Ever since digital marketing found its place in the world of advertising today, content marketing has become the most sought after strategy and why to complain when it works most of the time for most people. The research data collected by Content Marketing Institute shows that there is a total number of 76 percent B2C marketers and a whopping 88 percent of B2B marketers who are doing content marketing to boost their business. The only key to open the doors of success through content marketing is to know what it is about, what you should and should not do and what makes it work in your favour. So here we are to open up this box of whats, whys and hows of content marketing to help the beginners create a footing in the world of digital advertising.
1. What content marketing is and what it is not?
The Internet is boundless, and there is a myriad of ways in which you can reach out to your audience when it comes to using the internet as a medium. There is a high possibility of confusing between which strategy is what. In the fundamental terms, content marketing is all about coming up with the right content related to your business and then market it to your audience with the intention of giving them what they need from your business. The primary idea is to make your target audience get into the action mode through creation, marketing, and promotion of the content that you create. The strategy focuses on paying attention to what the audience needs from the brand and giving it to them thus, in turn, earning their loyalty.
Content marketing is a strategy through which you try to attract people to your brand so that they become active customers as compared with the many outbound strategies in which the primary idea is to get the attention of the audience. Outbound strategies use interruptive marketing tactics.
2. Setting goals that are realistic and measurable
This aspect of content marketing is quite important for the beginners to understand. Though content marketing has proved to be a huge success for businesses that have used the strategy, you have to understand that it is not a magic wand that will work wonders within a few days. It takes time for the investment that you have made in the strategy to show its effects. Therefore, do not fool yourself by setting unrealistic goals. Measurability is quite important when it comes to analysing how your plan is working out. The first step to making that happen is to understand what you want to get out of your content marketing strategy. There is a broad range of purposes that a content marketing strategy fulfils. They can include:
- Increasing the awareness of your brand amongst the masses.
- Generating leads.
- Converting a larger percentage of your target audience into direct customers so that you can reach your sales goals.
- Improving the services you provide to your customers so you can earn the loyalty of your clients.
Go ahead and identify the general goals that you want the strategy to achieve for your business and then work on them to make them more accurate, centered and measurable. This work will help you in your analysis of the success of the strategy later.
Take the example of increasing the awareness of your brand amongst the audience, then the goals of your content marketing strategy could be:
- Getting at least a 5 percent increase in the web traffic each month.
- Earning an increase of no less than 30 percent in the people who follow the brand on social media by the end of the quarter.
- Get at least 500 people to subscribe to your emails by the end of the financial year.
All these specific goals are centered around one generic goal which is to improve the awareness of your brand. The specific goals have a particular, defined limit. Begin with these aims and modify them as you move on, depending upon the pace of your progress.
3. Realise the value of having a persona for each user segment that you are targeting
Your brand provides products and services. Each product and service serves a different purpose to the different people who buy it. For example, if you are a company that manufactures laptops then you have a diverse user segment from students, working professionals to individuals who use it for personal work. You have to take care of the fact that the laptop you manufacture has features that help a professional and functions that help a student as well.
A persona is a representation of the whole class of people who fall into the same category because of similar pain points, needs, and motivations. From a business standpoint, the personas are of different types of customers or clients. They are a snapshot of your target customer. In the above example, since each user segment will be using the same laptop and since their needs are all quite different with just a few similarities, you need to have a persona of each user segment to understand those needs and serve them in your product or service. Though you cannot provide that change through content marketing; you can tell your audience that you will give it to them and provide them with the assurance that they can trust you. Customers are the king, and they will always be, which is why it is important to understand their feelings, empathize with their pain points and use them as areas of improvement. Content Marketing has done this for businesses and businesses, in turn, have used this knowledge to their benefit.
The number of personas you create and the types: primary and secondary, all depend on upon the kind of business you have. Studying the personas will help you come up with the right content that targets the needs of that particular class of people. Here are a few factors that you need to keep in mind while creating a persona:
- Age, sex, and nationality
- Level of Education
- Professional Experience
- Income Level
- Personal life
- Emotions and thoughts of the person
4. The needs of the audience you are targeting is the primary driving force of your content marketing strategy
Do not get too deep into revolving and rotating around your business goals, instead, look to serve the needs of your customers and the business goal will automatically be fulfilled. You have to understand that you cannot directly get people to buy your product or service, you have to understand their needs first and then convince them that you are capable and equipped to fulfil them better than any other competitor can. You can only do this by creating content that drives the sales and in turn, gives the audience the assurance that they are at the right place and are trusting the right people. Creating this equilibrium is primarily the whole point of content marketing.
Don’t focus too much on making your audience buy your product. Concentrate on answering their questions and giving them what they need. When the customer thinks that his needs are being understood, and his requirement is being given the priority, sales will automatically follow. Keep this in mind and create content that is not too sales-y.
5. Promotion is a critical aspect of content marketing
Coming up with the right content is just half of the total job. The other half is exposing that content to the right people. What is the use of putting in all that effort and creating a high-quality content when all it does is sit in the corners of the internet and does not reach out to the potential clients of your business? All that effort goes in vain when good content does not reach the right people. So work hard on promoting your content. Don’t think that you don’t need promotion because your website has a large SEO traffic. Come up with a promotion strategy and follow it. Here are a few tips to help you understand better.
- Creating pages and profiles on social media and building your presence there to increase your audience and distribute your content with ease.
- Using content communities as platforms for your blog posts.
- Taking help of influencers to increase the range of your reach.
- Making use of paid promotion strategies for advertising your content especially on social media platforms where the advertisement will reach out to more people.
6. Analysing your efforts
In the end, it is supremely important to analyse continuously and discern where the current content marketing strategy is taking your business. As a beginner, it may be difficult to understand what is making things work for you and where is it that things are going against you. But that does not mean you procrastinate your analysis any longer. This will only worsen the content marketing aspect of your business which means that you may also end up losing your valued customers. It is also quite easy to get so caught up in the entire process that you may not even realise that you have to stop and analyse how the content marketing strategy is working out for your business. All this is just to understand the areas of improvement and make your strategy more targeted.
You can make use of available tools such as Google Analytics to see the Google ranking which depends on the quality of content on your website along with the quantity of traffic or number of clicks it is getting. You can use social media platforms to make the possible changes after comparing the goals you had set initially when you started and how much of that goal is being achieved by the strategy you have implemented.
Content Marketing is not a herculean task; every business is doing it. But the ones that are succeeding at it are the ones that understand what it is and how it can be used to promote growth. If you go ahead and look for advice from people who are doing it, all you will get to hear is that there is a lot that you need to learn before you can do something significant. But what you should know is that if you remember these important lessons about content marketing that we have given you here, you will always be way ahead of other beginners in the field who are stepping into the arena with you. Remember, experience is what teaches you the most, more than any book, more than any advice and more than anything that you read. But you always need somewhere to start from. Let these six lessons be the trigger, start out and you will never turn back.