Content marketing is the way in which businesses use blogs, web pages, and other multimedia content (such as videos, tweets, podcasts, etc.) to drive target audiences to their brand and, by extension, their product or service.
With the increase in consumers primarily shopping online, researching products and services online, and also seeking both information and entertainment online, creating content is a great way to connect with your audience. Many business, such as TechQuarters – an IT company from London we spoke with – use content marketing as a key part of their wider marketing strategy.
If you’re interested in content marketing, take a look at these useful tips:
1. Identify the Problem to Your Solution
The product or service you specialise in has a purpose. Your service could be mobile phone repairs; the product could be a Bluetooth tracking tag for your keys (so you never lose them again).
There is no better way to market a product or service than as a solution to a legitimate problem, because consumers are more likely to purchase necessity items. Your job in marketing is to prove to audiences that your product / service is a necessity.
Identifying the problem that your product solves can then allow you to investigate that problem – i.e. how and where people are looking for answers to that problem. If consumers are searching for answers on Google, you should be looking at what keywords they are using, and how you can use those keywords in your content to attract consumers.
The best content on the internet is content that is educational or information – it answers questions and helps solve problems. This is why you need to find the problem your brand can solve, and create content to help solve it – this type of content will have the best impact on your target audience.
2. Target Every Step of the Sales Funnel
Content marketing is all about driving audiences to your product or service – but don’t confuse that statement with advertising. Content marketing isn’t about creating adverts, it’s about create blogs, or podcasts, or videos, or social media posts that targets every step of the sales funnel.
The sales funnel is a model that describes the buyer’s journey from discovering a brand, product or service, to evaluating it’s value, to finally purchasing it. The content you create as part of your strategy should reflect these different stages.
Discovery – As we mentioned in the previous point, the best way to raise awareness of your brand, product, or service is to position it as a solution to a problem experienced by the consumer. That’s the first stage of the sales funnel – another way of looking at it is creating content that generates leads.
Evaluation – The next stage is about qualifying those leads by creating content that helps them evaluate whether the product or service you provide is right for them. Of course, you want to position your content to remove any doubt in their mind. A good strategy is to create content that compares your own product or service with competitor products and services. If you have done your audience research correctly, you should be able to create content that convinces them you are the right choice.
Purchase – For the final stage (where the lead purchases your product or service) you should create content that compliments and the purchase. An example might be content that instructs the user how best to use your product or service – in other words, content that continues to add value after the sale.
3. Analyse Your Content and Impact
The best content is able to engage audiences at every step of the buyer’s journey, and it’s important to understand that this requires trial and error. It’s not enough to know that your content is having a good impact and getting lots of engagement – you need to know why it is having a good impact, and why audiences are engaging with the content.
We know that content marketing should encompass all phases of the sales funnel, and identifying the phases will help you analyse the impact and effectiveness of your content. For example, if your content is getting lots of engagement, but you’re not getting many sales, then clearly your content isn’t forming an effective sales funnel.
Additionally, if some content in a particular phase is successful, but other content is not, then you can use that information to refine the content for that phase.
You can start by asking questions to identify what is working and what is not –
- What content is performing best and worst?
- What platforms have the most engagement?
- How can we improve click-through rates between the different phases of content?
4. Create a Content Calendar
Just like any other marketing strategy, your content needs to be planned accordingly. Developing a content calendar will increase the chances of success for your strategy.
For example, say you’re about to launch your brand, you will need a pre-launch campaign of content that raises awareness of your brand, your product, and when it will be available. The same goes for whenever you are planning on launching a new product or service.
Your content calendar should also include special dates, such as major holidays, events that are relevant to your sector, etc. Some brands also devise and plan content according to seasons – this is especially common among fashion brands; and it is a useful way to break up the year.
5. Repurpose Content for Different Channels
Your content strategy should encompass multiple channels. Targeting every single platform will be too much work; but targeting a single channel only won’t have much impact at all. The channels you use should be a spread of different medias – such as blogs, videos, podcasts, social media, emails, etc.
It is not only valid, but very efficient to repurpose content for different channels. When you’ve put effort into researching a relevant topic and create content that is informative and adds value for the customer, you should think about how to get the most out of that effort.
Say you planned and create a webinar on a certain topic. You can take that webinar, and turn it into a series of short courses on a different channel. Or, say you wrote a series of consecutive articles around interrelated topics, you could condense those articles into a hour-long podcast.
When you do this, you can double (or even triple) the impact of content, develop your calendar across multiple platforms, and create a throughline to your content.