Content Marketing is a term and strategy all of us in business are expected to be familiar with, but many of you might ask what exactly is it?
What is content marketing?
According to the Content Marketing Institute, ‘Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action’.
Promoting your business online is no longer about pitching your products or services through adverts and strong call to action campaigns, but about delivering useful and free information to your potential customer to change or enhance their behaviour. With the flow of consistent, ongoing reliable and intelligent information you show authority, build trust and a loyal customer base.
It is estimated content marketing makes up 25% of a company’s marketing budget. It is the opportunity to tell a story about your journey, expertise, service and brand. Content marketing enables you to share information and present your knowledge through case studies, blogs, articles, YouTube, your website, infographics, webinars and other creative forms of online content curation. You don’t have to tackle this yourself! Invite your employees to contribute content, or if you need extra assistance outsource to a content marketer or ghost writer who can aid you in content production and distribution.
How do I go about it? Tips for getting started in content marketing:
- Define your organisational goals for content marketing: brand awareness, customer acquisition and retention, engagement, lead generation, sales, etc.
- Understand and research your target audience. What do they want to know about? Write down the common questions and topics your clients and customers ask you about.
- Decide and define what your content will be about. Think broadly about different categories you can cover such as sales, human resources, management and customers. Create sub-categories within those categories. Each of those sub-categories could make a blog topic.
- Develop an editorial calendar so you can dedicate time each week, fortnight or month to creating and publishing content.
- Have someone else edit and critique your content before you publish it live.
- Invite your staff members to help with content creation by writing about an area of their expertise.
- Start a blog. Blogging is a medium to explore how you want to present your business and what topics are of interest to your audience. You can include a blog on your website for free, or contribute blog posts to another website or publication specialising in your area of expertise. Posting quality blogs regularly will show your consistency, authority and expertise.
- Engage readers – you want readers to comment on your content, so include a question for readers and social sharing buttons.
- Give away free e-books. Have you thought about sharing your knowledge in an e-book? You can put together an e-book from all your original blog posts and articles. Self-publishing e-books is easy to do and very popular now as people seek information on topics e-books address concisely.
- Present information on film. Produce a short video, or testimonials by your customers which you can publish online. Create a YouTube channel and publish to that, or a podcast, your blog and website.
- Create visuals to tell your story and share information in a new light. You can use tools such as Visual.ly for infographics and data presentations, free photo editing software GIMP and Resize.it for resizing images for publication.
- Create your content strategy before developing your social media strategy. Leverage your social media accounts such as Google+, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to share and distribute your content to a wide audience. Include links in your social media posts back to your website or blog where your content appears.
- Produce regular e-newsletters to distribute to your client base and make available for download on your website/blog.
- Create quality, consistent content. While many say SEO (search engine optimization) is dying since Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, don’t turn your back on SEO. Research what keywords people are searching for online to find content such as yours. Use Alexa.com or Google analytics to see what keywords are driving people to your website. Use those keywords to optimise your content).
- Include these keywords, but don’t overdo it!
- Each piece of content should encourage readers to take a specific action — such as visiting your site, subscribing to your newsletter, etc, but this should be done cleverly and subtly.
How are you including content marketing in your company’s marketing strategy?
Check back next Tuesday (1st October 2013) for Part Two of Content Marketing