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Marketing Channel: Content Marketing

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About Marketing Channel: Content Marketing

WHAT IS CONTENT MARKETING?

Content Marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on producing and distributing high-quality, educational and relevant content in order to increase, engage, and retain a brand's target audience.

Content Marketing involves sharing online materials with the intent of generating interest in a product and service in the customer with the ultimate goal of driving conversions and profitable customer action.

As a marketer, your content strategy should aim to to provide information that no else is providing and build trust and a relationship with your reader. Your customer is your North Star, so it's important to build your strategy with that in mind and create content based on what they want to see and what they care about.

Content Marketing is oftentimes confused with Product marketing but there are key differences between the two. Product marketing focuses on creating sales collateral and product specific info like specs, claims, and features while content marketing is focused on creating educational content that oftentimes is not explicitly promoting the brand's own products and services.

WHY IS CONTENT MARKETING IMPORTANT?

With the rise of social media and content sharing platforms, there has been a fundamental shift in marketing and the relationship between brands and consumers.

In the past, brands were typically the sole arbiter of their marketing and what their brand stood for. They could control the conversation and relationship between themselves and their audience.

Nowadays, with user-generated content, influencers, and bloggers, the way in which brands communicate with their target audiences has shifted drastically and that control has shifted from being in the hands of the brand to being in the hands of the consumers.

Consumers are relying and trusting less in what the brand has to say about themselves and are paying attention to what content creators have to say about their products and services.

Due to this shift, content marketing has become an essential channel for every modern day business.

HOW DOES CONTENT MARKETING WORK?

Content marketing works to position your brand as the authority and expert in your industry.

By becoming an expert and a credible, authoritative resource on topics related to your brand and/or important to your potential customers, your business is more likely to gain visibility and be discovered by the right audience.

With that credibility, you build loyalty and trust among both your existing and new customer bases, which strengthens the relationship and increases profits.

WHY IS CONTENT MARKETING BENEFICIAL?

Content marketing is oftentimes thought of as a top-of-funnel marketing strategy typically only good for brand awareness and word-of-mouth efforts. The truth is that content marketing can be a valuable asset for all stages of your marketing and conversion funnel.

In addition to building your brand's credibility, here's how content marketing can benefit your sales funnel:

Brand awareness

Your potential customers are always using search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo to ask questions and find information. When they do searches like these, you want your business and content to be at the top of search engine results so you can capture their attention by answering their question and providing them with valuable information.

By doing so, your brand gains visibility, authority and credibility, bringing in more leads and converting more new customers.

Engage new and existing customers

It is essential to keep your brand's products and services top of mind in order to engage your customer bases, increase sales, and grow revenue among existing customers. Content marketing is a great way to do so.

By utilizing the content types above in your marketing (videos, infographics, blog posts etc.) in a consistent manner, you can deliver valuable and relevant information to your audience in order to keep your brand top of mind. You can also repurpose these content types across multiple channels (e.g. clipping a long form video into smaller clips and using it for social media) to increase engagement and touch points.

By remaining top of mind and engaging with your customer bases, your brand is likely to mind when they are in need of the product or service you provide.

Acquire new customers more easily

One of the main concerns mentioned often about content marketing is that it is a long-tail marketing tactic and doesn't bring immediate results. While this is true, the benefits brought by creating the content over time can be worth it.

This is because by creating content that educates readers on the product and service and the value it brings, brands can acquire customers in a more efficient manner therefore reducing their conversion cycle and increasing sales and profits.

Reduce Marketing Costs

While the buy-in to produce and execute a successful content marketing strategy can be high with the time and money it takes to create content assets, the pay off in the long run may be worth it.

If you brand has great content that explains what the brand stands for, what products and services you offer, and how to use them, that means you typically won't have to use as many resources on additional customer education. This content can also reduce the resources used in customer support.

In addition to making the customer experience smoother, your content can present an opportunity for brand partnerships and sponsorships. If your content is valuable and has high engagement, other brands may want to be featured and will pay to be mentioned in your content.

Perhaps most importantly though, a successful content strategy will reduce the money spent on paid advertising by bringing in new leads and customers organically.

CONTENT MARKETING EXAMPLES

Content Marketing comes in all shapes and sizes.

The way in which a content marketer creates content varies based on the goals of their content marketing strategy, buyer personas, the channel, type of content, and who the target audience is.

Here are a few examples of content types:

Blog posts

A great way to connect with potential customers is through a blog post that answers questions and provides valuable insight into how to solve a problem. Think about an issue that one of your customers may be having and you can create can long-form or short-form content with a step-by-step tutorial on to fix it.

Content marketers also tend to love using blog posts as part of their content marketing strategy because it's easy to track click-through rates and pay-per-click links that they may use in the content.

Influencers

Another great way to reach new customers and build brand awareness is through social media influencers.

Social media influencers are individuals who have 'social clout,' authority, and influence over a certain topic which can range from entrepreneurship and growth hacking to fashion, travel and cooking.

They have built a relationship and trust with their following so that when they talk, their followers listen. They typically recommend a product or service, their followers purchase.

More and more brands are realizing the value of working with influencers. Due to that, influencer marketing has become a key tactic in many e-commerce companies' content marketing strategies.

Video Content

With so many brands competing for customers' attention, video content has become an essential part of content marketing strategies.

Like blog posts, videos can be long-form and short-form and can be great for tracking purposes by including a clickable link to a landing page or sales page.

With the right visuals and messaging, video content can be a high converting content marketing tactic and a great way to educate potential and existing audience members about your brand.

E-books 

E-books are a great way to capture the attention of potential or existing customers by offering them valuable, in-depth, and educational content on a particular topic or problem. Similar to what we mentioned earlier in the blog post example, you can think about problems your potential consumers may be facing and provide them with an e-book that gets into even more detail about different ways to approach and solve the problem.

They tend to be written as longer form written content that touch on case studies and can include infographics and links to video content and other media. Other examples include white papers, infographics, interviews, checklists, gifs and memes and social media posts.

White Papers

White papers' definition varies by business and industry classifications, but HubSpot defines them as a persuasive, authoritative report that explains a specific industry problem and provides solutions to fix it. They primarily serve to educate target audiences about specific issues and the various methodologies applied to fix them and sound less like product pitches.

Users must opt-in to receive a copy, which requires them to fill out a form that requests their email and more information before the company sends it to them. They are excellent lead generation tools when they contain informational on relevant, timely topics and offer unique methodologies and industry information.

MARTECH TOOLS FOR YOUR CONTENT MARKETING CHANNELS:

In order to ensure the content you create gains the visibility and recognition needed to see results, you should utilize these seven content marketing channels savvy marketers use as part of your strategy.

Website/Blog

Tools:

  • WordPress
  • Squarespace
  • Wix

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Tools:

  • Yoast
  • SEMrush
  • Moz

Email Marketing

  • HubSpot
  • Mailchimp
  • Marketo

Social Media

  • Hootsuite
  • Buffer
  • Later

Digital Advertising

  • AdRoll
  • Retargeter
  • RocketFuel

Mobile Marketing

  • Apple Search Ads
  • Twitter Ads
  • AdColony

Content Repurposing

  • Feedly
  • Kapost
  • Scoop.it

TIPS FOR CREATING GREAT CONTENT:

When creating your content assets, there are a number of tips you can use to help your content marketing efforts succeed.

  • Use buyer personas when creating content in order to come up with content ideas your target audience wants and needs.
  • Make your content actionable by including calls-to-action in every piece of content you release.
  • Use images and infographics that easily convey information and facts.
  • Keep up to date with social media trends in order to create content that will be relevant.
  • Answer questions, provide information and instructions to solve common problems.
  • Create strong, eye-catching headliners.

Stay Updated with The Content Marketing Institute

Content creation resources like the Content Marketing Institute provides marketers with the latest news, developments and strategies in content marketing. The site offers useful getting started guides, case studies and content creation articles from leading marketing experts. They also maintain a robust suite of content themselves, offering free magazines, a podcast series, an extensive directory and content marketing examples.

Learn more

If you're interested in learning more about content marketing, how to produce high-quality blog posts and videos, and the different ways you can monetize your content, check out the episodes listed below from the MarTech podcast.

They include interviews with marketers and influencers in the marketing and MarTech industry who share their advice, strategy, and the best content marketing tools on the market.

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