How Content Marketing Works
- 6 min read
If you are an owner of a business and want to stand out from the competition, content marketing is something you should really put your efforts in. As we all know, traditional marketing strategies are becoming less effective on a daily basis. That is because the world has basically moved online, so marketing had to move online as well. And that is a great thing, because the opportunities are much more vast.
However, as the Internet became flooded with business websites from all branches, it became flooded with subpar, mediocre or even bad content as well. You surely know how annoying it can be to receive tons of emails, prints, newsletters and other materials that have no real worth, nor can help you in any way.
But, what if you could turn that into your favor? What if you could use that clutter of bad content to provide people with really useful, smart and high-quality content? What if you could get them to look forward to receiving that newsletter or e-mail? To spend some time reading it? To share it with other people?
That is what content marketing is basically all about, and this article is here to help you understand what that is, how it works, what benefits can it provide you with and how we can help you develop an incredible strategy that will skyrocket your business in the long run. If you want some extra information after reading this article, contact us here at Oxidian and let us help you thrive and go miles further than your competitors.
What is Content Marketing?
Before we can go any further into the methodology, we need to address what content marketing actually is. We could define it as a marketing strategy that focuses not only on pitching your products or services, but instead focusing on creating and distributing relevant, useful and valuable content. That content can be interesting tips, blogs, social media posts, images, charts etc., but we will get to that later!
If you provide useful information about a topic that can help people learn something interesting or solve a problem they have, it will attract them back to your site, build trust and affinity to your brand. That way, you can not only attract a new audience, but retain the audience you already have and develop relationships that will ultimately make them choose you over your competition. Your content helped them with an issue or an information – they turn to you if they need a product or service you provide.
And, if you can do that for them on a regular basis, it will build an even stronger relationship. One more benefit is that they will occasionally share that content with their peers, garnering even more traffic to your site. It is a long-term strategy and may take time to get going, but once you build a base of loyal customers and readers, it just skyrockets exponentially.
Content Marketing vs. Advertising
Don’t get it wrong – advertisements can also get you more traffic and expand your business. However, it costs a lot more and does nothing to improve the relationship between you and your customers. It is just a blatant call – buy my products.
Opposed to it, content marketing – if done properly – shows you care about the customers and you actually want to help them out. People want to feel relevant and want to feel like you really care. We are bombarded with ads every step we take online. So, when you find valuable content – be it helpful, useful, amusing or just interesting, it helps grow trust and positive emotions.
Let’s say you posted something that made your customers feel like they are cared for. They will look for that feeling again, and if you can provide more similar content, they will just keep coming back.
It is used by many worldwide companies such as John Deere, Microsoft and others.
Key Benefits of Content Marketing
There are many benefits that a successful content marketing campaign can get you. However, the three key reasons why you should start with it are:
- Lowering marketing costs
- Increasing sales
- Improving customer loyalty
When it comes to lowering marketing costs, it simply means that you will have to spend far less on paid advertising and other forms of marketing. Sure, you will have to put in more work, but it will pay off big time and enable you to invest that saved money in something else.
Increasing sales is something that will come over time and grow exponentially. Valuable content will attract more people to you rather than to the competition that publishes mediocre or irrelevant content. That will, in the end, result with more customers and a steady increase in sales.
Finally, we have already stated that quality content leads to customer’s loyalty. And that is the primary thing you should work on with your content marketing campaign. If you really help people with your content, they will seek your help with other issues as well, and return the favor by being better customers to you!
Content Marketing Platforms
Let’s keep it real. If you lack quality content marketing, your campaign will fail regardless of what strategies you were using. It is an integral part of basically every form of marketing, which includes:
- Social media marketing
- SEO (search engine optimization)
- Inbound marketing
- PR strategies
- even PPC (pay-per-click)
Let’s get a little bit more into it. With social media marketing, it won’t work if you don’t have anything interesting to say that would attract people and make your brand valuable to them.
With SEO, it’s very simple – if you publish regular, quality content that people respond to, you will get rewarded with a higher rank on SERP (search engine results page).
The driving force of inbound marketing is content. It is the key to drive traffic and leads to where you want them to get. If you lack quality content, they will lack interest.
With PR, successful strategies are almost always the ones that speak about the issues readers care for, not about your business in general.
Finally, if you are investing money in PPC, you better make sure that high-quality content is behind it if you want any kind of results. Sure, you can get a lot of people to click and come to your website. But, if they don’t like the content they see, it won’t take them long to close the window.
Formats of Content for Content Marketing
Content marketing is only working if you do it the way it should be done. You should always aim to move the focus of attention away from you – the marketer – and steer it into the direction of your target audience. Make the customer feel like it’s his needs first, and that you are doing it to help them, not to make them buy from you.
However, getting to the right audience is bigger than just aiming at the right topics. You have to get the right content formats as well that will be the most appealing to your target audience. For instance, if you have a tool shop, your audience will likely enjoy How-to’s, Tips and other similar forms of content. If your target audience is teenagers, then maybe a Vlog would do much better than a long article. We will get a bit deeper into the most common types of content.
Most common types of contentFirst up, we got blogs. It is a very popular way to share info with your audience that almost every website has. It is useful for SEO purposes as well, but you need to make sure to stay interesting. Stay relevant and post regularly to attract new readers and keep the old ones.
Videos are becoming more and more popular because they don’t require as much effort from people as reading does. So, if you have an idea for a cool video – be it a how-to, a Vlog or something else – give it a go! It is a great way to share a lot of info fast.
You can also use Infographics to help your readers visualise the information you are giving them, making it easier for them to understand it.
One crucial part of content marketing are the regular Site pages such as an About us page, Pricing page etc. It will help the readers get the information they need about your company easily. Being transparent like that will boost your credibility as well.
Online guides and webinars are also fairly common and useful, especially if you have expertise in some more complex fields. People will enjoy learning new stuff, especially if you can make it interactive and easy to understand. If you have trouble with determining which formats suit your audience the best, contact us to get a free consultation.
Here is a list of content formats created by Hubspot to help you understand what options do you have in general.
Content Marketing in 6 simple steps
Before you get into the step-by-step strategy, you have to answer the question – why do it? What is the purpose of content marketing? First of all, as with any marketing strategies, your goal is to expand your reach and brand awareness.
When there are a lot of people coming to your website and a lot of people know your brand, you want to inform them not only about your company, but stuff you do and know about that can be useful to them too. If you manage that, it will establish you and your company as an authority in your line of work. It will also connect all of the mentioned purposes and completing the circle that grows your business immensely.
6 steps of a Content Marketing campaign
We simplified the “why”, so let’s simplify the “how” next. There are 6 crucial steps to follow in any content marketing campaign:
- Create valuable content – without high-value content, your strategy is doomed from the get-go.
- Share that content online – this means not only your website, but social media, forums, blogs etc.
- Get information about your business online – if people find relevant content you’ve created, they will likely try to find information about your business online. That is why you should have the About us and similar pages on your website. The easier it is to get info about you online, the bigger are the chances of your audience trusting you.
- People get to your helpful content – once they find help they need from you, they will likely come back again.
- Enhance brand awareness and trust – interact with your audience, develop relationships. Don’t expect trust – earn it!
- Boost conversion rates and sales – if you’ve done the first 5 steps as you should, the 6th will come on its own. After reading your content and developing trust in your brand, follow with a CTA (call-to-action) and make the sales with a loyal audience.
Social Media Flywheel Effect
Social media is the Agora of today’s world. Instead of meeting and talking in public squares, we do it on these platforms. So, it is obvious that you should exploit that opportunity for your content marketing. But, sometimes it seems like no matter how much you post, it has little to none effect, right?
Wrong! We’ll explain what the social flywheel effect is. It will be easier to understand if you know what a flywheel is. It is a device that is designed to store kinetic energy as it’s being pushed. The more you push, the more energy it gets.
So, when you start pushing, the flywheel moves just a bit forward. You keep pushing hard, and only get minor to no results. This is where most people give up, because it takes time. But, if you keep pushing and pushing, you will generate enough energy to get the flywheel going.
The same principle goes for social posting. You keep posting quality content frequently, but see little results. Most people give up on it. But, if you keep it going, you will get to a breakthrough point where the content marketing social flywheel will turn and the results just keep on coming.
To illustrate it, it looks something like this in the end (via Moz):
Content marketing is a crucial part of your strategy that brings you tons of benefits. Not only does it get you traffic and potential clients, but it also boosts your brand awareness and trust with your customers. If you can develop high value content that actually focuses on the audience and their needs instead of you and your business, you will develop relationships and have loyal customers who will subsequently recommend you to their peers, and they will recommend you to theirs etc. This will result in expanding your reach only with effort and time while spending far less than on paid advertisements.
There are a lot of benefits that content marketing brings to the table. But, it is a bit more complex than simply writing blog posts about random stuff. If you need help with developing an effective plan and turning it into results, make sure to contact us!
How Content Marketing Works
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