Consumers have information at their fingertips and can make their pick from a myriad of businesses like yours. In this fight for attention, you cannot afford to not know about content marketing.
What exactly is content marketing?
Content marketing is any marketing that involves the creation, sharing and publishing of content that is aimed at reaching your target audiences - in such a manner that it will yield real business results.
This is irrespective of whether you aim to create brand awareness, build a positive reputation, get noticed by the media, be positioned as a thought leader, increase awareness, inform and educate, drive sales – or all of these.
This is typically done through a strategic combination of content that will achieve maximum impact with minimal spend- through a number of communication channels and means, including search engine optimisation, digital presence and social media platforms.
The difference between content marketing and conventional marketing
The difference between content marketing and conventional marketing; is that content marketing is much more targeted than conventional marketing. Content marketing is generally much more direct, as you get to communicate with clearly defined target audiences right where they are. You are ergo more attuned and can respond instantly. It is way more engaging too, as it empowers you talk to your audiences, instead of at them. Simply put, you don’t advertise – you share.
Content marketing benefits, in a nutshell
- Brand awareness: It increases brand visibility exponentially, at a fraction of the cost of conventional advertising;
- Lasting relationship: Your target audiences start engaging with you based on the content you provide. This lets them form a stronger connection with you - that is based on loyalty and trust;
- Reputation building: It helps you to demonstrate authority, credibility and authenticity that are all key to a positive public image and reputation;
- Top-of-mind status: You achieve top of mind status in a much shorter space of time, as you get your business benefits and messages out there clearly and repetitively;
- Positioning: You can inform and educate your target audiences to such a degree that they start perceiving you as an expert in your industry
- Generate website traffic: Studies show that when people find your content useful or interesting, they are much more likely to visit your website;
- Build a following: It empowers you to go beyond attracting your target audiences - to building a fan base or community who will in turn create hype around your brand;
- Less customer invasion, more value: You can offer your target audiences valuable information – with no strings attached; and
- Drive sales: You can present information at the right time to help customers move through the purchase decision much quicker.
Top tips for content marketing that works
Have a plan. Research worldwide shows that businesses that have a formal strategy, with key themes and messages, as well as measurable goals and outcomes are much more likely to succeed.
Know who you’re talking to. Conduct proper research to get to know your target audiences and tailor your content accordingly.
It’s about quality, not quantity. Many businesses walk into the trap of publishing as much content as possible, as often as possible. This quickly gets lost in the noise. Your target audiences will only sit up and take notice if they see that you only issue content that are of value to them.
Looks do matter. It is the way of the world, whether we like it or not. You will only be viewed as a professional; if your content looks professional. Have the creative elements done by a designer and have your content edited or written by a copywriter.
Be creative. Use multimedia to stand out and draw attention. Make use of videos, animation, images and podcasts for greater impact and increased website traffic.
Give your audience a taste of that they can get. Offer no-strings-attached free advice, a free trial or free samples to give your target audience confidence in the fact that they can get true value from you- before they spend.
Be consistent. Like a sculptor patiently has to chip away at a block to create a masterpiece, content marketing requires dedicated time and patience and effort. If you don’t have the resources to keep your efforts up consistently, outsource it to a specialist.
Maximise your content for optimal ROI. Adapt the content you publish to use on all your communication channels, internally, externally and on online platforms- to extend your reach.
Track and monitor. Work with an online marketing specialist to measure the results of your initiatives so you can invest your time and resources more wisely- over time.
Build a smart database. Use CRM software to record and categorise the details of your target audiences, so you can communicate the right information to the right audience – at the right time.
Apart from the obvious, content marketing has a host of other spin-off benefits for businesses too. For example, taking notes of comments and inputs from haters and fans of your content, can present you with invaluable market insights to guide your strategic direction or product development.
All considering, businesses who wish to remain relevant today; have no choice but to make that crucial paradigm shift from marketing - to content marketing.
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