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Marketing 101: What Is Content Marketing?

Dave Orecchio
by Dave Orecchio on Mar 3, 2020 8:45:00 AM

In the 21st century, content marketing is the central part of any digital promotional effort. What is behind the concept?  

The power of words is hard to underestimate. Especially when these words drive sales, raise brand awareness, generate leads, create backlinks. Indeed, the list goes on and on. Let's dig a little deeper into what content marketing is, how it works, and why it's so important to your business's success.

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a marketing technique that involves creating and distributing valuable content to attract the target audience and guide it through the buying process.

Marketing-101_What-is-Content-Marketing

Different Types of Content Are:

  • Website content (e.g. service or product descriptions)
  • Blogs
  • Articles
  • Case studies
  • eBooks
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Newsletters
  • Podcasts
  • Guest posts
  • White papers

By using the above channels to answer questions, solve problems, entertain, and educate the target audience, you can achieve excellent conversion rates and drive sales.

Content is a unique tool that can guide clients from the awareness to the purchasing stage of their journey without too much assistance from other marketing techniques.

buye-journey-information

The foundation of any content marketing strategy is high-quality content. Your words, images, and videos must carry value, be engaging, and solve a client's problem. By focusing the content on real questions and problems your ideal prospect has, you are halfway to success.

When done right, content marketing has an impressive ROI because content that is perceived as valuable to the prospect will rank in search and deliver visitors and leads for a long time after it is created. It has recurring value that pays for itself after the first customer is acquired. What's more, according to HubSpot, 70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing.

Where Do You Start? Key Elements of Content Marketing

Marketing 101: What Is Content Marketing?

Each company can design its own content marketing strategy. However, the basic elements are the same for any business, be it a flower shop, a cloud service provider or a manufacturing company.

1. Determining Your Goals

This step is the same for any marketing strategy, from content to PPC (pay per click) marketing. However, to create excellent content, you need to get as close to understanding what your prospect needs as possible.

What do you want the company to achieve? The common goals are:

  • Raise brand awareness
  • Increase revenue
  • Attract new clients
  • Retain old clients
  • Increase website traffic
  • Improve sales productivity
  • Expand into a new market segment

set-smart-goals-for-content-marketingIdeally, your content-related business goals should be SMART:

  • S – Specific – clear and well-defined
  • M – Measurable – contain measurable parameters to track the success of your content campaign.
  • A – Achievable – give you an opportunity to reach them without superhuman effort.
  • R – Relevant – relevant to the goals of your overall marketing campaign and business goals.
  • T – Time-bound – have deadlines and important milestones.

2. Understanding Your Clients

One of the key goals you'll be achieving with this marketing strategy is catching the audience's attention. Thus, you need to get as close to knowing these people as possible. What do your potential clients feel, want, need, or think? What do they do when they face a problem? How can your company help them solve it? Solutions to problems should be the core of your content.

A great way to learn more about your audience is to create a buyer's or client's persona. By identifying the key characteristics of your potential clients, you can come up with an ideal customer. When you create your content, it should be aimed at this customer's needs.

Once you define who the client is, you need to understand the journey a prospect takes from being interested in the services or products you offer to buying them. You'll be creating content to guide the client through this journey.

3. Creating Top-Notch Content

High-quality content starts with value. When you create a piece, it must answer a question or offer a solution. Remember the four Es of content:

  1. Engaging – in a world where clients are pounded with information, boring content loses on all fronts. You have to grab the client's attention with the first sentence and keep it throughout the text.
  2. Entertaining – even a medical text can be fun. Without adding an entertainment element, you can lose a client halfway through.
  3. Educational – whether you are talking about your services or helping a client solve a problem, your content should educate.
  4. Easy-to-understand – content for promotional purposes must always be easy to read, view, and understand. Even if your entire target audience has an over-the-roof IQ, it's likely to fall for an easier read rather than for a jargon-sprinkled extra-long article.  

What about keywords? Your marketing team should focus on keyword research so you can implement related keywords into your content for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes. Be sure to define clusters of content around a focal content element that aligns to the primary problems your ideal prospect has. 

Take full advantage of all types of content available for your marketing efforts. While textual content may be easy to create, visual content is gaining huge popularity. According to HubSpot, 32% of marketers say visual images are the most important form of content for their business, with blogging in second (27%).

4. Managing Content Distribution

content-marketingOnce you've created high-quality content, where do you put it? Who will distribute your content? Where will it appear?

Your content must be easy to find and share. That's where other marketing efforts, such as SEO and PPC come in. On one hand, keywords allow you to put the content on the first pages of search engine results. On the other hand, PPC helps the content appear when and where it's desired the most.

An excellent way to put your content in front of your target audience is to have influencers in your industry share it. Meanwhile, a less expensive way is to write a guest post on a relevant website.

5. Analyzing Your Success

Your content marketing strategy may or may not work. When the signs of it not working become obvious, it could be too late. That's why you must be tracking and analyzing the success from the get-go. Be sure to use a website that measures every element of your content and how individual contacts progress down the funnel to requesting a meeting with your sales team. 

Depending on your original goals, you have to create a list of metrics to evaluate the performance of your campaign. For example, if your SMART goal was to drive traffic to your website, you should measure page views, bounce rates, mobile visitors, geographical trends, average time spent on a page, and so forth.

Benefits of Content Marketing

Benefits of Content Marketing

How can this type of marketing help your company?

1. Brand awareness – the right type of content presented across suitable channels can help your target audience notice your company.

2. Company visibility – well-crafted content coupled with a powerful SEO strategy can help your business gain visibility online.

3. A fruitful relationship with clients – by providing educational and valuable content, you can build a close relationship with your existing clients, improve your retention rate and gain promoters of your solution to their peers in their industry. (FYI: 80% of your future profits come from 20% of your existing customers.)

4. Credibility – by showing expertise through the content you share, you can build your business' credibility. You can position your company as an expert in the industry and build trust.

5. Communication – content opens a channel of communication with your audience, bringing you valuable insight into its needs as well as priceless feedback.

6. Fast purchase decisions – by providing the right content at every step of the client's purchasing journey, you can speed it up. If your content delivery is automated (using marketing automation) you can more effectively nurture a much larger pipeline of contacts and increasing sales velocity since those prospects who are ready to buy will be eager to speak to your salesperson. 

Why Content Marketing Is Right for You

Without content marketing, getting your message through in the right place at the right time is virtually impossible in this new digitally transformed world. With the right approach, it can help you achieve tremendous results without substantial investments. As an expert in your field, you already have all the tools you need to get started.

For more information about content marketing opportunities and strategies, please contact us today.

Request a Content strategy to generate opportunities for your business

Bristol Strategy is a full funnel inbound marketing agency and inbound sales agency offering the full complement of services to enable our clients to surpass their business objectives by transforming the way they engage with their buyer online.  Reach out to us to learn more about how our experience and capabilities can help your business grow. 

Tags: Content Marketing Inbound Marketing Marketing Strategy

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Dave Orecchio
Written by Dave Orecchio
Dave Orecchio is one of the earliest adopters of Inbound Marketing. As one of Hubspot’s first customers and CEO of a Boston-based startup, he experienced the benefits of this effective digital marketing methodology. Dave now provides Inbound (marketing & Sales) services to businesses to help them grow and realize the positive results that an integrated program can provide. Dave is a high-tech marketing and sales expert with more than 25 years of business experience.
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