Content marketing involves publishing informational and persuasive media with the goal of acquiring more clients, generating leads or strengthening a business brand and/or position as a marketplace leader. This form of marketing is not about direct sales but rather about building consumer trust through informative media communication and establishing industry expertise. Content that provides solutions and valuable insight for readers is what pulls targeted traffic into a web site.
Whether you’re selling to individuals or businesses, personalized content fosters stronger relationships. This is where content marketing differs greatly from traditional advertising. Rather than creating a handful of general ads and putting them in front of a wide audience with little chance of knowing how they’ll perform, targeted content speaks directly to customers and meets them at their point of need.
When good content appears in-front of social leaders, content marketing becomes the engine that drives traffic to web sites and sells products. Content marketing isn’t just posting links on a business Facebook or Twitter page, rather, it is injecting targeted and personalized discourse into a group discussion or an audience of social influencers that have the power to share a message and reach a larger audience. Marketing to specific groups is what I like to call “Injection Marketing” – short powerful statements introduced into small groups of online influencers within a community that build brand identity and generate customer action. “Injection marketing” creates brand synergy for clients and engages potential consumers.
Writing, creating and curating quality content is only one small aspect of content marketing. Offering free content that is insightful and that reaches a target audience is what generates a substantial marketing impact but where and how that content is distributed is critical to success. A prosperous method of business growth through content marketing involves several levels of distribution. The majority of content marketing is created through dissemination of ideas through online channels. Web media invites prospective clients to gain information on a specific topic, gain trust in a business and direct all readers to further content or a product on a web site.
The companies getting the most benefit from content strategies are those concentrating on quality over quantity. Content needs to be of value to your customers, offer them help or influence their lives in unique ways. By drawing on a solid knowledge of the industry and the benefits of what you’re selling, you can generate content with high value and a greater probability of generating leads.
Drawing targeted traffic requires a personalized approach to content creation. Use customer behavior data to uncover a targeted and defined consumer base allows a business to tailor content to a precise audience and increase conversions. Understanding lifestyles and buying habits reveals how you can connect your company’s offerings with the specific problems and challenges customers face.
Every company has a story to tell, and this is what today’s consumers are looking for. They want experiences and relationships, not advertising. Selling a lifestyle associated with a product is much more effective than trying to sell the product on its own. Showing consumers how your brand fits with their life draws targeted leads looking to fulfill a perceived need. Get creative with content to turn your marketing message into something with which consumers can really connect.
Search engines rely heavily on text based content to determine what a web site could potentially rank for. Before content is written, detailed research is required to determine key words to use in the writing process and to analyze online competition for search ranking. Good content is only relevant to a business if that content is read or seen. Employing search engine marketing (SEM) strategies, structuring the content on a web page correctly for search engines to record and placing links to that content in high traffic locations is a critical aspect of successful content distribution. With search engines driving the majority of traffic to web sites it is vital that the content created is optimized for major search portals. A good content marketing strategy should have measurable goals of reaching a specific subset of consumers via web search. A web search is where potential clients are actively seeking to solve their pain points… a business just needs to be where they are looking and provide valuable solutions. More so than social media, search engines offer the potential to reach large amounts of prospective customers at the right time and with the right offering.
Content Syndication involves developing a positive reputation for a business, product or idea by creating attention within an already created and saturated audience. Sharing content, with a previously formed group of active readers of specific discourse creates opportunities for business and product branding. Content providing valuable information and problem solving ideas is readily received and often creates further discussions and branding opportunities. Syndicating content is an integral part of content marketing. This can be achieved by Guest Posting on a powerful industry blog, online press releases, sharing content via RSS feeds or providing access to content through hundreds of social channels. The goal of content posting is to increase business visibility with careful placement designed to multiply readership, increase traffic and spread your marketing message to a targeted audience.
Traditionally content refers to text based media shared via web site pages, blogs, press releases or social media platforms. However, content is not limited to just text based marketing materials. Some of the most effective content marketing is built on video, audio, images or the juxtaposition of multiple media formats. Advertising with multiple formats of digital media opens the gates for reaching a larger audience who may prefer to receive information in a format other than straight text. As an example, a video can be posted on YouTube but also added to a web site or embedded in a press release. This increases the potential of reaching a larger audience through multiple media constructs. By diversifying media formats the marketing value of a single marketing piece is multiplied and spread to a greater audience on the web. Download this PDF outlining the top media formats used for web content marketing.
Types of web content and distribution channels for the most popular online content formats.
|Web Content Types||Format||Delivery Channels|
|Web Copy||Text, Images||Website or Blog|
|White-Papers||Text, Images||Website, Blog, Social Media|
|Ebooks||Text, Images||Website, Blog, Social Media|
|Press Releases||Text, Images, Video||National and Local Online News Sites|
|Videos||Video||Website, Blog, Social Media, 100s of Video Hosting Sites like YouTube and Vimeo|
|Landing Pages||Text, Images, Video||Website, Blog, Social Media|
|Podcasts||Audio||SoundCloud or iTunes|
|Infographics||Images||Website, Blog, Social Media & Infographic sites|
|Newsletters and Email||Text, Images, Video||Email delivery systems like ConstantContact. MailChimp, etc…|
|Webinars||Video, Audio, Images||Video or Webinar software like GoToMeeting|
|Interviews||Text, Video, Audio||Website, Blog, Social Media|
|Memes||Images||Website, Blog, Social Media|
|Surveys||Text, Images||Website, Blog, Social Media|
|Case-Studies||Text, Images, Video||Website, Blog, Social Media, Email|
|Photographs||Images||Website, Blog, Social Media, Flickr, Instagram|
Navigating the content landscape can be confusing with so many channels to choose from. The platforms your business uses need to be those optimized to deliver the types of content your audience expects on a schedule designed to catch their attention at times of peak usage. Once traffic is drawn into the site, additional content is needed to re-engage the user and drive them towards completing an action. Based on the campaign objective, traffic funneled to a web site or specific landing page has a measurable action that signifies success. This can be a lead, a purchase or even the sharing of content within another influential group.
A content management system (CMS), such as WordPress, HubSpot, Hatchbuck or Hootsuite, helps you stay on schedule with creation and posting. These tools make it easy to plan a content strategy and review previous campaigns at a glance. Many CMS platforms allow for visitor re-engagement either via email marketing or a free giveaway in the form of coupons, additional informative content, software download, video, etc… Often, this a second level of engagement is what entices the prospective client to pick up the phone or purchase a product. Good content marketing is based on several interactions with a client and with each connection a business can further build rapport and trust. CMS software allows for easy content marketing management and tracking of campaigns.
Content that solves reader pain-points or that delivers lifestyle changing ideas is what content marketing is all about. Understanding the potential target market and putting yourself into their shoes to really understand how they see products, lifestyle hassles and drawbacks of services is how ideas for great content starts. But just writing content designed to help others is only part of the marketing equation. You may post a great article on social media, on a blog or many other online channels but search engines generate the most traffic to quality content. Within a content marketing campaign needs to be knowledge of how much content to write, which words to use, how to use them, where to place them, how the content is structured and how search engines are going to read the information. The search engine optimization part of content creation is almost as important as the ideas represented within an article. Great content is of little use if it is not found and read by targeted consumers.
Content distribution isn’t simply posting links to your content on major social web sites. Social media is a great place to start but the impact of that content is not as powerful as you may think. With Facebook’s Edge Rank algorithm not all of your followers will even see your content. Let’s be honest, your product or services is not the reason why users are on social media… they are there to interact with friends and family. Your content, as good as it may be, is interrupting the reason why they are visiting the social site. They may have Liked you page or may be following you but you are an after-thought or an interruption to their original intent.
Distributing content via search engine ranking is the key marketing component to capturing an audience that is actively searching for solutions or answers to pain-points. Search engines drive the majority of visitors to content to it is imperative that your content marketing campaign is created with this idea at the forefront.
Content that converts readers into customers requires two key components.
1. The content needs to be found and read at the right time the potential consumer needs the information provided.
2. The content must deliver the solution or answer to the question the reader is inquiring about.
|Author: Daniel O’Donnell is partner at 2 The Top Marketing, Inc. He lives in Boise, Idaho and is head of the Eagle, Idaho office. With over 20 years of experience in the Internet Marketing space he has worked with hundreds of clients creating powerful digital and content marketing campaigns.|