Content marketing is the strategic marketing approach 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. - Content Marketing Institute
These days we are bombarded with multiple terms and jargons such as Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing and Content Marketing. What exactly is Content Marketing you may ask, or you may have the following thought:
I post to social media daily, so I’m doing content marketing already, aren’t they one and the same?
The short answer is NO! The long answer is below, so do continue reading if you’d like to learn more about Content Marketing.
First let’s straighten one thing out, simply posting to social media is not content marketing if the content being posted does not benefit the reader. Content Marketing provides businesses with an alternative to promoting their products and services indirectly. Yes, you are promoting your business without actually pitching any of your products and services.
It may sound baffling at first, how do I actually bring in business by publishing useful content which may even be teaching prospects how to DIY a solution you are providing! The facts though, tell a different story, it tells us that it works, and is gradually being executed by more and more small businesses, enterprises around the globe.
We’ll get to the case studies later, for now let’s find out how Content Marketing can benefit your business and how it relates to your Digital Marketing Strategy.
Search Engine Optimization requires the optimization of key words/key phrases in your website’s copy, which is essentially the content of your website.
Furthermore, search engines such as Google are getting more intelligent and recent updates have placed more emphasis on relevant and useful content as a primary ranking factor.
If your content strategy was well planned and executed from the beginning then you are sure to reap the rewards from search engines for publishing good quality content consistently.
What do we need to post to social media? Copywriting, images, videos, these are different forms of content. Content Marketing strategies will see you posting more well thought-out and useful content to your social media channels, rather than simply sharing or retweeting the next post you see.
Again, Content Marketing strategy will determine the performance of your Social Media Marketing campaigns, and thus should come before you begin to even publish your first post!
Let's be honest, nobody likes advertising, nor do we trust it. Now think about this, if you don’t trust advertising from other businesses, what makes you think consumers are going to trust the ads you put out?
Advertising is Push Marketing, whereby ads and marketing materials are pushed to consumers whether they like it or not in the form of banner ads, video ads, print advertising, billboards etc.
Push Marketing or Outbound Marketing only works once you have established a relationship with your prospects, or by having a strong brand awareness and requires big marketing budgets to continue pushing out marketing messages.
It works, but is short-term and most SMEs (Small Medium Enterprises) will not have the budgets to compete with the big boys.
As such, Inbound Marketing or Pull Marketing will give you a fighting chance as well as a competitive advantage over your competitors. By producing and publishing high quality, relevant content on your website, you will drive inbound traffic and leads to your business at minimal cost.
The best part? Content Marketing grows stronger over time as more websites link to your high-quality content, or more people share your content, search engines will start to take notice and bump your ranking to the top spot. Remember, high quality content is the key to driving inbound traffic.
Search Engine Marketing will see you pushing text and display ads out to major search engines, in which case requires you to have great, attention grabbing content.
Text ads require superb copywriting as you are heavily limited in the number of characters you can include in an ad, as such, anything but great content will be able to grab the attention of prospects in a digital ocean filled to the brim with noise and competition.
Once again, great content is needed in order for SEM to work.
Imagine how great it would be to have customers who are looking forward to receiving your newsletter, sales call and other marketing messages. How ecstatic you would feel if prospects spent 15 – 45 minutes on your website, consuming all your content, made a purchase then shared it with their peers?
This can be achieved through Content Marketing. By creating and publishing useful and relevant content, you will be able to reap the following rewards:
Trust is becoming ever more important, even more so for online businesses as the only initial touch-point prospects have with your business are your online presences, it can be y our website, social media channels or even a newsletter.
If you put out good quality content that is relevant to your audience, they will grow to trust your brand, knowledge and authority in your market niche. If conversely, you put out crappy content that’s akin to spam, guess what, prospects will bounce off your online channels in a fraction of a second.
As discussed above, Content Marketing grows stronger over time, just as how good wine ages, good content too will grow in popularity, traffic as well as backlinks. What this basically means is long term cost savings for your online marketing efforts as the content you put out grows in traffic and rankings, it will continue to bring in high quality, relevant traffic to your website with a high chance of converting over many years to come.
By putting out high quality content that’s relevant to your audience, you will drive high quality prospects to your website. The content will build trust and loyalty over time, and in combination with superb customer service, you will end up with increased conversion rates. Sales accrued through Content Marketing will see better customers with a higher degree of brand loyalty, but first you need awesome content to draw them in!
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