If you’re in the marketing world, it’s impossible to avoid the term content marketing. In some cases, it can seem more like a buzzword than an actual strategy. It’s an unavoidable part of online marketing.
However, that doesn’t mean that everyone knows what it is. If you’re a business owner who isn’t exactly familiar with the term, you might not know how to start. Is do you just have to create content to get started with content marketing? When do you have to hire a content marketer to get the results you want?
It’s actually more complicated than some people realize. There’s a theory behind it and a strategy that you need to know in order to see some real results.
Don’t worry — we’re going to break it down for you in this guide. Read on for key insights into content marketing, straight from a content marketer.
What Is Content Marketing?
Before we get into the small details, let’s establish what content marketing is. How do you define it?
Just creating content doesn’t necessarily mean you’re working within a content marketing strategy. For your actions to be defined as content marketing, you have to create content that’s valuable to a specific, desired audience.
Your end goal, of course, is to turn that content into a profit for your business.
The most important thing to keep in mind, though, is that the content you create has to have value to your customers. That’s what distinguishes content marketing from other forms of advertising.
Your key audience will want to engage with your content because it provides some benefit to them, whether it’s helping them to master a new skill or learn about a different side of your industry.
So how do you deliver this content?
Blogs are the most well-known method. That’s where the content marketing strategy got its start, and it’s why so many businesses have blogs today. It allows businesses and brands to position themselves as industry experts while simultaneously drawing new visitors to their website.
However, blogs aren’t the only way to create content. Other ways to approach content marketing include videos, infographics, podcasts, and even books. If you’ve noticed a trend of well-known bloggers publishing e-books, it’s because they’re using it as a form of content marketing.
So now that we’ve established what content marketing is, let’s move on to why it’s something you should care about.
Why Is Content Marketing Important?
How did we arrive at content marketing from traditional advertising? Why does it matter to your business?
There’s a reason that there’s so much chatter around content marketing. One of the key aspects is that there are a lot of benefits for both business and consumer.
Audiences have gotten sick of heavy-handed advertising and they’ve learned how to spot sales tactics from a mile away. They’re over it.
Plus, with the deluge of content and options online, it’s very easy to get lost in the fray. If you’re not providing customers with something of value, they’ll click away to your competitor. That’s exactly what you don’t want.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways content marketing can be a bonus for both you and the audience you want to attract.
Puts The Focus On The Customer
How many times have you heard the expression, “You can’t please everyone?” How many times have you tried to do just that as a marketer?
This is a trap that many professionals fall into. They know that great content can bring in customers, but that it’s equally easy to alienate people. They’re terrified of accidentally losing people, so they make their content as broad and universally pleasing as possible.
This sounds like a good idea, but it’s not going to be as effective as targeting a specific audience.
One of the strengths of content marketing is that it’s geared towards the audience you want to attract to your business. It forces you to constantly have your customers in mind when creating content.
What would hold the most value to them? What would keep them coming back?
You might even realize that it helps you come up with new ideas for other areas of your business.
One of the best things about being online is that it allows you to connect organically with your customers.
Before, there was a veil of sorts between businesses and audiences. (Or in some cases, a brick wall.) There was an air of mystery about the identity of a business and how people could connect with it.
Now, social media and company websites make it easy for businesses and customers to interact. Social media marketing is probably the most obvious example of this, but you can interact and connect with your customers through content marketing, too.
Customers can get to know your brand and interact with you in different ways — whether that’s leaving comments on a blog post or video or downloading an e-book.
Content marketing also allows audiences to organically discover your brand. Your content will appear in a search, or someone else to link to it, allowing people to feel as though they’ve discovered you — instead of your brand being forced on them.
That psychological shift makes a difference.
Builds Awareness Of Your Brand
Of course, marketing isn’t just about creating content. It’s geared towards building awareness and brand recognition.
Usually, when you think of this, you might think of paid advertising. You pay to have your ad appear on websites, for example, or you sponsor someone to promote your brand.
However, content marketing doesn’t inherently cost anything other than time, and it can have the same result.
Good content marketing also improves your SEO, or search engine optimization. When someone searches a keyword related to the content you’ve created, your website will appear.
They might not have been specifically searching for your business, but they found it because of your content marketing strategy. If you’ve created great content, they might even be convinced that they need to work with you or buy your products.
With every click you get, you’re increasing your chance of turning an audience into new customers.
Retain An Audience
It won’t do you any good if people find your website, click around for a little bit, and then never return. Content marketing helps you to attract new visitors to your site, but it can also help you keep them.
Think about the way you consume content. Take a new television show, for example. You’ve never seen it before or heard of it, but the first episode you watch is so gripping and entertaining that you decide to watch more. If each subsequent episode is just as good, you watch the whole season and become a fan.
Now think of a visitor to your website. They may not have ever heard of you before, but you published a blog post that they found incredibly helpful. They want to hear more from you, so they sign up for your email newsletter and continue reading your content each time you update.
This is how good content marketing can draw people in and keep them coming back, creating an audience that’s loyal to your brand.
Generate Leads & Conversions
So let’s get real. You don’t just want people to engage with your content. You want those leads to translate into customers. That’s what’s going to generate revenue for you.
Studies show that content marketing is able to effectively create conversions. People aren’t just reading blog posts, they’re also buying products or purchasing services. Why is this?
Part of the reason is that content marketing can help to build trust in your brand. People are more likely to do business with you because they feel like they’ve gotten to know the business through your content.
If you’ve successfully positioned yourself as an industry expert or thought leader, you won’t have to go through a long sales cycle to build up trust. It will already be there because of the content you created.
When Should I Hire A Content Marketer?
Are you ready to take your marketing to the next level? Do you want to generate new leads, retain audiences, and build trust with your customers? Then you should probably hire a content marketer.
Some people write off content marketing as “just blogging,” but there’s much more that goes into than that. You need someone who can do the keyword research, create a great strategy, write outstanding copy, and so much more.
Not every business already has this in-house, so if you don’t feel confident that you or your employees have these skills, you should definitely work with a content marketer.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you to understand more about what content marketing is and why it’s so important in today’s marketing landscape. Use this information to help you start thinking about what content marketing could look like for your business.
Ready to get started? Get in touch with us. Our team of expert content marketers can help you build your brand and make your mark on the digital landscape.