What is Content Marketing?

Are terms like blogging, education marketing, social media marketing, or content marketing completely lost on you? You’re not alone. However, these terms reflect current marketing trends that are sweeping the internet world and starting to replace traditional forms of marketing like radio and television ads.

All of the terms mentioned above basically mean one thing: inbound marketing. This refers to advertising efforts that attract or pull customers in, rather than distracting or interrupting them like outbound marketing or traditional marketing.

Content marketing is a part of inbound marketing because it is the art of creating, publishing, and sharing content that is relevant, educational, and interesting to your target audience (or in simpler terms, the people who buy your product or service). You are creating valuable content that will attract or pull customers in.

“Content is anything that adds value to the reader’s life.”

— Avinash Kaushik, Google

Producing content that is useful and entraining is THE best way to capture the attention of your audience.

In contrast, traditional marketing or outbound marketing efforts are sometimes far less effective for the dollar spent.When is the last time you sat through a round of television commercials, didn’t skip radio channels when an ad came on, or clicked on a pop-up ad?

So instead of wasting time and dollars on cold calling, TV or radio ads, or other forms of traditional marketing, focus on creating a content marketing strategy that allows potential customers to find you when they perform a search online for your product, service, or any other keyword relevant to your business.

Content can be anything from blog posts to videos, webinars to podcasts, social media posts, as well as offline efforts like presentations, workshops, seminars, or conference speaking.

This content, when search engine optimized (SEO), will be used to attract visitors to your website based on keyword searches. You can learn more about SEO and how it works when combined with your content marketing strategy here.

For example, if you were looking for an air conditioner, you would likely type something like this into a search engine: air conditioner installation Edmonton.

The more content you have connected to your website, the more likely it is that you will show up on the first page of a search like this.

The goal of content marketing is to attract visitors to your site, connect with them, and eventually, convert them into a loyal customer.

The inbound marketer vs The outbound marketer

Image credit: carolinewabara.com

Why do you need content marketing?

Simply put, when you create useful, original content that informs rather than sells to the reader, it will make you THE expert in your industry.

90% of consumers find brand content useful, and 70% of consumers would rather learn about a product through content.

This truth is every company needs to have a content marketing strategy.

Why, you ask? According to Inc Magazine, “The bottom line is that smaller businesses should invest in content marketing because it can generate awareness, engagement, and leads.”

Why else do you need content marketing?

Well, because cold calling sucks. TV and radio ads are expensive, not guaranteed to work, and it’s difficult to track your ROI (Return on Investment).

Why is content marketing the perfect alternative to traditional marketing?

If you have well-written, relevant, and helpful content on your site, people get a chance to find you when THEY are ready.

“Content is the reason search began in the first place.”

— Lee Odden, TopRank Marketing

Your website will become a go-to, trusted source of content about your product/service, which will contain dozens, and eventually hundreds, of articles that attract, inform, and compel online searchers to call you for help.

The goal of content marketing is:

  • To make you THE expert in your industry in your city.
  • To provide you with comprehensive guides and infographics that you can send to leads, prospects, customers, and power team partners via email, social media, or print.
  • To help you capture and organize your expertise and store it in one place.
  • To educate your reader about your product and service offerings.
  • To motivate readers into making a buying decision with you.

Content can take the following forms: an article or blog post, an audio podcast, a video describing your product or service, images, email campaigns, or infographics.

Blogging is a great starting place for most small business, as the return on investment of time and money (writers, editors and SEO) can be substantial. I worked with a client, who runs True Colors Workshops, to create and publish blog posts on a regular basis. As a result, her traffic went from less than a hundred unique visitors per month to over 4000 visitors from all across North America consistently visiting her website, consuming her content, and contacting her to request one of her workplace workshops.

This can happen for you and your business! With the right combination of content marketing and SEO strategies, you can have an influx of visitors to your website every month.

Sources: 

http://www.inc.com/laura-montini/infographic/the-shift-to-native-advertising-in-marketing.html

http://neilpatel.com/2015/11/14/comparing-the-roi-of-content-marketing-and-paid-advertising/

How do you do content marketing?

First and foremost, you need to plan and strategize. You’ll also need to develop an SEO strategy to make your content marketing efforts even more effective and powerful. SEO and content marketing are two sides of the same coin – you need both to achieve maximum results.

We recommend using a content marketing calendar to help to execute and publish content every week.

“You need to create ridiculously good content – content that is useful, enjoyable and inspired.”

— Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs

With a solid content marketing strategy that includes the foundations of SEO, direct response marketing, and a thorough understanding of your customers and their buying journey (creating buyer personas), you can build a magnetic engine powerhouse that gets in front of the people searching for your products and services daily.

But, all of this is moot if you are not tracking and measuring your successes or not-so-successful posts so that you can make improvements.

The development and execution of a content marketing strategy looks something like this:

  1. Plan and strategize: who do you want to attract and who is your target audience?
  2. Create an SEO strategy that works alongside your content marketing strategy.
  3. Develop ideas for daily/weekly/monthly content that will attract those in your target audience.
  4. As part of your SEO strategy, you should have a list of 50 to 100 keywords that you can begin to integrate into your blog posts.
  5. Create a workflow to follow for each and every post you create. This will streamline the process making it easier to sit down and bust out the content!
  6. Decide who will be writing content for you. You may need to hire a blog manager, content writers, and an internet marketing / SEO / content marketing strategist.
  7. Write and publish good quality, original content on a regular basis.
  8. Ensure your content is properly optimized for the popular search engines.
  9. Promote your content via social media platforms, email marketing, or guest blogging.
  10. Track and measure your results. Eliminate tactics that are not working, and focus on which ones are.

Currently, 70% of marketers lack a consistent or integrated content strategy (Altimeter), and only 29% of leading marketers systematically reuse and repurpose content (Curata). This means that if you have and use your content marketing strategy effectively, you can have a major step up on your competition.

What if you could drastically increase the visibility of your website simply by publishing quality content?

What if you increased the traffic to your website from hundreds to thousands? What would that do for your business? What if the leads you received were informed customers?

You can take your website from getting hundreds of visitors a month to thousands a month, just by publishing good quality content.

This happened to a client of ours who does team building workshops. When we first met with her, her website got just 55 visitors in one month. Now, her website consistently gets over 5000 visitors from all across North America coming to her website every month from the search engines. She has had her articles linked to from universities and colleges, as well as other bloggers out there who want their audience to learn something from what she has written.

With the addition of a proper SEO strategy and content marketing strategy, as well as an online form asking people to request a quote from her, she has made tens of thousands of dollars in revenue without making one cold call, running one ad, or buying any media advertising.

This can happen to your business.

With a strategic content marketing plan and SEO strategy, you too can turn your static website into a lead generating machine.

Wouldn’t you like to generate leads and business while you sleep?

We’d love to help with that. Executing an effective content marketing plans is our core business and we have seen personal success as well as client success with content marketing.

Maybe you’re a realtor who is struggling to stand out from the crowd?

Content marketing can help, but you have to do more and you have to be different from your competitors. If your competition is blogging, start blogging, but try making Q&A videos or podcasts to elevate your content.

Do more than your competitors, but do it better and do more often. 

You might want to elevate your content by doing in-person workshops on how to effectively stage your home to sell, doing live open houses on Periscope – whatever it is that you wish to achieve, you can work with a marketing consultant to stand out in a crowded industry online.

Once you stand out, you can use your content to prompt the reader to take an action, whether it’s to make a phone call, make an online purchase, or fill out a contact form.

Another benefit of content marketing? You can delve deep into your products and services without overwhelming your reader.

Maybe you’re a home builder with a specific process for building a custom home?

How will your customer know what knowledge you have and what you can do unless you tell them?

In your content you could outline the team of experts required to build a custom home, as well as the great extras or incentives you have available. Content marketing is storytelling, so tell the reader a story that reflects what your unique business can do.

This could include case studies, testimonials, DIY guides or How-to’s, product reviews, and the list goes on.

Summary: What is content marketing?

Forget paid ads, billboards, and television commercials. According to Seth Godin, “Content Marketing is all the marketing that’s left.”

Here are some other awesome statistics about the power of content marketing:

  • 27,000,000 pieces of content are shared each day
  • 60% of people are inspired to seek out a product after reading about it
  • Website conversion rate is nearly 6x higher for content marketing adopters than it is for non-adopters
  • Content marketing produces three times more leads per each dollar spent
  • On average, companies with blogs produce 67% more leads per month

Source: 

https://apps.ioninteractive.com/site/iig/75stats

Looking for some help with your content marketing? Check out our content marketing services built for business blogs!

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