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What is Content Marketing: The Complete Guide

We would bet that you have heard this term ‘content marketing’ being thrown around a lot in the marketing world. It’s being used for good reason, because content marketing is the life and blood of your digital marketing efforts. But what exactly is content marketing?

In this world of constant Facebook notifications, Tweets, Snaps, and Netflixing, the number one asset in our society is attention. Quite frankly, the internet owns it.

The internet is a hub of great content. In fact, the average internet user is now spending over two hours and 22 minutes per day on social media consuming content.

Whether it’s Gary Vaynerchuk on YouTube, Kim Kardashian on Instagram, or Tim O’Reilly on Medium, our attention often tends to lean towards people who tell their stories in an immersive and engaging manner.

Kim kardashian gif

As consumer behaviour changes to research-based buying, content has become a critical weapon of professionals, especially marketers. This obsession with great content has lead to something called “content marketing.”

What Is Content Marketing?

With the age of social media, came a never-ending hunger for new content. This gave birth to a new type of marketing called content marketing.

Content marketing is a marketing technique which involves creating and distributing valuable content to attract customers to your business.

Content marketing aims to provide valuable and informative content to people with the objective of converting them into customers. Content marketing targets a specific niche and helps by providing people answers to questions they might be searching online.

Content marketing aims to provide valuable and informative content to people with the objective of converting them into customers. Content marketing targets a specific niche and helps by providing people answers to questions they might be searching online.

Content marketing definition gif

The goal of content marketing is to:

  • Provide valuable information to customers
  • Create brand awareness
  • Facilitate deeper customer engagement
  • Drive customer acquisition

With content marketing, you are giving away valuable information to people for free, without asking anything in return. In a world where people are bombarded with 3,000 unwanted marketing messages every day, content marketing is a welcoming change.

What are the benefits of doing content marketing?

As we mentioned earlier, the internet has significantly changed consumer buying patterns and habits.

Consumers tend to conduct online research and get information about the product and brand they are about to purchase from.

Gone are the days of impulse buying in the stores and malls. Instead of marketers and advertisers creating awareness about a product, the modern buyer proactively looks out for brands and does the due diligence in researching about the product or service they tend to offer.

Content Is King image

Check out these shocking facts that prove how consumer behaviour has changed because of the internet:

Consumers are now reaching out to the internet for answers. Your brand is in a good position to become relevant through the content you create.

Needless to say, having a strong online presence is critical to the success of any brand in today’s digital environment. Creating valuable content and generating a positive word of mouth is a must have.

Creating high-quality content on a regular basis provides a multitude of benefits for both the enterprise and their customers.

1. Low Investment Strategy

Content marketing is a low-cost strategy, which any small business or solo entrepreneur can implement.In fact, content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing but generates more than three times as many leads. Astonishing!

To start off with content marketing, you just need to have a blog. Pick your niche or area of expertise and start providing quality content to your audience.

A person pointing to smiley icon for providing feedback on content

You can even show off your content skills on platforms like Medium, Quora or Twitter!It is a long-term strategy as the library of content you create stays on your blog/website and continues to drive customers, unlike online ads that are short-term and expensive.

2. Brand Awareness

Did you know that on the list of the “most trusted mediums of advertising,” editorial content outranked TV, radio and internet ads?

Providing great content coupled with good SEO practices allows your brand to show up on search engines whenever a prospect is looking for answers. This increases brand awareness and eventually leads to increased sales.

Interesting content is one of the top three reasons people follow brands on social media.

3. Customer Loyalty

If your content is able to provide value to a prospect, he/she will be more inclined to make a purchase from you than your competitor.

Providing quality content on a regular basis means that a prospect has already made contact with your brand before he/she reaches the buying stage, which naturally makes the sale easier.

It further establishes your brand as a thought-leader in the industry and strengthens customer trust and loyalty.

4. Drives Higher Conversion

While content marketing takes more time and effort to get right, it certainly is worth it as conversion rates are nearly 6x higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters.

Little to no entry cost and higher returns make content marketing an attractive strategy to pursue.

A lady getting great accomplishment due to content marketing

Who should be doing content marketing?

Content marketing is a cost-effective way to engage with your audience and increase brand awareness. Professionals who should be leveraging the power of content marketing include:

1. Marketers

60% of marketers create at least one piece of content each day.

If you are a marketer and aren’t making use of content marketing yet, you are missing out on a gold mine.

Sure advertisement can bring in quick results, but creating a library of quality content ensures recurring customers and revenues.

If you can constantly provide relevant content, your audience will keep coming back for more. When you have a healthy relationship with your audience, selling them your product or service becomes a breeze.

B2B Marketers:

B2B marketers have been making use of content marketing for quite some time now. Publishing long-format content like white papers, research papers, and e-books. Content marketing has always been a vital part of their marketing strategy.

Content marketing for upcoming sales

Here are some mind-blowing facts that prove how much B2B marketers love content marketing:

B2C marketers have a large playing field in the context of content marketing. With the rise of social media has come a never-ending hunger for content.

By creating entertaining, shareable and at the same time valuable content, B2C marketers can leverage the power of social media to drive customer engagement and sales. Check out the facts below to make use of your content marketing:

2. Brands

Did you know that Coca-Cola spends more money on content creation than on television ads?

Big brands recognize the power of content to drive customer behavior and increase brand awareness.

Microsoft, Cisco, P&G and many big corporations make use of content marketing to generate leads and increase sales. 

Did you know?- 78% of content marketing consumers say that it helps them to generate more knowledge about a company and helps them with brand positivity. 

Brands need to develop strategies that align with their target audience’s interest and deploy content based on those interests. Even if your brand has all the money in the world for advertising, it has been shown that 70-80% of users ignore paid ads and only focus on organic results.

A brand icon with cats gif

3. Entrepreneurs

Allocating your time and resources efficiently is the number one priority of any startup.

If you are an entrepreneur or a small business, you must be struggling with your marketing budget and are always looking for cost-effective ways to reach out to customers.

Content Marketing is your best bet

Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads. With limited budget and resources, content marketing should be taken very seriously by small businesses.

Your content marketing efforts can also be repurposed– the content you create for your blog can be used on social media channels as an infographic, visual pictures or it can be reused in your email marketing campaigns; saving you time and money.

4. Bloggers or Influencers

If you are a blogger or a digital influencer, coming up with quality content on a regular basis is a must.

Blogs have been rated as the fifth most trusted source for accurate online information.

Bloggers need to leverage the trust people have and produce content that is relevant, unique and informative.

Creating new content is important. But what’s equally important is optimizing your old blog posts. On average, compounding blog posts make up 10% of all blog posts and generate 38% of overall traffic. Do not neglect your older content. Keep re-sharing it on social media platforms to reap its full benefits and potential.

5. Writers/Authors

As a writer/author, it’s natural for you to create great, engaging content. If you are marketing your latest book, case study or research paper, creating engaging content around it can help you get your name out there and connect with an audience.

Platforms like Medium.com have made it really easy for writers to create and distribute content, build an audience and drive the desired customer behaviour.

Writing content for marketing

How to do content marketing?

There are many ways In which content marketing can be leveraged on different digital platforms.

It all boils down to what you as a creative, are comfortable with- is it written content, producing videos, do you have a nice clear voice or do you have design skills.

Eventually, the goal is not only to promote but to educate and catch a viewer’s attention with the best type of content possible. Below are five types of content marketing strategies you can implement to start off with.

1. Blog Posts

The most common practice of content marketing is having a company blog. By capitalizing on the relevant keywords your target customers are searching for, you can attract customers to your website.

According to various studies, long-form articles (around 1,000-2,000) words tend to rank better in search engines. However, it also depends on the kind of niche you are catering to.

You need to have a clearly defined content strategy and a strict schedule. Whether you decide to blog daily, weekly or monthly- make sure the blog posts are posted on time. This way your readers know when to expect more content from you.

You can do research about which topics your audience is interested in knowing about or what topics are trending and create valuable content around it. This is a great way for you to gather a good following and establish trust.

2. Infographics

Infographics can increase web traffic by 12%.

Infographics are vertical graphics that include stats, graphs, and charts- mainly information in visual format.

Visual content, as you may very well know is retained better by people. In fact, 90% of information sent to the brain is visual. Check out these amazing infographics stats which prove why infographics are one of the best content marketing tactics:

If you are not very design savvy and need help with creating infographics, check out our list for some of the best and easy to use infographic creators:

Different types of visual content used in marketing

3. Videos

Videos are getting increased traction over the past few years and are quickly becoming the go-to medium to get your marketing messages across.

However, it’s a more capital and time intensive activity. Videos are easier for audiences to understand your products and services than written content. In fact, 4X as many consumers prefer to watch a video about a product than to read about it.

Around 83% of people view video content per week on YouTube, social media and other free online sources. People aged 18-24 6.6 hours daily on Netflix and subscription-video services.

As people spend more time-consuming video content, experimenting with video marketing doesn’t seem like a bad bet. Especially since Cisco projects that by 2019, 80% of internet traffic will comprise of videos!

Related : Effective ways to Start Sending Videos for Email Marketing

4. Podcasts

As people get bombarded with a new piece of technology every day, it’s getting harder and harder to actually take out the time to read a blog piece or watch a video.

This led to the rise of podcasts, a significantly untapped content marketing strategy. Podcast content is comparatively easier to consume– you can listen to a podcast while driving, while doing your morning yoga, in the gym, while cooking or even in the shower! Try reading a blog post in a shower (actually, don’t. It doesn’t end well.).

If you don’t think podcasts are your cup of tea, these stats might cause you to think otherwise:

  • 32% of Americans reported that they have listened to a podcast in the last month. 
  • 80% of the listeners tends to listen the entire podcast in one-go.
  • 70% of podcast listeners say their opinion of a company is more positive when they hear it mentioned on a podcast to which they regularly listen.
  • 9.2% lift in purchase for those brands who adversite through podcasts.

Podcasting is on the rise and will continue to do so, especially with the introduction of audio assistants like Alexa and Google Home. 11% of marketers plan to add podcasting to their marketing efforts in the next 12 months. Will you?

Related : Top 10 Marketing Podcasts You must Listen

5. E-books/Whitepapers/Case Studies

E-books, white papers, and case studies are research intensive, long format and detailed content pieces. Although it takes more time to create long-form content, they act as lead magnets.

A customer or prospect can download for free in exchange for his/her email id or any other contact information.

Buyers are willing to register and share information about themselves in exchange for access to white papers.

By publishing free e-books, whitepapers or case studies, you can grow your email list easily and convert your audience eventually through your newsletters, blog posts and other marketing tactics.

Final thoughts

Content marketing is an amazing way to build a presence online, gain new leads, readers and drive desired consumer behavior. No matter which type of content marketing tactic you choose to deploy, always keep in mind the following tips:

  • Know your audience.
  • Know which type of content is the most preferred in your niche.
  • Determine your objective and what you want to achieve through your content marketing- is it more leads? Higher sales conversions? More visitors on the website? Or something else?
  • Create content that is engaging, easy to understand and visually appealing.
  • Make sure your content is mobile optimized.
  • Content marketing is a long-term strategy. Don’t expect results overnight.
  • And most importantly, don’t forget to have fun!

Content marketing, when implemented correctly, can do wonders for your business. It is less expensive than traditional forms of marketing and arguably more effective.

Today’s buyers are more independent and tech-savvy than ever. The company which provides their audience with the most value and creates an ongoing relationship will succeed.

Further reads: 

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