What is content marketing?

With the online shopping boom came the incessant sales pitch that quickly got boring! I mean, seeing the same old boring ads from ten different brands trying to sell you the same thing at every turn? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, everyone just selling stuff? BORING!

The ad types got tiring, and the up and coming brands really couldn’t compete anymore with trying to get a foot in. Then came the innovation of content marketing to save us all from having to throw ourselves off of a cliff from having to read the same drab sales pitch over and over again each time.

What is content marketing?  Well, content marketing how I like to put is merely how you become an interesting friend to your would-be customers before you try and sell them stuff, which makes the entire sales process a whole lot easier.

How can content marketing benefit your business?

With content marketing, you can build trust and long-term business relationships, because you aren’t just being “salesy” and always just pushing your products on customers but instead, you are also providing them with informative, entertaining or just generally engaging content in addition to your sales pitch. Your customers are more likely to trust your goods and services when you go the route of content marketing instead of just the traditional marketing route.

What marketing goals can content marketing serve?

With all the fuss about content marketing, I bet you are wondering what goals exactly you can meet with content marketing essentially. The answer, in a nutshell, is that content marketing brings you the ideal customer for your business. Because the people who follow your socials or blog are doing so because of the content you put out, they are the right kind of audience for your business.

Here you aren’t using click bait to have them click to your website or join your email list; they are the customers that seek you out because of the valuable content and information you put out.

Below are some marketing goals in which content marketing affords you:

  • Attaining unshakable credibility

When you take the content marketing route, you tend to build a level of reliability that would be hard to get tainted by hearsay. When the content your dish out on a daily to your audience checks out and helps a person solve a problem or two, they tend to trust you over time and would look to your brand and products first before your competition when they require a good or service you provide.

  • Helps certify your brand image, taking it to the expert level

Let’s say you come across a weight loss brand that gives you daily weight loss tips that work, it could be a meal plan that helps you lose weight or just simple exercise tips that do help you in some way, would you consider said brand somewhat experts?  And when they tell you about maybe a workout gear or shake that aids with weight loss, wouldn’t you feel their opinion on the products recommended were the opinion of experts?  You totally would! Content marketing gets your audience to believe that you know exactly what you are talking about. So, if your goal is to become an expert in your field, then content marketing is definitely for you!

  • Helps put your brand out there

When starting out or looking to expand your brand and business, going the content marketing route is exactly what you need to give you that boost that takes you to the next level.  With every comment, like or share your content receives, your brand gets exposed to new individuals who might be interested in what you have to offer. This method of advertising is known to be cheaper than your traditional form of advertising. Your audience, whom you have built an interactive relationship with literally help you bring more publicity to your brand with each interaction they have with your content.

  • Facilitates a quicker customer response when it comes to making a purchase

Because content marketing over time enables you to build a trusting relationship with your audience, there is a significant level of trust that makes an individual more confident with making a purchase from your brand. Because you have been consistent with the provision of useful content for free, an individual who has benefitted from your free and no strings attached value laced content would quickly and confidently make a purchase from you.

I could go on and on about just how fantastic content marketing is and the numerous milestones you could attain with this method of advertising, but sadly, we would not be able to move on to the next point which is also very important.

How does content marketing work for inbound marketing?

What exactly is inbound marketing?  Simply put, inbound marketing is the level of advertising that is directed at people already seeking out the kind of service you offer. I like to describe it as the final step in the marketing process just before the sale. While content marketing looks to build customer/business relationships, establish a brand in an Industry or drive traffic to a final website, inbound marketing is looking to secure a sale.

Let’s say your amazing social media content has driven a level of traffic to your website, and now you need to give that final nudge that makes the sale. The steps you take while a potential customer is surfing around your website to get him or her to whip out that credit card and place that order, those steps come together as inbound marketing. Now to the question of just how content marketing works to make inbound marketing efforts a success, how exactly are they related?

A great example of inbound marketing is email marketing. Both on your website prompting people to sign up to your email list, and when directly trying to sell them a product or service, content marketing is required to both get new subscribers on that mailing list and also to get people to make a purchase.

The tone of your sales pitch, especially with email marketing is one that can be perfectly refined with content marketing, i.e. content marketing takes away that drab sales pitch vibe from it and replaces it with a feeling that gets people to believe in whatever you are trying to sell them. Content marketing is vital to ensuring that your inbound marketing strategy makes you that sale.

 Content marketing strategy: creating a plan

You might be a pro at churning out great content, but trust me when I say it’s mighty easy to get insanely overwhelmed, get burned out and made a mess of things. Making a plan of how to structure and distribute your content is a great way to stay on track and not lose your way trying to keep up with ever-changing trends.

A practical example is, I own a blog, I love writing on my blog, and my readers like the content I serve to them. Despite the whole blogging experience being amazing as I am doing what I love and the response I get is inspiring, I tend to get writer’s block now and then it tends to get very scary. Some days it’s like all the great content ideas I could think up in minutes just vanished into thin air as I found that even in hours, I could no longer perform the magic I did. It literally felt like my brain had shut off.

When this happened, I usually found myself scrambling, looking for something, anything to whip up to keep my blog going while I tried to figure out who turned off the on switches in my brain. I quickly found that serving offhand content was a bad idea, the interaction on my blog dwindled terribly and I was near losing my mind. I came across a free blogging class online and long story short, we were told about planning and strategies. I soon realized just how useful drawing up a plan for my blog content helped me out. It helped me prepare weeks ahead and know exactly what I needed to write on next.

This excellent free class went ahead to give directives on just how best to structure my social media content that attracted people to my blog, and the new and high-quality traction was instantaneous! I could go on and all about the miracles of a content marketing strategy, but let’s look a little further into how best to go about structuring the ideal content marketing strategy.

How to develop a content marketing strategy?

Let’s first of all answer the question of what a content marketing strategy is anyway.

A content marketing strategy is the blueprint employed by digital/online business to ensure that there is readily available high quality/high impact content that makes for the consistent quality business expression, management and long-term stable customer relationship, which takes away the snake oil salesmen vibe to the current and future marketing and sales endeavors of a business.

Drawing up a blueprint for your content marketing venture, helps you highlight business and customer interaction goals as well as assists you to meet them. What are the steps to take in getting content marketing done?  Road maps and steps towards success? Let’s touch on those below:

First of all, set your sights on a goal.

Ask yourself these fundamental questions. Why exactly am I hitched with this idea of content marketing? What is it about it that spoke to me? Why am I going the content marketing route? What goals do you hope to accomplish with this marketing method? Are you trying to create awareness for your brand? Building stable relationships with your customers and a general audience? Or generate leads?

When you have asked yourself these questions and answered them, you would have a clear idea of what you want your business future to look like as well as understand exactly how to achieve these business goals.

Who exactly are you trying to reach out to?

Content marketing generally is directed at people, but research has shown that providing content that is geared towards the general public hardly gets you the level of engagement you are looking for. When you are more focused on targeting a niche demographic with your content, you are more likely to get the quality engagement you are looking for. Let’s say you are in the health and beauty niche; your content would make a whole lot of sense to target people who are health and beauty enthusiasts instead of just anyone. Decide who you want to read your content and then work your way up from there.

What kind of content are you looking to market with?

Different people respond to different things, and the same goes for content marketing. In my opinion, content marketing that features information that is in the same niche as your brand product or just the product you are marketing is great.

A great example is when I was heavily into affiliate marketing; I was completely focused on health and beauty products. I began a social media page that daily churned out useful content concerning everyday health and beauty. I gave out tips, general health and beauty information, related eBooks that I had found helpful to me and a lot of other content related to the niche I intended to market.

I decided to grow this page a while before I even began to market anything to them. By the time I did introduce health and beauty products to my followers, the response was mind-blowing, and this was only possible because I had invested the time and effort to build trust with my followers by giving them tips that actually worked.

Compare notes on content types

Streamlining your content for your content marketing is great, but trying out different content presentation methods make for even better results.

Maybe you are most active on your blog, putting out that good- good stuff that your blog readers love but have you tried investing some time in crafting great content for your social media? I mean, instead of just placing links on your socials directing would-be subscribers to your blog, have you tried bringing some of that excellent blog style posts to your socials to give your would-be audience a taste of what your blog offers?

Also, you may be great at the writing content angle, but have you tried video? Instead of always giving out eBooks or a meal plan, have you tried sharing a simple workout video?

Trying out different types of content and the different ways you can present said content to your audience to keep the routine from being boring is very vital for when you are trying to gauge which form of content works best with your audience.

Organizing and marketing content marketing

Just how important this aspect of your content marketing is, I can’t put in words. Organizing the content, you intend to distribute, saves you time, lets your produce only the best quality content, aids your content consistency and ensures that you do not experience content block.

By the time you have written out 10 topics that would spend the whole month for your blog, 4 videos for your YouTube channel and social media, a bunch of interesting related pictures accompanied with witty captions and a few posts for your daily social media posting, you would never have a dull day when it comes to content marketing.

Thinking up content ideas and building upon them long beforehand gives you adequate time to think up some killer topics and to get them ready on schedule and structured in a way that is best suited for your audience. The final aspect of the organization of content is its management. Whether you are doing it on your own or having someone else help you out, the management of your content is essential.

Scheduling your content and managing how they go and on what platform they go on, is something you need to think about.

How often do you intend to blog or vlog in a week?

How many Instagram posts are you going to make a day?

What times are best for your content to go out?

Deciding on all the above stated and more takes your content marketing campaign to the next level and a lot closer to your success goals

Content marketing ROI, measurement and metrics

Putting in all that effort and creativity into your content marketing strategy and then not being able to tell the progress you have made with whatever content marketing goal you set would be quite a waste. Keeping track of what points, you have been able to score by applying content marketing to your business, helps you improve on your strategy and save money as well. Let’s say you spent about $30 creating content and working your marketing process with said content and then not reaching that goal you meant to. Because you have no way to check your ROI, you keep spending that amount and more weekly, and before you know it, your capital is gone.

Trying to calculate and keep your eye on your ROI is very important, but the reason a lot of people don’t bother with it is that they have no clue on how to go about it.

When it comes to how to measure your content marketing ROI, the data you need to collect and analyze includes:

  • How much you spent creating the content
  • How much you spent on distributing said content
  • How much was made from your content marketing efforts?

Once you have these three-pointers, you are well on your way to correctly calculate your content marketing ROI. The best metrics to use when determining accurate ROI is one that suits your content marketing goals seamlessly. Below are typical examples of common parameters used to determine accurate ROI:

  • Level of visibility
  • Level of engagement
  • Number of sales

When you take into account the total cost of working your content marketing campaign and then compare it to your content marketing goals that were set at the beginning of the campaign, you should have a clear idea of what you are doing wrong, doing right, what to do more of and what to cut off completely.