Let us begin with a question (more of a thought):
Why do you think the people would hear what you speak?
More probably, because they have some motive attached to it.
But then, if you are not too interesting, seldom will people lend you ears, and even if they do, very seldom their interest.
The hearing takes the least of their efforts and still the audience is resistant. Then why would they ever offer time and read your website content, if it has nothing worthwhile to deliver.
This is what content marketing is all about. It’s the art of telling a story that keeps that readers, viewers, audience or users lured and ends up with a definite outcome.
And if you do not believe this, here are some important facts for you to know:
- Before even contacting a salesperson or a brand, an average buyer guides himself through about 90 percent of the traditional trade funnel
- About 81 percent of the buyers shop from stores only after a thorough online research
- An average consumer spends almost 79 days on online research before purchasing a product
With all these facts, we could understand well enough the importance of having good content online.
Here, let us view some of the important aspects of content marketing and how this spells to be the life and soul of the modern digital marketing strategies.
This would revolve around the following major points:
- What Is Content Marketing?
- History of Content Marketing
- Strategies for Content Marketing
- The Content Of Content Marketing
- Content Marketing Vs. Inbound Marketing
- Why Content Marketing?
- Mistakes In Content Marketing
- How To Make Content Marketing More Effective
What Is Content Marketing?
Technically, ‘content marketing is a future-oriented strategy that is aimed to develop a strong relationship with the audience by providing them superlativecontent which is looked-for and interesting, on a regular basis.
Thus, content marketing is the art of telling a story, but in terms of SEO, to market your products and services and let them stand better than what your competitors deliver.
History Of Content Marketing?
Can you estimate the age of content marketing?
Did it take birth with the SEO, internet or journals? It didn’t!
In fact, the oldest evidence of content marketing is as old as 1732 and this year saw Benjamin Franklin publish his ‘Poor Richard’s Almanack’- the first ever version of his annual publication.
And what was the purpose of this publication?
Well, this was done all to advertise for his new printing business and there couldn’t be a better way for this than printing a document of his own.
This was more than 300 years ago and you would still be wondering- how this happened to be the oldest form of content marketing.
But according to the ‘Content Marketing Institute’, this is probably the oldest record.
So by this, we can definitely conclude that while the term content-marketing sounds new, its roots are more than 300 years old.
Strategies Of Content Marketing:
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”
By this, it means that no form of content marketing works with a proper strategy in mind.
Let’s have a look at the olden times. They had options such as newspaper ads, posters, banners, magazines,and signage etc.
But though with the limited options, they used a number of perfect marketing techniques and a number of good strategies such as placing good pictures, playing with the words, ad placement or the CTA (call to action).
Nowadays, there are a heck lot of options and so is the competition.
However, as per the ‘3D Content Model’, the content marketing strategies depend on three distinct steps:
- Finding the pain point and mapping the content to it
- Using the most appropriate content for it
- Mapping the content to people’s buying cycles, who face those problems
In general, if your content is ineffective in either reaching the people with problems or is not able to solve their problems, it’s the lack of proper strategies for your aim.
Thus, before you prepare the strategies to market your content, you need to know your desired audience, pay attention to their problems, find solutions to these, deliver these solutions and make sure they reach the intended audience.
Content Of Content Marketing:
If you think that writing blogs, website content, articles or documents etc. are the only forms of content marketing, you could be wrong.
In fact, the modern content marketing consists of elements such as:
- Case Studies
- Email Newsletters
- Cartoons/ Illustrations
- Book Summaries
- Tool Reviews
- Mind Maps
- Opinion Post
- White Papers
- Photo Collage
- Press releases
- User Generated Content
- Company News
And you know what, with lots of modern elements emerging every single day, the list of the elements which make up content marketing is as endless as ever.
But even with so many alternatives, the age-old art of collecting backlinks through blog updates, article writing, press releases, etc. is mostly preferred by the people.
Besides these, the new and highly effective methods of creating videos, images, infographics, memes, and white papers etc. toohavegained much of significance recently.
So all in all, there’re lots of methods.
And it’s basically the choice and the needs of the marketers to choose the appropriate contentfor the perfect content marketing strategy.
Content Marketing vs. Inbound Marketing:
Though the terms appear to be quite distinct in nature, people may often get confused.[ctt template=”3″ link=”qleLd” via=”no” ]Content marketing is defined as the art of sharing information, knowledge or some piece of data in a well consumable format. This may include blogs, articles, webinars, cartoons, infographics or memes etc. On the other hand, inbound marketing is directed towards using techniques such as content marketing to generate leads and enhance sale.[/ctt]
In fact, inbound encompasses each and every aspect of sales and digital marketing.
Another very important difference between content and the inbound market is the kind of audience they target.
While the content marketing is generally targeted towards a wide audience, inbound marketing takes into account only some specific ‘target audience’ or ‘buyers’.
Why Content Marketing?
So because content marketing is highly popular, will it work for your business too?
There’s absolutely no guarantee to this!
So would you rather not consider this as even an option? Well, for this, you need to understand the buying cycle first. This has four steps namely:
The very first stage is awareness where the audience gets to know your business through any means.
They aren’t your customers yet, but because of the content you created, they came to know about you and your whereabouts.
And does this hold any importance? Answer this straight question:
Do you expect the people to buy products or services from you when they do not even know your existence?
The Research Stage:
The very next stage is the research.
As already mentioned, most of the aware customers would perform a thorough research for a number of days before investing any amount of money.
For instance, when they know your name, they would definitely employ their online resources to find all about you.
And in this, your official business website, your Google reviews, your testimonials and other elements that define your character could well make a difference.
The Consideration Stage:
At a point in time, there are innumerable products, similar to what you deliver.
And this is all upon the buyer’s consideration to choose the product that is perfect for him.
In this stage, the potential buyer may compare distinct products (or services), their advantages, their prices and their asserted outcomes etc. This is to ensure that they get the highest quality products and services at the lowest prices.
The Decision Stage:
This is the final stage and the one where people are fully convinced with you and are ready to ditch or buy your products.
They are well acquainted withyour business, the products,and services and have made up the decision whether to go for what you offer or consider the other options.
And all these stages are necessary to know the behavior of potential buyers or even their response towards your services.
So as our initial question goes, ‘why content marketing’, this is necessary to ensure that you reach your targeted audience in time and get to know their behavioral aspects at distinct stages.
Benefits Of Content Marketing:
Though high-quality content is high in demand, it is mostly found beneficial in SEO and other digital marketing techniques.
In fact, Google ensures to rank those websites which have high-quality and highly relevant content.
But how do you deem a type of content to be relevant?
The one that has all the elements to satisfy the queries of a user for a searched keyword is said to be relevant.
Content is inevitable. In fact, “Content is the King.”
And what is the best method to earn search engine rankings? To earn quality backlinks.
And how do you earn these quality backlinks? It’s with the help of high-quality content in the form of blogs, articles, press releases, infographics, cartoons, and memes etc.
So the first and foremost benefit of content marketing is its assistance in creating quality backlinks and helping the websites in getting valuable search engine rankings.
Besides, some other benefits of content marketing are:
- To Improve Customer Service: With the help of online tutorials, FAQs and Community updates, the customer service could be widely enhanced
- To Improve Customer Relationship: An effective and well-planned content marketing can always help to develop and nurture the relationship between the business and the customer.
- To Beat The Competition: Updating the content regularly is effective to stay ahead in the competition and never lose your customers in lack of proper information to deliver.
Content Marketing Mistakes To Avoid:
When you go through all the above content marketing guide, it informs you about bits of tasks to be performed on your hand.
And if you fail to deliver these, this could well be termed as a mistake.
So it could be a true costly mistake if you:
- Fail to know your targeted audience
- Fail to maintain appropriate quality
- Do not consider editing or proofreading the content which you formulate
- Do not have an idea about the reuse or repurpose of the content
- Do not use call-to-action in your content
- Fail to make an effective first impression by not delivering a good title
- Do not share your content on the social media websites which are both free and efficient
- Indulge in speaking to the wrong audience
- Indulge in selling your products and services selfishly without even considering the needs and desires of the customers
Therefore, while you prepare content marketing strategies, do ensure to avoid these mistakes.
They might appear out of question but they definitely do occur.
How To Make Content Marketing More Effective:
When content marketing, you would always intend to get the best outcomes.
And for this, some of the best practices which you ensure are as follows:
- Create Readable Content:
As per a survey, interesting and readable content is one of the top 3 reasons why people follow brands on various social media platforms. (Source)
Blogs offer 434 percent more indexed pages and 97 percent more indexed links to the websites (Source)
And all this sums up to the conclusion that there is no substitute for providing relevant, readable, high-quality, and interesting content.
- Offer Benefits:
Your content should seem valuable to the potential customers.
In other words, it should aim at offering benefits which in turn aim at easing the life of the buyers.
- Seek Urgency:
You can use the ‘urgency’ tool as this is a powerful method to initiate people to perform an action.
For instance, if you use the term ‘limited period offer’ with a product or service, this could be an effective element to create a bit of urgency and enhances the chances of customers taking action.
- Use Ample Facts:
As per a fact, people love facts.
These are elements which provide some concrete information to your readers and thus tend to be one of the most important components of content.
- Deliver Curiosity:
The audience is probably looking for elements to satisfy their curiosity, make their life easier and offer solutions to the problems.
And when they demand this, you need to deliver this.
Offer information which the people generally look forward to.
- Tap Into The Emotions:
The information which could evoke some emotions is said to be extremely effective.
In fact, emotions act as motivators and initiate people in buying the products. However, appealing the emotions is one aspect and be fooling the customers is different.
Beware of tricking the customers in the name of emotions.
And with the use of these techniques, you can ensure to turn your content effective enough to sell.
With all the above points, the utility and benefits of an effective content and content marketing is an open secret.
Nowadays, anybody can tap to utilize this technique to their advantage and get the best SEO and digital marketing results in the least of time, money and efforts.
However, all this needs proper strategies as the content which ensures to appear better, sells better.
Thus, content marketers who tend to be story-tellers, better yellers will often be the most successful content marketers.