Content marketing is one of several main pillars in the digital marketing world. Standing alongside related disciplines such as search engine optimisation (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) and social media marketing (SMM), content marketing is one of the key areas capable of shaping your online success.
In this section, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about marketing digital content. From developing your strategy to the practical aspects of creating and marketing content, this chapter offers the resources you need to leverage the immense value of online content. Let’s get started.
What is Content Marketing?
As the name suggests, content marketing is concerned with the creation, publication and distribution of online content.
There are many reasons why most successful businesses are involved with content marketing in one way or another. Much like other areas of digital marketing, the end game is always to create value for the business in question – and content marketing is one of the most effective ways of doing so.
The Benefits of Content Marketing
The benefits of content marketing are many – so much so that 53% of the businesses surveyed by The Manifest are dedicating resources towards it. According to the same research, more than half of those businesses are involved with publishing content on a daily basis.
From SMEs to major corporations and everything in between, commercial organisations of all kinds are finding their way into content marketing. The benefits of doing so include:
Increasing website traffic
Building customer loyalty and trust
Creating brand awareness
Developing a broader marketing strategy
Eager to tap into some of these benefits for yourself? When it comes to marketing your very own content, everything begins with a strategy. Taking a strategic approach will help you design content around the needs of your audience, as well as setting you up for long-term success in the digital marketing world. Here’s how to get started with developing your strategy.
Creating a Content Marketing Strategy
A content marketing strategy sets out the ways in which you intend to introduce your content to the masses. Whilst developing your strategy may seem like a major undertaking to begin with, the process can be relatively simple if you break things down into stages. We’ll walk you through each of these stages in turn.
1. Establish What You’re Trying to Achieve
Before you get down to any concrete planning, it’s important to first figure out what it is you’re trying to achieve. From driving online sales to growing the amount of traffic your website is getting, content marketing can help create value in many different ways. The way in which these goals are prioritised may vary from business to business, so it’s important to consider which objectives matter most to you.
If you decide that generating leads will be your main priority, you may for example wish to focus on creating landing pages that increase the number of customers that get in touch. Alternatively, if you’d like to focus on establishing authority, you may instead concentrate on informational guides or blog posts.
Once you’ve narrowed down your objectives, you can then begin to set KPIs (key performance indicators) that can help you measure whether your goals are being achieved.
2. Understand Buyer Personas
All great content is centred around the needs of its target audience, and creating buyer personas can help you gain a better understanding of what your customers are in need of.
Buyer personas can help you narrow your specific audience down by honing in on demographics such as age, gender and location, as well as their motivations and interests. The better you understand your target audience, the more likely it is that your content marketing plan will hit the mark.
If you’d like to learn more about the subject of buyer personas, take a look at our blog ‘Creating Buyer Personas That Will Boost Business’ to see how you can start creating them.
3. Select Your Channels
There are a wide variety of digital channels available through which to promote your content. Whether you’re posting content on your brand blog, connecting with users on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Instagram, curating video content for YouTube, making the move into email- or influencer marketing or combining all of the above, digital channels act as a bridge between you and your customers.
Some content types may be more suitable for use on specific channels depending on the channel’s purposes and the makeup of your audience. Trying to create shareable content? Set your sights on social media. Thinking about video content? Connect with viewers on YouTube. Whatever you do, maximising the channels available to you will prove to be invaluable in getting the word out.
4. Bring it Together in a Content Marketing Plan
Once you’ve established the needs of your audience and the channels through which you intend to reach them, it’s time to bring everything together in the form of a content plan. A plan of this kind will serve as the go-to resource in determining the long-term direction of your content, so it’s important to spend some time on getting it right.
Which kind of content do you plan to publish, how and when? Does your content combine your business goals with the needs of your users? Are you playing to the strengths of different kinds of content where possible?
These are just some of the questions your content plan should be able to give you an answer to. Your content plan is the roadmap from which to start building your content, and now that you’ve mapped out your preferred route, it’s time to get started on the content itself.
5. Create Your Content
Much like marketing any other commodity, your promotional success can often only be as good as the product you’re trying to sell. For this reason, no resource on the subject of content marketing would be complete without discussing content creation itself.
Whether you’re choosing from a myriad of content types or wading through a sea of interesting subject matters to cover, the immense scope involved with content creation is such that it’s deserving of its own chapter. For this reason, we’ll be discussing the process of content creation in further detail just below.
6. Track and Review Performance
An important aspect of content marketing is knowing what’s working and what isn’t. The beauty of content marketing is that it often involves a healthy dose of creativity, but at the same time, you’ll also be wanting to turn that creativity into measurable results.
Tracking and reviewing your content’s performance is instrumental in making sure you’re able to make an informed decision regarding any changes in your approach. Finding that sweet spot in your content strategy will involve trial and error and a significant amount of time, but casting a critical eye on your output will help you get there much sooner.
You can use a wide variety of metrics to track your content’s performance, and the metrics you intend to use may differ depending on content type, business goals and channel. Common examples of these metrics include website traffic, form completions, page views, conversion rate, click-through rate, bounce rate, impressions and much more.
Whilst the sheer volume of metrics involved may seem overwhelming at first, there are a variety of tools available that can make reviewing your content relatively straightforward. Solutions such as Google Analytics, HubSpot, SEMrush and Ahrefs offer everything you need to monitor content performance, and learning the ins and outs of these digital marketing tools will go a long way in strengthening the quality of your content.
As promised, let’s now turn our attention to the practical aspects of content creation.
How to Create Quality Content
Content creation is all about creating high-quality content centered around the needs of your target audience. Online content can take on many different forms, with some of the most popular content types being:
Digital content separates itself from traditional content in a number of ways, and the most important difference lies in the way audiences find and interact with content online. Through allowing users to find an answer to their query within seconds, search engines such as Google and Bing are now the most common method for users to find the content they’re looking for.
All Hail the Algorithm
The ever-expanding importance of search engines has had far-reaching implications for the way in which digital content is created. Content creators are no longer just writing for their target audience; they’re also writing to please the search engine algorithms that determine their content’s online visibility. The idea behind this is simple; the more visible their content is, the more likely it is to bring in business value.
For this reason, an important aspect of digital content creation lies in ensuring your content is tailored to search engines. The process of search engine optimisation (SEO) is concerned with doing just that, and no competitive content is complete without it.
As a separate discipline in and of itself, the numerous benefits and techniques offered by SEO are too many to cover in detail here. Our dedicated SEO section offers all the information you need – so feel free to have a look at it.
...But the User is Still Central
The guiding principle of quality content is the degree to which it meets the needs of the users it’s attempting to target. Strong online content could be informative, entertaining, thought-provoking or anything in between; what matters is that it offers value to those who are exposed to it. By using content to create value for your customers, you can in turn create value for your business itself.
But how do you know what users are looking for? If you’ve been in business for a while, you may already know enough about your target customers to partly answer that question. Digital marketing tools also offer insight into the kinds of keywords and queries users are searching for. From there, you can start building your content around their needs.
You can learn more about conducting your own keyword research by reading our blog ‘How to do Keyword Research for SEO: 6 Simple Steps’.
Content Creation Tips
Once you’ve understood what kind of content your audience is looking for, it’s time to get stuck in with creating the actual content. Although the exact makeup of your content may vary depending on your business goals, the following tips will help you lay the basis for great content:
Make it actionable where possible: Actionable content provides value to your audience by offering them a practical solution to a given query. It is one of the most popular content types you’ll find floating around the web, and it can offer immense value to both your audience and your brand.
Do your research: Getting your content to stand out from the crowd can be tough, but researching the topic well can be half the battle. For this reason, you may want to dedicate some time towards creating in-depth, long-form content.
Experiment with different content types: Not all content is created equally. Each type of content offers its own benefits, so don’t be afraid to try your hand at an infographic or guide instead of focusing solely on blog posts.
Give your content an enticing title: Titles can make or break a user’s willingness to click through to your content, so try and make sure your title grabs their attention. Many of the best titles make clear what the content is about whilst still injecting a healthy dose of creativity.
Don’t forget your CTAs: Call to actions (CTAs) are crucial in prompting your users to take action, whether that be through making an enquiry or subscribing to a newsletter. For this reason, making sure all of your content is accompanied by a clear and effective call to action is a must.
Maximising Your Content’s Reach
If you’ve stuck with the plan up to this point, you should now have a variety of marketable content that has been specifically created to support your business goals.
Whilst you may feel like you’re nearing the end of the process, it’s important to grab hold of any valuable opportunities that can help you maximise the effectiveness and reach of your content. From building backlinks to setting up a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, you should always be on the lookout for new opportunities to market your content.
Best-practice content marketing is all about creating quality content that caters to your audience, developing a robust strategy, reviewing performance and consistently identifying opportunities for improvement. Taking time to perfect each of these areas in turn is undoubtedly a worthwhile investment, and those that have successfully done so are continuing to prove that digital content can play a crucial role in driving commercial success.
Want to Learn More?
If you’re eager to find out more about content marketing, or to receive more information about the services offered by our content marketing agency, contact Champions Digital via [email protected]. Alternatively, speak to a member of our team via telephone on 0845 331 30 31.