Compelling content is a cornerstone of any modern marketing strategy. More than 50% of businesses currently invest money, time and energy into content marketing, with most of them publishing new material every single day.
So, we know how important publishing quality content is, but what should your first steps be?
What is Content Marketing And How Content Marketing Works
Content marketing is defined as the process of creating, distributing, sharing, and publishing content to reach your target audience and increase brand awareness, sales, engagement, and loyalty.
But what does that mean?
In simple terms, content marketing is making stuff like blogs, social media, podcasts, videos, apps, and memes, that draw customers to your brand by informing them of something they already want to know.
It’s part of a framework called inbound marketing, where you create something that the audience seeks out, as opposed to creating something that you force on your audience.
it’s also true that content marketing takes a lot of work. So what’s the alternative?
The truth is that for most businesses, the alternative is worse.
You see, before content marketing, there was this thing called advertising, otherwise known as outbound marketing. Outbound marketing was the thing that interrupted
your audience, popping up in the middle of TV shows, or while reading a magazine or scrolling a webpage.
Nobody really liked outbound marketing because it was disruptive, like that one kid in class who we thought was funny, but like, it wasn’t really working out for him. And you’re just like, hmm, maybe you should just let the teacher continue with what they’re doing here.
But it was the only way for brands to reach potential customers. And it was the only way for customers to find out about a brand’s products and services, but they still had to remember those brands when it came time to make a purchase. Then came streaming and ad blockers and the balkanization of media into millions of individual channels.
Suddenly it became really, really hard to deliver an outbound marketing message, even one that was memorable. Fortunately, the same tools that allow everyone to choose their own media diet also gave rise to highly personalized marketing messages that would only pop up when the audience was looking for it. This is called inbound marketing, and content marketing is an essential piece of that equation. It’s there when customers want it to be, and invisible when they don’t, and when done right, inbound marketing doesn’t feel like marketing at all.
It feels like a seamless part of the customer’s experience in discovering your brand like this video you’re watching right now.
Content Marketing Examples - Grow Your Businessto Online
Let’s go back to that list from earlier. Blogs are a great content marketing platform for brands because they’re relatively easy to set up, easy for the audience to discover via search, and have a long tail in terms of remaining viable for future customers.
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Another easy-to-activate content marketing method is social media, but because it seems so easy, a lot of brands do it wrong. Treating social like outbound marketing that interrupts the user’s experience when scrolling. What’s an example of good social media marketing?
How about the GE insta walk campaign that invited select Instagram photographers to visit one of their massive facilities and photograph some of the mammoth machines
that makes General Electric one of the most important engineering firms in the world.
There’s no denying that these sorts of mechanical marvels are really popular on Instagram. So GE was able to educate their audience about the brand without interrupting the photographic experience users are seeking when using the app. Dedicated brand apps have become an increasingly popular form of content marketing.
Now apps can be complicated and expensive and you don’t want to just replicate
the online shopping experience. But if you can create something truly useful for your audience, then they could end up opening the app every day. And you can’t beat that sort of inbound brand exposure. We looked at a lot of branded apps in the app store. And of course, the one that stood out came from one of the best brands in the world. The Nike training club app takes users through daily fitness routines, nutrition tips,
and wellness habits prescribed by some of the top trainers in the world.
It’s the sort of app that demands repeated use to get results. In fact, one of the best things about the app is that they can remind users to open them several times a day.
The app is constantly updated with new fitness courses and content. This demonstrates an important lesson for all content marketing. Yes, quality content can deliver an audience long after it’s been published, but you need to post new content and update old content consistently for it to be truly effective.
The island of abandoned blogs is the saddest place on the internet. So, before you begin a content marketing project, make sure you have the resources to commit to it over the long term. One of the most often abandoned forms of content marketing is podcasting. And this is too bad because it’s one of the most effective and exciting forms of content marketing out there. Sometimes I like to block out the world for an hour and listen to the bank podcast and get inspired by the emotional stories of the entrepreneurs who work with this community bank.
How Do You Get Started with Cotent Marketing
Well, start by deciding what you want to accomplish with your content marketing. Are you looking for brand awareness, or to stimulate customer loyalty, set clear goals and KPIs that can be accomplished? Next, decide which channels will allow you to accomplish your goals. Do you want to build your own blog, or can you rely on social media platforms that already exist?
Can you effectively tell your story using texts and photos, or should you invest in creating videos? Whatever you decide, you then must start creating the content and publishing it at a regular frequency. The exact pace of publishing can vary but remember that consistency is key. You know, like baby bear’s porridge, you want your consistency to be just right. And finally, measure and analyze your results to maximize the return you’re going to get on your content marketing investment. That doesn’t mean refreshing your stats every hour, but you do want to review the overall success of your content marketing every month or every quarter.