Why Content Marketing Is An Important Asset To Businesses And Where To Begin
By Rylie Holt
Content marketing. Have you heard the phrase tossed around and dismissed it as yet another marketing buzzword? Well, content marketing is no flash-in-the-pan trend that’s going to quickly burn itself out. Content marketing has become a foundation of internet marketing, and the internet itself, so don’t expect it to change anytime soon.
Since content marketing is here to stay, and a vital part of many digital marketing strategies, it’s time to learn all about what content marketing is, why it’s important for your business, and how to get started.
What is Content Marketing?
So, what is this “content marketing” thing anyway? Content marketing is the creation and distribution of unique, relevant material and content for digital use. Content marketing isn’t promotional advertising like “buy our stuff,” but rather valuable information that is used to stimulate interest in a product or brand without a straightforward sales pitch.
Content marketing can include videos, written content, infographics, photographs, other visuals, and audio content like podcasts. Essentially, any content your business creates to provide value to your audience can be part of a content marketing strategy. It can be shared on your business’ website, on social media platforms, other websites, or all of the above. Your distribution strategy will depend on the type of content and the demographics and preferences of your audience.
Why is Content Marketing Important?
A good content marketing strategy can be the foundation upon which all of your other marketing efforts are built. When utilized correctly, content marketing will support and strengthen all of your marketing goals and help drive website visits, sales funnels, and conversions, as well as brand loyalty and audience engagement.
Content marketing supports different marketing strategies in a variety of ways.
Alongside link building and the technical components, content marketing is the third pillar that supports a solid SEO strategy. Content marketing allows for the targeting of keywords in content for on-page SEO, and supports both on-page and external link building efforts. More content equals more opportunities for on-page optimization and help support SEO efforts that drive organic traffic to the site.
Social media is becoming more and more essential to marketing strategies for all types of businesses. One of the keys to successful social media marketing efforts is to have relevant, interesting content to share with your audience. Great content will prompt audience engagement, including shares, comments, etc. Sharing a regular stream of content that is useful and/or entertaining will help you build your audience and authority, which will support all of your marketing goals.
With a guest post component to your marketing strategy, you will create content that is posted on other websites. These can include smaller, industry-relevant websites, or larger, more prominent websites, such as Forbes, Huffington Post, etc. Guest posting offers great marketing ROI in several ways.
- A guest posting strategy helps build your authority and demonstrates you’re an expert in your field.
- Guest posts can drive additional traffic to your site.
- Guest posts can increase your social media audience size and engagement.
- Links from guest posts support your SEO efforts.
Generally, the only cost for creating a guest post is the time you spend creating the content and the time required to reach out to the site where you want to feature your post. A well-planned and executed guest posting strategy can be a very fruitful aspect of your content marketing strategy.
Email marketing is still one of the most personalized and direct methods that marketers have of speaking to their audiences. Getting permission to market directly to a prospect via email isn’t always easy in today’s spam-filled world, but once you have it, the chances of converting a prospect to a customer increase tremendously. And often, the way to get a customer to opt-in, and stay opted-in, to an email marketing campaign is through great content.
If you’re regularly publishing useful, quality content that you share with your audience, prospects will be reluctant to opt-out for fear of missing something. That also means that when you make a relevant offer, you’ll have an audience primed to purchase from that email offer. But in order to gain and sustain that trust, you have to be producing and sharing great content all the time.
Your website will most likely be the home where your content lives, whether that’s a blog for written content, video library, or some other content vault. So, it’s important for your website to support your content to make it easy for visitors to find content that they’re looking for, as well as be offered similar or related content that might also be useful to them.
A high-quality content marketing strategy will offer a myriad of benefits to your website, including driving visits, increasing pageviews and time spent on-site, reducing bounce rate, supporting your sales funnel, driving email signups, increasing social media followers, and offering internal links to support SEO, as well as increasing sales and repeat visitors.
As you can see, content marketing not only offers amazing benefits to your marketing efforts, but it’s actually a critical component to drive success in multiple areas of marketing strategy.
How to Get Started in Content Marketing
So, now that you know how important content marketing is to online success, how do you get started?
Find Your Niche
The first step is to find your content marketing niche. Decide what type of content you want to focus your efforts on. There’s probably no wrong answer here, but you do want to consider several factors when deciding what type of content to commit to in your plan.
Audience: You’ll need to do some research to find out what type of content your target audience prefers to consume and where they like to find it. This research will be a good indicator of whether you should focus more on video content or written content, for example. You’ll also want to consider what you’ll be sharing with your audience and what medium makes the most sense for that. If you’re in fashion, for example, users will expect photos and videos, where a science-related site might feature more in-depth writings. You should deliver content in a way that makes sense for your audience and is easy to digest.
Preferences: As important as it is to give an audience what they want, it’s as important for you to be committed to the content you’re creating. For example, if you hate making and/or watching videos, then you don’t want to make that the core of your content marketing strategy, because it will be a constant struggle to get videos made and posted. Plus, it will be difficult to find your voice and connect with prospects if you’re doing it through a medium you dislike.
Goals: Consider what you’re trying to achieve with content marketing. Do you want to drastically improve your visibility in organic search results with SEO? Then written content is probably going to be a core element of your content plan. If you’re interested in a more social media-focused strategy, you may want to lean more heavily on photos, graphics, and short videos to attract and engage your audience.
Skills: What are you good at? If you’re an excellent writer, then written content is probably the route you want to go. If you’re already good at something, then sharing it with your audience will be that much easier, especially when you’re pressed for time or on a deadline.
Deciding to focus the majority of your content marketing efforts on one type of content doesn’t mean you shouldn’t create other types of content. But you want your strategy to be focused and cohesive, rather than hit-or-miss.
Create a Plan
Planning your content strategy is going to one of the most critical steps in the process. Too many businesses approach content marketing without a plan, and it simply doesn’t work. For content marketing to yield results, it has to be done consistently and with purpose. So, it’s important to make a plan that includes all the details about your content marketing strategy, including topic ideas, publication dates, social media postings, etc. Don’t leave anything out, and plan as far out as makes sense for your business. For some, that might mean monthly planning, and others might be able to do quarterly or even annual plans. It can be tempting to skip the plan and dive right into the content creation, but don’t make that mistake. Planning is the key to success with content marketing. It gives you the ability to ensure all the components are working together, as well as ensures the work actually gets done.
Create and Post Content
Once you have your content marketing plan nailed down, it’s time to execute. You’ll need to start creating and posting content, based on your plan. Many businesses find it useful to create a lot of content at once, so they have a continuous well from which to pull posts and aren’t always scrambling to get content ready to post at the last minute. Make sure your content is interesting and relevant to your audience. You shouldn’t be posting filler content just to keep up with your content plan. The quality of what you create and post is just as important, or even more so, as the frequency.
When posting content, it’s important to be sure your plan includes how and where to share your new content. Will you be posting it on social media, your website, and sending it out via email? Will you do that all at the same time? Or stagger the postings? Does everything get shared just once per channel? Or does it make sense to add follow up posts for anyone who might have missed the initial share? All of these questions will depend on the size of your audience, your industry, etc. Don’t be afraid to test different posting strategies and track the engagement to find what works best for your company. You may even find that different types of content need different promotional strategies.
Once you get in a routine with content creation and posting, it will be much easier to keep the momentum going. Content marketing isn’t a one-and-done type of effort. It requires a consistent working of the plan to build results and achieve real success. Keep at it, and your business will reap the rewards.
How to Be Successful in Content Marketing
Now that you know that content marketing is important and how to do it, the next question is: how can you be successful at it?
Keep At It
For the most part, content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. Unless you get a piece accepted on a really high-profile website, or someone influential promotes your content, you aren’t going to see an instant result from content marketing. It’s a long-term strategy that will steadily build your audience, and support your other marketing efforts. So, it’s important to not get discouraged when you don’t see an immediate ramp-up in business from your initial content posts. If you’re creating and posting quality, useful content on a regular basis and promoting it well, you’re going to reap the rewards, as long as you stick with it.
Promoting your content properly is going to play a vital part in the success of your content marketing efforts. People need to be able to find your content in order to want more of it and to share it. Some great ways to promote your content:
- Partnering with social media influencers
- Posting content from partners and vendors, and having them share your content in return
- Paid marketing
- Email marketing
- Guest posting on other websites
- Social media marketing
Promoting your content in a variety of ways will ensure you reach the largest part of your target market and achieve the best possible ROI for your marketing efforts.
In addition to improving the bottom line, fun and creativity should be driving forces behind at least some of your content marketing efforts. For example, if your content is usually very formal and instructional, try changing it up with a funny video or graphic. You still want the content to fit with your messaging, but surprising your audience can be a great way to shake things up and reinvigorate your audience.
You should also consider creative ways to produce new types of content. For example, maybe you could turn a successful older post into a video or infographic. Or a past webinar could become an audio download. Repurposing older content is a great way to add new content with less effort.
While the pressure to constantly create new content can sometimes get overwhelming, it’s important to keep the spark of creativity alive in your content. If it feels dull and lifeless to you, it will feel the same way to your audience.
If you want to take your business to the next level, and you have yet created an in-depth content marketing strategy, now is the time to get started. Content marketing will support all of your other marketing efforts, help you build a larger audience, and create brand loyalty for your customers. Don’t make the mistake of thinking content marketing is a disappearing trend. It’s here to stay and your marketing efforts will be much less effective without it.
Bio: Regex SEO is a Houston-based digital marketing agency offering a comprehensive array of digital marketing services. Created to help our clients achieve online success, and built on a transparent, data-driven process, we utilize cutting edge technology and industry best practices to improve our clients’ online visibility. Our fully custom digital marketing strategies are based on the needs of each business, and we pride ourselves on supporting the success of businesses throughout Houston and beyond.
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