What’s the first thing that pops up in your mind when you hear the word ‘content marketing’? Viral videos on social media? Ads? That long detailed blog post? It’s okay if you naturally relate content marketing to the digital space, a lot of people do too, however, that’s not always ,the case.
You see, content Marketing has existed way before it even had a name. If you can tell stories to people in any form with the aim of attracting and engaging them, you are already content marketing. It is not the alien concept a lot of people believe it to be. Now take a moment and think, what’s some of the most memorable stories you’ve heard? Perhaps a book you read that kept you on the edge of your seat till you dropped it?
It could even be a viral video that caught your attention till it ended. Safe to say, you’ve been successfully content marketed to. Now imagine creating contents around your brand that can also keep people on the edge of their seats. Imagine creating consistent compelling stories around your brand, stories that completely draw people in that they are left wanting more? Do you understand what it can do for your business? You will not only be able to generate traffic to your website but even more importantly you can generate massive leads and build a loyal customer base.
Okay. Now that we’ve spent a moment on the elementary aspect of content marketing, let’s approach it fully from a digital perspective and go over all the ways it can be incredibly beneficial for your business.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is an aspect of digital marketing that involves the creation and promotion of valuable contents in form of videos, audios, blog posts and any other contents for the purpose of promoting your brand and generating leads.
Basically if you’re creating any content for people to engage in, then, you are content marketing. It does not always have to be content positioned toward selling a product or service to people. It can be content that people just love to read. If you have a target audience that relate with your content and take specific actions prompted by your content, this means that you have been successful in your content marketing approach
History of Content Marketing
Humans and content creation are completely synonymous. We have been creating content in one form or the other as much as we’ve been breathing and living on earth. Johannes Guttenberg was the first person to be closely linked to the word content creation and marketing.
Johannes invented the printing press in 1440 which led to the creation of printing products that were used in marketing and promoting products and services.
Then, Benjamin Franklin published the “Poor Richard’s Almanack. This book was based solely on promoting his business. This was also a visible content marketing in history. In 1867, Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company introduced a company magazine that continues to be published under the same name to this day.
These were some of the first representations that we saw of content marketing. They promoted their brands and business by selling them through content and at the time it was solely written content. The idea that you can generate a lot of traffic by distributing contents that are engaging and helpful soon started to gain a lot of prominence.
In 1895, John Deere, farming equipment, started the publication of a magazine known as “The Furrow” to provide advice and information for farmers on how to improve their business.
However, the magazine’s success wasn’t just due to its wealth of information. It also contained engaging stories that were enjoyable for readers.
This strategy helped The Furrow reach millions of readers by the turn of the century. The Furrow is still around today, with a readership of roughly 550,000.
This is how Content marketing can transform your business.
Impacts your SEO positively
Your SEO is one of the most important and vital part of promoting your website and increasing its visibility. If you are able to create great content, it will complement your SEO efforts beautifully. Just like coffee and cream, a great content and a winning SEO just go well together.
To unravel their full potential, they rely heavily on the each other. If you decide to actively perform an SEO on a website that lacks quality content, you will be spending a chunk of your time wasting all your efforts. You might be able to generate traffic but you will not be able to generate conversion or leads.
Remember, it is your SEO efforts that generates the traffic while your content marketing efforts sells the products or services to your target audience.
If you combine great content with great SEO and implement all the right strategies, you can positively impact your business in a short space of time.
Increases Brand Trust
What’s a brand you will vouch for? What’s a website you find yourself naturally gravitating to when surfing the web for specific answers? It’s possible that you do not even remember how the brand or website gained your trust, but they did gain your trust. It’s not rocket science, it’s basically content marketing.
It is so subtle that when you do it properly, you can slowly gain the trust and confidence of your customers. You can even get people who have not patronized your products or services before to trust your brand. How can you do this? You can use testimonials and customer reviews on your blog posts or social media page to relieve customers’ doubt and build brand credibility. A credible brand naturally builds trust.
To increase your brand visibility all you have to do consistently create content that people are actively seeking for and are likely to engage with. If your content is original and helpful enough it’s natural for people to want to share it. Creating shareable content will have your brand across all the social media platforms easily.
When people keep sharing your content, you are able to get your brand across massive online platforms which will increase your brand’s visibility and in turn generate website traffic that could potentially convert to leads.
Every business and brand has a voice and personality. Can you take a 10 seconds drive back to a recent content you indulged yourself in. What aura did the content give you? Was it a content that created a specific feeling in you? If you are struggling to remember the brand voice of the recent content you indulged yourself in then the content was not a recognizable one. If however, you can immediately remember the brand’s voice, that’s a big plus for the brand.
Content marketing helps you distinguish your brand from competitors and also makes it recognizable. Without a brand’s voice, you will not be able to stick on people for long and they easily move on to an alternative brand with a stronger voice.
There are some content you stumble upon online and you are able to take an accurate guess of who the owner of such content is before seeing a watermark or a mark of identification. These brands have successfully been able to build a recognizable brand voice.
Numerous Options to connect with your Audience
Content marketing is such a diverse form of digital marketing because there is no specific way you can market to people.
You can create content through videos, audios, blogs and order written form, illustrations and even infographic amongst others. Every human is not the same which means that your potential customers will not have the same needs.
By having such flexible options you will be able to tailor your content for a more specific audience as well create content that is enjoyable. For example; You cannot create a visual content if you’re trying to market to blind people, the better alternative would be to use an audio format.
Higher Lead generation
A consumers buying process comes in different stages. If you’ve been able to get them on your page or social media feed, the next step would be to sell to them. Generating lead with content is the most effective form of lead generation.
Nobody wants to commit to a product or service of a brand that they’re not sure of. This is where great content comes to play. If your content is of good quality and is compelling enough, you will stand a high chance of converting potential customers that come to your website.
Brand loyalty works hand in hand with your brand’s voice and credibility.
Look at it this way; you’ve been surfing the internet trying to find a way to lose inches of your tummy. You stumble upon this health article that completely breaks it down for you. It offers testimonials, pictures and videos that are full of helpful information.
You completely love it for 2 reasons;
1. It was super helpful at the exact time you needed it.
2. It was engaging enough for you to read it till the end.
This is the brand’s voice and personality that makes a content different from the rest and makes it an interesting content.
Now imagine you want to get a smoothie juice that burns belly fat in the coming months and then you come across this same brand selling the smoothie juice you are looking for.
Remember, this is the brand that already helped you with tips for burning belly fat and established a brand voice,
Are you not most likely to go with the brand that has already proven themselves to you once? That is called loyalty. When you’re consistent with helping your customers and making it as seamless as possible it will be easier to get their loyalty.
Challenges of Content Marketing
Content marketing just like every other digital marketing strategy has its own challenges.
Let’s explore some of those challenges below;
There is no way to determine that the amount of time and effort spent in creating and collating contents for your audience will be fruitful. You could spend hours and all of your efforts working tirelessly on a project and you will end up with little or no results.
Even though there has been some models and new technologies that can help augment the process of getting ROI, it still isn’t 100% accurate
Low views On Videos
Every content creator’s dream is to create content that can go viral with the speed of light.
If your content goes viral, naturally you’re able to generate higher traffic in your web which could translate to High leads. All you can do is try your possible best to create the most engaging, fun and informative content and to hope and pray that somehow your content goes viral.
You can do everything right and still not have a lot of views on your videos. Low views on a your video content will lead to little or no conversions. In content marketing, there are no fixed guarantees.
Building A trustworthy brand
It can be difficult to establish yourself and your brand as a trustworthy one.
There is a lot of noise and a lot of marketers just like you who are struggling to get their names imprinted on people’s minds. The competition is fierce which means that building your brand to be a trustworthy one with authority is no small feat.
It will involve a lot of constancy and hard work. However, it can definitely be achieved.
It can also get hard to stick to a particular budget when it comes to creating content. Even though it is inexpensive, if you decide to use paid marketing to promote the content, you might find yourself overstepping your budget plan .
Maintaining your company’s brand voice can be a difficult task. This is especially true if you outsource some of the works to outsiders who do not know your company’s voice. They can deviate from it and it might begin to look unrecognizable to even customers.
A good way to get under check is to make sure that whenever you’re telling a story, you are telling the company’s story. It should always infuse the company’s elements in the content.
When you first start content marketing it’s easy to believe that every day you will create the most engaging and compelling videos ever and that you will consistently push it out.
In reality, it’s not as simple as it looks. For you to create engaging content, it might become difficult to push them out. You might even run out of your creative juice temporarily. You need to work with speed and you cannot compromise speed with quality. They’re both extremely important for content marketing.
There will be a lot of resources and energy spent and it can be draining especially if you feel like you’re not getting results. It is very easy to quit on your consistency.
Elements of good content marketing
1. Brand Rules
No structure can thrive without laid down rules. This is the same with every brand or business. Your content should always reflect your brand rules. This should also be properly communicated to employees who are handling different aspects of the content creation. From audios, to blog posts, and videos, the rules should not be broken. Any deviation from the brand rules should be thoughtfully put together and properly mapped out in the content.
You have to be able to communicate brand’s identity in a way that people can easily get. They should never have to wonder about your brand’s identity.
When you’ve been able to develop a good brand structure paying attention to the voice, tone and personality, you can then begin to implement them.
2. Goals for marketing
Establish the goals. What do you hope to achieve? What is the bigger picture? You should set your goals according to what your Audience wants, it should never be far fetched.
Let your content goals and your customers goals intertwine together. This will make it better for you to reach those goals and be on your toes.
3. Buyer Persona
This is extremely important. You cannot begin to do anything on content marketing if you have not first established a buyer persona for your brand.
Buyer Persona simply means the attributes of your ideal audience. Their demographics, what they like and where they can most likely be found. This helps you in the streamlining process.
You should also create a buyer persona that features unique attributes which can not be found on other brands. The industry already has a working buyer persona that has existed for a while and does not seem to be leaving the digital marketing space.
You can create your own buyer persona, look for things and attributes that other people might be overlooking and then infuse them into your writing creation for a buyer persona.
4. In-depth Research
Your company grows through research. Do research. Lots and lots of it. Read as many contents as possible.
Have vast information and establish yourself as an expert in whatever content you’re seeking to create. The Market research done is used to provide insight into what other brands have done to improve their strategy.
You can learn about your competitors, what they’re doing right and how they made it to the top. If you can get some of this information, you will be able to infuse more valuable information while creating your content.
5. Defined Customer Plan
While having a buyer persona is great, you also need to have a customer plan that is well structured and planned. You want to know what makes them act they way they do, Why do they want to buy what they want to buy? What is their most important need? How can you come in to help them.
You want to be able to meet them every single step of the way to make the buying process from the moment they see your content to the mine they take the required action a seamless one.
Having a mapped out plan helps you with the structure and implementation of your strategies. Without a good map or plan it would be difficult to stick to a content marketing strategy.
You have to identify your customer’s buying process, then their specific actions that they will take, what is driving their need, their specific pain points and finally the solutions to alleviate their pain.
6. Content Company Plan
We have explored how important it is to define a customer’s plan before you start marketing, it is equally important to define the company plan. What is your brands voice and how does it align with what your customers want? You should never deviate from your brands voice and in the case that you do you should always try to still keep it as consistent as possible.
You should identify your company’s plan and best practices and they should align with what your target audience wants. If they don’t, then you need to look for a new target audience.
Is your content marketing process built around videos, audios, Ebooks or all of them at once? If they are, your target audience is best fitted to relate with your content. Will they be willing to read blogs or listen to audios or even watch videos? All these are super important questions to ask.
When you have successfully developed your company’s content plan, you should do a test run. A test run is the only true way to check if your content aligns with what the buyer wants. Every other thing is based loosely on assumption.
When you’ve been able to tick all the boxes and have established a connection between your target audience and what you’re giving them, then, you can begin to implement your strategies.
7. Teamwork and communication
A successful company is built on consistent communications. Communication with the team, communication with the customers and all the in-betweens..
Communication with the team is often slighted but it’s extremely important. It should be a routine structure for all brand owners. That’s the major way to monitor all successes and failures and know what better way to fix it.
Sometimes, helpful tips and information can pass from one team member focused on a particular company niche to another team member. Everybody on the team has to complement each other. This is not a competition to be the best team mate, every win should be a team win and every failure should be a team failure.
9. Content calendar
This list would be nowhere near complete without this one. If you are a content marketer or you may want to become one, then a content calendar is very important.
Without a content calendar you will always be on a tight leash consistently working to fulfill deadlines.
Content calendar is also a good way to track your progress. It helps you know the topics you’ve covered easily and what’s next on your plate. A content marketing plan or strategy without a content calendar will not thrive well.
By scheduling content on a shared calendar, you can enable proper visibility and coordination across different initiatives, teams, and regions.
10. Ongoing analysis
It’s often said a digital marketer is always on a continuous journey to be better, this is true because as a content marketer you’re responsible for defining whatever story a business wants to push out.
Gather important metrics, get feedbacks and then work on your content over and over again till you are able to launch it to success.
Content marketing and SEO
The best part of Content Marketing is the part that involves an SEO. It is a great way to market your content.
Now that you know that SEO and content marketing work so well together, let’s talk about how to create an SEO content marketing strategy.
Use these SEO tips below to help you write the perfect SEO content strategy for best results:
1. Identify your target audience
Who are you trying to sell to? You have to be dedicated to reaching out to the market that wants your products or whatever service you’re offering.
The first thing you’ll need to do when creating an SEO content marketing strategy is to research your target market. Carry out a well detailed research that should include their age, location, gender etc.
When you’re able to understand them and and their challenges, your SEO content strategy feels easier.
2. Do your keyword research.
This is important because you do not want to create content that does not have search query traffic.
What are people looking for? What keywords are they typing into the google search engines? What images are they looking for? When you’re able to fully know those keywords, you can create content around them.
An important tip when doing keyword research is to focus more on long tail keywords. They have lesser traffic but the audience you will reach are more specific and specific.
3. Create Compelling content. (CCC)
This is how great a content should be; A person glances at your content, they immediately see something that catches their interest. They decide to check out the beginning of the content, they end up reading to the very end because it is so engaging.
It’s not just enough to have a good grasp of your SEO tools, you have to make sure you’re creating great content that matches it.
4. Regularly Optimize your old content
There are new SEO trends every time. This trend when bought into quickly can improve your SEO ranking.
You should look out for your old quality contents and optimize them again using the new SEO trends. This will put in a different map again while still generating traffic back to your website.
Conclusively, SEO and content marketing is like bread and butter. They go so well together. They complement each other perfectly. They thrive more when combined together. Creating content without utilizing SEO is a waste of effort when you can do so much more with those content.