What is content marketing? What does this phrase mean, and how is it used in the modern business world?
Content marketing is creating and distributing content using online platforms to make sales. It focuses on earning an audience first, then converting that audience to customers by providing them with valuable content from when they read your blog until they purchase your product or service.
This blog post will explain how content marketing works and mention top brands that leverage it to increase sales. Read on for more information on these, and guidelines on the steps to follow to succeed with this method.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a way of communicating using online material, such as blog posts, email newsletters, white papers, ebooks, infographics, social media updates or messages, or flyers or brochures. It aims to promote trust, interest, and excitement about an entity's offerings among customers.
When done correctly, content marketing benefits the customer (by providing them with valuable information) and better connects them with your business.
Some common reasons for utilizing content marketing are:
To generate leads/awareness
To build trust and authority
To increase search engine rankings
To retain customers
To support the sales team
How Does Content Marketing Work?
Now that you have an overview of what content marketing means, you're probably wondering: how does it work?
Content marketing works by distributing content, primarily blogs, whitepapers, or eBooks, that are informative. Typically, it portrays the company as knowledgeable and exciting. It seeks to establish trust from its target audience by providing information without seeming to exaggerate claims.
It's an ongoing cycle of content creation and promotion. An example of this is:
You find a blog on a specific topic related to your business.
You write a post that includes the same information as what you found, but you also provide your insight and opinions on the subject. You then distribute it via social media or email.
As a result, your followers are more aware of the type of content you offer, and they become more likely to share it with their connections. This is what builds trust in your company.
Here’s an exciting YouTube video that describes content marketing:
What Are the Benefits of Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a powerful way for businesses to communicate their brand's message.
Here are some benefits of content marketing:
It can be less expensive than other forms of advertising;
it can help generate targeted leads
it helps build trust within your industry, which establishes brand loyalty
it can increase customer satisfaction
it can create opportunities for online promotion that are not available with other marketing strategies.
How To Use Content Marketing To Benefit Your Organization in 6 Easy Steps
Having a basic understanding of how content marketing works is excellent, but now you want to know how to use it to benefit your organization.
Here are six straightforward steps on how you can go about doing that:
1. Identify Your Target Audience
The first step in using content marketing to benefit your organization is identifying and understanding your target audience.
Identifying your audience includes understanding the demographics of who you are trying to reach, such as age group, gender, and interests.
Look at what they're searching for online and how they connect with others. You can do this using keywords and hashtags on social media, Google Trends, and other search tools.
Once you know more about your audience's preferences and habits, you can create content that appeals to them.
2. Generate Relevant Content
Creating relevant content means that the information you're putting out there should be unique. What this means is that it shouldn't just regurgitate what's already everywhere else on the web.
This will only serve to annoy your audience and drive them away, which defeats the whole purpose of why you are creating content in the first place.
3. Promote Your Content Effectively
Once you have created relevant content, you need to promote it effectively. Promoting your content can increase its visibility online and help customers discover it.
If they don't see it or know about it, how will they receive value from viewing/reading/listening to it?
One way of promoting your content is to use social media and include hashtags in your posts.
Another way of promoting your content is to guest post on relevant blogs, which exposes you and your brand to a new audience.
4. Track What Works And What Doesn't (Measure the ROI)
It's essential to keep track of what kinds of content performs well and which types don't. This way, you can continue making the kinds that give you success and avoid those that don't work well for your business, as this study published in the PLOS One Journal points out.
You can use Google Analytics to track how many people visited your website after viewing a specific piece of content. You can also look at social media analytics to see what engagement (likes and comments) different posts receive.
5. Use What You Learn To Improve Your Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing is constantly changing, so you need to adapt if you want it to be effective. What works today may not work tomorrow or next month, or even next year.
By consistently tweaking your strategy, you can stay ahead of the curve and ensure that your content appeals to your target audience.
You should be tracking data on all of your posts, even if they don't work right away. What may not have worked now could very well be what's successful down the road.
6. Use What You've Learned To Tell A Compelling Story
People are naturally drawn to stories because they are interested in learning about what it's like for someone else or how something happened.
This is why storytelling is powerful when creating content marketing strategies. It helps engage readers and leads them down a specific path you have created with certain points that help tell the story effectively.
By drawing readers into your story, you get them to focus on the content at hand and take away something that they can apply in their own lives.
For example, a popular story format is the "hero's journey," where a protagonist goes on an adventure of self-discovery.
This type of storytelling encourages readers to accept the information being given to them more readily because it's engaging and entertaining.
Examples of Successful Businesses That Have Used Content Marketing to Their Advantage
Now that you have an idea of how to get started with content marketing, here are some successful brands that have succeeded with this strategy:
Nike has been one of the most successful companies at using content marketing.
They have a YouTube channel full of videos to promote their brand and products, but it's more than just a place for them to advertise.
These videos tell stories about athletes from all walks of life striving to succeed in their respective sports. What sells Nike products is how well these athletes can perform thanks to wearing Nike.
TED Talks are another example of compelling storytelling within content marketing.
What sells TED Talks is not only the speakers themselves, but what they're talking about because it's engaging and captivating; it allows you to take away valuable information.
Zappos is a huge online retailer that uses content marketing to promote itself and its products. On the Zappos blog, you'll find all kinds of articles related to their business.
Still, they also share articles from other sites because it builds relationships and helps them gain exposure for themselves and their partners. What makes this sharing effective is that it's relevant; they promote their content in a way where they're not just shoving it down your throat as many companies do on social media.
Content marketing is a strategy that helps drive sales by creating high-quality content that engages audiences while delivering value to them at the same time. This strategy has become more popular over recent years as companies realize how effective it can be when done correctly.
What makes content marketing effective is that it's constantly changing and evolving based on data and what audiences want to see, hear and take away from the content you provide. Need help? Get in touch with VINK Marketing Studio today for more tips on making the most of content marketing.