What is content marketing? Though we are surrounded by it nearly 24/7, defining exactly what it is may be difficult for the most people. We decided that a great starting place would be Google, so we Googled “what is content marketing.” Below is the definition we received:
If we dissect this definition, there are a few interesting things:
1. The goals is to “attract”: The content you create should act as a magnet, attracting your target audience. By creating interesting, entertaining and/or valuable content, your business will begin attracting potential leads and positioning itself as an industry leader.
2. It requires a “clearly defined and understood target audience”: Attracting people is great, but this definition makes it clear that you must attract the right audience. To do this, you must first define who your target audience is. The more specific you can make your target the better.
3. The long term objective is to “drive profitable customer action”: In order to drive profitable customer action, you must make it clear to customers what action(s) you want them to take. Include call-to-actions to encourage certain behaviors.
4. There is no mention of your product or service: Even though content marketing’s long term goal is to lead to sales of your product or service, this definition purposely neglects any mention of it. Customers are bombarded with marketing everyday and have begun to completely tune it out. In order to get their attention, you must focus more on providing value and less on pushing your business on to them.
Why Is Content Marketing Effective?
In the last 10 years there has been a major shift in consumer behavior. Consumers are responding less than ever to traditional marketing, thanks to inventions like the DVR and ad blockers. Smart marketers are now shifting to non-traditional marketing in response to this new trend. What makes content marketing effective, where traditional promotional content is not, is that it allows businesses to show off their expertise, and even their products, without coming off as overly promotional.
By creating content about topics that interest their target audience, businesses are able to attract new leads. Once these leads engage with their content, businesses have several ways to turn them into customers. Simply put, pushing promotional content is no longer an effective strategy. Instead, businesses now have turned into media companies, creating original content to answer their audience’s questions, solve their pain-points, increase their website traffic and, ultimately, increase sales.
Stats About Content Marketing
- 70% of content marketers are creating more content than they did a year ago (cmo.com)
- 57% of the buying decision is completed before potential customers are willing to talk to a sales representative (CEB)
- 93% of B2B marketers are using content marketing (Business 2 Community)
- 57%of organizations now have two or more people dedicated to content marketing (Contently)
7 Benefits of Content Marketing
1. Establishes Your Business As A Thought Leader: Why should customers choose your business over one of your competitors? One reason is that you are an expert in your industry. This is why companies have blogs, entrepreneurs guest post for top news sites and CEOs try to land speaking appearances. All of these things help to position the person or business as an expert, which in turn leads to trust. Content marketing is a perfect way to educated people while proving you are an expert and can be trusted.
2. Attracts New Leads: Think of your content as a giant magnet. When written well it will begin attracting potential customers (new leads). An important things to keep in mind is the relevance of your content. If your content is attracting the wrong leads then you are wasting your time.
3. Increase Your Followers On Social Media: Content marketing and social media are a match made in heaven. You write your content and then use social media to distribute it. The leads you attract with your content will hopefully start following you on social media. The benefit of this is obvious: they will continue to see your new content when you post it to social media.
4. Improves Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Americans alone conduct 20,000,000,000 searches per month. Needless to say, search engines will play a major role in your business being found on the internet. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results. Content marketing plays an integral role in SEO. By creating content related to your industry, you increase the chances of a search engine showing your content to searchers.
5. Increases Sales: Yes, content marketing can make you money. The benefits listed above should make it clear how sales can and will increase with a well executed content marketing strategy.
6. Cheaper Than Traditional Marketing: Digital marketing, content marketing specifically, is much cheaper than traditional marketing and generates significantly more leads.
7. Helps With Recruiting Top Talent: Over 90% of recruiting professionals plan to use social media to help them recruit top talent. Content marketing shared on social media is a great way to attract top talent. We have had several job seekers approach us thanks to the content we have produced.
Interested in learning about even more benefits of content marketing? Check out this awesome influencer roundup blog post compiled by Nectafy: 59 Benefits Of Content Marketing From 50 Expert Marketers
Examples of Content Marketing
GoPro and Redbull are two companies that have found great success with content marketing on social media. Below are two videos that show off the type of content they are producing. They are in two different industries, yet you will see a common message.
Both of these companies are after a similar target market, extreme sports enthusiasts. Instead of trying to promote their products in a traditional way, they identified the type of content their target market appreciates and started producing it. They also both share a lot of user generated content (UGC) that shows their customers in action. The beauty of using UGC is that it is free and resonates more with potential and current customers. Think of GoPro as an extreme sports media company that also sells action cameras. This mindset has helped GoPro and Redbull stand out and find success in relatively crowded markets.
Why Your Business Can’t Ignore Content Marketing
You can’t ignore content marketing, because without it your business risks becoming irrelevant. Neil Patel summed it up beautifully when he said:
What Neil is trying to say is simple. Without an investment in content marketing, businesses are at a major disadvantage. Though you can still succeed without the use of content marketing, the chances of success are greatly decreased and growing your business will take much longer. In the fast paced world we live in, the question is: can your business afford to waste time?
If you answered no, then you definitely need to double down on creating content that can attract your target customers, build brand awareness, prove industry expertise and eventually, drive sales. Let’s now dive into how to get started with content marketing.
7 Tips To Get Started With Content Marketing
1. Write For Your Audience, Not Yourself: Want to hear a secret? The best content marketers write for their audience, themselves. When your main goal is making your audience’s life easier, you will find success. Pay attention to the types of questions people are asking, the things you had to learn to get to where you are today, etc.
2. Repurpose Content: One of the main reasons businesses are hesitant to invest in content marketing is a fear of not being able to produce enough content. It is true, creating enough engaging content can be hard. A great way to lessen the amount of content you have to produce is to repurpose the content you create. For example, if you create a blog about ‘10 Content Marketing Tips,’ you could then turn it into a short video, an infographic, etc. With the research already done, creating these additional pieces of content takes a fraction of the time.
3. Experiment With Different Formats: Be sure to experiment with different types of content to see what resonates most with your audience. Though we recommend sharing several different types of content (blog, video, images, etc.), it is beneficial to identify which format has the most success and focus on producing 70% of your content in that format.
4. Outsource Some Content Creation: We discussed how repurposing content can lessen the amount of content you have to produce. Another way is to outsource it. Aside from the benefit of more content with less work on your side, outsourcing also results in more diverse content. With services like Zerys, InboundWriter or Blog Mutt you can easily find affordable content creators.
Related Article: How To Outsource Your Content Marketing
5. Write About Things You Learned: At this point you are probably an expert in your field. Try to remember back to when you weren’t. You are probably picturing a younger, more athletic you (I know I am). Now try to think of all the things you learned in your journey from beginner to expert. Write down these main topics or tricks you learned along the way and turn them into content. Basic things that are easy for you to write about as an expert will be extremely useful for beginners. When you become the source of information and learning, you become extremely valuable. Just think about Google.
6. Create “Gated” Content: The concept of “gated” content is simple: you create content that can only be accessed by entering in some type of information. One of the most common examples of gated content is exit popups on blogs. These popups appear when you are about to leave the page and usually ask for your email in exchange for a piece of content. Try to create an in-depth piece of content that you think your audience will be extremely interested in. Then ask for information like their email or answers to a survey in exchange for access to it. Use this information to improve your product or service, as well as to market to these same people more effectively.
7. Encourage Your Followers To Become Content Creators: Happy customers are the best marketers. As a business you should encourage your customers to share their experience with your company. At eClincher we have a section in our website for success stories. These stories are written 100% by our customers. The best part about user generated content (USG) is that it is unbiased and trustable. Every company says they have a great product or service, thus making their claims less credible. When potential customers see real people that are happily using your product or service, they will be more likely to become customers themselves.
What is content marketing? Well, it might just be the difference between the failure and success of your business. What is the best piece of content you have seen a company produce recently? Let us know in the comment section.
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