The phrase Content Marketing was first uttered in 1996. A bloke called John F. Oppedahl was at a meeting of journalists, held by the American Society for Newspaper Editors. Fast forward three years, and the term ‘blog’ was created… fast forward to now, and you’re reading this Content Marketing article about what Content Marketing is, why it’s important, and how to do it.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is… a marketing strategy. It is closely aligned with an inbound marketing strategy, and involves creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, generate, sell to, and retain good quality leads. In the age of the internet, whereby the whole market for any particular industry is visible and accessible, outbound marketing isn’t as effective as it once one. Content marketing is the here and now of 2021 marketing strategies, and it’s here to stay.
Instead of simply pitching a product, you’re pitching a solution to problems.
The key to the previous definition is the word valuable. Value, or ‘customer-perceived value’, is what we aim for in Content Marketing. If your content is valuable, it gets read, shared and it resonates with your customer community. If your content is valuable, and your Content Marketing strategy is streamlined and relevant, you’ll reap the benefits of Content Marketing that most modern businesses enjoy.
What are the benefits of Content Marketing?
The benefits of Content Marketing aren’t speakable in one sentence; we can’t put them in a Buzzfeed-style list either. A Content Marketing strategy enriches every stage of the customer journey with value. From brand awareness and lead generation, to nurturing customers, winning them over, and finally supporting them in their post-buyer journey; building a long-lasting relationship with them.
The sole aim of Content Marketing is to educate leads and prospects about the products and services you offer. It does that by leveraging SEO practices in a beautiful brand awareness circle. The more words you write in a blog, or even speak in a YouTube video, the more SEO keywords your brand puts out there. The more SEO you include in content, the more likely it is to appear in a search; the more likely it is to be clicked on.
Closing a sale is an accumulation of information, persistence, and showing off. Content Marketing helps to nurture leads by teaching them all about every single intricacy of a product or service. Each article, video, or whatever else is another nudge in the right direction towards sale. It answers burning questions that leads have, and establishes trust in a brand by positioning it as an industry expert or leader. The more a lead sees your brand name on the internet, the more they believe you are the one.
Content Marketing helps in a buyer’s post-sale journey as well. It lifts some of the burden from customer support teams, as it provides answers to different questions that a user might have (see pre-boarding articles). Content Marketing also helps your referral campaign as well, giving something material for users to share with their peers.
What different kinds of Content Marketing are there?
Content Marketing is brilliantly versatile. With a little creativity, mixed with a lot of knowledge and a few analytics here and there… you can incorporate every single one of the following Content Marketing techniques.
Blogs are the wise, old grandfathers of Content Marketing. They’ve been there, done that, and got the t-shirt. Everybody knows about it; everybody’s doing it. Blog posts should be saturated with SEO keywords, should relate to specific niches of your industry with as original content as is possible, and they should contain links to other relevant pieces of content to paint a full picture for any reader. They should be beautiful, well-designed, and shareable across different platforms and devices.
71% of B2B buyers consume blog content during their buyer journey.
🔥 NetHunt’s Hot Blogging Tips 🔥
- Pre-boarding blog posts are popular in 2020. They typically answer ‘How to…’ questions in the traditional way, alongside detailed explanations of how to do it with the author’s product. Check out ‘How to Track Emails in Gmail’, a classic example of pre-boarding.
- Bring your Content Marketing strategy together by converting blog articles to YouTube scripts once you’ve finished writing them. It’s quick and easy to do (find out how, here), and you double engageable content in the meantime.
Example. This blog, right here… that you’re reading. There’s loads more, here!
Social Media is the biggest front that modern businesses need to fight on, bar none. It’s Ground Zero for Content Marketing, with billions of users - potential customers - across dozens of different platforms. Each platform holds its own niche, with different user demographics and different features that businesses can take advantage of. Primarily, it is used to widely share other kinds of content, such as blog posts and videos, but can also be used to broadcast news and other bitesize chunks of information. Social media gives businesses visibility.
Twitter’s Content Marketing potential speaks for itself...
66% of people have found a new business on Twitter
69% of people bought something because of a tweet
94% plan to make a purchase from a business they follow
🔥 NetHunt’s Hot Social Media Tips 🔥
- Run social media polls as research points for the next blog article you are writing. This offers the chance for an original take within original content. The snap nature of social media polls also means you can have data you need from within 10 minutes to 24 hours.
- LinkedIn is a great place for B2B Content Marketing. With over 650,000,000 users across the globe, it’s the place where business professionals go to quench their thirst for business knowledge. Join groups, discuss relevant topics, and share status updates…
...and then use NetHunt’s LinkedIn integration to get all those new leads in your pipeline. 😉
Example. Our user-community group on Facebook has been a huge success.
Video Marketing does exactly what it says on the tin, and is en vogue in the world of Content Marketing. YouTube is massive, and for businesses it’s a cheap way to broadcast content in an easy-to-consume way. YouTube marketing has been proven to boost conversion, improve ROI, and build better relationships with audience members. Don’t just stop at brand introductory and how-to videos; conduct customer testimonials, host live webinars, record corporate training, and spice things up with something viral.
72% of customers would rather learn about a product or service by way of video.
🔥 NetHunt’s Hot Video Marketing Tips 🔥
- Caption all of your videos. The majority of Facebook and Instagram videos are watched without the sound on, so captions are crucial to put across information. YouTube captions are included in SEO keywording, so it is always worth subtitling them.
- The key to a good marketing video is all in the approach you take to it. You need to meticulously plan each video, and like the good guys we are at NetHunt… we recorded a YouTube video explaining exactly how to do it.
Podcasts are somewhat of a niche form of Content Marketing. They can be a fantastic way of positioning yourself as an industry expert and leader; a chance to go into tiny details about absolutely any topic. A positive aspect of podcasts is that once a user is subscribed, they are relatively easy to consume because listeners can have them on in the background whilst commuting or working. They are also easy to share between similar kinds of leads.
A negative aspect is… not everybody listens to podcasts. But that’s becoming less true.
2020 was the first year in which Americans spent more time listening to podcasts than they did going to church.
[The Inifinite Dial]
🔥 NetHunt’s Hot Podcasting Tips 🔥
- Find your podcast niche; don’t try to be everything to everybody. Research what kind of similar podcasts are out there and where yours can fit. Make sure your podcast is relevant by recording it only one to two weeks before it is due to be aired.
- Invite special guests onto your podcast to keep it original and interesting. Industry leaders and experts are a great way to develop trust in your brand, whilst doubling your audience by having them also share it with their followers.
Example. We tune into Call-to-Action Podcast for chitchat, special guests, and marketing expertise!
Infographics are a modern, creative way of Content Marketing. They are long, vertical graphs that are easy-to-read and full of concise information, including stats, charts, graphs, and anything else you want to put in it. Infographics are supremely effective in that they are very, very sharable. The only catch is that they need to be made up of a lot of verified information, and they need to look good. A good infographic packs a lot of big ideas into a small space.
Infographics help boost the traffic to your site by up to 12%.
🔥 NetHunt’s Hot Infographic Tips 🔥
- Conducting your own research has two outstanding benefits for your business. First, you receive more backlinks to your blog, more traffic, and more brand awareness. Second, it means you can create original, exclusive content that nobody else is putting out.
- Creating an infographic from scratch is a big job. You need research, a copywriter, and a graphic designer to put a good one together. Most companies outsource their infographic creation, if they don’t have the correct resources at their disposal.
Example. NetHunt recently dipped their toes into a little bit of infographing.
Content makes the business world go ‘round. It enriches every stage of the customer journey by being informative, versatile, and easily-accessible. It helps your business be seen and eventually sell more. It’s as simple as that.
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