If you're just starting off your content marketing journey or you're in need of getting back your content marketing inspiration, it's time you brush up on the basic steps to achieving content marketing success. So what exactly is content marketing?
If you were to ask "what is content marketing for 500" the first answer that Google will throw at you would be an answer from wikipedia:
"Content marketing is any marketing that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire and retain customers."
However, content marketing is much more refined than just publishing stuff in order to conquer and acquire. The founding fathers (Content Marketing Institute) of the art of content explained it in greater detail:
"Basically, content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is non-interruption marketing. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty."
So, it's about creating guides and informational maps to educate people so much so, that they will want to know more, they will seek out your product, and they will be your loyal customers.
It's easy to create, but it's much easier to see that created content work if we know exactly who it is for and what it's supposed to do. Below is an excerpt from the free guide which you will find at the end of this post:
As you can see, the road to establishing a goal for a content piece is very much based on the conversion funnel. Too many marketers write for the sake of writing, adding sales pitches within their text, hoping for more clicks and sing-ups. However, content marketing is meant to educate. When your customers, and potential customers, are educated they are more likely to use your product, share it with others, become brand advocates.
What's more, well prepared content is a tool to be used not just by customers but by customer support as well. Mindful content is prepared to answer questions and doubts, it explains and teaches - customer support is able to first hand share that with your customers whenever they need something hands on to guide them.
Nevertheless, content is mean to get more leads. A surprising fact is that even more than lead generation, marketers are using content as a way to raise their brand awareness. A study shared by Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs that 84% say brand awareness is the most important goal.
Creating and distributing
According eMarketer, 63% of decision-makers choose to share relevant content via in-person conversations:
Content is the perfect way for customer success representatives to show the way and for marketers to spread the word. What's astounding is that blog, as a method of sharing, is towards the end of this list, showing just how important it is to:
- Create relevant content
- Post it via media that can be later on distributed (blog post)
- Share the blog post, text, or ebook via channels that are even more effective like email or social media.
Intertwining your marketing efforts and using differentiated channels serves as a foundation for CMI's definition of content marketing, "regardless of what type of marketing tactics you use, content marketing should be part of your process, not something separate."
How do you plan out your strategies? Are you making sure that all channels of marketing are partnering up to create a campaign that distributes on all fronts?
From A to Z
Contrary to popular belief, content marketing is not just - goals, creating, distributing. Those three steps are a part of a whole process. So, what does it take to be a content marketer?
- You need to know your goals.
- You must be able to edit and write in a manner that customers will resonate with.
- You should be ready to research the deepest corners of the Internet.
- You must be familiar with SEO tactics and influencer marketing.
- You need to understand how social media goes hand-in-hand with your content.
- You should know how to make use of content tools and platforms
- You can create a plan for thought leadership based on the quality of your content.
- You know how to create engaging content through storytelling.
- You understand the importance of loyalty
- You are familiar with analytics and what you need to measure to learn from your results.
As you can see, as a content marketer you have to put on quite a few hats to be able to put all the pieces together. Each step is a result of your previous action, and that is followed another step you need to take. So why is content marketing so important, if it is so hard? Because it informs, it drives traffic to your site, it creates brand awareness, it's easily shareable, and it brings numerous SEO benefits (if done correctly.)
Furthermore, in 2016 we will be creating even more content! Take a look at this chart:
2016 will be another victorious year for content. Which is why, if you haven't already, you need to get on the content marketing bandwagon! Download our free ebook "10 Steps to Understanding Content Marketing" to learn more. Do you have a documented content marketing strategy? Share in the comments below how you tackle content!