I read a great article today: “Why is Content Marketing Today’s Marketing? 10 Stats That Prove It”. I constantly try to convince businesses to invest in content as, today, it’s the most effective means of online marketing. However, many still don’t understand why.
Content marketing is used by many prominent organisations in the world. It is also developed and executed by small businesses and one-person shops around the globe. Why? Because it works
When I say “content”, I mean quality content…. It is not easy to get high quality content. No one gets it right at the beginning. However, practice makes perfect and it is worth investing your resources.
The Content Marketing Institute says…
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Neil Patel extends the definition by saying…
“…content marketing is a long-term strategy, based on building a strong relationship with your target audience, by giving them high-quality content that is very relevant to them on a consistent basis.”
Further, Ian Lurie says…
“Content isn’t ‘stuff we write to rank higher’ or ‘infographics’ or ‘long-form articles.’ Content is anything that communicates a message to the audience. Anything.”
So, instead of pitching your products or services, with content marketing you are providing truly relevant and useful content to your prospects and customers to help them solve their issues. That’s the difference between Content marketing and the other informational garbage that you get from companies trying to sell you “stuff.”
Neil Patel made it simple by saying…
“Content marketing is all about storytelling – and humans have told stories for as long as they could speak”
Stories matter in digital marketing because people’s attention will always go to those who tell great stories. Even if you get a lot of things wrong in marketing, if you have a great story you’ll be fine. Apple, Google, Tesla, to name just a few all have amazing stories.
So now you know that content in marketing has alway been around but also note that content marketing is a repeatable strategic process.
The History of Content Marketing
Now you might want to know why Content Marketing is so important
Have you ever heard the buzz-phrase “Content is King”?… It’s actually true when you consider that many other areas of marketing like social media and SEO, and many others are really only around because of content:
- Every social media post, web page, email and product description, to name just a few are all examples of content.
- Without content, SEOs would have nothing to optimise for search engines.
- Every link earned by every marketer points to a piece of content.
- The keywords that people type into search engines are an attempt to find are content.
Not convinced yet? Ok, so I have collected a list from the Content Marketing Institute and Neil Patel that might help:
Content generates more traffic to your site: Those with stellar, authentic content can experience about 7.8 times more website traffic than those who don’t really bother. So it’s well worth it in the end.
Content produces high engagement: 56% of marketers believe that personalised content promotes higher engagement rates. Not only does it produce high engagement with a company and in a more personal way but it also helps consumers remember a brand and encourages the introduction of a positive feedback loop that benefits both the customer and the company.
Visitors spend more time on your website: When your content is highly valued, consumers are actually reading the article posts. Those who produce high-quality, relevant content enjoy audiences who spend significant time on their sites. Over time, this engagement helps produce higher levels of brand recognition, which boosts sales and encourages ongoing engagement.
It costs 62% less than outbound marketing: While many inexperienced marketers assume that content marketing is expensive, the fact is that it’s often cheaper than traditional marketing methods. Because content marketing is effective, easy to begin, and popular with consumers, it can drastically reduce the money marketers spend on advertising their brands. What’s more, it manages to do all of this while being more effective than traditional marketing, even to the point of generating more than three times as many leads.
It drives higher conversion rates: When content marketing adopters and non-adopters are compared, the adopters have conversion rates that are nearly 6 time higher than their competitors. While content marketing requires an investment of time, money, and skill, it drives much higher conversion rates than its traditional marketing counterparts.
It shows that you care: When customers make a purchase decision, their loyalty already lies with you because of the valuable content you share and they will purchase your product and if it’s a better product, they will eventually prefer it over competitors’ options. In contrast to one-off advertising, content marketing shows that you actually care about your customers. Today, more than ever, consumers want to feel cared about, because the world is louder and noisier than ever before and attention is our most valuable resource.
As mentioned earlier, content marketing is all about storytelling but it’s really about finding out who you would like to help and tell them the story that they need to hear. I mean things that matter to them. Marketing is empathy first that always start with the customer in mind first. It means caring, listening and taking what you are hearing, then write a story or getting that story out there. That’s the purpose of empathy – to o get them to hear the story and to consume the story.
It’s becoming the only way to get the message to consumers: Consumers are becoming increasingly shrewd and knowledgeable about getting rid of the advertising they don’t want to see, so content is becoming the only way to get the message across.
There is now ad-blocking software on Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer. One such example is “Purity” that can be used on Facebook and lets you remove ads from your newsfeed. Paid advertising is increasingly becoming ineffective and a waste of time.
In August 2015, 198 million people around the world were using ad-blocking software (adblock):
- Ad blocking grew by 41% globally in the 12 months leading up to June 2015.
- In the US, it grew by 48% to reach 45 million active users in the 12 months up to June 2015.
- In the UK ad blocking grew by 82% to reach 12 million active users in the 12 months up to June 2015.
This is a trend that is unlikely to reverse. Meanwhile, consumers want to interact with good content and they actively welcome it. This is where your content comes in and this is where your online marketing can become effective.
Now, you might want to know how you can use content marketing to work for you.
The best way to learn is by finding good examples of content marketing, model them, tweak them and apply them to your own business. However, here are 10 Tips for content marketing shared by Neil Patel who is known for his online content marketing company, Quick Sprout. He’s a self-made entrepreneur who has been responsible for taking small companies and raising them to the level of Fortune 500 companies in a relatively short period of time.
Focus on the most important types of content: Cut to the chase with the most valuable information that will help your audience thrive. Content marketers should focus on the most important types of content. This means, knowing that there are many different types of content you could post including blog posts, social media content, video, podcasts, and many others. You should focus on the ones that get you the best results. In general, that would be your video content and dynamic graphic content that catches the attention of your target audience.
Focus on quality over quantity: Content is quality over quantity. More is only better if it is good. In other words, don’t post junk. It is better to post one piece of quality content than endless amounts of low-value content.
Low-quality blog material wasted time and money. But make sure you are also ready to put your money where your mouth is and hire quality content writers that can produce the consistent quality that pays off.
Find the absolute cheapest way to create great content consistently: Get creative with how you produce your content and work on finding less expensive ways to produce high-quality content for your sites and blogs. Repurposing old content in a new way is one idea.
You can also create content in multiple forms. If you have a great article, for example that worked well in the past, consider turning it into an infographic, video, or other type of content.
It’s a great idea because most of your research is already done and you can just reconstruct the same basic tenets to fit a new format such as a podcast, video or infographic.
Spend time improving your efficiency: Train yourself to be a better content promoter can save you time in the long run. If you do much of your content marketing, you can reduce the time you spend by having a greater understanding of what works and what doesn’t.
Forget the parts of content marketing that aren’t necessary: Content marketing is a complex thing but part of that feeling of complication comes from trying to do too much. Stick to the most important types of marketing and don’t get too caught up in the parts that don’t work for your business.
Get extremely specific: The more specific you can be with your content marketing strategies, the better you will do. It’s hard to compete with big budget organisations. So you should use SEO by targeting very specific longtailed keywords to target your audience (example of a shorttailed keyword “shoe” – example longtailed keyword “yellow shoe for ladies”).
Share valuable personal data: Being transparent with your target audience and giving them some personal information about yourself and your brand can help win over some people who are on the fence about your products and services.
Transparency builds confidence in your brand and in your credibility. This can involve anything you choose but make it something valuable that you can share with customers that they will see as sharing on a personal level.
It’s possible to get free content from amazing creators: If you accept guest posts on your blog for free from influencers in your industry, you may get more than you think as a result. Hiring writers costs money and it’s money well spent when they are creating original high-quality content. But, once in a while, ask a blogger to post free in exchange for a link back to their site. You may be amazed at the results.
You do need to choose which posts you’ll accept carefully and don’t accept posts that are not relevant to your site or are lacking in quality.
If you want to know how to find these bloggers who will post for free, post an ad on your page or reach out to bloggers or influencers who are likely to want to do this for you in return for a free link back to their site.
Updating can be as good as starting from scratch: The most challenging thing for content marketers is keeping the content fresh. Make sure and go back and check your content to make sure it is up-to-date.
Learn to be extremely selective with your promotions: “trim the fat” by watching your ROI (return on investment) and make sure you are getting back something for what you are putting out.
Promote where it does the most good, such as targeted email lists and segmented marketing efforts. Simply emailing people after you create a post can go a long way toward getting your message in the hands of the most people who care about what you have to offer.
Your can read these tips in more details through the article “Neil Patel’s 10 Best Tips for Content Marketing in 2017”.
Also, did you know that text content ranks better than any form of content? But it does take time. Here’s how long text content marketing takes to work.
But don’t, like some marketing departments that struggle, apply the same old marketing structures, rules, processes, and tactics – and still call it “Content Marketing” – then someone will rightly finally ask, “How is this different to other marketing approaches?” It’s not!
Let’s wrap up
Marketing is impossible without great content:
- Social media marketing: Content marketing strategy comes before your social media strategy.
- SEO: Search engines reward businesses that publish quality, consistent content.
- PR: Successful PR strategies address issues readers care about, not their business.
- Paid Media (Social Media Advertising and PPC): For it to work, you need great content behind it.
- Inbound marketing: Content is key to driving inbound traffic and leads.
- Content strategy: Content strategy is part of most content marketing strategies.
Regardless of what type of marketing tactics you use, Content Marketing should be part of your process, not something separate. Quality content is part of all forms of marketing. Unique, impactful, differentiating, content-driven experiences are becoming as important as product development itself.
So, to have a sustainable competitive advantage, successful marketers will adapt and change in a constantly evolving media operation that focuses on creating delightful experiences to inform, entertain, engage, inspire and involve the customer