If anyone would have told me that the best marketing channel was content marketing 2 years ago I wouldn’t have believed them.
I mean, blogs?
That’s just news about your company and latest promotions, isn’t it?
To be fair, the vast majority of business owners view content in this way and I can see why.
The benefits you receive by using content as a marketing channel can’t be visibly seen with the naked eye. You need to look at the statistics, sign-ups, subscriptions and more importantly, conversions.
With the hustle and bustle of everyday life getting in the way, you could be forgiven for not focusing more on the up and coming channel.
If you’re interested (by reading this, I guess you are), then the road can be one of the most rewarding journeys your company can make.
Not only is it truly fulfilling, you’re actually providing really great value to a potential client without the need of heavy-handed tactics like cold calls, expensive ads, leaflet drops and sponsorship.
Where I might lose your interest is in the fact that content marketing is a long-term growth and marketing strategy.
It’s not like paid digital advertising that brings almost instant traffic to your website.
Content marketing is slow and steady and the results aren’t instantaneous and can be difficult to track. If done incorrectly, as the title says, “Content Marketing Can Be A Hard, Long & Lonely Journey.”
This article will show you the true benefits and how to navigate your way to success by following a few key principles. It’s hard, but worth it in the long run.
So what exactly is it?
Table Of Contents
- 1 Content Marketing Definition
- 2 Types of Content Marketing
- 3 Why Content Marketing Is So Important
- 4 How To Do Content Marketing
- 5 Final Thoughts
Content Marketing Definition
Simply put, it’s a marketing method of sharing blog posts, videos and social media posts that doesn’t whack you round the head with ads and lots of self-promotion. It’s intention is to stimulate interest in your product or service, leaving the reader wanting to find out more about you and your company.
Types of Content Marketing
What Is Considered Content?
- Blog Posts – Probably the most popular form of content marketing. Make sure it’s a decent length (1000 words), has a nice appealing picture and is structured properly (Meta tags, etc).
- Podcasts – Great for small niches.
- Case Studies – An under-used method, unbelievably powerful and something we need to do more.
- Memes –captured images or videos that are meant to make us laugh and also a way to publicly ridicule human behaviour.
- Guest Blog Posts – Only choose niche-specific websites that will allow you to post your content. A good idea to become an avid reader, comment on their existing posts and then get in touch.
- How To Guides – Old school but still works a treat.
- Images – Make sure the alt tags are present and ensure the name of your file is relevant to the content you’re posting about.
- Infographics – Still a great way to show information and, by allowing people to embed them, will provide you with backlinks.
- Ebooks – Presenting further information or complementary information is key.
- Whitepapers – shows that your an expert in your field. You can generally charge more for your product or service if you’re a specialist.
- Video – An under-used method (we also need to do more)
- Illustrations (see images)
- Testimonials – Can be part of the content family when used strategically on your website
- Newsjacking – Hijack newsworthy content by applying it to your brand by way of some of the content ideas above.
Why Content Marketing Is So Important
Overkill (people are bombarded with ads)
How many websites have you been to today? Seen plenty of pop-ups, pop-unders and autoplay video with pre-roll ads (that annoying video in the corner that starts playing, even though you didn’t press play)?
Really annoying, aren’t they?
Content marketing is providing your reader with good, valuable content without being too sales-y, trying to pitch something and not being in their face every second. If you can go to a blog post without being totally bombarded with STUFF, then the user experience is much more pleasant and the reader would like to read more of what you have to offer.
If you can provide a video (without any pre-roll ads that interrupt you every 2mins), then content marketing wins every single time.
Build Trust & Respect
Producing lots of good content on a regular basis is key. Not only will your readers be happy to open your email or respond to an alert, you actually start building both trust and respect with the benefit of knowing that this reader will probably be with you for the long haul.
Carefully Tailor To Client’s Needs
If you tailor content to a specific market, talk the way they talk and relay a similar sort of sense of humour, you’re golden! People think email marketing is really hard. Not if the content you’re producing is exactly what your reader wants to see.
Convey Your Brand In The Right Light
By producing lots of good quality content, people start to get a feel for what your company is about, what values it stands for and whether you’re an ethical company or not. If you’re able to distribute this through as many social platforms as possible, the better the reach.
How To Do Content Marketing
I can’t tell you what sort of content marketing you should use – that all depends on your niche, the demographics of your clientele and what feels comfortable to you and your team. Here are a few things I can tell you, though……
Increase The Quality Of Your Content
Where possible, try to write long and descriptive blog posts (at least 1000 words) or produce good quality “How To” videos that explain everything someone needs to know about that topic. Consistently do this and you will see great results.
I recommend Yoast as an SEO plugin if you use WordPress. However, they suggest you write 300 words as a minimum. I disagree – these days your content needs to be at least 1000 words for your writing with the correct formatting.
Try to use the correct formatting (H tags, bold and italics), provide some decent visuals such as nice pictures (see resources) and infographics and ensure absolutely everything you put out has been proof-read.
Increase The Frequency Of Your Content
We are all busy people, I get that… which is why I suggest starting off small to get the hang of whatever method you choose to use. Every new thing has a learning curve and I appreciate it might take a while to get up to speed.
Once you are up to speed, pump out as much content as you can and schedule the distribution (Facebook posts, Twitter posts) to go out at strategic times. For example, here at XenMedia, we publish our most important content on Twitter at 10am, 3pm and 5pm. From our stats, that’s when our clients like to consume our content. The times you post will probably vary and generally do vary from company to company.
Use Different Types Of Content
There are so many different content combinations for you to use, why not use a combination of 2 or 3 together. For example, blog post – video – infographic. It’s up to you which ones you use, just make sure that the method is accepted by your clients, i.e: Hairdressers would be advised to use lots of visuals and how-to videos, whereas a law firm might be better off using blog posts, ebooks and whitepapers.
If you’re a smart cookie (and I know you are), you’ve probably dabbled in a little bit of content marketing but not integrated it with social media.
A lot of small businesses rarely think of combining the two and think all they need to do is start sharing other people’s content on social media instead of writing their own and sharing it with the world.
Think about it for a minute……
If all you’re doing on social media is sharing other people’s content, then you’re pretty much an entertainment platform for others.
Now, this is nice and on some level, I respect that. But, I’m guessing this isn’t the greatest use of your time and effort.
By combining social media and content marketing you’re getting the best of both worlds. Not only are you educating your readers with the content you’re producing. You also get your message out there to a wider audience that’s not only national, it’s pretty much international.
That’s a big audience!
Without seeing the benefits of content marketing first-hand it’s very hard to get excited about it or why you should spend the time and money to produce this for your business.
If I’m, honest I think the reason why people don’t see results as is the fact that they don’t give it enough time and fail to publicise their content.
Publicising it is the key!
You also need to be really consistent in producing content which isn’t always easy unless you’re paying the third party to create it for you.
If you can’t afford a company to produce it for you and you find that you need to do it yourself. Then start small.
I’d say 300 to 400 words at least, and then increase it as you get better and more confident in your writing skills.