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Home > Digital Marketing Blog > Content Marketing Framework for Generating and Distributing Highly Effective Content

Content Marketing Framework for Generating and Distributing Highly Effective Content

Content Marketing Framework for Generating and Distributing Highly Effective Content
August 18, 2019

Content Marketing Framework for Generating and Distributing Highly Effective Content

Aug 18, 2019
Surya Teja

Surya Teja is a Digital Marketing Professional with a great interest towards Marketing, Branding & Visual Design.


Content is the reason Search began

Back in the days when the usage of the internet was less and limited, people used to read books, consume traditional media like TV, radio, newspapers and magazines, or at the very least, used to chit-chat and share ideas and memories. The 21st century man is no different from that. Except we do it through our complicated electronic devices—mobile phones, laptops and tabs, that can be connected to a space called the internet where every such device can be connected to transfer any amount of information.

Seeking and sharing knowledge, consuming information, listening to and sharing stories are inherent qualities that make us human. Sharing and discussing ideas and knowledge ranging from basic survival skills like food storage, hunting and cooking to modern phenomena like political propaganda, activism and marketing, all employ different kinds of content in various forms.

The modern world has enormous amounts of content of all kinds. With the overwhelming amount of content available on the internet, search and search engines came into existence, which allows the audience to ‘choose’ the content they want to consume. Effective content can control the narrative of a topic, direct people’s opinions and decisions, and persuade people towards taking action, which makes it a core necessity for any organization.

What is Content Marketing?

Content Marketing is the most extensively used form of marketing today that it has many definitions. With the reduced effectiveness of mere advertisements, and with the increased interest in consuming content among people, content has taken the forefront of marketing.

Content Marketing is a strategic form of marketing focused on planning, creation and distribution of content for a specific/targeted audience online” as per the Wikipedia. That’s simple and straightforward while the Content Marketing Institute defines Content Marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

This definition offers a clearer and wider explanation of the practice. Let’s now break down the definition to understand it clearly.

1) A strategic marketing approach—which means extensive planning (of the types of content, channels and schedule) and a clear purpose.

2) Valuable, relevant, and consistent content—the content should be valuable/helpful to the audience you intend to reach. Also, it should be relevant to your audience as well as your business, which is how it establishes a connection between you and your audience. It means the content you produce, while being related to your business, should be at the same time, more relatable and resonant to your audience and their lifestyle/life situations. And the content should be consistent in quality, value and subject.

3) Attract and retain a clearly defined audience—the content you produce and share should attract (those kinds of) people whom you intend to target, who will be more likely to do business with you. And retain them too, because you should not lose your relationship with them. It means the content you produce should have that kind of value and reach that it attracts people (of your target market) and attaches them to your business in a way.

4) And, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action—your content marketing efforts should have a definite purpose/objective. What do you expect to happen or acquire in return for the content you produce? It could be something like getting your audience to visit your boutique, or getting them to subscribe to your service, or increasing your brand awareness and consideration among your target market, or getting them to sign up for your product demo, etc.

Of course, you may not start getting the results immediately, or maybe you need to tweak your content strategy to improve it, at times. But the point is, you need to have a definite objective for your marketing efforts that would direct you in the process.

Different Types of Content Formats

Content can be of various formats and types depending on their form and usage. Digital content can be technically divided into 4 types: Text, Image, Video (moving imagery) and Audio. However, most of the content we see on the web is a combination of two or more of them. 

When we consider the form and practical usage, there are several types of content formats on the digital space applicable for various purposes. Some of the popular kinds of content formats are:

Blogs or Articles

This is one of the extensively used types of content by businesses of all kinds, B2B as well as B2C. Blogs/articles can be used for various purposes like increasing the brand awareness and considerability, or to acquire leads, and nurture and convert the leads as well. Blogging is one of the easiest ways to improve the SEO of a website and increase the website traffic.

Most of the times, articles or blogs also include relevant images or gifs for increased readership and efficacy of the message, simply because images capture attention easily while also adding details to the message being conveyed through words.

Videos

Videos are being consumed more today than ever before. As one of the most engaging and effective forms of content, videos can be used for almost any kind of purpose, be it educational, entertainment, brand awareness, persuasion, product promotion, etc. Videos can be of any length ranging from seconds to hours.

There are many kinds of tools one can use to take advantage of video content. Depending on the context, a video can entirely be an animation or real-action or a combination of both. 

Infographics

Infographics are a fun, interesting and effective form of content that has been in the usage ever since graphics came into existence. They are easy to understand and easier to share. They can be educational, awareness based, how-to content, etc. They can also be used as a complementary for blog posts/articles and for social media content. 

Here is an infographic about infographics.

How-To's

How To's or tutorials are another most popular type of content being consumed on the internet. Simply put, this kind of content instructs its audience how to do a particular or solve a particular problem.

Depending on the subject and the audience, how-to's can come in the form of videos, articles or even infographics. Howcast and wikiHow are two of the most popular websites that publish how-to content on almost everything.

Polls

Polls are an interactive and engaging form of content. Polls are simple, but highly effective, and can be used to engage the audience on social media, webinars, live videos, websites, and so on. Polls are so effective because the participants feel they are being involved in choosing something or expressing a preference or an opinion. 

And when you, as a business, do something for your audience based on the poll responses, be it launching a product or releasing an offer, or introducing a feature, and so on, you would have established a strong connect with them. The catch is that your poll should be something much relatable/relevant to your audience.

Podcasts

Podcasts have become a highly popular form of content recently, due to the ease and comfort in consuming podcast content. All you need is a set of earphones and a device, and you can listen to your favourite podcast effortlessly. Podcasts are actually evolved from the good old concept of radio. While a radio is distracting without any specific subject, a podcast is contrary to it. A podcast has a specific subject, be it educational or entertainment or instructional, and it can be either live or pre-recorded.

These are some of the widely used forms of content. There are also many other types of content formats like Webinars, Resources, Quizzes, Memes, etc. that've been benefiting businesses as well as consumers in various ways.

Benefits of Content Marketing

So with all these different types of content formats, and their abundance on the web, what are its benefits? Well, like every business transaction, the benefits of content are received by both the businesses that produce it and the audience that consume it. How? 

As discussed earlier, content should be valuable/helpful and relevant to your target audience. Which means your content should benefit your target audience, your potential customers. By appealing to and benefiting them, you establish a strong relationship with your audience who would trust your genuine advice, i.e., suggestions, and are more likely to act on them. 

More specifically, Content Marketing benefits businesses in the following ways.

  • Builds brand awareness and trust among your customers.
  • Improves consumer loyalty and retain your customer base while also acquiring more customers. One of the biggest challenges faced by businesses today is retaining their existing customers, which can be efficiently solved through content marketing.
  • Reputation management and crisis communication. There will be times when things turn out bad and it hits the company and its reputation. Properly responding to such crises and dealing with the reaction is essential for brands/companies, or else the narrative may turn against them causing them a huge loss.
  • Builds authority and credibility. As your audience consistently consume your content and getting benefited by it, they start to associate you with authority and credibility positioning you as an expert in your industry.
  • Provides a competitive edge. A strong content strategy provides you an edge over your competitors as it keeps helping your audience while positioning you as an expert, which makes your audience to consult your business for their needs or solutions.
  • Drives conversions more efficiently. Companies can no longer acquire customers through mere advertisements. Of course, advertising is helpful, but as a catalyst. Today’s customers want to understand clearly what they need to purchase (to solve their problem or fulfill their need), and why they need to purchase it, and how to (effectively) use it. And content does that job in the best possible way.
  • Provides constant value to your customers. Content offers value to your customers even post-purchase. Product updates and usage information, resources, how-to’s, guides, case-studies, etc., help your consumers in better and effective usage of your product(s) or service(s). This makes your target market prefer you among your competitors for your value and reliability.

Examples of Content Marketing

Many big brands as well as smaller businesses and brands employ content marketing as one of their core marketing strategies. Let us look at some of the best examples of content marketing.

Creative Market

Creative Market is one of the leading largest design marketplaces on the internet with over 29.7k independent designers. Creative Market has a strong blog strategy and SEO strategy to make sure their valuable blog posts land on the front pages of SERPs. It has various types of blog content that offers great value to business clients as well as designers.

SEMrush

SEMrush’s content marketing strategy is built upon their resolution to position themselves as a top expert in SEO industry. SEMrush makes use of a wide variety of content to provide their target market with as much value and insights as possible which makes them more likely to choose and subscribe to SEMrush’s products for their SEO.

9gag

9gag is so popular that most of us need no introduction of it. 9gag publishes user-generated content on almost all kinds of things related to entertainment, infotainment, news / announcements, popular culture, trending topics, etc. 9gag’s effective user-generated content strategy utilizes many channels and kinds of content to promote its platform which happens automatically. 9gag has over 40 million users and over 150 million global audience.

GoPro

GoPro manufactures the best performing action cameras and the best performing user-generated content too. GoPro leverages the content generated by its users who share their excellent shots with GoPro’s action cameras. What’s more needed than users themselves creating excellent content demonstrating their products’ brilliance? And in return, GoPro rewards its users for their best content. That’s a great win-win strategy.

Groww

The best way to grow your online investment platform is to teach people how to invest. And Groww does it the best. Groww makes investment simple and rewarding to its users. By teaching potential users how investment works, how they can start investing, and by offering great financial advice and tips, Groww positions itself as an authoritative and reliable investment platform. 

HubSpot

HubSpot is a must on a list of the best examples of content marketing. HubSpot first coined the term ‘inbound marketing’ which advocates for helping your target audience and customers through valuable content. And it does as it advocates. HubSpot has a great set of valuable resources and blog content tailored for businesses and marketers, through which it reaches and acquires new users constantly, while also helping existing users with their valuable content.

Rolex

It’s interesting to note how an iconic brand like Rolex makes usage of visual content marketing. As a luxury brand, Rolex needs to convey its luxury, aesthetic and sophistication in its content, which it does perfectly. The World of Rolex page accurately presents its legendary brand, each example conveying the unique purpose of every Rolex.

 

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the biggest professional networking platform worldwide. All kinds of professionals and businesses use LinkedIn for networking and marketing. How to make the most of LinkedIn and get the desired results in your marketing and networking efforts? LinkedIn knows the best, and shares them with its users too. 

LinkedIn also teaches and provides insights for professionals as well as businesses, on how to use the platform effectively in its blog section, which is the best way to promote the platform.

Frameworks to Structure Your Content Marketing Activities

The primary step in incorporating content marketing in your marketing strategy is to come up with a framework on which you can structure your activities. Since content marketing requires certain time and resources, it is essential that you employ an appropriate content framework for your business, and check it and update it from time to time.

Here are a few well-known content marketing frameworks that can deliver successful when applied right.

CMI Framework

Content Marketing Institute proposes five core elements necessary for running successful content marketing operations, which are

Purpose and Goals: Why you are creating content, and what value it will provide?
Audience: Who you are creating content for, and how they will benefit?
Story: What specific, unique, and valuable ideas you will build your content assets around?
Process: How you will structure and manage your operations in order to activate your plans?
Measurement: How you will gauge performance and continually optimize your efforts?

Based on these core elements, a strategy is defined in order to achieve the goals. Once you can answer those questions, relating them to your business, you’ve got a great framework to start with your content marketing activities.

Tofu-Mofu-Bofu Framework

This is a simple and straightforward content strategy but can yield great results when implemented with care. The framework is all in its name. This is how we break it down.

Tofu — Top of the Funnel = Building awareness about your brand & the problem/need you address

Mofu — Middle of the Funnel = Teaching/Educating people (your target market) how to choose a solution (Teaching about possible solutions and choosing the best solution)

Bofu — Bottom of the Funnel =  Explaining why your product/service is the best solution

When you employ this framework, it is important to balance all the three components and maintain consistency in quality and value. This framework can be used to produce content that can be easily distinguished and segmented based on the specific stage of audience it is meant for. For e.g., Bottom of the Funnel content can benefit prospective customers and existing customers as well.

The Hedgehog Concept  

This framework based on the Hedgehog concept can be used to develop content for the purpose of placing you as an authority/expert in your industry. And that’s not an easy thing, but if one is ready to invest time and resources, and put in the hard work, results will surely follow.

The Hedgehog concept is a framework discussed in Jim Collin’s book, Good To Great. Basically the concept is finding a meeting point between your passion, your skill/advantage and what drives you profit.

Applying it to the context of content marketing, it can be understood as a meeting point between “what content you are passionate to create”, “what unfair advantage can you leverage” and “what drives you more leads/acquisitions”. Whenever you feel stuck in your content marketing or planning to shift it to a new phase, the hedgehog framework can help you better.

These are a few of the popular frameworks one can use to develop an appropriate content marketing strategy. And based on the uniqueness of your business, you can develop your own content marketing framework based on your purpose and goals. However, it is always good to refer to these frameworks for their versatility and effectiveness.

Best Practices in Content Marketing

After you’ve developed a strong content strategy and come up with some ideas to implement, the next step is to be mindful of the best practices and avoid falling into wrong or deviant practices. Here are some of the best practices to keep in mind while carrying out your content marketing activities.

  • Always measure your performance and adjust your strategy accordingly. Measuring performance based on the defined metrics or KPIs and getting to know what’s working and what’s not, and making changes accordingly is what makes efforts a success.
  • Always create for the audience. Since content marketing takes time and effort, one might tend to be selfish or half-hearted in the content they produce, which doesn’t work but rather damage the purpose. Your focus should always be on the audience for whom you are creating the content.
  • Make use of appropriate channels. It is important to know where your target audience spends time, and through what kind of channels you can effectively reach them. Incorporate those channels into your strategy for publishing, distributing or promoting your content.
  • Remember that it is a long-term process. It is essential to understand that content marketing is not a short-term process or a fix for your business, but rather a long-term process which can yield you the best and long-lasting results. Hence, it is always important to see the big picture while planning your content marketing strategy.
  • Be updated with the trends. Digital space is constantly evolving and innovations are coming up everyday. And it applies to digital content too. Hence, it is important to incorporate new and successful trends in your content marketing activities in order to stay relevant. However, it is important not to chase every trend that you come across, or else, you’ll deviate from the purpose.

Content Marketing Templates

Here are some of the templates that can help you with your content marketing activities.

  1. Content Marketing Planning Template by HubSpot: This template helps you in defining your content strategy, setting KPIs or performance metrics, brainstorm content ideas and create a timeline to effectuate your plans.
  2. Editorial Calendar Templates by HubSpot: These templates help you organize and schedule your content marketing activities well, track your usage of keywords and CTAs, and make use of a variety of blog topics and formats.
  3. Content Marketing Checklist by SEMrush: This checklist helps you develop a great content strategy using the latest content marketing insights of SEMrush.
  4. Content Calendar Template by CoSchedule: This content calendar template by CoSchedule helps you plan and organize your content marketing activities for a whole year along with a social media editorial calendar template.

Conclusion

With this knowledge on the importance of content marketing for brands/business, the processes involved and the best practices to be followed, you might’ve have developed an idea of what content marketing looks like, what it can do to businesses and how you can help businesses if you learn to understand and implement it as a marketer.

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