What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is defined as: “marketing that tries to attract customers by distributing informational content potentially useful to the target audience, rather than by advertising products and services in the traditional way.”
Basically, content marketing is when you use content, such as blogs, videos and infographics, to help educate your audience on a topic or a problem they are having, rather than using that content to just sell your product or service.
And it’s incredibly important to do right. According to CMI, small businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than small businesses without.
With a statistic like that, who doesn’t want content marketing? If you want more leads and sales, but you aren’t sure how to get them, you want to utilize content.
Why You Need Content Marketing: The Benefits
There are plenty of other stats about the benefits of content marketing:
- Content marketing rakes in conversion rates six times higher than other methods.
- After reading recommendations on a blog, 61% of U.S. online consumers made a purchase.
- And content marketing gets three times the leads per dollar spent versus paid search.
But content marketing does more than just bring in leads. It generates traffic to your site when you use the right keywords for your industry in your content, because you’ll show up higher in search results. This leads to more brand awareness.
The more people who know about you, the more traffic you’ll get.
And with this increase in traffic and brand awareness, you can start establishing trust with your audience. An audience that trusts will build a relationship with you. And an audience that believes in you, buys from you.
See how one thing leads to another with content marketing?
When done right, content marketing builds your credibility and authority with audiences. You do this through creating content that educates and shows audiences that you understand their problem and want to help them solve it. If you use your content as a cheap sales pitch, you won’t see results.
So you’ve built trust and credibility. Now what? Now you can use targeted content to move the audience through their buyer’s journey. By creating top of the funnel education pieces, you helped your audience during their research phase. Next you can use longer, more detailed content to show the audience how exactly to solve their problem. These would be your bottom of the funnel pieces.
Not sure what the buyer’s journey is? It’s basically the process a customer goes through before they make a purchase. And you want to help them along from the research phase to the buying phase, particularly into the buying your product or service phase.
And the best part of content marketing? Content lives forever. Done right, and with just a little maintenance, content will continuously bring you in traffic and leads, without spending any more money after the original content is created, unlike ads which need constant money to keep running.
So we know that content marketing is extremely beneficial to growing your business. But what exactly makes up content marketing?
Types of Content
When you think of content marketing, you probably think of blogs. And it’s true: Blogs are a huge part of content marketing. But there are plenty of other things that can be considered content as well. Here’s a list of just a few types of content you should be using in your marketing strategy.
1. Social Media
Social media is a business’s best friend. Today, there are 3.484 billion people using social media worldwide. And those people are spending an average of 2 hours and 16 minutes a DAY on social media. Not just online — specifically on social media. That is a lot of time scrolling on devices. Don’t you want to some of that time to be spent reading about your company and its products or services?
Did you know that including a video on your homepage can increase your conversion rates by 20% or more? Video is becoming increasingly important in marketing. And creating video isn’t hard these days. All you really need is a smartphone and something interesting to say. But please don’t just pitch your product.
Use your video to educate or inform your audience. Show your product solving a problem that your audience is having a hard time with, but instead of calling out the product and talking about it for the entire video, just explain the problem, show how to solve it and then end the video. You don’t have to call out it’s your product you are using — the audience will know that already, since they are on your site or social media page. Show your product’s value through education — not a pitch — and watch the leads come in.
Did you know that infographics can increase web traffic by up to 12%? People love to look at images, so image heavy infographics consistently perform well. If you want to convey statistics or if you have step by step instructions, you should use an infographic. People following directions with text and illustrations do 323% better than people following directions without illustrations.
4. Case Studies
Case studies are a great way to give your audience proof that your product or service works just like you said it does and that it works well. Case studies should be heavy on images showing the product/service in use and the final outcome after using your product/service. And if you can get some quotes from the people the case study is highlighting, even better. They show that your product is reliable, trustworthy and worth their money.
eBooks are a great lead generation tool because they are gated content. This means that the interested person has to give you information about themselves before they can access the eBook, usually their name and email. You can then use this information in your marketing automation campaigns to move them farther down the buyer’s journey and finally into a purchase. Plus, it help show you as a knowledgeable authority in your industry, making them — you guessed it — trust you more.
Interviews are a great way to show a human, authentic side to your company. You can interview employees on what they love best about working for your company or customers on why they chose to use your product. You can interview social media influencers on a recent project they complete using or featuring your product. It’s really easy: All you need is a smartphone and some good questions to ask. You can then use the interview on a blog (bonus if you post a transcript of the interview below the video) or social media or on a product page.
If you want to establish yourself as a knowledgeable leader in your industry, you should consider hosting a webinar. 73% of marketing and sales leaders say webinars are one of the best ways to generate quality leads. Why? Because if they are signing up for your webinar, they are already interested in your industry.
It doesn’t have to be very long, anywhere from 30 — 60 minutes is good, and you can educate your audience on a topic that you are an expert in and that they need help with. Plus, the audience has to sign up for a webinar so you’ll get their contact information that you can then use in campaigns later on.
Contrary to popular belief, email newsletters aren’t dead. Don’t believe me? According to Hubspot, email generates $38 for every $1 spent. How’s that for a good ROI? The trick is setting up a schedule that you can keep to. Your newsletter needs to be reliable for it to be trusted. Also, as mentioned before, don’t just fill it with sales pitches. Put in other interesting industry news and education pieces — things that your audience wants to know about. Again, it’s all about establishing yourself as a trusted industry leader.
Trust = sales.
The Bottom Line
Content marketing is essential to growing your business. It increases trust and engagement with your audience, which, in turn, can increase revenue.
But content marketing takes a lot of work and organization. If you don’t do it right, you can hurt your brand and decrease trust. And while it will work for you forever, content will keep showing up in search results when they have strong keywords, you’ll still need to do some maintenance. Broken links and 404 errors will tell potential customers that you aren’t reliable.
You should create a maintenance schedule to go back through older content to ensure all links and call-to-actions are still working and relevant. This can be at the end of every month or once a quarter or twice a year, depending on the amount of content you produce.