2. Basics of Content Marketing

What is content?

Content is the information, the idea or the experience you publish online. It is anything that you produce and publish for the purpose of offering it to your audience. The format of the content is most commonly text, but it can also be visual, audio, or video.

Image: https://unsplash.com/photos/4m66VBr8zns

In the realm of the digital world, content should be:

  • Useful
  • Easy to consume
  • Shareable
  • Original
  • Relevant
  • Compelling
  • Timely
  • Personalized
  • Authentic
  • Engaging
  • Educational
  • Entertaining
  • Insightful
  • Conveying a story
  • Contextual

In terms of business promotion, content is used as a way to directly connect with the target group. Each of these attributes is supposed to increase the quality of the content you present to your potential customers, and the main purpose is to encourage their interest in your business through this content.

Since the content is created with a specific purpose in mind, it has to be well-planned and carefully designed. As much as content creation involves creativity and skillfulness with transferring your thoughts and opinions, using content in content marketing is done with specific goals, and thus it is something you should think through.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is a type of marketing focused on creation and distribution of online materials that directly or indirectly promote a brand. Direct promotion refers to the creation of promotional materials and content used for advertising purposes. This type of content is usually used in paid ads (SEM) or affiliate links (affiliate marketing). On the other hand, content marketing is frequently void of any direct promotion. The purpose of this kind of content is simply to increase interest in your products or services. This way, content marketing indirectly attracts and acquires leads and customers.

Looking at online marketing in general, it can be concluded that content marketing is a type that correlates with all other types of marketing because it essentially creates a base for them. In terms of SEO, content helps with keyword placement and website optimization. For email marketing and social media marketing, content is used to encourage interest through these two channels. The same can be said for paid advertising (SEM).

Supporting the overall importance of content marketing is the fact that most marketers will be focused on which is why they will work on producing even more content. Nonetheless, quantity does not take precedence of quality.

In terms of content marketing, quality is considered to be essential. There is so much stuff online. So much, that it is impossible for people to take in all of that content without feeling overwhelmed. This is why quality started to become more and more important. People are now quite selective of what blogs they follow, which post they are going to share on social media, which links they will click on in the email. Producing quality content is essentially going to help with achieving your business goals.

Although producing quality content is one of the things most marketers see as an obstacle, mainly because it requires more assets, both money and time invested into research and production, it has been constantly highlighted that the potential of such content is huge.

Companies that use content marketing strategy have consistently been showing better results in achieving their goals. When you implement quality standards into this strategy and make sure the content truly matches those standards, the results are going to be even better. The potential for achieving goals increases with high-quality content which is why this is an important part of a business strategy. Quality is what counts nowadays, and if you want to be really successful in content marketing and see the benefits it can bring to your business, think about creating content that stands out for its quality.

What you need to think about when creating content?

In business, content is not created randomly. It is not about writing the content you love, personally enjoy or about a viral video everyone is talking about. It is not about writing anything that comes to your mind.

Content creation includes so much more than having an idea about a certain topic. It is a planned strategy that is supposed to bring your business certain results, which means that you should think about all the aspects that could help you create content that brings you to that goal. Starting from the target audience, to search engine optimization, here are the things you need to consider.

Audience

The importance of user experience has been highlighted over and over again, and in terms of content, this means that you have to have your audience in mind when creating content. After all, you are creating content for the users primarily. Regardless the type of content, regardless the methods used for content distribution, the content you create has to resonate with your target group. This means that you have to think about the following aspects:

  • Determine your target group
  • Think about their possible questions, problems, dilemmas, etc.
  • Be able to predict what kind of information can help in these situations
  • Publish content that is relevant to your target group
  • Use the language your target group can identify with

Niche

Niche in marketing refers to determining a concentrated topic that corresponds to the interests of your target group, as well as to the products you are selling. It is a subject you want to focus on with the intention to specialize in that particular subject and become a sort of an expert. By choosing your niche, you choose to focus on one narrow topic, which helps you define the road for your content marketing strategy.

Resources

The next step is determining the resources you have. The resources are needed for content marketing strategy, and they have to be planned and assigned to content creation like any other strategy.

Competitors

There is no doubt that uniqueness is an essential part of content creation, but it never hurts to check out what your competitors are going. This way you can keep up with the industry trends and standards.

SEO

In terms of SEO, content is essential. One of the major tasks of search engine optimization is particularly optimization of content. The main purpose of content optimization is to attract search engine crawlers and get the content indexed. This increases the visibility of the content and helps with increasing website ranking in the search engine results.

How to start with content marketing?

To start with content marketing, you will need a plan. Simply starting a blog and publishing content is not enough. Instead, think of content marketing as a tool to help you achieve your goals, regardless if that is increasing sales, generating new leads, etc. These goals are important because they affect the type of content you are going to create, as well as the ways you will distribute content.

Think about your target group and what kind of content they would like to read. It has to be something interesting, helpful, engaging, and relatable. It has to be a content of high quality. Start by brainstorming some ideas that first come to your mind, and then choose the ones that are most likely to bring a lot of visits, i.e. a lot of potential conversions. When using external resources, you should always use credible ones and make sure you provide a reference in a form of a link.

There are many types of content, and different types of content have different purposes. For example, “About us” page should be informative and provide details about you and your company. On the other hand, a “how-to” type of post will feature instructional text, preferably with images or videos.

What you need to have in mind all the time, regardless the type of content you decide to create, is the fact that each piece is a segment of overall content marketing strategy. Therefore, it needs to be in accordance with global goals, and it has to follow the approach your company is taking.

In terms of content marketing, branding is another aspect you should think about. Branding represents the process of creating a unique name and image for a product. This is mainly used in advertising campaigns, to create a sort of differentiated presence on the market and to make a product stand out from its competitors. When it comes to content marketing, content enables you to develop a branding strategy. It allows you to tell a story about your brand and create influence through high-quality content.

Finally, after successful content creation comes content distribution as a way to spread the influence of that content and eventually enable it to achieve its purpose, regardless if that is gaining conversions, leads, visits, etc. There are many different ways to distribute content, which will be explained in a separate chapter, but what is essential to think about in relation to content distribution is the following:

  • Data from the previous campaigns

Take a look at the data from the previous campaigns to find out which distribution channels provided the best results. When it comes to the best results, make sure you analyze the performance and how each channel affected your business. For example, if you notice a large number of visits from Facebook, but hardly any conversion, maybe this social network is not the way to go in your case. On the other hand, if you notice that email campaigns produced great results in the past, make sure you include this channel when planning content distribution for the future campaigns.

  • Current trends

Everyone interested in promoting their business online has to keep up with current trends. Things on the internet change all the time. Some social networks are growing in popularity, some are introducing new features, search engine algorithms are updated, etc. Since all of these, and many other factors affect content distribution, you need to keep up with the current situation and keep an eye on trends that are being introduced because these trends can affect your content marketing strategy.