Content Marketing: The Ultimate Guide (2019)
When somebody talks about content marketing, most people think of advertising. Though both of them are intended to serve the same purpose there is a vast difference between the two.
While advertising goes on bombarding the idea and propagating the features of a particular brand or product, content marketing creates something unique which is related to the brand but does not go gaga over it.
It subtly underlines what is required and also connects some emotional string with the audience in the process. So what exactly is content marketing? Let us understand it better with an example.
Imagine that a movie of your favourite Hollywood star is set to release this Wednesday at the box office.
You will see that months before the release they will start posting trailers on television, Facebook, YouTube, etc.
They will probably even start a Twitter handle with the movie name and might even create a promotional website for the movie if it is backed by a stellar production house.
After that, when the release date approaches closer the stars of the movie will give interviews to the paparazzi, attend popular TV shows and create enough buzz so that the audiences are thrilled and excited about the movie.
While doing all this stuff they highlight the subject of the movie, its backdrop, what inspired it, etc. but they do not spill the beans about the actual story and content of the movie.
This is exactly what content marketing does. You cannot single out a method and name it as content marketing.
It is a complete process which involves creating unique content for the targeted audience, builds stories around the brand and uses social media and other online platforms to promote it.
Content Marketing — A power that drives businesses
If you are thinking that content marketing is a mere buzzword and it will not last forever, you are wrong. Content marketing is always evolving and it has transformed completely over the years.
Artificial intelligence has already crept in content marketing and some of the content you read today is written by machines with the help of algorithms.
However, the best ideas still come from the human brain and therefore digital marketers are relying heavily on the content produced by the joint effort of developers, designers, and content writers.
It is a well-known fact that content marketing generates more leads (almost thrice) as compared to traditional marketing techniques. So how does it benefit you?
Let us see this through an example.
Let’s say a particular brand sends heavy promotional content on your laptop in the form of pop-up ads on a daily basis.
After a while, you get irritated by them as you find that their content is mostly the same with some minor modifications. You would mostly block such ads or even block that website which sends you those ads with the help of your browser settings.
However, if the same brand sends attractive e-mails that cover latest offers and stories related to their foundation and history, the customers like it and may even end up buying their products and services to get associated with their legacy.
Most of us prefer Coke or Pepsi even if we are not a great fan of their beverages. It is simply because we like to associate with these brands that are presumably spreading happiness around the world.
This is the power of content marketing! It associates you with a brand and even before you recognize it you become a loyal customer.
Now that you have understood its concept and effectiveness, let us learn about the best content marketing types and practices:
Blogs are probably the oldest and most effective type of content marketing. An amazing blog which has a perfect blend of interesting facts and information attracts tons of visitors on your website.
Also, they will become your regular readers if you provide them with fresh, unique and useful content consistently.
Websites that have a blog section tend to get more popular than the ones which don’t and by this, you can gauge the true power of blogs!
Videos can be your best choice if you wish to engage and entertain your audience at the same time.
Most of the people spend hours watching videos and you will see an instant rise in the organic traffic of your website if your website or Facebook page provides amusing yet helpful videos.
You can post interviews with popular industry experts to lure your audience. After watching such videos they will think highly of your brand and you promote your business indirectly.
A case study presents detailed information about an organization, its foundation, hindrances that came its way, how it overcame them and a lot of other information.
Cases studies are typically used in B2B content marketing strategies where one firm (typically a digital marketing team) claims to have helped its clients by posting their case studies on the website.
This attracts partners and clients who share similar expertise and have similar issues.
A white paper is a well-documented portfolio of a brand and its services that entice the clients who are seeking a particular product or service.
It is yet another B2B marketing tool but speculations are rife that white papers have become less relevant in today’s market.
However, a carefully investigated and researched white paper still proves to be a marketing magnet as it presents actual facts and evidence to establish a particular service or product as a superior alternative over others.
Today, businesses are majorly relying on digital marketing and social media is most effective than ever.
Therefore, creating inspiring and unique posts and posting them on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. has become quite a norm these days.
Companies usually hire designers and content writers for creating interesting social media posts. They promote these posts strategically with the help of their digital marketing team.
However, small companies and start-ups cannot afford to employ so many individuals and therefore they outsource these services from an IT firm or digital marketing experts.
Trending content forms like memes, gifs, etc. also can be incorporated into your digital marketing strategy.
You can do it because appealing gifs and memes get instantly shared and before you know your services have already reached over 10 million people.
Infographics are a graphical depiction of data that present a complex set of information and instructions in a lucid way.
Infographics are used to connect a wider audience with a brand by including statistical data, the result of a survey, or by drawing comparisons with the help of pie charts or bar diagrams.
A great way to generate surplus leads as your potential clients, it inspires your customers with high-quality content and stunning presentation.
Some digital marketers think that e-mail marketing and content marketing as two parallel ways of promoting a business.
However, a smart digital marketing expert knows how to incorporate e-mail marketing into a content marketing strategy.
E-mail marketing is used to connect with a huge customer database at once. It helps a brand to target potential customers and maintains the interest level of existing customers by providing information about new offerings and services.
Therefore, you can include content marketing practices like infographics, e-books, link to a blog, etc. all in a single e-mail to captivate the audience.
5 mind-boggling facts about content marketing
- Many entrepreneurs think that if the content is not completely original it will fail — It is partially true as most of the marketers take ideas from trustworthy sources, modify it and present it in their own style making you believe that it is original.
- E-mail marketing generates greater results than other types of content marketing — This is completely true and therefore most campaigns and promotional strategies try to provide innovative content through e-mails.
- Images attract eyeballs faster than a catchy headline. Yes, it is true and therefore you will see an image for every blog and article you will read on the internet.
- You cannot rely on one social media platform when it comes to content marketing — This is another fact which is why most marketers are providing diverse services on each of the social media portals like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.
- 8 out of 10 customers get influenced by online content — The days of mouth publicity are long gone as today people make purchases and deals online. Therefore, online content influences their decision more than anything else.
How to curate a precise content marketing strategy?
A wisely crafted content marketing strategy has a lot more positive impact on your business than trying out all the marketing tools one by one.
Therefore, it is advisable for you to ideate, plan, strategize and implement a content marketing strategy in a step-by-step process. Let us see a brief case study to expedite it better.
Mr Singh ran an IT firm and was looking forward to other business opportunities that would supplement his revenue. He ended up signing a partnership with a popular astrologer.
Together they decided to start a venture that deemed to purchase gold and gems from traders and sell them to popular jewellery brands.
They designed a website for that and due to mutual contacts, they ended up signing huge agreements with top merchants and traders of their region.
However, due to lack of local market research and analysis, they failed to understand who was their potential customers and did not strategize any ways of targeting them.
As a result, they failed to meet the expectations of their traders who denied discounts due to their poor sales.
From this case study, we understand that even established businesses make blunders especially while starting a new project.
Mr Singh could have saved his losses had he crafted a precise content marketing strategy that incorporated the target audience and ways to lure them.
Now let us see how to plan a content marketing strategy through a step-by-step guide:
Step 1: Market survey
Before creating and designing any content, it is important to understand the market and your potential competitors. You will have to analyze the topics chosen by your competitors and their perspectives regarding the topics that appeal to you.
Always make it a point to create something that stands-out while developing content that resonates with your target audience.
Buzzsumo is a site that provides useful insights into the trending topics according to your business. To curate smarter content strategies using this site click here
Step 2: Think like a customer
Most of the content curators are not aware of the things that are actually needed by a customer. Therefore, it is a must for you to think as an audience and inculcate perspectives of different people to broaden the range of your content.
Step 3: Content creation
This is the most crucial step which will determine whether your campaign is a success or not. After choosing a particular topic, determine the ways of presenting it. Starting a blog would do fine if your business is service based.
However, if your revenue depends on product sales then you will need to create short but engaging content including videos and memes that would directly influence your social footprint and online sales.
Also, identify the keywords that would be the most suitable for improving your SEO rankings at the same time.
You can make use of websites like Social Animal to understand different types of content that are trending on various social mediums. Click here to know more about this site.
Step 4: Sweet Amalgamation
Now that you have created interesting content, it is time to unite all the above 3 steps and curate a strategy that seems best on all the three parameters.
After that, you will need to figure out the dispersal modes for your content. If you intend to reach a wider audience in a less amount of time you can make use of e-mail marketing or you can make use of social media platforms if you wish to see steady growth in your traffic and sales.
To enrich the experience of your customer and to keep them interested in your brand, you will always have to shower sweet confectionaries in the form of engaging content and lucrative offers.
A mail that greets your clients on their foundation dates or wishes your customers on festivals might look meaningless but it helps you strike some emotional chord in them.
This invariably pays off in the end and therefore it is advisable to think of smart content marketing strategies and execute them to perfection!