The Beginner's Guide to Content Marketing
Content marketing is a relatively new type of marketing, in the grand scheme of things. It’s a strategy designed around getting the consumer’s attention in a way that is more passive than traditional advertising while also offering them something valuable. Content has become an invaluable tool in the marketing world, but to understand how and why you should use it, you must first understand how it differs from traditional marketing.
Why Content Marketing is Better Than Traditional Advertising
You see, traditional marketing is problematic because it’s kind of… aggressive. The whole premise of traditional advertising is to interrupt the consumer by getting right up in their face, be that through billboards, TV/radio commercials, or paper ads (mailers, magazines, etc.). While demanding the customer’s attention may sound like a good idea, there are a couple of issues with it.
One is that traditional ads don’t offer the customer any value, so you’re not only annoying the customer, you’re annoying them without benefiting them in any way. The next problem is that traditional advertising often gets customers’ attention when they aren’t in a situation where they can take any action. Take billboards for example. Sure, the consumer may see your billboard and think about buying your product, but there’s not much they can do about it while they’re driving down the road.
The third issue with traditional ads is that they are temporary. They often aren’t displayed for long and, when they are, all the consumer has to do is look away, turn the page, keep driving, etc., and they won’t see your ad anymore. Finally, they’re awfully expensive when you consider how little they do for you or your customers.
Content marketing, however, does none of that. It’s cost-effective, non-invasive, and available to your customers whenever they want it. It’s a much better trade for you and your customers. You get to market your company and they get the information they truly need. Plus you can use clickable links to direct customers to your website, products, or services, something which traditional ads will never be able to do.
Types of Content Marketing
The neat thing about content marketing is that there are so many different ways to do it. Some of the most common examples of content marketing are:
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
- Whitepapers/downloadable content
All of these forms of content can be used to educate your audience, entertain them, or both! It really just depends on what type of products or services you provide and how you want to present them to the consumer.
How to Use Content Marketing Effectively
Now that you know what content marketing is, and why it’s better than traditional marketing, it’s time to learn how to use it to your advantage. With whatever type of content marketing you choose, you’ll want to remember to do the following:
1. Figure out who your audience is and what they want.
You can’t start your content creation process without knowing who you’re creating content for. First, you must have your target audience in mind. What age are they? Where do they live? What are their needs? What are their pain points? Questions like these will help you determine what type of content your audience is most likely to find useful. This is often the hardest part of content marketing and something that many companies choose to hand off to an experienced marketing agency, like BlueTone Media.
2. Create useful content only.
Remember, we’re trying to avoid pushy sales pitches here. Now that you know your target audience, you should be able to come up with some ideas for types of content they will find beneficial and engaging, without being abrasive. The most important thing to remember when creating content is that customers care about themselves, not you. So, when you go to write a blog or design an infographic, make sure the content clearly demonstrates how it is helpful to the customer, instead of focusing on how great your company is.
3. Stay consistent and relevant.M
For content marketing to really work for you, it must be used consistently. This means posting your content regularly, on time, and without fail. If you do not consistently create content, it will not work. Additionally, you need to make sure the content is relevant to the consumer. In other words, post about something your audience cares about, like new products, as opposed to something they don’t care about, like a recall that happened six months ago.
4. Get it out there.
Content doesn’t do any good if nobody sees it. Once you’re created sharable content, share it! Posting content on your social media platforms, featuring new content on your website header, and sending content out via email or newsletter are some of the best ways to make sure your audience has access to it whenever they want.
5. Drive action.
Just because your content is valuable to the customer, doesn’t mean it can’t be used to make a sale, improve your website ranking, or increase visibility across the internet and your industry. When creating content, make sure you keep SEO in mind, include links to direct traffic to pages where users either fill out forms or make purchases, and keep the content updated regularly with any new links or information that may be relevant.
Even with these tips, deciding exactly what your customers want to learn about can take some trial and error, unless you hire a marketing team. Whenever we bring a new client on board, we spend hours researching their industry, customers, and competitors to determine exactly what type of content is needed and ensure we’re producing pieces that are totally unique to your business’s needs.
Why Content Marketing Matters
While you might be able to get along ok without content marketing, you definitely won’t reap as many rewards as you could be. If it’s not already, content creation should become a huge part of your overall marketing strategy given that it offers a ton of benefits, like:
A truly diverse content marketing takes time and expertise to develop. If you’ve found yourself in need of some content marketing help but lack the time to devote to it, we’ve got you covered. Our team is full of content marketing experts whose days revolve around making sure our clients are using content creation to its full advantage. See what we’ve done for other clients or contact us to find out what we could be doing for you.
- Building brand awareness so that your customers can easily learn more about your company and your products/services.
- Targeting your unique customers to ensure you’re not wasting time marketing to people who aren’t likely to buy from you.
- Increasing your website traffic by catching the eye of consumers who might not have noticed/known about you otherwise. Sparking conversations and building rapport with current and prospective customers.
- Establishing your business as an expert by offering information and providing the answers your audience wants and needs.
- Improving your search engine rankings with consistently posted content that’s filled with handy, dandy keywords.
- Enhancing other lead generation tools by giving you a little something extra to share with your audience.
- Attracting the attention of consumers at the exact moment they are actively learning and looking to make a purchase.
- Offering sharable content that your loyal customers can share with their family and friends.
- Improving your client retention rate by giving your audience the gift of knowledge and simultaneously creating a sense of reciprocity within them.