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Ever since we’ve had a product or service to sell, humans have been marketing. From ancient civilisations trying to present goods in the best light for trade, to modern day businesses with digital marketing strategies, marketing has been around since the beginning of time. As technology continues to evolve, so do the opportunities we have to market our products to the masses.
When you consider the internet didn’t even exist until 30 years ago, it’s almost terrifying how far we’ve advanced since then. I mean, we now speak into a virtual personal assistant who organises our lives. There’s a company in Tokyo working on a flying car. And apparently pole dancing robots are a thing, and I’m totally here for it. Realistically, digital marketing is still in its infancy. And there’s still a lot to learn about its core component, content marketing.
The Content Marketing Institute, a content marketing education, and training organisation, defines content marketing below;
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.
It can take many forms. From ebooks, videos, blogs, social media posts and more. It’s a strategy that’s focused on getting the audience excited about the product or service - as opposed to the brand itself. It’s effective because it helps build trust with leads and customers. Not only are you working on long-term relationships with your audience, but you are also encouraging conversions by giving consumers the information they need to make an educated purchasing decision.
However, some brands may not see the benefit, because they feel like they are promoting the industry instead of the brand. Or they fight it because they may not understand the direct correlation between content marketing and sales. Or, with the amount of work involved in creating a digital strategy already, they simply don’t have the time to put into creating more content. And I get it, you guys. It can be tough to get your head around.
The thing is, it’s no longer “optional” to create content. The digital marketing space might be always changing, but the one thing that will remain consistent is the importance of content in any marketing strategy to work. Anything you are trying to do for your business like build your brand and brand's trust. Or increase traffic to your website. Or essentially get more sales. Content is behind it all. But if you follow some of the myths around content out there you’ll never get it right. And you'll miss out on a heap of customers to your business.
The guys at Co-Schedule have put together some valuable content marketing facts which show the true value of content marketing-
It wasn’t long ago companies were still debating whether they need to perform SEO strategies to grow their business. Was Google search really all that important? Um, that’s a yes, Deborah. Your handmade dog jewellery business might have smashed it 10 years ago through word of mouth sales from your bingo group. But things have changed, my friend. These days, we primarily seek information online. When we are looking at purchasing a product or service, we’re going to use that magical device in our pockets to start googling before making an educated purchase decision.
Today’s consumers don’t trust traditional marketing or advertising methods like cold calling, junk mail, email marketing, radio or TV anymore. You only have to look around you if you’re anywhere in public with, what’s that thing called I try and avoid all the time? Oh yeah. Other people. Chances are everyone you see is glued to their smartphone. Instead of doing something crazy like putting their phone down and actually communicating with each other.
Smart brands embrace it and come up with engaging ways to communicate with their audience online. If your business isn’t jumping on the content marketing train, then you’re isolating yourself from a truckload of potential customers. It doesn't matter what niche or industry you are in with content marketing either. It really is story-telling. Any brand in any industry can tell a story about their product or service.
In fact, any business has the opportunity to create high-quality content if they focus on two things. Creating content that has tangible value for your audience. And creating content that actually engages your audience as well. If you do that, then you're hitting all the right notes on your content marketing journey.
There is no question about the importance of blog posts in any content marketing strategy. Blog posts are the business - We know you have a 434% higher chance of being ranked highly on search engines if you feature a blog as part of your website (Tech Client). And businesses using blogs as part of their content marketing mix get 67% more leads than those who don’t (Hubspot). People trust blogs, blogs work. Blogs get people to your website.
However, if you are only concentrating on blog posts alone, you are missing out a heap of potential opportunities to give value and engage your audience. These are the other content types you should be considering for your content marketing that can add extreme value for what you are trying to achieve.
By the end of this year, video traffic will account for 80% of all consumer internet traffic. One-third of all online activity is already spent watching video content. We know it works. We know people like it. And your brand should jump on board and embrace it immediately.
People find real value in how-to videos and product demos. These pieces of content marketing could be exactly what’s needed to get your consumer over the line.
Infographics aren’t a new concept. Marketers have been leveraging infographics in the digital space for a long time. It’s especially effective as an SEO strategy. An awesome infographic would be created with the intention of other people linking to and sharing it, helping inbound links for SEO. But infographics for content marketing is even better. The main advantage it the visual format - helping people better understand and digest the content with visual aids.
Checklists are a type of worksheet which provides a list of things to do in a step-by-step order with the intention of helping achieve the desired outcome.
These are great content assets for small businesses because they are easy to create and promote, yet still provide significant value for the target audience.
When ebooks are done correctly, they offer numerous benefits for a content marketing strategy. Instead of feeling like just another blog posts, a downloadable eBook presents itself as a further object of value. This means you can use eBooks as lead generation tools, offering your users the chance to opt-in with their contact information in exchange for your information.
As discussed above content marketing has unlimited value for businesses. We know its the main component in an SEO strategy to drive traffic and leads to your website. We know that authoritative content that anticipates your audience’s questions demonstrates your brand is authentic and in turn, builds trust. We know that trusts increase sales. So content marketing does result in sales. Otherwise, why would you bother at all?
We also know it won’t result in immediate sales. It takes time to become an online authority. Google has to find your posts, and so does everyone else. In fact, when it comes to SEO it could take between 6-12 months to start seeing those results. But when you start to gain traction with your SEO strategy, the return on investment is massive. You will see a significant increase in leads and sales to your website.
Also, when a customer comes to your website, it’s likely they have already seen some of your content or engaged with your brand previously in some way. They’ve read a social media post, downloaded a whitepaper or read an article you wrote. That’s why they’ve come back to purchase from you. The content you produced didn’t necessarily attract an instant sale, but it started the sales process in some way.
Albert Einstein once said; " Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it’s stupid." The thing is, we all have our skills and talents. I know there are certain things I happen to be pretty good at. I have been a copywriter for many, many years and I've worked in SEO and content marketing for even more. I practically dream content ideas and bleed SEO instead of blood. I can also dance with my eyebrows and walk like a crab, but that's another story.
I have no doubt anybody in your business is capable of producing some sort of content. But are they capable of doing it well? Because your audience demands it to be of the highest quality, or they won't trust it. Building trust is one of the major reasons you're producing this content to start with, so if you're not doing a great job of it. There's no point doing it at all.
Only you and your team members know the answer to that. But outsourcing at least some of your content marketing will save you significant time and money in the long-run. As long as you outsource it to someone who is highly proficient in this area. Cheaper isn't always better. Like most things, you get what you pay for! Copywriters, video producers and social managers are the same.
We know content marketing is a relatively new concept in the scheme of things. Just as advances in technology will continue to change how we view and receive the information we seek, content marketing will evolve to reach those needs. Although there is certainly a lot of misinformation and myths when it comes to content marketing, one thing is for certain. It isn't going anywhere. If you want your business to build trust, rank online and grow traffic to your website. Then you need to embrace it and use it your digital strategy immediately.