Content and Content Marketing: Know the Difference
According to Brightedge, “Content is the matter that you produce to market your business and to build a relationship with your target audience.”
Content marketing, on the other hand, is using that content to engage the audience and attract them towards your product and brand.
I know you’re probably thinking, “Isn’t that what any marketing is all about?” Well, essentially yes….except for the one fundamental difference. Traditional marketing is outbound marketing wherein you or businesses reach out to prospects and communicate about your brand and products to them.
Content marketing is inbound marketing; you bring the audience to you by providing engaging content that intrigues them to know more about your business and product offerings.
Getting Started with Content Marketing
So how do you start content marketing?
First things first – know your target market and your audience. Create a buyer persona and then create content geared towards that particular section of the audience. Make sure the content is high-quality, unique (not copied from elsewhere!) and informative. It should be written in such a language that engages them and at the same time can be easily understood by all.
There are a variety of mediums you can use to distribute content like social media, emails, website, etc. (we’ll talk more about it in the next section). There are different forms of content too that you can use to entice the audience like blogs, videos, images, podcasts, etc.
Content Marketing Strategies
Let’s now talk about different ways businesses can utilize Content Marketing:-
1. Social Media Marketing – Social media today is the most popular medium for promoting or talking about your products/services because almost everyone you know is on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram. It’s become a great place to target prospects.
Businesses these days have a business profile created and post content each day. This content is then visible to all their followers, friends and connections. So the potential is infinite. Social media advertising also offers an excellent opportunity to convert interested visitors into buyers through highly targeted ad campaigns.
Given the stiff competition and a growing social user base, it’s not enough to share content on social media each day. The ideal approach is to combine content with a bit of paid advertising. For instance, create content and share it on social media. Choose your best performing post and then create an ad with the content to target a specific section of the audience to generate leads.
2. Email Marketing – Another great way to feed exciting information/announcements about your brand/company to your followers is by way of newsletters and e-mails. Email marketing has become an ideal medium to convert interested followers into customers and generate leads.
What’s more, there isn’t much to lose because it is the most cost-effective form of marketing since you don’t need to spend much. You can start an email campaign on a free or relatively inexpensive mailing platform like MailChimp, Get Response, etc. with a few hundred subscribers.
Through email marketing, you get an opportunity to tell your subscribers about your recent achievements, some new development or announce the launch of a new product. It’s not just a way to generate more leads, but also an opportunity to drive traffic to your website which in turn will help your SEO rankings.
3. Organic Search Visibility – Okay, so you produce great content, but it’s no good if nobody sees it. With more and more companies producing great content than ever before, the competition is stiff, and it’s harder to rank in search results.
However, don’t get intimidated by that because even small businesses can rank high on searches provided their content is unique, relevant and is well-liked by readers. Of course, it’s not going to happen overnight, but you have to keep thinking about ways to grow more traffic gradually, so more and more people read your content and like it.
The higher the traffic, the higher your rankings and thus a greater chance of readers converting to leads. All you need is to master SEO, and you will be well on your way to the top!
4. Use of Lead Magnets – A user’s journey begins the moment a visitor gets to know about you and lands on your website (again through interesting content, i.e. ad, blog, etc.).
You then provide additional information in the form of a complete blog, product/service related info, etc. to make the visitor further interested in your business. You are basically sprinkling content at every stage of the journey so as to entice and attract the reader. You should also include excellent and prominent CTA with graphics to encourage the visitor to fill in your lead form.
A good idea would be including a lead magnet to persuade visitors to fill in the form. This lead magnet is nothing but a piece of content in the form of some helpful tips, some discount offer or an excellent video which would be given away in return for filling the lead form. The content has to be something related to what the audience is already reading and would be curious to know more about.
For instance, if it’s a blog on how digital marketing techniques help your business grow, you could include a CTA with a short piece on “5 Digital Marketing Secrets that will help your business skyrocket overnight” as the lead magnet. That way anyone who is interested in digital marketing techniques to grow their business will also want to know about the secrets that can help them succeed overnight!
5. Blogs – Blogs are the best way to publish fresh, relevant content for an audience. Keep publishing on your website and share on social media and social bookmarking sites etc. which will help drive traffic to your blogs. The more readers you have, the higher the likelihood of them sharing your blog.
6. Create content that answers Audience Questions – So far we’ve talked about different ways we can distribute content to reach a multitude of people.
However, a more critical question that needs attention is how to write so that your audience loves your content and finds it of value? Well, …the idea is to first know the most common questions that people, have about your product/service. Take note of these and then create content to answer them. You could use a blog, newsletter, podcast or video. If you give your audience what they want to know, they will undoubtedly love it.
7. Product Guides – Another excellent content idea is to create product guides especially for technical products like software, electronic devices, etc. These guides explain in detail each and every feature of the product and the benefit it offers apart from explaining how to use the product to its maximum advantage. They can be placed on a website in PDF format as downloadable documents. Links can then be posted on different social media sites etc. so people can easily click to download your guides.
8. Case Studies – Boast about your recent achievement or one of the complex client projects you recently handled. What better way to talk about it than via a case study. Talk in detail about the complexity of the issue followed by how you and your team resolved the issue successfully. This will help you build credibility as a brand. Also, provide some client stories, their feedback, and how they are happy to be with you for the long haul, etc. This will enhance people’s confidence in your brand and services. Feature it on the website so visitors can easily see it. It will increase trust as well as conversions.
9. Keep Your Website Content fresh and Relevant – A Website is a highly dynamic medium, and therefore, it is essential that you keep it up to date and relevant so that visitors get something new every time they visit your site. Of course, that does not mean you change your content every minute. The idea is to keep updating your posts and case studies on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, so that people know that you are growing and making an attempt to address the concerns of your audience. Fresh, up to date and relevant content will also signal to Google that your content is more valuable over that of a competitor.
10. Join Online Groups and Forums – There are various online discussion forums and groups that you can join to participate in discussions about your niche. There are different social media groups and web forums. However, it is not just about dropping links for traffic. You need to participate in discussions and provide value to the audience looking for answers. Of course, you can give links for reference but be mindful that your answer should address the question or the topic of discussion else you might be considered a spammer.
The above tips will help you take content promotion to the next level. Keep in mind, however, that these methods don’t work in isolation, but the cumulative effect of all these methods combined together does produce the desired results.