What is content marketing and why do I need to use it as part of my business strategy?

The term 'content marketing' refers to a method of marketing that includes creating and sharing online content that doesn't just promote a brand, but rather is designed to entertain, educate and engage audience members beyond the products you sell. This could be in the form of social media, blogs, emails/newsletters - anything that engages new and existing audience members to connect with you on a deeper level! This keeps your brand top of mind when it is time for consumers to buy what you sell.


This is necessary to EVERYONE'S digital marketing strategy as it:


  • Increases website traffic and SEO visibility

Meaning you get better search engine rankings, reaching an even wider audience as a result.


  • Consistently engages your audience in a wide range of content

This builds trust, boosts loyalty and enhances the overall customer experience beyond selling a product. Active content marketing also establishes your position as an expert in the niche you work in.


  • AND sets you apart from your competitors.

Content marketing is so broad and unique that it's whatever YOU want to do to connect with others. No one can recreate that passion.

Really, thanks to the blend of storytelling and education content marketing requires, increasing your brand awareness is the biggest benefit. No matter what avenue you go down with content marketing, your brand will benefit.



So what exactly can you do to start using content marketing as part of your digital marketing strategy?


1. Have a plan.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but having a plan before you do anything else in your content marketing will make your content more targeted and its production more consistent. 

Begin by reflecting on your brand's core values and marketing content objectives. For example, Hello Media obviously sells digital marketing coaching, but beyond the products this brand is fuelled by the goal to inspire, connect to others and help everyone reach their full potential. This means we have long-form content marketing (like these blogs or the bite-sized business talks!) that inform people on the basics of digital marketing for free, because everyone getting access to education is a core value. We also keep things light and fun with videos, gifs and all sorts of other entertaining content because we also want to show how FUN digital marketing is!

Another thing to know when planning is what the purpose of each kind of content will be and its value to your audience. So research, research, research to give yourself a clearer picture of what content to write, the tone of the content, and when and where it should be posted.

When distributing content, different platforms require different frequency of posting. Twitter, for instance requires multiple posts a day while with Facebook, you can get away with once a day. Building an editorial content calendar will be an important part of this pre-content plan.

2. Know your audience.

You won’t get many sales and conversions if the content you share with your customers are on subjects that don't resonate or apply to them, so ensure you have your target-audience down before you start making content for your content marketing.

Many platforms, like Google, Instagram and Facebook, have different analysis tools built into their platforms, allowing you free access into who you're already attracting and engaging with. Start actively using these free tools to get an idea of the demographics of your visitors across platforms so you can better judge what kinds of topics and styles yield high results in your blog posts, social media posts, and website content.

Going a step further, you can create consumer personas that represent each of your company’s demographic groups. Write content pieces addressing the questions and concerns and interests of each persona. Your personas will also help you identify what tone and messaging in the content will most resound with them, keeping you on track when making content.


3. Know when and where to post.

You can write the best blog post of your life, but if it is posted on a site or social media platform your audience doesn’t use or at a time when most of your audience is offline, it will likely disappear into the noise and information of the Internet.

Timing is all dependent on the platform(s) you use, so spend some time analysing what best works when. For example, you might find that your brand' Facebook fans are online Friday afternoons from 2-4pm, but your blog fans are online Saturday mornings from 8-10am. Tailoring your content and it's publishing times to your specific audiences will help you get the best results.

(This can be a daunting step, but you're not alone in it - most website and social media analytics tools will have a feature where you can see the most and least popular times people visit your site and social media channels and where people are coming from to get your site, so again, utilise what you already have access to!!)

Knowing your audience will also give you an idea as to what websites and industry/business blogs they regularly visit and what social media channels they utilise to engage with each other on. There's no point in putting your time into one platform if most of your audience is on another.

4. Quality over quantity.

It can be tempting to continuously pump out content. Your audience, however, doesn’t want more content, they want quality content that is interesting, valuable and informative.

Visitors to your site come because they trust you and believe you’ll answer their question or address their concerns. An abundance of low-quality content will only take up space and viewers won’t bother reading it, slowly disengaging them from your brand and content over time.

High-quality posts will get more attention, engagement and shares which should be the goals of a solid content strategy. The more you have, the more you know you're making an impact.

5. Mix up content.

There are many ways you can share content online. Text is the most popular and most expected form of content, but there are a lot of things you can do with images and video. Content Marketing Effectiveness.jpg

Video is becoming a popular content medium that companies are starting to utilise more. By having a variety of content, you increase your company’s chances of reaching more people in your diverse target audiences, so try out dabbling in different forms and see what happens!

6. Experiment.

Experimenting allows you to figure out what type of content gives you the most traffic. Again, you can use an analytics program to determine which type and subject of content gets the most attention, but to get the data, you first need to use trial-and-error. So try out “how-to” articles, inspirational stories, educational videos or anything you think your audience will engage with. Focus on producing content that is draws the most attention, but remember to still vary the content to keep your audience entertained.

7. Focus on people, not just search engines.

Answering your audience's questions needs to be the goal of everything you write.

When you take the time to craft quality content that is of value to your audience, they will appreciate it and share it with others. They’ll also be more likely to trust your company and take the desired actions to buying or recommending your products in the future.

While SEO - like implementing keywords into content - is still an essential part of getting your website online exposure, they should be used appropriately. Keyword-stuffed content is clunky and unengaging. Not only will your audience see right through your promotional plug, but search engines will also be on the look-out for such content and will penalise you.

8. Optimise your content.

As the previous point brought up, keywords and SEO is crucial to optimising your content, but it can't be oversaturated with it. To make your content more effective, try to target one or two keywords in a piece of content.

For text content, this is easy to do. For images and videos, however, more work is involved. For posts with videos and images, use keywords in the title, headings and topic introduction or summary. Keywords should also be inserted into the ALT tags, file names and meta descriptions. Once you've done this a few times, it becomes second-nature, so don't get overwhelmed at the thought!

9. Test, analyse and improve.

As mentioned earlier, it is important to experiment and test which content gets you the most traffic and generates the most conversions.

Regular analysis of your content will enable you to see the patterns in what content clicks with your audience. You can then use this as inspiration for additional content ideas. Then, when you see what works, you will also see the kind of content that doesn’t work.

If your content isn’t as effective as you’d like it to be, some revamping and revising of your content strategy may be in order. Knowing where your content is falling short will equip you to make the necessary improvements. Don't be afraid to have a look at what other's are doing and take inspiration from them, but always add your own twist to best benefit your individual audience.

Your content marketing strategy can take many forms, and your company goals and your audience will play the biggest parts in dictating your tactics. So get out there, give it a go, and never be afraid to pivot when something no longer serves you!


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