Content marketing, often referred to as inbound marketing, is one of the most efficient ways to grow your business and increase traffic to your website from both existing and potential customers. While there are many different aspects of inbound marketing that you should explore as part of an effective digital marketing strategy, here are three tips to help you get started using content marketing to market your business effectively.
Why do I need it as part of my Digital Marketing Strategy?
Digital marketing strategy means more than just search engine optimization (SEO).
A successful digital marketing strategy includes content marketing to drive traffic to your website, email marketing to keep your brand top of mind with potential customers, social media marketing to connect with current and future customers, and paid advertising via Facebook, Google, and other channels where you can reach the people most likely to purchase your products or services.
The following guide on how to use content marketing to grow your business will help you create the best digital marketing strategy possible for your business, so you can attract more customers and increase your conversion rate.
What is Content?
Content marketing, which includes blogs, videos, social media, white papers and more, has become one of the most effective ways to grow your business in today’s marketplace.
In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute, Content marketing drives three times as many leads as other forms of digital marketing—and they cost 56% less per lead than traditional outbound marketing approaches . This article will give you a step-by-step guide on how to use content marketing strategies to drive leads and grow your business online.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is an integrated marketing communications process that involves creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
Content Marketing comes in many forms including blogs, videos, eBooks or white papers; they are all designed to educate customers about your industry. While it can be time consuming (depending on what type of content you create), it’s worth it when you see your site’s traffic increase over time. When done right, writing unique content that not only tells your company’s story but also helps educate others in your space is one of the best ways companies can remain top-of-mind with their target audiences.
Why is a content marketing strategy important?
Research has shown that content marketing generates three times more leads than traditional outbound methods at just a fraction of the cost. Creating content is just one part of building your content strategy – if you’re not finding success after publishing your pieces, make sure you have everything else in place by putting together an entire digital marketing strategy here .
Some questions to consider before diving into building out your own content Marketing strategy include:
What types of content will I publish?
Are my competitors using similar tactics?
How much money do I have budgeted for producing pieces?
Who will write them?
Will I need outside help ?
Once you’ve answered these questions, dive into putting together pieces that align with both your business goals and brand vision.
Where does content marketing fit within digital marketing?
Digital marketing is a process that leverages a variety of channels to create, manage, and optimize content in order to achieve a business objective. When most people think about digital marketing they think about social media, PPC advertising and email marketing.
But arguably one of most important digital channels is content marketing. Let’s look at how it fits into your overall digital strategy.
Social Media Marketing
The content you create for social media should be optimized for each channel based on what will work best. This might mean taking an entirely different approach with Instagram vs Facebook vs LinkedIn vs Pinterest.
In general, you’ll want to share useful articles from thought leaders in your industry rather than merely posting updates from other sources. It can be tempting to repost everything from other bloggers, but it should only be done when you have substantial commentary or feedback to add – which means you need an editorial calendar plan mapped out before setting up any accounts.
If nothing else social has its place as a listening tool which can inform future posts and build trust with followers who appreciate updates.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO is so much more than keywords, although it does involve optimizing your web pages for search engine results. To grow a website organically you have to have great relevant content that answers questions users might ask when searching Google or Bing/Yahoo.
Email isn’t just a method of getting clients back in touch with you after they’ve already purchased something from you once, although don’t underestimate the value of building loyalty with existing customers. Just because someone bought from you once doesn’t guarantee they’ll buy again—or even visit your site again. Why would they?
Getting people to pay attention
Most consumers have a very limited amount of time on their hands to spend online browsing products or services, let alone yours. With all these distractions competing for their attention it’s a wonder anyone buys anything at all! So you need to continue developing valuable email lists full of people who want to hear from you—and that’s where content comes in handy yet again.
Why is great content important?
Great content attracts readership which leads them back to your website where sales can happen down the road either during another visit or via follow-up sales emails. Once you’ve attracted visitors using SEO, provided helpful information through content marketing and nurtured potential buyers through email marketing, there’s still no guarantee they’ll actually become paying customers.
Gaining traffic from content Marketing
If you want to use content marketing for business growth, it’s important that you focus on producing consistently strong content. What’s strong content? Good question. It’s any type of content that answers your potential customers questions. Strong content can take many forms (blog posts, videos, eBooks, infographics, etc.) but it always takes a humanistic approach; always treat your audience as if they were people who might ask these questions about your industry.
For example: what is ‘digital marketing strategy’ and how does it affect my company? This well-written guide gives readers an overview of digital marketing strategy including how its integrated with web development and social media management.
A great starting point for anyone looking into hiring a digital marketing firm or self managing their campaign. Plus, we added our own thoughts about why digital strategy matters in 2017 and how to know when you need one vs doing all of it yourself.
Integrating SEO into Your Digital Marketing Strategy
Search engine optimization (SEO) helps potential customers find your business on search engines. It’s a crucial component of any digital marketing strategy and can be easy to overlook.
If you want more visibility and success with your content marketing, be sure you’re considering all elements of SEO early in your process—even if you aren’t responsible for writing your own content. Here are four essentials for integrating SEO into your digital marketing strategy
#1: Create Original, High-Quality Content That Answers Audience Questions And Satisfies Customer Intent
Google wants to rank original, high-quality content. This means that your blogging efforts should focus first on creating unique copy that satisfies both user intent (search terms they type into Google) and target audience questions. These two factors make up what Google calls content relevance, which is one of its 200 ranking factors.
#2: Keep SEO in Mind While Writing
Easy ways to keep SEO in mind include using keywords naturally throughout your copy, including links to other valuable content you’ve created—not just links back to your own site—and writing with an eye toward keyword density. For example, you shouldn’t be worried about every sentence containing three keywords; just write naturally without worrying about hitting certain percentages or quotas.
#3: Distribute Across Multiple Channels To Get Found Where Potential Customers Are Already Looking
One huge benefit of digital marketing is that it allows for multiple platforms across multiple channels. With sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram all serving different audiences, not everyone who sees your company name will click through in exactly the same way.
And those customers might have very different reasons for looking up a business on Google. In addition to hosting original content on your website, publishing well-written guest posts on highly reputable industry blogs can help reach target audiences you wouldn’t otherwise be able to access—particularly if one of these posts makes it onto that publication’s home page.
#4 Find Industry Influencers Who Can Help Amplify Your Digital Presence
A simple Google search will uncover many industry influencers. If any are mentioned frequently within threads on popular forums, reach out to thank them for sharing their expertise.
A simple I love reading your posts! email may prompt them to invite you to collaborate together on new content moving forward—especially if they haven’t previously heard from you directly.
You can also mention influencers during media interviews or when speaking at events relevant to your niche, which may prompt some PR opportunities down the road too. Even hiring someone to do social media outreach can lead to connections with people you’d never encounter yourself.
How Does Having A Content Marketing Strategy Help With Brand Awareness?
A Content marketing Strategy is great for building brand awareness by making your company known as a thought leader in whatever industry you operate in. By creating content related to your target audience, you can become an expert in their field and an authority in your industry.
By becoming known as an expert, people will be more likely to turn to you when they need help or information with a particular product or service. (For example: If I’m thinking about buying a new lawn mower, I might go online and look up reviews on potential mowers based on certain features.
This way, I won’t just buy any old mower; I’ll buy one that has been well-rated.) As customers learn more about your business through positive interactions with your brand, they are much more likely to trust you.
People buy from people, not brands
The other things to bear in mind here is that customers are more likely to buy from people that they are a brand.
Ever wondered why Elon Musk has more followers that Tesla? It’s because Tesla’s target audience have bought into Elon, his ideas and his values. This has been a key driver in driving Tesla’s brand awareness, and that brand awareness continue to grow today.
So when you start to think about your content strategy and create a content driven blog posts strategy to increase your business brand awareness – think about how you will do that with your own professional profile too.
Platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn are great for improving brand awareness, and with a quick search through those platforms you will find evidence of plenty of founders and directors driving their businesses forward by sharing content through relevant channels.
5 tips for a great content marketing strategy
Know your content subject
Pick a topic you know well. Ideally, your audience will be searching for your content by keyword in search engines. If you don’t know enough about a topic, make sure you get educated before starting a content marketing campaign around it.
Determine what kind of content will resonate with your customers. Images? Video? Case studies? Infographics? A combination of all of these is ideal if possible. Once you have determined what type of content you want to produce, write out a plan detailing how often and when new pieces will be posted on your site. This should be done in conjunction with any social media posts that can go along with that piece or amplify its reach.
Research your topic before you get started
Before you begin any content marketing strategy, it’s important to make sure you’re up-to-date on your industry and who is writing about it. Read blogs and articles on topics related to your industry, and keep an eye out for new trends that people might be talking about. For example, if your business is dog walking, and you plan on doing some blogging or creating a podcast about dog walking, do a quick search for dog walking on Google Trends . By seeing what’s trending within content marketing in your industry, you can start brainstorming ideas more quickly.
Create a content calendar
The key to effective content marketing is having a plan in place. And like any other plan, you need deadlines and targets. To start, divide your plan into three parts: editorial calendar, promotion calendar and project list. For each part of your content marketing plan, create a timeline and outline what needs to be completed by when.
Then lay out which projects need to be completed for each deadline—and assign specific tasks for all team members who will work on said projects. To ensure that no deadlines slip through the cracks, use an online project-management tool such as Asana or Basecamp.
Both offer both free plans and paid plans. Alternatively, if your budget allows it, try creating an organizational chart with specific roles assigned to employees. In addition to enforcing project deadlines, org charts help define everyone’s job description from head editors down to contributors—which makes it easier for everyone on staff to know their role within your organization .
Lastly, if you’re planning a big promotional push around a single event (like a webinar or white paper release), take time during one of those meetings or calls to clarify expectations with everyone involved.
Create content consistently
One way you can measure your content effectiveness is by looking at who’s sharing it. If you’re targeting your ideal clients, find out if they share it. Do they pass it along to their network? Are they referencing it in posts?
When people are sharing your content, that means you’re speaking directly to them—and that you might be providing information that can help them solve problems or otherwise improve their situation. By tracking how many people are talking about and/or sharing your content, you can get a pretty good idea of its effectiveness. You should also monitor feedback on any surveys or forms you use to gather leads; if someone takes an action after reading your content, there’s a high probability he or she found value in what was written. Create content that helps people!
Link to relevant articles
If you’re linking to resources, use them strategically. You don’t want your articles (or even worse, e-books) to be littered with links; however, there are times when it’s appropriate and will add value for users. To avoid throwing in links haphazardly, ask yourself two questions: Why is my reader going to care about these resources? and What do I get out of including them in my content? If you can answer those questions with a specific reason why your user would benefit from taking a look at that information and how including that link adds value for both of you, then go ahead and add it. Otherwise, leave it out.
Measure your content
For many brands, it can be difficult to determine if content marketing efforts are succeeding. Often marketers will measure their success by measuring traffic generated from social media shares, for example. However, one of the most effective ways is simply by asking your customer: if you provide them with a free tool or resource that they find useful and helpful, then there’s a good chance that they’ll tell others about it and in turn bring awareness and new customers to your brand.
Here’s why: when I love something I will naturally share with friends and family or on my social media channels. This form of word-of-mouth marketing is easily tracked through tools like Google Analytics.
So, don’t just track how much traffic is coming in from Facebook likes or Twitter retweets; pay attention to who is sending these individuals to your site and measure it using Google Analytics. That way you know how valuable each individual person is becoming for future referrals and potential sales.
Ready to take the next step with Content Marketing?
Let’s talk about your goals. Whether you are trying to improve brand awareness or create new content to capture the attention of new audiences – it’s important you get your blog and content strategy right from the start.
For a free 20 minute consultation, please get in touch so we can boost your business online.