to establish:
● Who’s creating the content
● Where it’s being published
● When it’s going to be available
Consider managing your content via a content calendar.
WHY YOUR BUSINESS SHOULD HAVE A CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY
Really, there are very few businesses today that should NOT have a content marketing strategy. It’s such a reliable and cost-effective way to generate new leads, increase website traffic, and build relationships with your prospects and customers.
The time to start content marketing is now. Get out there and do it. And don’t forget to promote your content. You don’t want to be the best kept secret.