The Beginner’s Guide To Content Marketing
Content. It is everywhere.
Content marketing has skyrocketed in recent times and is now an essential component to any business’ marketing strategy - and for good reason. It’s a proven way to keep your audience engaged, attract new customers, and lends a big hand to brand loyalty. The question is - why?
In this article, we break down what the goal of content marketing is, why it’s important, and the types of content marketing that your business could benefit from.
Before we dive in, here’s a definition of content marketing as written by The Content Marketing Institute
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
The key word here is valuable, which brings us to our first point.
What Is The Goal Of Content Marketing?
The ultimate goal of content marketing is to provide as much value as possible to your audience. One of the most popular ways that this can be done is by offering free knowledge, advice, or inspiration.
Unlike traditional marketing such as specific ads and promotional campaigns, content marketing is not a sales tactic. The KPI of content marketing is not measured by how much revenue a social media post brings in or how many sales calls come from a vlog.
Content marketing is all about building a strong relationship with your target audience, making it a long-term strategy rather than a short-term objective. However, this important factor remains - for a content marketing strategy to be successful, it should lead to profitable customer action.
If investing in ads that drive quick conversion leads to profit, the question then becomes…
Why Content Marketing?
To get a better idea of why content marketing is important to your business, we need to understand the your client's buying journey:
- Awareness - In this stage, potential customers either become aware of your product or they become aware that they have a need to fulfill or a problem to solve.
- Research -Once a customer is aware of their constraints and knows that there is a solution, they will begin the research stage to find a suitable service or product that fits their needs.
Consideration - When a customer reaches this stage, they are typically ready to buy. Before they commit to a purchase, they are comparing prices and reviews to make sure that they are buying a quality product or service.
- Purchase - Once a decision is made, the customer moves forward with their investment.
The importance of content marketing is magnified within the first two stages of the buying journey. A potential customer becomes aware about the company through educational or entertaining content. Consistent, valuable content that your target audience wants to engage with further peaks their interest. This is because you're building trust through your content.
By the time a customer is warmed up to the consideration stage, it takes very little convincing to get them to make an investment because you've already done the work upfront by communicating your business values and how you can solve their problems. This greatly reduces and, for some companies, eliminates the need to incorporate high pressure sales tactics - an aging method that today’s educated consumer is not interested in engaging with.
Once a customer makes a purchase, that know-like-trust factor is established and they are more likely to become repeat buyers and a loyal ambassador for your brand. Another advantage of consistent content is that, if your company executes short-term advertising efforts, your content marketing enhances those promotions by showing up in front of your already-warmed-up audience.
The Different Types Of Content Marketing
Content is essentially anything that tells a story. Storytelling is the foundation of all good content marketing. With this in mind, content can come in hundreds of forms.
A few examples of the most popular type of content marketing today are:
- Social media posts
- Video marketing
- Email marketing
- Lead magnets
The platform(s) that you choose to execute your content marketing may depend on your target audience and type of industry that you’re in. If you’re unsure about the type of content that you should be producing, the best way to find out is to ask your existing customers what they would find valuable and where they get their information from.
An often overlooked approach is to ask yourself the same questions. What would have been helpful for you before you started your business? What type of information did you need before you found a solution for yourself?
The Bottom Line
Your content can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. As you’re building out your content strategy, remember that the mission is to provide value for your audience, build relationships, and establish a foundation of trust that will ultimately impact the longevity of your business. You want your audience to know who you are, like what you do, and trust you all through your content. THIS is the reason why and where content marketing becomes effective.