If you have been involved in any kind of internet venture then chances are high that you have engaged in one form of content marketing or another. Different people call it different names. To others, content marketing is known as custom publishing or corporate media/journalism, but to others it is simply, branded media or branded content. But for the sake of clarifying this form of online marketing meaning, we shall define and look at the important aspects of content marketing.
What is Content Marketing?
As the name suggests, Content Marketing is a broad term that covers the techniques and processes of creating and distributing relevant and quality content with the aim of attracting, acquiring, and engaging a target audience with the aim of making money online. Unlike conventional forms of marketing that pitch products and services, online content marketing seeks to increase consumer engagement and profits to a business by delivering valuable information to buyers or consumers so that they can make informed decisions.
The essence of content marketing is attracting customers through valuable information with the hope of convincing them to buy your products and to remain loyal to your business or brand. What makes internet marketing exceptional is that content is well-crafted, professionally packaged, and tailored for different channels and markets. Having demystified online content marketing, we shall now look at some fundamental and crucial things that you can do to make your content marketing more effective.
Content Marketing Plan
Before you embark on Content marketing, you should develop a thorough and clear plan that answers questions regarding your content marketing strategy. Here are a few questions that your content marketing plans should answer.
- What niche should I pursue? Example: Home Renovation
- What challenges do my customers’ face?
- What type of content do they access? Example: Blog posts, articles, manuals, videos
- How do I create exciting & relevant content that attracts clients and retain old ones?
- Ultimately, what results do I want to achieve?
- ( More clients, brand visibility, or more sales)
- How do I measure the effectiveness of my activities?
Engaging Audience and Making them part of Your Journey
The secret to successful content marketing is developing and publishing content that draws prospects to your business or brand. To do this, you have to engage your customers and audience continually and increase their desire and interest through stimulating and thought-provoking content. For instance if you have a blog, you can discuss current issues and give your honest opinion, but also leave room for audience to discuss and comment and share your pages with others.
Similarly, if you have a Facebook, Twitter, or a LinkedIn groups, then you can use each of them to engage your audience in meaningful discussions. You can also leverage the power of online video marketing especially YouTube to demonstrate how your products work. The catch here is to “talk with your audience” not “talk to your audience” make your audience.
Using Brand Stories to Communicate Your Purpose and Passion
Brand communication is a very important aspect of content marketing. It’s almost impossible to detach the voice of your brand or company from your content marketing activities. Since you will be creating content for a particular audience/market segment, you have to make it so powerful and compelling that your audience will want to engage with your brand.
Creating value means talking about your brand and what makes it different! Your brand influences your value and so you have to create and nurture a good brand image in the eyes of your consumers. You can weave stories about your brand; its successes, challenges, and new developments in your storylines so that your audience can connect with you at a deeper level. Ideally, internet marketing should give you the impetus to focus on the needs of consumers and communicate with them continually.
Determining the Best Channels for Online Marketing
As a content manager, you should also take time to determine the best content marketing channels for promoting your products and services. You have to map your online content marketing objectives to the right channels. For greater results, you should combine social media and content marketing. Assuming that you already have a business website, you will need to look at the possibility of adding a blog and social sharing buttons.
If you are looking for more social engagement, then it’s indispensable that you create a Facebook page, a Twitter account, Google+ and a LinkedIn account to widen your reach. The reason is that a Facebook fan page, Twitter account, and LinkedIn company page can increase social media engagement and generate more traffic to your website. It all boils down to what you want to accomplish (objectives) and how you want to accomplish it (channels).
Turning Your Content Marketing Strategy into Action
Once you determine the right channels, you need to proceed with the most important process; implementing your content strategies. To do this, you will need some resources that will help you fast track your objectives. Here are few tips to get you started.
- Create Editorial calendar and guidelines- the editorial calendar will help you set datelines for creating and publishing online marketing content and content cycles, On the other hand, the guidelines will set standards for tone, values, and legal concerns, and use of content that should be generated.
- Write effective Copies/Content – your content creator should know the needs of your market and use that to create content that satisfies their needs. This goes beyond ordinary copywriting. It involves understanding user experience issues and optimizing content for key audiences.
- Implement Search engine optimization – as a business, you have to implement search engine optimization activities to improve the visibility and ranking of your content. You will have to decide on the keywords, titles, sitemaps, and other metadata of particular importance to your content marketing campaign.
- Manage Your Content – you have to capture, store, and deliver your company’s content. You have to set the life cycles of content and the workflows for online content marketing.
- Content Channel Distribution- also, decide how and where your content will be available to your audience. It could be via e-mail, social media, or mobile apps, or content syndication, or online video marketing channels like YouTube.
Listening and Joining the Conversation
Online content marketing is not a one way traffic thing. You have to listen to your audience and respond appropriately. It’s much easier to build a loyal base of customers and readers when communication flows both ways. Here a few tips to get you started.
- Think about the location of your customers and join their online communities
- Develop a listening culture to find out who is talking and what they are saying
- Identify and connect with influential voices in your target community
- Use social media to interact and participate in discussions
- Share multimedia resources with your online community regularly
- Respond to comments in your blog or social media accounts promptly
- Connect with other bloggers through guest blogging
Measuring and Evaluating Effectiveness of Content Marketing
As a business, it is essential to evaluate the effectiveness of your content marketing activities within a fiscal or business year. Since you will be focusing on online content, you will have to look at the response that you get from articles and blog posts that you publish and the response/reactions that you get from e-mail sign up incentives.
A simple online content marketing checklist with key metrics can help you determine the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns or activities. Roger C Parker of Published& Profitable highlights 7 factors that should help you measure, evaluate, and improve your content marketing activities. These are:
- • Consistency (frequency of activities)
- • Relevance ( specific needs of consumers)
- • Style ( tone and voice of content)
- • Efficiency ( effort, time,& resources used)
- • Influence ( brand impact)
- • Goals ( traffic, e-mail subscriptions, revenue,)
- • Lessons (challenges& what to improve)
Apart from these factors, you should also look at the expenses incurred and the revenue generated from your internet marketing activities over same period of time.
The bottom line is that content marketing is a great way of generating inbound traffic and making money online. The success of your online marketing depends on timely and effective implementation of online marketing plan. You also to use the right channels, engage your audience, and evaluate the effectiveness of your activities periodically. With all things in place, there is no reason why your content marketing should fail.