The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as: “A strategic digital marketing approach used by brands to create and distribute consistent, relevant, and valuable content via various online channels to attract and retain a targeted audience, and drive profits.”
Instead of blatantly pitching products and services like traditional advertising, content marketing offers relevant and useful information to prospects to help them solve issues. Sounds like an extension of advertising, right? Well, not quite.
Think of advertising as getting your message in front of the most people as possible, like a massive billboard. Content marketing is about getting it in front of a select group of people, who are most likely to be interested in your product or services.
SEO guru, Neil Patel, says that 92% of businesses use content marketing, and the vast majority have favored it over traditional marketing because conversion rates are almost six times higher. If you’re curious about developing a content marketing strategy, then you’ve come to the right place. Let’s get down to basics.
When it comes to digital marketing, businesses with solid strategies and higher budgets experience increased audience engagement and web traffic. If you need exposure, then investing in content marketing is vital for driving traffic to your website. However, the money spent still needs to be put to strategic use. More money doesn’t always guarantee success if squandered on the incorrect target audience or ineffective campaigns.
There are four main benefits to content marketing; increasing sales, saving costs, acquiring better customers with greater loyalty, and leveraging content as a profit center. Content marketing should be a prerequisite to all marketing. After all, high-quality content, whether it’s a paid ad, blog, or website copy, is what sells a brand, and ultimately, its products or services.
In the digital marketing industry, there are five pillars of content marketing that every business should follow if they want to increase online revenue, regardless of the type of content they create.
What are some tips and tricks you can use to improve your content marketing strategy?
If you’re going to put effort into content marketing, then you really do want to get it right. Whether you have a website with a steady flow of traffic, or you’re a complete newbie, below is some actionable advice that can improve your digital marketing strategy.
This is the secret to gaining and retaining a loyal audience and consistent traffic. The internet is a massive place, with 24 million eCommerce sites across the world and 4.66 billion users. It is virtually impossible to appeal to everyone, and besides, no business should strive to. Not every internet user will be your client and customer, and this is the exact reason why target content marketing can make or break a business.
Targeted content is created for a niche audience to drive a specific response from that group. It reflects an understanding of where people are in their customer journey and prompts them to the next stage until they make a purchase or request your services. It entails showing people content that appeals specifically to them. Besides, no one really engages with content on the internet that isn’t relevant to them.
Targeted content entails segmenting your customers into different groups, whether it’s age, geographic location, hobby, or activity-related. Most businesses have a specific target audience that can be segmented into more specific groups. For example, a fashion brand stocking both men’s and women’s clothing would create different content for both those audience segments.
Without search engine optimization (SEO), your content probably won’t get seen by the right people. Even though search-based queries aren’t the only way people find content, they are one of the most powerful ways for potential customers to find your content without hard selling. Optimized content allows users to find your website and content, i.e., through their accord.
SEO content ranks higher on search engine results (SERPs), drives social engagement, increases lead generation (especially top of the funnel leads), and helps to earn valuable backlinks. If you had any doubts, in 2021, Google accounted for over 70% of all desktop search traffic, followed by Baidu, Bing, and Yahoo.
Content optimization is fundamental to your content marketing strategy because it is designed to appeal to search engine algorithms. The easier your content is to index and categorize, the easier it is for search engines to rank it. In addition, search engines rank optimized content higher.
“Analytics” isn’t just a buzzword. To grow your business online, you need data to unpack what’s working and what needs to be improved upon. Analytics allows you to track and understand your customers’ behavior, their experience, your online content, device functionality, and more.
With the vast amount of data available, there is almost no reason not to be successful online. Never have companies had such a clear idea of their audiences’ online behavior and buying habits. This data empowers them to make informed decisions.
Naturally, any business wants to acquire as many leads and loyal customers as possible. When you’re online, you need to ensure your campaigns are effective. With analytics, you can measure the impact of your content marketing strategy in granular detail.
Analytics is also useful because they limit wasteful spending. Receiving real-time data means you can tweak content marketing the minute it doesn’t have the desired outcome. Furthermore, they allow companies to experiment with A/B testing (at a low cost) to determine what types of content their audience best responds to.
If you want to leverage the power of content marketing, then be sure to avoid these rookie mistakes.
Every piece of content you create should add value and inspire. While it’s true that consistency is key when it comes to your content marketing strategy, this doesn’t mean you need to publish videos once a week for the next five years. Consistency also refers to brand voice, tone, and identity, etc.
There’s nothing worse than content that is shameless self-promotion or is so “thin” that engaging with it is a complete waste of time. If search engines like Google think your content is poor or thin, your website will be penalized and rank lower.
There are many types of high-quality content you can create, like; blog posts, email newsletters, videos, podcasts, white papers, e-books, and case studies. And even these are still very broad. Your blog may take different forms like an article, guest post, listicle, review, or a Q&A, for example.
You have to remember that content marketing is a long-term investment that yields long-term ROI. The more time an audience spends interacting with your content, the more educated and engaged they become. Drawing up a flexible content calendar is a good strategy to ensure you produce high-quality content over a sustained period of time.
So, you have a blog? Are you leveraging its content marketing capabilities to the fullest? Did you know, according to BlueLeadz, blogs with images receive 94% more views? Humans are visual creatures. The better your blog looks, the more engagement it will receive. But, if your blog isn’t performing as well as you’d like it to, there are additional hacks you can apply that go beyond just upgrading images.
Advertising maverick David Ogilvy once said, “On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents of your dollar.” Be sure to include SEO keywords in your blog titles and experiment to see what works best. Every so often, a simple headline change can cause an immense increase in traffic.
Other tips include having easy share buttons on social media channels and truly creating content that informs. A HubSpot study reported the most types of blog content shared were; how-to-articles, lists, “why” posts, and “what” posts. Perhaps the content is already there, and it just needs strategic editing.
The goal of content marketing is to sell, but the process isn’t the same as announcing your products/services’ prices over a loudspeaker in a supermarket. It is subtle and takes time. Meaning, it isn’t a quick-fix. The bottom line is, people consume content to learn, not to be sold something. Content marketing is about building visibility, credibility, and brand awareness.
It is through community engagement that trust is gained and products are bought, or services are rendered. Trust is a massive issue for buyers, even more so in the eCommerce environment, where they purchase products without having physically seen them. Conveniently, content marketing doesn’t feel like traditional advertising selling, so it lends itself to being perceived as genuine and credible.
If you truly want to gain more customers, generate positive reviews and online experiences from and with your intended audience. As it is, 93% of customers read reviews before buying a product. Of course, there are subtle ways to sell your product via content marketing, but if you truly want to engage in the hard sell, you can invest in paid ads.
There’s a combination of metrics you can use to determine if your content marketing strategy is on the right track. The first step is to set out clear objectives. Presuming you’ve done that, you should probably review engagement metrics first.
A triumphant content marketing strategy doesn’t just get users to your site; it keeps them there. If people are spending time on your site and coming back, then you know your content is generating leads (The average time for a new lead is roughly 45 seconds.)
You’ll also want to measure your SEO rankings and check target keywords, domain authority, and inbound links. If these are on track, then your content is bound to reach more people, and you will receive more leads and sales as a result. If you rank higher on Google, then it’s clear that more organic traffic is going to your website, and the higher you rank, the more people will click through.
Another key metric is the attraction of quality and qualified leads. There’s no use in attracting 100 new leads a day if they’re a bad fit. An easy way to assess if you’re gaining quality leads is to determine if they’re traveling deeper down the sales funnels. This includes actions like signing up for newsletters and viewing a pricing page, for instance. If visitors go from browsing to downloading a content offering or buying a product, you know they are qualified.
When Bill Gates penned his famous essay called “Content is King” over 25 years ago, little did we know how pertinent his remarks would be for the future of content marketing. As audiences have grown wiser, content marketing strategies have become more sophisticated. At Comrade, we’re expert eCommerce marketers dedicated to growing businesses and can help you produce high-quality content that drives sales. Call us at (312) 265-0580 or click here to find out more.
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