What is Content Marketing?
If 10 content marketing experts were asked to define their field you might receive 10 unique definitions, but they will all likely point back to the same core concept.
Content marketing is a marketing strategy that revolves around the creation, publication, and distribution of content to a target audience in order to bring new traffic (and therefore new customers) to your business.
This is almost always done online through the use of social media, blogs and videos, and e-books and other downloadable or interactive tools that share your brand and expertise with your ideal buyer.
Why Content Marketing is the best long-term Marketing Strategy?
Imagine you’ve created a product brochure and posted it through people’s letterboxes — that brochure is a form of content, albeit offline. The problem is that you have no idea how many people opened your brochure or how many people threw it straight into the trash.
Now imagine you had that brochure on your website instead. You can measure exactly how many people viewed the page where it’s hosted, and you can collect the contact details of those who download it by using forms. Not only can you measure how many people are engaging with your content, but you’re also generating qualified leads when people download it.
What Kind of Content Should I Be Creating?
The kind of content you create depends on your audience’s needs at different stages in the buyer’s journey. You should start by creating buyer personas to identify what your audience’s goals and challenges are in relation to your business. On a basic level, your online content should aim to help them meet these goals, and overcome their challenges.
Then, you’ll need to think about when they’re most likely to be ready to consume this content in relation to what stage they’re at in their buyer’s journey. We call this content mapping.
With content mapping, the goal is to target content according to:
- The characteristics of the person who will be consuming it (that’s where buyer personas come in).
- How close that person is to make a purchase (i.e., their lifecycle stage).
In terms of the format of your content, there are a lot of different things to try. Here are some options we’d recommend using at each stage of the buyer’s journey:
- Blog posts.Great for increasing your organic traffic when paired with a strong SEO and keyword strategy.
- Infographic or animated videos. Very shareable, meaning they increase your chances of being found via social media when others share your content.
- Short videos. Again, these are very shareable and can help your brand get found by new audiences by hosting them on platforms like YouTube.
- E-books.Great for lead generation as they’re generally more comprehensive than a blog post or infographic, meaning someone is more likely to exchange their contact information to receive it.
- Research reports. Again, this is a high-value content piece which is great for lead generation. Research reports and new data for your industry can also work for the awareness stage though, as they’re often picked-up by the media or industry press.
- As they’re a more detailed, interactive form of video content, webinars are an effective consideration stage content format as they offer more comprehensive content than a blog post or short video.
- Case studies.Having detailed case studies on your website can be an effective form of content for those who are ready to make a purchasing decision, as it helps you positively influence their decision.
- If case studies aren’t a good fit for your business, having short testimonials around your website is a good alternative. For B2C brands, think of testimonials a little more loosely. If you’re a clothing brand, these might take the form of photos of how other people styled a shirt or dress, pulled from a branded hashtag where people can contribute.
How Long Will It Take to See Results?
With digital marketing, it can often feel like you’re able to see results much faster than you might with offline marketing due to the fact it’s easier to measure ROI. However, it ultimately depends entirely on the scale and effectiveness of your digital marketing strategy.
If you spend time building comprehensive buyer personas to identify the needs of your audience, and you focus on creating quality online content to attract and convert them, then you’re likely to see strong results within the first six months.
If paid advertising is part of your digital strategy, then the results come even quicker — but it’s recommended to focus on building your organic (or ‘free’) reach using content, SEO, and social media for long-term, sustainable success.
Do I Need a Big Budget for Digital Marketing?
As with anything, it really depends on what elements of digital marketing you’re looking to add to your strategy.
Presuming you already have a website, if you’re focusing on inbound techniques like SEO, social media, and content creation then the good news is you don’t need very much budget at all. With inbound marketing, the main focus is on creating high-quality content that your audience will want to consume, which unless you’re planning to outsource the work, the only investment you’ll need is your time.
With outbound techniques like online advertising and purchasing email lists, there is undoubtedly some expense. What it costs comes down to what kind of visibility you want to receive as a result of the advertising.
I’m Ready to Try Digital Marketing. Now What?
If you’re already doing digital marketing, it’s likely that you’re at least reaching some segments of your audience online. No doubt you can think of some areas of your strategy that could use a little improvement, though.
If you have not started any plan for digital marketing, you are at right place and a right time to start. Let’s get in touch for more help, or do it by yourself right away with the below guide.
Download our step-by-step guide to creating your digital strategy here.
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