Firstly, what is content marketing? Strictly speaking it is the marketing process for creating and circulating relevant, valuable and consistent content to attract and engage a clearly defined target audience – with the aim of motivating profitable customer action. In layman’s terms however, it is quickly becoming one of the most popular and important marketing tools your business can use.
“Content isn’t king. It’s the kingdom!” Lee Odden, CEO Toprank Online Marketing
In today’s noisy world we are bombarded with information and consumers have become adept at shutting off the familiar world of marketing. We can fast forward through adverts on television, mark emails as junk and use the internet so much we rarely take in banners or buttons on websites anymore. If we want to engage with our audience, we need to talk to them not at them. Content marketing is non-interruption marketing, so rather than pitching products, promotions or services, it delivers interesting information that will educate the reader. The consistent delivery of stimulating and creative content then in turn leads to the consumer rewarding us with their business and loyalty – simple!
The use of content marketing is far from just beginning, 82% of B2C marketers and 95% of B2B marketers are reporting that their organisations are already using content marketing[i] and more than two-thirds of marketing leaders are seeing their entire marketing department restructured to address it[ii], if you haven’t joined in by now then its time to reconsider. With so many companies already using content marketing, to stand out from the rest and make the most of your resources then the real emphasis lies in how you are using it. A remarkably low 32% of marketers using content marketing believe they’re executing an effective strategy[iii] which leaves the opportunity for your business wide open.
5 top tips
- Embrace social media – Whilst you may not feel that it is applicable for your company to have a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account, these are free platforms that allow you to connect with people all over the world. With over 1.39 billion active users on Facebook, by posting something that is shared or liked by even one follower, you will cause a ripple effect and reach an audience who may not come across you in any other format
- Invest in visual content – We live in a visual world and as the saying goes “A picture is worth a thousand words”. By using well designed infographics and compelling imagery you’re more likely to invite your audience to read and understand your content; creating a more engaging piece of content marketing. It is no coincidence that 94% of content with visuals get more total views than only textual content!
- Repurpose key content – Creating and frequently distributing quality content marketing can be a full time job in its own right but this is not something that every company can afford to do. For this reason, consider repurposing content for maximum value. This could mean using one long blog post as the springboard for tweets or Facebook posts later on in the week, pulling out key interesting points that may tempt people into reading the whole article.
- Quality content – Although this may seem obvious, it is not enough to post something for the sake of it. Bad content marketing can deter people from visiting your blog or unfollow you from social media. Instead of promoting your services and pestering people with spam, make sure your content is engaging and interesting. Speak as a person and not a business, reveal a little behind the scenes information or address controversial topics relevant to your business. If you are doing this consistently, your energy, expertise and enthusiasm for your field will be noticed by your customers.
- Don’t give up! – It may take a little time to see the effects of your content marketing strategy but the most common causes for failure are the inconsistency of posts or giving up all together. Your consumers need to see you as a consistent and unswerving brand. It is worth remembering that content marketing is a commitment and not just a campaign!
[i] Drew Hendricks, Forbes, 2015
[ii] Jodi Harris, Content Marketing Institute 2015
[iii] Drew Hendricks, Forbes, 2015