Content Marketing: What is it, and what are the main things you should be aware of?
Content Marketing is the art of generating and distributing valuable content for the purpose of attracting and retaining those potential customers through relevant and useful content.
Despite being another part of digital marketing, the priority of content marketing is not to increase sales but to turn the brand, company or product into a benchmark within its category, and through it achieve a high degree of customer loyalty and cultivate the brand’s reputation.
So rather than promotional content, it is content that is useful and relevant to users and the strategy is to provide value before asking for anything in return (“Givers Get”) and not to interrupt.
Content marketing is therefore not a discipline that can be applied as an isolated strategy. Instead, it is one that must be aligned and planned together with other digital strategies of the company or organization. Its implementation has a direct impact on strategies such as SEO , Email and Social Media.
This term is often linked with Inbound Marketing, although Content Marketing is really only part of that discipline.
The Content you create can take on any type of format, be it an article, a video, an image, etc., and it can be used on blogs, company websites, social networks or other platforms where information is shared. To optimize its impact, it should be integrated with other Digital Marketing techniques.
Why do Content Marketing?
˃ It improves brand image and reputation.
˃ It allows direct, close relationships to be created with users in a natural and open way.
˃ It improves positioning in search engines.
˃ It is a user centric technique, with the advantages that this entails.
Content Marketing: A Jill Quick Run Through
Given that content marketing impacts so many channels, such as Email, SEO , Social Media as they all need content to work, it is the fuel to many a fire. You need to bring your content strategy back to the key objectives for your business. What profitable customer action are you hoping to achieve from your content marketing? Are you trying to raise brand awareness, generate leads, or sell more of your products and services? All marketing strategies must come back to the business objectives.
With a clear profitable customer objective in mind, marketing needs to revisit the personas and customer journey map to understand the key pain points for their target persona. It can be helpful to have an Umbrella Theme for this persona where multiple pain points sit snug under the umbrella.
A hypothetical example, a company selling a content curation tool to marketing professionals could have an umbrella theme centered around sourcing and creating content. The pain points are all the issues and ‘things that keep them up at night’ problems. Such as creating content within budget, trying to get your boss or stakeholders to buy into content as see it as a value driver for the business, the challenges of measuring content marketing effectiveness etc.
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Before you create any content, or brainstorm ideas, it is vital to audit the content you already have. There are content types that are a better fit for each stage in your buyer’s journey. For example quizzes, blog posts and viral videos are great to generate awareness and do not require a lot of effort from your buyer. A detailed white paper however, is more relevant to the research stage and case studies for when your customers are comparing and evaluating your products or services.
By doing a content audit and matching to the sales funnel you can very quickly identify where you are missing content. For example you may have a lot of heavy white papers and case studies but very few blogs, so you know what your content strategy needs to focus on, in this hypothetical example it would be generating more content to fuel the start of the journey at the awareness stage.
Hero Content and Repurposing
Content types can be grouped into 3 sections Hero, Hub, and Hygiene.
- Hero: these are typically large-scale, resource heavy, items typically created around product or event launches to drive awareness. You may have 2-3 of these a year.
- Hub: will be content you develop on a regular basis. It gives a fresh perspective on your targets pain and passion points.
- Hygiene: Focuses on your audience and what they are actively searching for regarding your brand or industry. This is always relevant; for example, product tutorials on how to create customer service content
Repurposing content can be very effective in your content strategy. Repurposing content is where you take an item of content that you have created and adapt it for use in a different purpose or content type.
For example, you may have invested in an in-depth eBook,you could look into repurposing the eBook into multiple blog post, a press release, an infographic, slideshare presentation, a podcast, etc. This technique can also work in reverse, for example a series of in-depth blog articles could be repurposed into an eBook or webinar.
Look back at your content audit, are there any items that can be repurposed?
In addition to creating content, you need to strategize how you are going to promote your content. No content will ‘go viral’ if you just publish on your own channels. Even large brands need to feed the all POE media mix to be effective.
- Paid: You may promote your content with AdWords or paid social.
- Owned: You will publish your own assets such as your website, blog, newsletters.
- Earned: You will work with fans of your brand and amplify through influencers within your industry.
No one is going to find your wonderful content, just sat on your website, on its own, waiting. Your plans are not finished when you hit ‘publish’ you need to think through how you are going to find your audience across POE media to drive traffic to your content.
Another type of content promotion that sits under Paid is Native Advertising. When it comes to content, native advertising differs from content marketing as it is a directly paid opportunity. Usually information-based, brands pay for the placement of content on platforms outside of their own media.
The content that is placed on these external sites or publications completely aligns with the editorial style and tone and must provide the kind of information that the publication’s audience would expect . This is what makes native adverts hard to spot. They blend in with “organic” content of the site or publication.
For example, below is an article in the New York Times, ‘Woman Inmates: Why the Male Model Doesn’t Work” , the article is styled in the editorial format typical of the NYT, however there is a logo and note for promoted content at the top with the Netflix logo. This article was published to coincide with the launch of a new season of the popular Netflix show Orange Is The New Black.
To do list
- Review your target prospects and work out your umbrella theme and pain points
- Audit your content types to the funnel.
- Look at existing items that could be repurposed
- Invest time and resources to a promotional campaign, that content is not going to find itself!
- Think about your ideal customer media consumption, can you place a native article on a site that your customers use as a content source?