At its core, content marketing is the creation and sharing of information that is both relevant to your business and seen as valuable by your businesses' target audience. There are many different content marketing tactics available. The critical difference between this form of marketing and traditional marketing is that content marketing indirectly stimulates interest in your company, brand or products as opposed to explicitly promoting a particular product or service. People have been bombarded by ads for so many years that they instinctively mute them, fast forward through them or skip them depending on which medium they are watching the ad.
Take YouTube as just one example to clearly see the difference between content marketing and traditional marketing. You've just finished typing in a search for a video on a topic that you really want to learn about. The first thing that happens, typically, is that an ad comes on and starts playing right before your video. If you're like most people, you click that “skip ad” button as soon as you're able to.
That ad that comes on is a perfect example of traditional advertising, while the video that you are trying to watch is a perfect example of content marketing. The video you searched for has information that you perceive as valuable and want to watch. It was made by a smart content marketer who will get you as a subscriber to their channel and eventually get you to buy products or services that are related to their channel's subject matter from them. This is in contrast to going for the “hard sell” from the outset, which is that ad that you couldn't skip fast enough.
There are various ways that businesses or organizations can distribute content to get the attention of people they believe will be interested in what they have to offer. Businesses should utilize multiple methods in order to have greater potential to reach more prospects. The following are just a few of the more common methods.
Sharing is the name of the game in social media. Whether it's Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, people are always sending friends and family links to articles, blog posts, videos and other media that they find of interest. The higher the quality of the content and the greater the interest it sparks in people, the greater the chances that it will “go viral,” which means massive numbers of people will end up seeing it. Having a social media strategy is key to sharing your content to your target audience.
In addition to posts specifically for social media sites, you can also link to blog posts on your website through your social media channels. A percentage of the people who see these posts will inevitably end up checking out the rest of your website beyond the blog page. Some of them will see what you have to offer and become a lead or customer by asking you about your goods or services or by making a purchase immediately. For social media, you have many strategies you can use: traditional ones but also neglected methods. Don't obviously use what everyone else uses.
Creating and Posting Video Content
Content marketing keeps evolving and blogging isn't the only solution out there. As mentioned in the YouTube example, creating videos is another way of doing content marketing. Video is extremely powerful because it engages more of the viewer's senses than words and still images on a page. A blog post on Hubspot has stated that 51.9 percent of marketing professionals name video as the type of content with the best return on investment.
An infographic in this same blog post relates that the four most common types of videos are explainers, product demos, how-tos and testimonials. On a related note, infographics are another eye-catching way of sharing content that grips people's attention assuming, as always, that the content in it is seen as valuable and interesting in the target audience.
Offering Your Expertise in the Form of an E-book
If you are knowledgeable enough in a given subject area related to what your company offers, you may even think about creating an e-book on the subject. It should contain material of intense interest to the target audience since it will have to hold their interest longer than a few minute long video or a short blog post. It can be used as a “freebie” when people sign up for your newsletter, which enables you to link the more traditional method of email advertising to your content marketing efforts.
Do you want to use content marketing to grow your business?
The Benefits of Using Content Marketing to Grow Your Business
Increase Trust and Authority in Your Brand
Consumers buy from brands they trust. Content marketing helps establish this trust by showing you are committed to helping potential customers solve their problems. This is what valuable content does, and it is appreciated by potential customers and goes a long way toward turning them into actual customers. It also presents you as an authority in your field. People will feel that you know what you're doing and can, therefore, handle any problems that may come up if they buy your goods or services and that you can offer expert guidance.
Increase Your Visibility
Content marketing gets your company name and brand out there in front of many more people. Better still, it does so in a far more positive light than if your brand is in that ad they're skipping when they're trying to read or watch content that they actually want to see. This increase in visibility will invariably create more followers on social media, which can have a snowballing effect when you get so many followers that many others want to see what all the excitement is about.
People engaging with valuable content on your website through blog posts and videos stay on your webpages longer, which helps with your website's search engine rankings. The main emphasis of Google's algorithm updates over the past year has been to make content king, and this trend is only expected to grow stronger.
Better Return on Investment Than Traditional Advertising
It also does not necessarily have to require any effort. There are websites where people who desire to make money by writing content get together with business owners who need the content. Despite taking more money than doing it yourself, it still comes out to being way more economical than purchasing display ads, which have only had dwindling response rates over the years.
Content Marketing's Importance Today and in the Future
Search engine optimization is a powerful tool used by nearly any remotely successful company for generating leads and traffic, and this is only expected to continue through the coming years. As mentioned in the “increase your visibility” benefit above for content marketing, Google's algorithm updates of late have only served to make valuable content more integral to a website's pages ranking well under targeted keywords for generating qualified traffic. Google is placing a higher premium on visitors spending more time on a website, and people will click off of keyword-stuffed webpages and blog posts that offer nothing of value faster than you can say “going out of business sale.”
All of the above reasons are exactly why content marketing is already one of the most utilized digital marketing techniques today. Most of the other methods of online outreach, such as paid search marketing, display ads and online PR, are far behind content marketing. Even if they may be successful on some level, businesses that are not fully leveraging content marketing are essentially operating their marketing effort with one arm tied behind their back, and they won't be living up to their full marketing potential until this changes.
So, if you want to grow your brand and don't have a content marketing strategy yet, I recommend you to start from today. Indeed, content marketing can grow your business!
Sharing of content, whether it be blog posts, infographics, videos, or another form, will only be growing in importance as a tool of marketing. After years of having advertising messages shoved down their throats, many people aren't taking it anymore. It's gotten so bad that click-through rates on display ads of all formats on the internet are below one-tenth of one percent.
When it comes to search engine optimization, boosting name recognition and increasing trust and authority in your field in order to reach the goal of higher sales, content marketing is no longer optional. If you wish to increase your company's sales and value in 2017 and beyond, then you first need to offer value to the modern consumer. SEO coupled with content marketing can grow your business... a lot!
Content marketing is a great way to grow your business!
At Growth Hackers, we can help you use content marketing to grow your business. Indeed, we help startups, small to medium businesses and founders grow through content marketing, growth hacking and more. If you want your business to reach new heights, get in touch with Growth Hackers today, ask us some info and we'll tell you how.
I am a contributing author and media specialist for Financial Business Solutions. I regularly produce content-based financial, credit and business solutions that business’ and individuals face on a regular basis.