Content marketing is the creation, curation, and distribution of useful, highly-defined, and consistent content so as to draw and retain a certain demographic or a particular audience with the aim of ultimately influencing their purchase behavior. Content marketers communicate with prospects and customers, making the buyers more intelligent on a particular area, without pitching their products or services.
The underlying notion is that if a business offers regular, consistent, and useful information to its customers, the customers will eventually reward that business with their loyalty.
Many people often look at content marketing as a novel concept. That is not the case. Content marketing isn’t new. People have been practicing content marketing for a very long term even before the term content marketing’ was first used.
Research indicates that many organizations, even those that predate the emergence of the term content marketing’, use or used the content marketing strategy in their sales mix.
Content marketing in this sense, therefore, is any marketing employing the distribution of content whatever its medium, format, or channel. What is new in all these is the way of viewing the role of content in a strategic, intelligent and customer-centric way.
Very many pundits are of the opinion that content marketing is the practice du jour in every marketing mix nowadays. It’s proven to be very essential. At first, deploying content marketing as a business sales strategy may seem like an odyssey into unknown territory, but once you learn the ropes, then content marketing will become a breeze.
Besides, with the rapidly advancing technology and the surge in online-based businesses that regularly provide information tailored to elevate their brand above every other, ignoring the content marketing juggernaut spells doom to your business.
The buyer’s journey has changed. Social media and digital technologies have evolved so much that information is very abundant, and they are the channels that customers turn to first.
It is quite telling that today’s purchasers do not usually contact the seller directly until they are 57% through with the purchase process. Therefore, it is imperative to provide information about the business, your services, and products so that the customers do not go anywhere else.
Clearly, content marketing is an indispensable part of every serious business’ sales efforts. Those who embrace it reap immense and wonderful results.
The Goals of Content Marketing
Based on the fact that content plays an integral role in all marketing techniques and tactics, there is practically no goal that cannot be attained using the content.
Content marketers, however, focus on some key goals. For example:
- Brand awareness
- Lead generation
- Lead nurturing
- Customer retention and loyalty
- Up-selling and cross-selling
- Customer evangelism.
Content Marketing Strategy
To reach all these goals needs a clear content marketing strategy.
First off, to craft a good content marketing strategy, you’ll have to understand what its purpose is. For starters, content marketing is essentially crafting content that your customer wants and needs.
Therefore, as a content marketer, you should create useful, informative pieces such as animated gifs and white pieces which your audience may find to be valuable so as to generate positive engagement with buyers.
There is a host of ways you can use to know and understand what customers want. Once you understand what buyers want, structure the content purposefully to make sure it performs; more so social content which can improve site traffic, brand consideration, and conversions.
Consider your marketing goals and determine if you are trying to decrease customer complaints or trying to improve sign-ups.
After that, you can survey your audience to understand their needs and after that craft useful, informative pieces which will demonstrate that what your business offers meet their needs.
The content should aim at triggering a customer action that is in line with your business goals.
For example, if the objective of the content marketing strategy is to minimize call center volume, then it is important to create resources that adequately answer some of the most frequent and important questions or complaints from customers.
When it is done properly and promoted well, the customers can then help themselves, and effectively minimize the number of calls to the call center.
Another thing you’ll need to do to create a wonderful content marketing strategy is to plan ahead. Understand what you need to achieve in the next year, quarter by quarter, or month by month.
Obviously, you know what your objectives are. The task here is to flip your mindset to understand what the objectives of your audience are. Understand what they are looking for.
Once you understand what they need and their frustrations, start to plan how the content you produce can answer or meet the customer’s needs and those pain points. In some cases, you might need very many different kinds of content on one topic.
Once you do that, schedule the release of each kind of content and plan for its distribution. It is important to schedule the content with advertising campaigns and events so as to help to fill the gaps within ebbs and flows of traditional marketing plans. Themes will begin emerging around holidays and major releases.
You can build on these ideas by creating more content relevant to each theme. Continue scheduling it in, and in time, you will have a content marketing calendar.
Craft a Social Story
Some, if not all, of the content pieces that you have scheduled into the content marketing calendar, can feature a story written for them in social media.
Stories are powerful and very effective tools as more often than not they help the customers relate with the persona in the story, and as such, create a connection that can influence a purchase decision.
People everywhere, young and old alike, male and female, love stories. In time, you will draw a following of people drawn to the stories weaved into the marketing content.
As your social media following increases, it becomes necessary to measure the performance of the content so as to ascertain that the content is performing as intended.
There are tools and resources online that can provide useful insight into the performance of your content. The insight will help you to understand your audience well.
This and many other strategies will help your business’ content marketing take off to bring the business higher conversions and of course better returns.