What is content marketing?
Content marketing is the development and distribution of relevant, useful content—blogs, newsletters, white papers, social media posts, emails, videos, and the like—to current and potential customers. When it’s done right, this content conveys expertise and makes it clear that a company values the people to whom it sells.
The consistent use of content marketing establishes and nurtures relationships with your prospective and existing customers. When your audience thinks of your company as a partner interested in their success and a valuable source of advice and guidance, they’re more likely to choose you when it’s time to buy.
What does content marketing do?
The Content Marketing Institute, an online resource for information on all things content marketing related, defines content marketing thusly:
Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
The key word here is “valuable.” It’s what changes this definition from one that could describe almost any form of advertising or marketing. You can tell if a piece of content is the sort that could be part of a content marketing campaign if people seek it out, if people want to consume it, rather than avoiding it. So was VW’s 2014 “Game Day” commercial, which has been viewed on YouTube almost 18 million times as of the writing of this post, an ad, or content marketing? The answer is it’s both, depending on how it’s received by each individual who is exposed to it. The same will apply to any piece of content marketing you create, depending on whether the recipient received value from it or not. Of course the goal is to provide as much value from your content marketing to as much of your target audience as possible. At this point, despite this definition and explanation, you’re probably still wondering what exactly content marketing is. We can get more clarity by considering a few examples.
How content marketing works?
Effective content marketing utilizes several distinct skills to create cohesive campaigns. The best content marketers work in teams in which they can rely upon the expertise of several people.
A best-in-class content marketing plan can require the following skills:
Subject matter expertise: Content marketers conduct deep research into industry trends, customer pain points and market conditions. They utilize print and digital sources, as well as interviews with established experts.
Branding: Marketers need to know the brand voice and personality as if it were their own. They often create and maintain style guides.
Search engine optimization: Content creators leverage keyword tools and similar technologies to ensure their work is easy to find on search engine results pages.
Strategy and analytics: Marketers develop campaign strategies around themes, asset types and promotions. Every campaign should be tracked and monitored so that any insights gleaned can inform – and improve – the next one. Strategists use Google Analytics to identify which assets are working well, and which need to be refined.
Production: Content creation requires a touch of artistry and a whole lot of creativity. Content campaigns often bring together writers, illustrators, graphic designers, videographers, actors and web designers, as well as many other talents.
As you can see, each of these skills can translate into many different types of collateral, from blog posts to animated videos. An effective marketing strategy relies on multiple forms of media to generate awareness and promote brand recognition.
Why content marketing works?
Content marketing’s primary objective is to offer value to your target audience so they are more educated about their problem and available solutions, and so you’re the first brand they think of when they decide to solve their problem. Providing value that relates to the products you offer—whether that’s visual content, white papers or blogging—is a key part of attracting people to your brand.
After subscribers engage with you and decide your product could solve their problem, they move into the consideration and decision stage of their journey. This is when a key element of content marketing comes into play: trust.
I think we can all agree that most people want to buy from someone they trust. And usually, we don’t trust people who immediately try to sell us something.
Imagine this: You’re at the mall, on your way to Auntie Anne’s for a mid-shopping snack. Suddenly, a random person steps toward you and beckons you over to their kiosk. They want you to try their “extremely rare” exfoliant taken straight from the Dead Sea. Are you inclined to trust that what they’re selling is actually going to help your skin? Probably not, because they:
Interrupted your journey toward the mouthwatering smell of fresh pretzels.
Didn’t let you discover their business on your own. You didn’t walk over with a problem; instead, you were told their product would solve a problem you might not even have.
When you think of effective content, don’t think of lead generation. Think of your content as a way to provide value to customers who are just looking for information. In other words, cater to your browsers. The people feeling the fabric and wandering around the store who you know probably won’t buy anything today. But they will learn more about your brand and whether or not it can solve their problems in the future. This ability to think for themselves without added pressure is what builds trust with clients, whether you’re B2B marketers, SaaS companies or a skincare kiosk in the mall.
- does content marketing work
How content marketing helps business?
Content marketing is a go-to tactic that’s proven to work. Also, it provides a competitive advantage. Take a look at what the data says about content marketing:
Businesses with blogs get 67% more leads than other companies.
Forty-seven percent of buyers view 3 to 5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales representative.
Companies that use content marketing see approximately 30% higher growth rates than businesses not using it.
Seventy-two percent of business-to-business (B2B) marketers say content marketing increases engagement and the number of leads they generate.
How content marketing drives sales?
- Improve brand reputation
- Helps influence conversions
- Helps improve your SEO efforts
- A cost-effective way to bring in new leads
- Showcase your subject matter expertise
- Build relationships with customers
- Your leads and customers want great content
- Set yourself apart from competitors
- Important during each step of the marketing funnel
- Support nearly every other digital marketing strategy
What is a Content Marketing Consultant?
A content consultant is hired by companies to come in and elevate their brand, creating messaging that connects the client with their audience.
A content consultant also helps with content marketing and editorial strategy, organizing a brand’s content by creating editorial and social media calendars, along with style guidelines so a company can communicate their message.
If content providers like journalists, photographers, bloggers and vloggers are needed for story creation, a content consultant will create a virtual newsroom of freelance contributors to help with influencing the client’s audience. Another aspect of Charkalis’ job is content strategy—developing online experiences that involve collaborating with other teams throughout the company.
Why content marketing is important?
Check out this list from our friends over at hubspot.
- Your audience will stick around longer.
Great content is an important asset. It has the ability to create positive experiences for your potential customers and compel them to come back for more. It’s your ticket to capturing your audience’s attention and continually reinforcing a positive brand impression.
- You’ll have better traction on social media.
It’s one thing to increase your social media followers across channels, but it’s quite another to create trendy content. If you’re one of those businesses that doesn’t see much traction despite having a huge following, it’s time to use content marketing to your advantage. Quality content can help your business gain traction on social media.
Track the performance of your content campaigns using HubSpot’s analytics software.
- Your audience will trust you.
Creating content helps your business build a relationship with your audience. You can answer their questions and interact with customers. When you create value without taking anything in return, your audience is more likely to trust your advice and recommendations.
Ultimately, when your content shows up at the right place and at the right time with the right audience, it’ll improve your brand’s reputation. The more quality content customers see, the more likely they will have a positive association with your company.
- You’ll generate more and better leads.
Content marketing can also generate leads. When your audience views your content, they’re more likely to purchase from you in the future. Additionally, calls-to-action (CTA) placed directly in your content can generate new leads for your sales team.
So, how can content generate leads?
According to Lindsay Kolowich, the team manager of the HubSpot Academy Acquisition Content Team, “content is a great way to guide users to a landing page. Typically, you create content to provide visitors with useful, free information. You can include CTAs anywhere in your content — inline, bottom-of-post, in the hero, or even on the side panel. The more delighted a visitor is with your content, the more likely they are to click your call-to-action and move onto your landing page.”
- Original content can improve conversions.
The content you post influences conversions. It helps your audience connect with you and gives them the information needed to make educated purchases.
Even more, if you’re using blog content to bring in traffic, consider using original graphics rather than stock photos, as marketers report the former as least effective in helping them meet their goals.
Additionally, your content should always include a CTA and guide your reader on what they should do next.
- Your business will become more visible thanks to SEO.
The more consistent, high-quality content you produce, the better it’ll be for your SEO efforts.
For example, your content should help your business become visible online and build trust and authority with your audience. In addition, with a developed content strategy, such as the pillar/cluster model, your content should help you rank higher in search engines.
- Great content can position your company as an authority in your industry.
Creating quality content will also help build your authority online. If your business is established as a credible place to get information, you’re more likely to rank higher in search engines.
Plus, your customers are more inclined to trust you if they view you as an industry expert. Your content should demonstrate your expertise in your field and provide valuable answers to your audience’s questions.
Overall, content marketing is important. But, how can you be successful at it?
One way to tell is to assess the quality of your content. One particularly beneficial assessment of quality is content scoring.
As more businesses increase their content marketing budget, there’s never been a better time to incorporate content scoring metrics into your marketing campaign.
With the help of content scoring, you can measure and improve your content marketing performance and offer great value to your audience.
- Quality content can build brand awareness.
Sure, anything can build brand awareness, but content marketing can do it in a unique way.
Our HubSpot marketing experts have written about something called Surround Sound strategy.
In a nutshell, this content strategy does more than just rank your blog article on page one. It makes your content (and therefore your brand) appear everywhere your potential customers are looking for your product.
To execute this strategy, write about topics your customers are interested in so they begin to associate your great content with your brand.
- You’ll cultivate loyal brand fans.
Taking brand awareness a step further, all the people who raved about your content and associated all those great feelings with your brand are very likely to become brand advocates before ever purchasing your product.
It’s true; brand fans can be just as loyal and influence their friends and family’s buying decisions as potential consumers see that a business provides value to its current audience. One of the more successful ways companies can do this is through content marketing.
For example, while I may not be in the market for children’s meal plans because I don’t have children yet, I am obsessed with the Kids Eat In Color blog and Instagram content. I recommend it to my friends and family who have children with picky eating habits. See how well that can work?
- You’ll save money on your marketing strategy.
Since HubSpot first assessed the cost of content marketing ten years ago, the practice has remained the most cost-effective marketing strategy available.
Upfront costs for content appear steep, and that’s a fair point.
Estimates for blog content range from $150 a post to $3,000 for a freelance writer, but you could go the route of hiring a full-time staff writer to create content for you on a regular basis.
In the long term, when compared to paid advertisements, video marketing, and traditional marketing, content wins the battle with Frank from finance every time.