What is Content Marketing? How Does It Work?
Content Marketing is a form of “Free” marketing, based on creating and sharing information and videos with your target audience. It can be any kind of activity you do that is to be focused on your demographic, and isn't through the use of paid marketing. According to Forbes: “Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
The secret of good content marketing is to promote your brand or service without it sounding like a promotion. Your marketing strategy should be educational and/or entertainment-driven, not just outright promotional. Too many posts will turn off your audience, thus having them pass it right by. You have to find the right balance of education and entertainment, and your brand can basically promote itself. For example- If you’re looking at an Instagram feed in a column of three images, the first should be entertainment driven, to catch the attention of the audience, the next may by informative, and finally the last promotional.
Why should you use content marketing?
Time vs. Money
Content marketing is an inhouse job. If done right, it shouldn’t cost you any money and should increase your sales. It’s a simple and organic way to be seen by people who are looking for your product or service, without spending money into advertising and keywords. However, you will have to invest time in this project. It requires constant updating and maintenance. Managing your content marketing strategy is like running a well-oiled machine that involving your brand’s online presence. Think of it as a way to build a relationship with your audience. Consistency is also a major component, so know what your goals are ahead of time and keep on top of it. Just like in any relationship, inconsistencies will likely wreak havoc up your "relationship" with your audience. Make sure you always stay true to your voice and your brand.
Content marketing will create awareness of your brand and services. If you have really good content, it can help your clients research your product. Good content helps to educate your potential and existing clients, and helps you build a repour with them. Clients can confidently say “I feel good about my purchase because this brand cares about their followers.” It’s a great way to build long term relationships that will later branch out and help you gain new relationships and referrals.
Become a Research Source
Becoming a research source can be vital to your growth as a small business or new corporation. A research source, as related to your brand, means that people can come to you and get information on your product or service, and how it may differ from others like it on the market. When someone is searching for a product, say a new couch, they typically want to do their own research to help them make the most educated purchase for their household. It’s easy to go with brands you see a lot, because of brand awareness. Brands that are constantly in your feeds with trusted followers. For example- I’d first look up a couch from a major chain store quicker than a small business because of brand awareness. Then I would find the same couch at a local furniture store and read that the salespeople were a lot more knowledgeable about the couch. You want to be that for your clients. You want to build a relationship that goes passed the purchase. You have to stand out, be memorable and be the go-to spot for your brand or service.
Although content marketing has a long-term commitment rather than the typical pay per click quick fix, it’s much more rewarding for your site and your wallet in the long run. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it means just that, optimizing your brand to be at the top of major search engines. Just as your content keeps you relevant with your demographic and clientele, it also keeps the search engines happy, current and up to date. The more you update your content on your blog, website or social media, the higher you’ll rank organically in the search results. This is the biggest win-win and the main reason to create content. What’s better than boosting your sales and your SEO without spending a dime? Only winning the lotto it would seem.
Content Marketing vs. Paid Advertising
Content marketing separates itself from traditional paid advertising because you're giving your potential client exactly what they're looking. You do this by showing them that you are a professional in your field. And, you're going to give them free information based on your history with your brand, which is worth more than they can pay for it elsewhere. Become their trusted source for information, then they will go to for business and you’ll gain them as a long term client.
Traditional Paid Marketing
PPC: Pay Per Click marketing charges you to market your brand by each keyword. If done right, this can be an effective form of paid marketing but will often get costly, and fast. This easy SEO fix takes time to set up, but once it’s up and running, it can increase traffic to your page. We’d recommend you use a professional to set it up. While PPC is an effective yet costly form of marketing, it not only takes time to set up, but also for the search engines to find you and to start listing you over the competition.
Print- Print Media used to be the only way to market your brand. However, it’s now in the lowest 10% of marketing choices. As digital marketers, we don’t highly recommend choosing print as your advertising source for a few different reasons. First, print media has to be delivered to your clients or a location where they’ll find it. It has no ROI (Return on Investment) guarantee because we cannot track who’s reading a paper or flyer with anything other than a promo code mention or a phone number. Second, if your promotion is upcoming you also can’t be sure it will be in front of your audience by a set date. You’d have to run it multiple times before the event to make sure it’s seen.
Content marketing is a sure thing. You can use insights on most social media and blog sites to track your promotions or posts. You can get instant reactions from fans and clients and you can even use email programs to know exactly how many people received and opened any mass email you’ve sent. It’s a no-brainer in our book that you should choose this digital marketing strategy over anything else. At the very least, it should be used in conjunction with a traditional marketing plan.
Harrison said it best himself- “When you give away content for free, not only are you showcasing your knowledge and experience to your audience, but you can build trust, nurture loyalty, and even cross-sell new products to your customers.”
Content marketing can take many forms, but the most popular methods are blogs, free courses, eBooks, and other downloadable content. Here are our favorites:
Social Post: Social media is literally at the tip of your clientele’s finger tips. The average person spends 144 minute a day scrolling social media. There is no chance that if you’re posting on social media, your demographic isn’t seeing it. Educate yourself on what’s popular in your field and learn your hashtags. You’ll see your following increase in no time
Blog Post: People love to read blogs. They love to subscribe and get email updates while they commute or travel. Pinterest was literally built as a search funnel for blogs. Blog’s also help keep your site up to date and your SEO happy. Build your subscribers, grow your following and educate you audience. Those followers will turn into customers in no time.
Videos: If your demographic is a younger audience, this is your platform. YouTube will help you grow your brand with short clips, how-to’s and informational videos. This large video platform is also owned by Google, so you can bet the SEO value on these videos is high.
Podcast- Podcasts are everywhere; everyone is subscribing to them. Many people don’t even listen to music or read books anymore. You can even set up a podcast playlist. Podcasting can help you reach a wider audience, develop yourself as an authority and again, it’s a free way to keep your clients loyal to your brand.
Are you ready to start content marketing? Great. Head over to our blog for some more information on how to get started with confidence.
Here are our favorite resources: