Content marketing has been around for some time now. In fact, the phrase may be traced back to 1996 when it was used by John F. Oppedahl at a roundtable for journalists at the American Society for Newspaper Editors. It’s gained more attention in recent years thanks to the many benefits it offers small and large companies looking for way to stand out online.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing takes many different forms and may include:
- Social media posts
- Case Studies
In short, it is any kind of content created by a business or corporation to educate, inform or entertain its audience.
How does content marketing work?
You might have noticed that content marketing is not focused on selling—at least, not in an obvious way. Content marketing isn’t used to advertise your products or services. Instead, it’s used to:
- Improve brand awareness and recognition
- Build your authority and credibility
- Establish you as a leader in your industry
- Generate leads and drive traffic to your site
- Open up channels of communication with your existing and future customers
Once people arrive on your site, you can start the process of converting them from visitors to customers or clients. In fact, content marketing often results in higher conversion rates than traditional marketing methods. That’s because you can craft content to guide your potential customers through all the stages in the buying process before they arrive at your website.
For example, to increase brand awareness you could start a blog or create videos showcasing your products or company. Customers who are already considering your offer could be further convinced to take action with a free eBook or report. And once they’re ready to make a decision you can close the deal with a case study or testimonial.
Is content marketing right for your business?
The principles of content marketing can be applied to any business. In fact, B2B companies stand to benefit even more from a proper content marketing strategy. The key decision makers often require vast amounts of information before they’re ready to take the next step. By providing them with the data they need before they request it, you make their job that much simpler.
When it comes to content marketing you’re not limited by your industry, audience or even your budget. The only two qualities an effective content marketing strategy requires are time and imagination. If you lack either of these, you do have the option of outsourcing your content marketing to a professional company.
The hidden value in content marketing
Content marketing is all about creating value. You should aim to provide users with information that helps them in some way. Whether it educates them about your industry, illustrates how to use your products most effectively or simply makes them smile—that is what they’ll take away. Then, the next time they’re looking for a business, product or service like yours, they’ll remember you.
But content marketing can also be a valuable source of information about your customers. You’ll learn more about your target market including how they go about researching and purchasing your products or services. These insights will help you identify which areas of your overall marketing strategy need more work.
Creating a content marketing strategy
Before you start blogging or set up a Facebook page for your business, take some time to define some goals for your content marketing strategy. For example, you may want to use content marketing to increase brand awareness, grow your customer base or even find ways to educate your customers.
You’ll also want to conduct some research on your existing customers to find out what forms of content they currently consume. Then, brainstorm some ideas and start creating the content you need. Work out what types of content you have the time and expertise to make, such as blogs, videos or eBooks. Remember that you can share your content on a variety of platforms including your own website and social media pages. Your final step will involve creating a content schedule for distributing the content you’ve created.
Remember that if you need any assistance with your content marketing strategy, or if you’d prefer to outsource it altogether, you can always contact Web Changes. Our digital marketing division will be happy to answer any questions you might have about content marketing.