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What is Content Marketing? A Simple Guide

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You may be asking yourself, what is content marketing? How does this differ from the traditional means by which most companies have survived the business landscape?

Traditional marketing strategies are becoming more ineffective given most consumers are not responding to the idea of just having random products or services thrown in their face. Consumers want to know that your products and services are going to not only fix a problem they have but also add overall value and benefit to their life in the long term. In order to continue developing your business along with the market trends, you need to show your customers what you stand for and how your brand is working to make a significant difference.


What’s all the hype about?

Content marketing is a marketing strategy that allows businesses to create and distribute content for their customers that is of significant value and relevance to their lives. The content is focused on displaying a valuable message to the company’s target audience which will increase consumer engagement and customer satisfaction. This has been around for quite some time, but companies are now beginning to learn how to put their own creative spin on this age-old business method.

In today’s world, the leading business brands are consistently using content marketing to spread brand awareness and stay ahead of their competitors. Organizations such as Microsoft, John Deere, P&G, and Cisco Systems are prominently leading their industries through their use of priceless content marketing.

Fortunately, even small business owners can use this method to promote the mission of their brand and how it aligns perfectly with the needs of their customers. Why do most businesses capitalize on the magic of content marketing? Because this method is tried and true!

Especially for startups, the key to successful business development is persuading consumers to buy the products or services your company provides. Without loyal customers, your business is sure to fail. Content marketing will ensure you receive the brand awareness you need to stay relevant for the long term as well as providing you with increased sales and cost-efficient spending.

After experiencing numerous varieties of tragic loss through the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers don’t just want junk building up in their homes and have a decreasing amount of discretionary spending. The world is beginning to understand the true value of life and people want to know that your company is going to provide them with that value. They need the product or service; you just need to convince them why they need to purchase it from you.


How do I start Content Marketing?

Content marketing within itself is not a difficult process. You produce valuable information for consumers, then they learn from this information and become loyal customers. The complexity forms when you must continuously produce this valuable information in a way that will keep your customers engaged. You can successfully develop your business by following these next few steps.

Step 1: How does your product or service bring value to your target audience?

Before you start producing the content, you need to first make sure you have a valuable offering and a solid grasp of who your target audience is. Understanding the behaviours and interests of your target demographic will help you create content that will benefit them the most.

At the end of your content marketing journey, you want to create content for the products or services that are truly going to help your customers. You don’t want to write valuable information about an offering that isn’t even relevant to them. This would completely defeat the purpose and ideals behind content marketing.

What problems are they struggling with that you can help fix? What are their favourite hobbies and what types of products do they like to purchase? These are questions that you need answers to in order to make the most compelling content marketing possible. This is where the next step of your content marketing journey comes into play.

Step 2: Provide the right information at the right time

You need to figure out what information your target audience needs so they feel confident your brand is the one they want to pledge their loyalty to. Fortunately, you can integrate things like chatbots onto your business websites to receive instant feedback from your customers regarding what they think about your services. The order in which they ask their questions allows you to understand their thought process. This can be very helpful to you when creating your sales pages.

From this information, you can format your content marketing to address their key concerns in the order in which they would most likely be thinking of those particular questions. This is a great way to keep them interested in your content and not get bored halfway through.

You can also produce surveys for the products and services you already supply to your customers. This way, you can figure out what they like and don’t like because there is always room for improvement. When you ask your customers personal questions, they will understand how important their business is to you and they will want to stay loyal to your brand.

Step 3: Pick the most desirable delivery method

The final step to get you started is to choose your delivery method. How do you want to present your content to your target audience? Will they receive it best through video or written word? This is where truly knowing your customer base plays a major role.

If your customers spend most of their time reading articles and blog posts, then your best bet is to provide the content through the written word. On the other hand, if your customers love to watch YouTube videos to receive information, making personalized videos for your brand will allow for better engagement. The tone of voice you use to tell your story is going to make or break the success of your overall content marketing strategy.


Building the best Content Strategy

There is a slight difference between content marketing and content strategy. We’ve already discussed that content marketing is valuable and relevant content distributed by businesses to their target audience to create brand awareness and form loyal customer engagement. This is the tactical execution piece.

On the other hand, the content strategy focuses on the internal disciplinary guidelines and systems set in place by each individual company to satisfy their business development vision. The strategists find the problem and the marketer creates the content solution. In order to create the best content strategy for your business, you need to internalize the steps below.

Step 1: Establish your vision

First, you need to establish your vision. Not just your short-term business goals, but the long-term vision you have for your company. Consumers need to know they are pledging their loyalty to a company that rises above just selling novelty products or meaningless services. They want to invest in a company that stands for something and is focused on a larger mission to leave its mark on the world.

You want this strategy to be just specific enough that it aligns with the products and services your business provides, but also broad enough to see how your company will fair in the future. The market and your target audience will continue to evolve with their needs and interests. You need to create a strategy that is flexible enough to evolve with them.

Step 2: What Is your target demographic?

Next, you need to do extensive research on the demographic of your target audience. Earlier we discussed how important knowing exactly who your target audience is so you can create content that is engaging for them. Now, you need to dig even deeper into their personal information such as their age, gender, location, etc. to find out what really makes them tick.

What websites do they use most frequently? What music do they listen to? What social media platforms are they on? These are all questions you should be finding answers to when creating your content strategy.

Step 3: Perform an audit of all existing content

A key aspect of creating an effective strategy is learning from your mistakes. You need to go through all the content you’ve written in the past to understand what worked and what clearly didn’t work. There is no need for you to waste money on producing content and advertisements that aren’t reaching your target audience and persuading them to engage with your brand.

This audit will involve you creating a complete inventory of all your previous content and categorizing them based on various characteristics such as tone, length, relevance, topic, datedness, etc. Then, you can apply success metrics to each article of content to analyze what type of content is most valuable to your customers.

Additionally, this analysis will allow you to understand what topics are saturated with content and which ones need some more attention. If you have a product that is selling really well with a lot of content marketing and a product that is selling quite poorly with very little content marketing, you need to designate some more effort in that area. This will allow you to increase the revenue you receive from the poorly marketed product which will help the overall development of your business.

Now that you understand exactly what is good and what is bad for the growth of your company, you can set reasonable goals for the future. All the content you right from this moment forward should continue to align with your personality and the missions your brand supports. This will add credibility and value to your words so consumers are more inclined to believe in your vision.

Content Marketing

The most important forms of Content Marketing

When you are finally ready to produce valuable content marketing that is going to convert potential leads into loyal customers, you want to make sure you use the right channel. After you’ve put in the work to create the perfect content that your customers will love, you don’t want your words to fall on deaf ears. You need to make sure that all of your content is reaching your target audience right when they are ready to make their purchases. Below are the most common avenues to make sure your content gets to the right people.

  • Infographics

These use graphic formats to display the content and information you want to show your customers. The wording and images are easy to understand with statements that will clearly resonate with your target audience.

  • Social Media

Over 3.6 billion people around the globe use social media as a platform to connect for personal or business ventures. Investing in social media marketing is a great way to reach a lot of people through various types of content such as written word, pictures, or videos.

  • Videos

Some people are visual learners. Based on Wyzowl research, about 69% of consumers like to learn about products and services through videos. They feel they are better able to engage with the brand this way. Whether they are pre-recorded or live videos, this form of marketing can be a great way to connect with consumers and boost your ROI.

  • Blogs

The blog age is most certainly not dead! Many people flock to blogs in order to get their daily fill of information that is specifically tailored to their needs. This is also a great way to integrate affiliate marketing links into your content to promote other businesses that your customers will love!

  • Free eBook or PDF Download

A great way to engage with potential customers is by offering a free downloadable guide in the form of an eBook or PDF. Consider it a swap deal. They give you contact details and you give them a free digital guide that they can refer to whenever they want. This can be something about your services or product benefits, or an educational guide. Whatever it is, it should align with your services and create value for the customer, in turn generating brand authority.


Why should you start Content Marketing?

Traditional marketing methods are truly becoming a thing of the past. Whether you run a large corporation or you’re just starting a small company, you should create a relevant content strategy for your business model.

This content strategy should include the creation of valuable content marketing that will engage your target audience and keep them coming back to your business. Building a trusting relationship with your loyal customers is the best way to ensure you stay in business for the long haul no matter how the market trends shift.

Have you done a brand discovery session yet? Find out the brand discovery process in our post here. It will help with starting your content marketing strategy.

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