Today, people live in an age of information abundance. They are inundated by the marketing messages than ever. Content marketing is the process of creating relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined target audience constantly.
Content marketing is meant to reach out to the exact consumers your business aims to target. It helps to concretize your business core brand elements. A successful content marketing plan involves a strategic approach, thoughtful integration, and utmost commitment. Content marketing has found its way into the common vernacular of B2B and B2C across every industry in a short span. It is a form of marketing that helps to create, publish, and distribute content to a specific targeted audience online or offline.
Content marketing generates leads, expand your customer base, increase brand awareness and engage an online community of users. It helps build trust and continuous rapport with the audience. The primary medium that businesses use for content marketing is mainly the internet. It can also be done through physical mediums such as magazines, brochures, newspapers, etc. Companies can post their content on their websites, or through blogs or social media, over even join existing sites.
Content is, undoubtedly, the new power horse in the world of marketing. Content marketing is a success-proven strategy that has now become an industry standard. Content marketing is an extensively established practice. It is one of the predominant means to deliver information. This makes buyers more intelligent. When advertisers rent the media platforms, content marketers own it. You can create and distribute articles, blogs, art, videos, graphics and other sources to connect with the existing and new customer base using the right content marketing platform.
Content Marketing Lifecycle
You need to consistently focus on every step of your marketing strategy. It is highly important to scale and optimize the right content through the right channel. The impact of these contents needs to be measured as well. For all this to be executed, a solid foundation in place is mandatory.
The six stages of the lifecycle are:
- Plan - The topics are to be defined in accordance with the target audience
- Create - Once the target audience is identified, understand the customers and create the relevant contents
- Approve - The created content has to be verified and approved
- Publish - The content is made available to the key customer channels
- Measure - Measure the success of the published content
- Optimize - Measure and optimize the published content against the set goals and ensure to feed that back into the next stream of contents
The 'Content' in Content Marketing
Content is the supreme power of any form of marketing. When it comes to your buyers, choose to educate first and sell second. Through your content, you are freely giving your audience something valuable. If your buyers find it worthy enough, they probably would end up paying for it. Like this, you build trust which is ultimately your most powerful selling mechanism.
What contributes to the right kind of content? Know your audience and find your voice through them. Creating content is a long-term investment for your entity. It is your responsibility to ensure not to leave its effectiveness to chance. The content you deliver is your brand's voice. It is not about you, but your audience. So write for your audience. The content that you create can be either original or curated.
How do we determine what kind of content is to be created? The buying stages of your customers and their persona will help you decide what every piece of your content should accomplish. The buying stages are to be highly considered while creating content. The type of content that drives the buyers at the initial stages might not be strong enough to drive them further long. The ideal content should be that maps to each persona at each stage of the customer lifecycle. Marketing is impossible without great content.
How do we define buyer personas? They are nothing but fictional representations of your buyers. We create them to uncover the buyer's major concerns and consumption preferences. We create personas to determine the kind of content, tone, style, and various delivery strategies. It helps you to narrow down the topics that you should focus on. The buyer's personas tell you the source through which they are getting the information and how they would want to consume it.
Content marketing comes in many forms. The form that you choose to market your content should completely depend on the preferences of your audience, industry standards, and bandwidth and budget. You can market your content through eBooks, cheat sheets, worksheets, and templates, whitepapers, and reports, infographics, slide decks, videos, blog posts or case studies. It is evident that people today are visual beings and visual contents are that attract them the most. Contents that are broken down into small and easily digestible images have a higher impact.
The Various Shapes it Takes
Market online as you would market offline. Be it, online customers or offline customers, they have the same queries and the same amount of curiosity. Dazzle them with the value in your offerings and they will come back to you for more. Be creative and, build credibility and prove your authenticity. It is important to diversify your online presence.
Word of mouth is the most powerful online. Many of the businesses across the globe have catapulted to success due to this. Invest your time and effort in creating and channelizing your content through the right sources. This will eventually contribute majorly to your success. The bottom line is, get the conversations going.
Build your own Content Marketing Strategy
- Identify what you want to achieve with the various content marketing campaigns you create
- Ensure to divide and categorize your audience to attract them with the specific content
- Content should be consistent, persistent and not confusing
- Use thought-provoking images that are memorable and stand up to the brand's reputation
- Identify and prioritize the various ways to communicate with the customers
- Connect with your audience regularly
- The volume of content matters so break them into smaller pieces and repurpose them overtime
- Include a range of content types but create a balanced content mix
The Break Through
The content that breaks through is the one that is relatable, natural, timely and shareable. Listen and learn to ensure that your content is relevant to your audience. It is vital to choose the right social data platform. A unified social platform is ideal to publish your content. This helps you to monitor the social conversations, extract insights quickly, gain visibility, and manage content and relationships, and surface opportunities.
Build your backlinks to have better search engine optimization (SEO). Also, ensure that they comprise of relevant links of high quality. Have your audience to return to your social channel by delivering fresh, compelling and timely content. Tailor the content in accordance with your audience. Keep a close eye and have a constant watch on the online conversations of your users. This will help you optimize and strategize the content based on the gathered insights. Let your content speak what makes you unique. Constantly explore and try new and innovative ideas and optimize the ones that work.
In the past couple of years, content marketing has shaped into a more customer-centric environment. It demands uniqueness in every form. Content is a highly dominant force in the area of marketing. The key area of concern is, are companies aware of tools, extend and characteristics of content marketing and the ways to implement them? Will they be able to choose the best-suited tool for their products or services?
Content is the fuel for demand generation. The impact of contents in the world marketing is likely to increase in the coming years. Businesses are left with no choice. They need to create, curate and distribute high-quality, well-designed contents to build their loyalty. The magnitude of information that is being spilled over to the consumers every millisecond drives them to closely guard their attention.
Content marketing is not like those marketing fads that catch the fire and fade away in no time. It is here to stay. Creative contents interest the customers and identify ways to convert them into buyers. We are in a social, digital and mobile world where people are more empowered than ever before. Buyers are smart enough to self- direct their purchase journey. One of the biggest challenges in today's noisy market is to capture the attention of the buyers. Implement an effective content marketing strategy to continuously engage potential customers. It is important to establish a close connection with your target audience in the early stages of the buying cycle. This helps to develop a lasting relationship with them over a period of time.
You need to plan, focus and intensify your research and also know your audience. You need to plan various unique and innovative content for every stage of their journey. Let your content tell the tales and sing the songs, songs that are unique. The heart of every content marketing approach is value, always remember.