Consumers have more content choice than ever, and less patience with intrusive, disingenuous advertising. They want brands that demonstrate transparency and authenticity in a friendly style.
As a result, more companies are investing in content marketing.
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as, “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience … providing truly relevant and useful content to your prospects and customers to help them solve their issues.”
The same Content Marketing Institute also found that content marketing gets three times more leads than paid search advertising. Demand Metric reports that content marketing also generates three times the leads of outbound marketing, but costs 62 percent less.
This content may include blogs, podcasts, videos, advertorials, social-media posts, infographics, newsletters, quizzes, ebooks, webinars and tutorials, case studies, and white papers. There are so many types of content, it’s unrealistic to try to produce it all.
Three specific questions can help you pick the best content for you.
1. What is the content’s goal?
Don’t just throw content around and hope something sticks. Whether B2B or B2C, for-profit or nonprofit, your organization needs a plan for your content marketing.
Why do you need content marketing? What do you want it to do for you? This will differ for each company. You may want to increase your leads, close more sales, improve customer loyalty, increase brand awareness, or grow website traffic organically.
For example, if you want to close more sales or increase brand awareness, video content may be best. Video company Wyzowl found that 95% of consumers report that they have watched an explainer video to learn more about a product or service, and 81% of them say that watching a company’s video helped convince them to buy a product or service.
To increase existing customer loyalty, email campaigns and newsletters may be better. Use this type of content to let your mailing list know about company news, sales, and other upcoming events.
To grow web traffic, create the type of content that people are looking for. Authoritative, thorough, informative blog posts with the right SEO are essential, but they also need a little extra help to drive traffic to your site. Share this content through social media (using #hashtags) and even guest blogging.
2. Who is your audience?
Besides having goals, knowing your audience is the most important part of creating a content marketing strategy. While this may include basic demographics such as age, income, or geographic location, you should go as far in-depth as possible.
What is important to your audience? What are they looking for? What problems of theirs can you solve? What are their goals and motivations? Your content should be tailored to the answers to these questions.
For example, if your audience includes managers and decision-makers, then white papers and case studies are good possibilities. White papers are in-depth reports on a specific issue, are lengthy, and more formal than blog posts or emails. Case studies highlight a specific success story, with details about how your product or service helped solve a problem.
3. What actions do you want your audience to take?
This question, and its answer, combines those of the previous two. The content should be tailored toward your audience and helping them solve their problems. But for the content to help you reach your goal, it also needs to prompt specific actions from the audience.
For example, if your goals include increasing brand awareness or growing leads, then consider content that can bring your audience to your website or prompt them to sign up for an email list. Downloadable ebooks, social-media posts, and blogs are all good ways to do this.
Whatever content you choose, the most important thing is to creating a content marketing plan that keeps both your audience’s needs and your business’ goals in mind.
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