According to Google search, the term ‘content marketing’ generates over 2.5 billion results. When using content exploration tools like Ahrefs, you’re presented with another staggering number—in the last month alone, there were over 20k pieces published on the subject.
As the popularity of the content marketing field has become self-evident, it has simultaneously created room for inconsistency and lacks unified knowledge. Without doing any further research, can you define what content marketing is and why it’s important?
I thought so. And running a blog to write a post or two per month just because everyone else does it, is not a substantial enough reason to invest your resources. Like with anything else we do business-wise, we want to understand the practice and to put it bluntly—how much money it can help us make.
So to stay on top of your content marketing game, you really have to make an effort to self-educate, especially when there’s no one book or seminar that covers it all (though I wish there was).
For this reason, we’re here to give you a run-down on the definition of content marketing and to understand as well as evaluate the potential benefits for your business.
What is content marketing?
As a business owner who has to wear many hats or a newbie content marketer, you want to know what constitutes content marketing, so you know how to develop an effective content strategy.
According to the marketing legend, Neil Patel, the definition of content marketing is: …having a long-term approach to content marketing so that the efforts are oriented towards strengthening relationships with your target audience. As a means to achieve that, you’re consistently creating relevant and useful content.
Before you can progress with your content marketing strategy, especially if you haven’t done this already, you have to answer a foundational question—which customers constitute my target audience?
This is where creating good ol’ personas come in useful, or in other words, structuring representations of who your buyers are. Without having personas, you’re only doing guesswork when creating content, instead of delivering what your potential customers are actively searching for.
As different customers have different paths to making a purchase, in any case, if applied correctly, content can lead them by helping to make informative decisions throughout the process.
Broadly speaking, a traditional sales funnel consists of four stages: awareness, interest, decision and action. To help your customers move through the funnel, you should have relevant content pieces ready for every phase.
When creating content, you can start by aligning content pieces that are suitable for distinct stages, including interviews, round-ups, videos, infographics, case studies, podcasts, webinars, and the list goes on.
For example, during an awareness stage, your customer won’t be ready for a live demo or one-on-one consultation and simply because it’s too early—the intention here is to grab attention. Whereas at the bottom part of the funnel, the content is expected to be much more personalised and tied with a tailored product offering.
I can almost hear you say now—“But what if we don’t have enough time and resources to create that much diverse content…” If you don’t feel confident enough whether you can do it on your own, or you have an extremely tight budget, there are two easy getaways: repurpose your content or outsource your work.
In the first scenario of repurposing, think of a content idea simply being repackaged. For that, you not only use different content formats but also diverse channels where the content will be published. Say, if you have access to your company’s data, you can use it for a blog post, then turn into an infographic, and later a case study.
Alternatively, you can work with a freelance content creator on an hourly basis. They often go under titles such as social media managers, content curators, and the like. Some of them are professionals and cost a lot, but on sites like Fiverr or Upwork, you can always find someone who’s entry-level, eager and reasonably priced.
So why content marketing is important for your business?
We’ve already established that with the help of well-targeted content, you can align your company’s efforts to reach your customer throughout his or her journey up until they convert. As a marketer, your job here is to support their experience by supplying them with the right information at the right time.
Content marketing is essential if you’re trying to build a brand online, and yet, it’s not always so clear-cut where its benefits start and where they end. Some benefits like brand awareness, evangelism, education or sense of community are difficult to measure precisely and yet, they are integral for your success as a business.
Also, there are many sophisticated ways and tools that can help you capture relevant data and measure the impact of a single post or page. Don’t get overwhelmed though, you can always start small and familiarise yourself first with Google Analytics, plug-ins or social media insights, and analyze tangible metrics such as site traffic, sign-ups, shares, or downloads.
From lead generation to organically expanding your reach, the opportunities with content creation and marketing are next to endless. Don’t forget that trial and error are both parts of testing and seeing what works specifically for your business goals.
Do you want to get on that content marketing train, but you’re not sure where to start?
Schedule a consulation session with us today, to see how we can partner with you.