Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Content Marketing
February 2, 2018
Content marketing as any digital marketer will tell you is a very important part of the online marketing process but very few understand how it works.
When you scroll the web, you will probably come across thousands of pages talking about content marketing but very few sell the idea in a simplified way that everyone can understand.
An ideal content marketing strategy can itself be very complicated but only through understanding of how it works and how it is essential for your business can you begin to get a grasp of how to use it.
And let me begin by saying that content marketing goes way beyond creating an awesome blog article.
So What Is Content Marketing?
The first goal of content marketing is to spread word about your brand through generation of content that your audience actually wants to read.
It is multi-dimensional and incorporates other digital marketing strategies like social media, email and SEO indirectly. All these work together to create an ideal content marketing strategy.
And it all starts with creating impeccable content and this included blog posts, press releases and articles all geared towards promoting you brand.
A well-crafted content marketing strategy or campaign is enough to increase sales creating a better return on your investment.
According to research, most people use ad blockers so you can’t actually 100% rely paid ads to promote your brand.
The Relationship between content and marketing
Content marketing stems from two words, content and marketing.
The first side of the coin is the content. Before you do anything else, you have to have a message or a story that you want to communicate with your audience.
Create that content first and then think about how you want to convey it.
What medium do you want to use? Is it social media or through your blog? The medium is very important and this depends on what your content is all about. If you can effectively relay your message through a blog, well and fine, if you feel that video will do, that is also okay. Choose whatever you think will work for you.
After creating content comes the marketing side of it. Content is important but if it can’t reach the right people there is nothing really that you are doing. If you have a business, your major goal is to make profit and you can’t do that if nobody knows about your brand. Yes, you can create great content but if you don’t take time to market it the right way, it’s a waste of valuable time and energy.
Setting Expectations for Content Marketing
Before we dig further into how content marketing works, lest look at the expectations and when you can actually tell that it’s really working for your business.
Content marketing is an investment and not traction. The moment you look at it as traction i.e. putting in Y and expecting X returns will only get you disappointed if it doesn’t work.
The truth is, content marketing if done well works all the time.
But how it works depends on your business and your goals. So as you can see you can’t just take someone else’s content marketing strategy and make it your own.
Most people who claim that content marketing didn’t work for them went into it without stating their goals for the marketing campaign.
Content marketing just like SEO is a gradual process that takes time. The two cannot really be separated as content marketing can lead to more SEO success through ranking for keywords and building links to your site from authority websites. And this very fact is what makes content marketing somewhat complicated.
How Content Marketing Works
Content marketing like I mentioned takes time and goes through several stages;
- Content creation
- Promotion of the content
- Measurement of success
Businesses strive or die based on their strategy and the research that was done before hand.
The strategy involves looking at 4 key things;
- Who are your clients and what do they want from you?
- Who are your competitors and what means are they using to get through to your customers?
- What short comings do your potential competitions have, i.e. what ideas are they not communicating to the same audience?
- In the case above, what experiences are they not providing that can set you apart from them? or what we call you unique selling point (USP).
Your first goal when creating a content marketing strategy is to check the keywords that your competitors are ranking for. How profitable are they and how would you yourself rank for them? What can you do better to rank even higher with the same keywordS? Is it worth it or should you find another keyword that you can rank better for?
How often are they writing content and what means are they using to promote it? You can try downloading some of their content form RSS and then using content analyzing tools to figure out their promotion angle.
And lastly, what new ideas have they not embraced yet? Maybe it’s the use of Video or their website design is a bit boring. This is where you come in. Your goal is to outrank them and become the preferred go to person for a specific keyword.
Until you have established what you competitors are doing and what advantage you have over then, you cannot really say that you are doing content marketing.
2. Content Creation
Now that you know what your audience is looking for and your advantage over your competitors, you can then sit down and create content geared towards that.
Keeping in mind what you want to rank for, the content you create will depend on the budget and the resources at your disposal.
If you have an experienced content creator, the better.
Plan out how often you want to publish content and what you have to do to promote it.
While you want to rank for specific keywords, making your content interesting and memorable will keep your customers coming back.
Over time, you will get a hang of how long depending on the media different content take to create. You will also learn what you can do to get more value for your money.
Promotion is not all about creating content and then clicking publish or Tweet! And this area is where most people, though with a good marketing strategy end up failing.
Promotion is about understanding your fan base, those people who often visit your website, are always commenting and asking questions about your services. These are the guys who have signed up to you email subscription list because they believe that you are an authority figure in your field.
If you have these loyal customers, promoting new things to them shouldn’t be a problem.
And if you find it difficult to introduce something new to them, maybe you need to rethink about your content because you clearly don’t have confidence in what you are producing.
Number two, trusting in your research and strategy is very important.
Let’s say you have 100 people asking questions, and then you can assume that they want you to produce content to answer those questions. And if these 100 people are asking the question directly, then you can trust and believe that there are so many more who want to know about that issue. Trust then that they are going to be interested in the new content you create next.
Finally, put your audience into consideration and communicate what they stand to gain from your content. I am talking about creating a promise. We all want to know that everything we do is not a waste of time and your audience needs this.
As we saw, many businesses fail in content marketing because they go in without defining the why.
They are doing it because their competitors are doing it or someone told them that they should. Shun this mentality and start doing content marketing the way it was meant to be done.
One you need to figure out the why? Is it to increase traffic? Increase links to your site? Increase direct or indirect sales?
Once you figure this out, you can start tracking how your content is achieving your goals and there are several ways you can track your progress;
- Setting up link tracking parameters through paid channels.
- Keeping up with the traffic tools you are suing like Google Analytics once you publish your content.
- Setting up a conversion funnel where you can monitor as you go.
- Setting up goals and events on Google Analytics so that you can view how things are performing.
- Setting up dashboards where you can report to yourself or those who matter on how your promotion is going.
Of course, measurement goes beyond this but this can act as a beginners guide.
And that answers the question ‘how does content marketing work’. If you have any questions just reach out through firstname.lastname@example.org.