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Content Marketing

Content Marketing
 

Content Marketing is the technique of creating a sharing relevant, quality, valuable, and consistent content that can acquire and attract audiences and aims at driving user's profitable actions. The key difference between any form of advertising or marketing and content marketing is the “value” that content adds to a customer or a user. It is a strategic approach to connect and engage with the audience through highly relevant content. Brands build trust by creating and sharing relevant and personalized content and establish strong relationships with their customers. Content helps brands or publishers to resonate with target demographic as their trusted resources. The central idea of content marketing is to anticipate and meet the needs of customers and viewers by providing valuable information instead of focusing on elevating a business. Look below for content marketing statistics.

Content Marketing Statistics - Digital Ready

Goals of Content Marketing are

  • Attract prospects and generate qualified leads.
  • Expand customer base and foster strong customer relationship.
  • Initiate or Increase online sales.
  • Create brand awareness, credibility, authority, and trust.
  • Engage users for lasting relationship.
  • Drives conversions and bring more traffic through engagement.
  • Aware and educate customers or audiences.
  • Position your business as an industry expert.
  • Move buyer's quickly through their buyer's journey.
  • Improve search engine optimization and online visibility
  • Reach a specific audience by reaching customers who are interested.

Types of Content Marketing

Videos

Visuals are always more effective than normal text. Videos are the perfect way to deliver your message to your target audience. You can easily aware your audience about your company, business, products, and services entertainingly and attractively. You can share your video content on your website, blog, and social media channels.

 Importance of Video Content - Digital Ready

Infographics

Infographics are the best content form which includes text, images, and graphics. They are the visual representations of your entire content and attract traffic in a more effective way than any normal content does. They can make any complex information eye-catching, easily digestible, and shareable. Infographics play a crucial part in today's content marketing strategies and the visual world of marketing.

E-books

Ebooks are great lead magnets. They are quite long as 10 to 30 pages but offer values. It's an electronic version of a printed book that includes in-depth information.

Webinars

A webinar is a video-based content that is a live web-based video conference that uses internet for communicating to the audience. This can also be used by the audience to ask questions and chat with the host.

Social Media Posts

Today companies cannot stand out without the help of social media platforms. A social media post is more engaging, effective, and attractive than any other type of marketing aspect. It's a lot easier to adopt and share. There are a number of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google Plus, etc. where your target audience is available, and you can share your content with them.

Social Media Statistics - Digital Ready

Surveys

Surveys are a method of gathering information from people, your audiences or clients. Surveys are very helpful for a business or company to know what their customers think about them, about their products and services. Surveys can be conducted in many ways like through mail, telephone, printed questionnaire, in person or through the web.

Survey Content Form - Digital Ready

E-newsletters

They are the publications that are developed and distributed by business regularly. They are an effective way to maintain and stay in contact. It can also be used to promote products and services. There are plenty of e-newsletter directories available over the internet. You have to log in and find your interested topics.

E-Newsletter Sample - Digital Ready

Whitepapers

A white paper is an authoritative, in-depth guide or reports that reports about a complex issue to the readers and users. It is useful for readers to understand an issue, solve that issue and make a decision. As a marketing perspective, it is a form of marketing representation and a tool to persuade client partners and customers and viewpoint or product promotion. In other words, it is meant to market a company’s products, ideas, and services by educating their potential buyers about the same with credible and valuable information. Here is a sample white paper:

White Paper Sample - Digital Ready

Podcasts

Podcast was named by combining “Broadcasting” and “iPod”. It is a video or audio broadcast that a user can download, subscribe and listen. It is distributed over the internet and usually has a format similar to television show or radio show. Subscription helps in automatic download of new series wo mobile application, user’s local computer or portable media player. The files distributed are in audio format. Videos shared through Podcast model are called as video podcasts or vodcasts. Podcast can be used by many digital audio formats and can be played on any portable digital device or MP3 player. Podcasting can help businesses to engage with their listeners by educating and entertaining them. It’s an alternative mean of letting the target audience to gain access to a company’s content.

Podcast Content Form - Digital Ready

Case Studies

A case study is an in-depth examination of a subject of study or case. They are more effective than brochures and traditional sharing format. It involves telling stories about a brand. Case studies are niche-specific and very targeted. They can position your brand as authoritative, can explain how problems are solved, provide social proof, lead to spinoff content, and maximize conversions.

Case STudy Template - Digital Ready

Why Everyone Talks About Content Marketing?

The answer is "Simply because it works." The use of content marketing is widespread. Let's look out the latest statistics. Nine among ten organizations market in average with content through the most effective eight content tactics like social media excluding blogs, articles, in-person events, e-newsletters, case studies, Blogs etc. Marketers are committing their maximum budget to content marketing. More than 51% B2B marketers are planning to increase their spending in content marketing over the next 12 months. See the below graph for the usage of all forms of content by B2B marketers.

Latest Content Marketing Statistics - Digital Ready

To Dos of Content Marketing

  • Create engaging content for the audience: Create content that emotionally engages your audience and let them be a part of your success.
  • Focus on a simple layout that interests consumers: Have simple layout for customers to navigate and absorb the information provided.
  • Content should be oriented to meet the needs of your customers: Identify the pain points of your audience and produce content that addresses your customer's needs.
  • Content should act as an informative resource: Generate content which adds knowledge to your audience and which can be a resource to refer to.
  • Content should emanate care for your customers: Create content that radiates care for your audience instead of trying to sell something with it.
  • Content should be appropriate for the chosen marketing channel: It is essential to choose right media to share your content to reach the right audience at the right time.
  • Content should be transparent and supportive: Produce content which is honestly customer-oriented and provide best customer support.

Not To Dos of Content Marketing

  • Irrelevant and not personalized content: Content marketing targets specific group of audience. Only relevant and personalized content will win the customers.
  • Low quality and not useful: Information which does not provide a reader with some insights on a topic will always fail to keep a customer engaged.
  • Inconsistent: Lack of consistency in producing and sharing high-quality and engaging content will make you fall behind in the race.
  • Not measuring your metrics: Not following up the metrics leave you baffled about your content marketing strategy. Periodical check on the results of your content marketing will lead you to streamline your strategy for desired outcomes.

Benefits of Content Marketing

Benefits of Content Marketing - Digital Ready

Attracts New Visitors Content attracts new visitors to your site. High-quality content makes the visitors linger longer on your site, and this will make them familiar with your business. A new user spending more time going through your content will likely become a prospect and a possible customer. Boosts Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Adding relevant content in the form of blog posts results in higher visibility to the search engines. Achieves Higher Domain Authority Generating high-quality content on a consistent basis will increase authority and trust of your website. If the content is impressive it earns inbound links from external websites improves search rankings of your site. Increased search ranking will produce more organic search visibility. More Referral Traffic A valuable and educating content will bring referrals to your site. Increased Exposure on Social Platforms Promoting content through social media increases exposure of your brand. Increased Conversion Potential Increased traffic to your site will improve the chances for more conversions. Builds Trust with your Brand Informative and engaging content will improve the reputation of your brand and earns audience’s trust towards your business. Nurtures Customer Relationships A personalized content for target audience will make your customers believe that they are taken care in a personal level. This will strengthen the customer’s bonding with your brand. Universally Accepted Content marketing is suitable for any business type. Relatively Economical A good strategy and valuable content for a right set of audience at consistent intervals generate incredible returns. You have to invest your time properly that's it.

Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing strategy includes six important steps.
  • Plot
  • Idea Generation
  • Production and Promotion
  • Audience Acquisition
  • Conversion & Nurture
  • Measure & Optimize

1. Plot

The purpose of Content Marketing is to generate content that attracts prospects and engage them to move across the buying cycle and convert them into customers. To achieve this objective one must carefully lay a plot to define buyer persona and buying stage. First and foremost thing to do is to decide where your topic falls and your business goals. One must do some research to find out the topic positioning and the type of content to be produced. Heedful consideration of customers’ interests and your unique selling proposition will guide you to come up with appropriate content. The sweet spot in marketing is where customer’s interests intersect with the uniqueness of your products/services. Figuring out sweet spot will simplify content creation. Content which is in sweet spot actively engages customers and prospects, absorbed by them and shared by them with greater speed than in any other spot. Next thing to consider is your audience. A matrix that aligns buyer personas with buying stages simplifies content marketing approach. Map out content with an objective of attracting prospects and moving them onto the next stage of the buying process. The following questionnaire helps to prepare valuable content at each stage:
  • What are the persona’s pain points at a specified stage of the buying process?
  • How can their concerns be addressed at that stage?
  • What information should be provided to address their concerns?
  • What titles best captures their attention?
Content can be created accordingly once the framework is finalized. The important thing is to keep the process going continuously because content marketing is a cycle.

2. Idea Generation

Next step followed by plotting the framework is idea generation to create quality content. Idea generation to write content that interests customers or prospects is a big hurdle to pass in a content marketing strategy. It is the biggest thing a content marketer struggles with. The best way to start is to look up to your customer or client.

Listen Closely

Listen carefully to the voices of people in your organization. Involve people who are in direct contact with customers and conversing with them on a daily basis. Create a channel where these employees share their ideas and choose relevant topics to produce content that addresses customers’ concerns.

Social Platforms

Customers talk about social media every day. Keep an eye on target areas on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. where your specified demographics participate, share their opinions and discuss their pain points. Websites like LinkedIn Answers and Quora are good places where your prospects talk their minds out.

Customer Interviews

Taking interviews with potential buyers about their issues directly leads a content marketer where to focus. Interviews should be unbiased and should not be done in a sales context. The ideal way to do this process is anonymous surveys or in-person interviews where the customers are not revealed with your brand name. The objective of the interview should be to learn about the challenges, and this will help to shape your content better. Content should always be about “customer” not “you” (products or services). The customer’s pain points are the driving forces behind their interest in your products. The content you provide should spark the buying process. Your genuine interest in addressing their concerns and catering to their needs will earn their trust.

3. Production & Promotion

According to Jake Sorofman, the Digital Analyst at Garner, "The best content marketers should think like manufacturers." Once the idea generation yields the list of topics to produce content about, it is time to create content, organize it to promote through different channels. The team involves many crucial roles such as the idea generator, the content creator, graphic designer, the Managing Editor, the SEO expert, the Social media team, Legal & PR, marketing executives etc. The roles of these members of the team should be defined for the process to be smooth. A content calendar comes in handy at this point of content marketing strategy. The marketing team can use the content calendar as a shareable resource to plan all the activities of content creation and promotion. Planning your digital content publishing ahead of time helps you to produce a consistent flow of content which builds credibility towards your brand. Availability of an up-to-date content calendar to all the members of the team helps for better coordination amongst the team, and everyone works according to the same plan and schedule. The inclusion of additional information such as persona and buying stage will give extra coverage. A single idea can produce content in different forms such as a blog, ebook, video, an infographic etc. The content calendar helps to organize and produce these different content forms out of the single concept and publish them. The most important aspect of this stage is how to promote your content. Choose a right channel to promote different forms of content. Your blog should be the first place to publish your content. But content in the form of video, ebook or infographic can also be published through appropriate sites such as YouTube, Slideshare, Pinterest etc. Social network sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Google Plus, and LinkedIn etc. can be used to place short posts which link back to your content. Your content should always be available to the members of your team who directly interact with customers so that they can directly distribute it to them.

4. Audience Acquisition

Content marketing is all about audience, it begins and ends with the audience. It is important to have insights about how a potential customer receiving your content and how it affects him with decision making to purchase. Audience development can be done in the following ways:

a) Influencers

Influencers play a crucial role in audience development. Identify influencers in your business area and fabric a path for mutual familiarity. Followers of this influencer on their social media accounts are your potential prospects or customers. Create content that a particular influencer would be interested in sharing with his/her audience. You can also request for feedback or quote from the influencers about your content, which earns the followers’ attention. Gaining links from influencers will improve your rank on search engine results pages (SERPs).

b) Search

To gain an audience from search, you have to monitor your content. Identify the keywords that your prospects or customers are using for search queries. Target and optimize your content using appropriate keywords. Monitor the performance of keywords you selected and how they are affecting the search rank and search traffic.

c) Paid

Paid traffic comes from search engine marketing (SEM), Facebook ads, sponsored Tweets or paid email newsletter distribution. A strategic content marketer would drive this traffic to content pages rather than product pages. The idea is to build a relationship with a prospect by sharing valuable content, which turns him into a loyal customer.

d) Syndication

Content syndication is the process of publishing or sharing your content with third-party sites. Syndicating your content will distribute it on a wider range and build a bigger audience. It develops a relationship between your prospects and your brand even before they visit your site and know about you. So, make sure to leave links back to your site.

5. Conversion & Nurturing

Your business is defined by who you serve. Final steps of content marketing strategy are converting site visitors to leads and nurture leads into customers. Some visitors will become customers right away when they click on your products. Some visitors spend some time navigating and leave the site without any profitable action. The objective of content marketing strategy at this point is to convince these visitors and bring them back. The best way to do this is by prominently displaying informative content which engages these visitors and convinces them to come that their time was well spent on your site. Lead nurturing is the process of developing a relationship with a prospect at every stage of sales funnel and through every step of buyer’s journey with valuable content. Lead nurturing focuses on listening to the needs of prospects and providing the content to answer their concerns. Consistently optimizing your site for these returning visitors will result in a conversion. Some experimenting with location and messages and A/B testing provide helpful insights where to tweak the process to nurture your leads. Offer short-form content link blog posts for free and ask for contact information if the visitor wants access to other valuable resources such as ebooks or guides. A prospect becomes a lead when they share the contact details and falls into a known entity. These leads should be nurtured by providing opportunities to become customers. Lead scoring is the ranking of prospects against a scale based on their value to the business. The lead score is used to determine the order of priority to engage leads. It allows a business to understand a prospect’s experience based on their buying stage and their interest levels to make a purchase. The worthiness of a lead can be determined when they provide their details, but the readiness of the lead to make a purchase solely depends on your marketing efforts. Now that the leads are interested in receiving information from you, the content that is delivered to their inbox should be much more precise, in accordance with their interests and their needs. Content should be tailored according to each persona at each stage of the buying process. It is time to configure your marketing automation system to create campaigns which will deliver content at consistent time periods that corresponds to your content matrix. A lead’s score increase when they are intent to make a purchase. As the score rises, your campaigns should transit from educational content to buyer’s guide and finally to testimonials, which matches lead’s buying journey. The best practice is to differentiate leads based on their response to your outreach and their readiness to buy your product. Marketing automation is sophisticated in a way to better differentiate leads and personalize content for them based on the buying stage. Delivering right content at the right time to each lead will inspire them to become a qualified purchaser.

6. Measure & Optimize

Since the campaigns are up and running in promoting your content, it is important to track and measure the results of these campaigns. Measuring the results identifies key performance indicators. Based on what is working and what is not, you can optimize your content and better align your strategy for maximum reach of audience. Pete Markey, brand communications and marketing director at Aviva, says – “Content marketing is as much about relevance as it is about reached, to create something genuinely helpful or with a purpose, which considers a person at a specific moment in their life”. According to a report by Acquia, content management firm, 45% of marketers measure repeat visits and transactions, 44% track brand awareness, 41% measure audience share, 38% measure customer satisfaction, 37% track unique visitors and 37% measure conversion rates. Here are few key points of what you can measure:

a) Most Effective Key Phrases

Identify which key phrases are most active and driving visits. This will give an idea about the audience’s persona or audience segment which is related to these keywords. Since it is clear now who you are writing for, so build content around these key phrases to keep them engaged and inspire them to move forward in the buying process.

b) High Bouncing Keywords

Identify high bouncing keywords and survey the visitors for feedback by placing calls-to-action directly on the bouncing page. Based on the feedback provided you can tailor the content to suit the visitor's requirements better.

c) Most Effective Social Networks

Measure the traffic volumes from different domains and bounce & click-through-rates. Improve the content where the bounce rates are high.

d) Referring Sites

Measure the link volume that your site receives from other websites. Develop more content based on the traffic from referring sites.

e) Effect of Content on Leads

Measure the value of your content to a user during buying cycle and if it is influencing a lead to become a customer.

f) A Rise in Engaging Users

Measure if visitors are navigating to more than one page during a session. If they do, it indicates that your content is engaging. Improve the engagement by enhancing your site's design and creating multiple routes to engage the pages of your site.

g) Feedback from Customers

Customer feedback is the ultimate measure of their satisfaction. Provide feedback forms and ask for their ratings and suggestions. Find out if the visitors found what they are looking for and how satisfied they are. The purpose of optimization is to monitor and test continuously. Analytics and customer feedback data provides best insights into the performance of your site and opportunities to improve.

Latest Trends in Content Marketing

Content marketing is going to become more important in 2018, and content creation and distribution will change the marketing strategies radically. According to Seth Godin, "content marketing is the only marketing left as its useful, authentic, and perfectly suited for the internet users." Content will continue evolving this year and beyond. Let's look into the latest content marketing trends that you should check to change your marketing strategies to keep pace with the latest changes.

1. Remarketing to Become the Engine of Lead Generation

Remarketing shows the people who have visited your site ads while surfing the entire web. Remarketing is booming. Marketers today are ploughing money into marketing more than ever. Look out the data below.

Remarketing Stats - Digital Ready

Conversion rates are increasing per ad impressions. The more people see an ad, the more there is an increase in conversion rate.

Conversion Rate Per Ad Seen - Digital Ready

Remarketing has become the key part for B2B marketers. 2018 prediction says that marketing will become the lead generation driving engine. More marketers are going to spend money on remarketing to get their offers before their prospects and turning them into qualified leads.

2. Personalized Content Experiences

Personalization that is one-to-one marketing is the key driver to get potential customers. The 2018 prediction says that marketers are going to push towards providing highly personalized experiences. It depends on data about your potential customers. The more you know them, the more you can deliver. Personalization narrows down the audience range and enhances the effectiveness of a campaign. Creating content for a broad audience is not the standard anymore. The audience should be segmented based on different criteria like age range, interests, timings, lifestyle etc. Content should be generated targeting each specific group. Applying different segmentation strategies will effectively categorize audience and make it easier to personalize the content. Personalization these days is not just mere mention of customer’s names and their birthdays. As consumers are aware of the amount of data you have, they expect to use it to their advantage. More focus on content personalization will be another trend to be followed in future.

Personalization Stats - Digital Ready

3. Video Content Marketing will Rule

According to a recent survey, more than 80% of marketers use content marketing. 2017 has seen an explosive growth of video content marketing. This raised the competition for 2018 and marketers are searching for various means to make video content as part of their content marketing strategy. Video content marketing has already become a norm in social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube etc.

Video Content Marketing on the Rise - Digital Ready

4. Internet of Things (IoT)

It makes perfect sense to say the world we currently live is nothing short of fantasy, with the internet of things. World of the internet of things emerging each day made the possibility of communication via networked connections. Users can communicate with any smart device within the smart home which is networked. Content creators will have to develop content which is customized to each of the different devices within IoT space.

Growth of Internet of Things - Digital Ready

5. Integration of Ecommerce & Social Media

Ecommerce and Social Media Integration - Digital Ready

Content creators have been using social media platforms to distribute content and build audiences. Social purchasing seems to be the latest trend where social media sites are integrating the properties of e-commerce. 2017 and beyond brings a multitude of challenges and opportunities for content marketers. Preparing yourself to adopt new changes will enable to stay ahead of the competition.

6. Virtual Reality (VR) & Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Pokemon Go has once again proved how curious the audience is to embrace new technology. Virtual reality and augmented reality have opened the doors for a whole new platform for content consumption. Rising need for visual content will make the path for virtual reality smooth in future. Artificial intelligence is going to change the landscape of content marketing. It enables the marketers to develop content that endorses your audience. One can format content for SEO and automate content distribution with the help of AI. AI is the fastest-growing marketing technology and tool for planned usage. 27% of the marketers are expecting to adopt AI in their marketing strategies in next couple of years.

Trends of 2018 for which Marketers are Unprepared -Digital Ready

7. User-Generated Content

Importance of User Generated Content - Digital Ready

Customers trust content coming from fellow customers more than brand’s content. User-generated content comes in the form of reviews, feedbacks, social shares, comments etc. Design your site to generate content for your users by providing them appropriate feedback forms or space to leave their comment or reviews about your services and their experiences with your brand. This builds trust among the customers, which in turn brings more buyers. User-generated content is going to be more important than ever before in 2018 with the rise of multichannel customers. Around 97% of the customers are more likely to purchase after interacting with user-generated content.

8. Mobile Content Marketing

Importance of Mobile Content Marketing - Digital Ready

Accessing information on mobile devices is more common these days than on desktops. Considering the shift in mobile use, better to align your content marketing mix with mobile marketing. Mobile contents can be optimized for multiple formats. More businesses have started adopting mobile-friendly formats. Brands will continue to create mobile apps, mobile pages and put mobile first.

9. More Bit-Sized Content

Long format contents are no longer on the runway. It’s time for short, meaningful, relevant, and attractive contents with visuals. For example, infographics, Tweetable graphics, or in-post graphics. People today prefer videos, infographics, social media posts to make any actionable decision. Instead of creating long-form content for any topic, make snackable content with a mix of image and text. See the below Tweetable graphic example.

Bit-sized Content: Tweetable Graphics - Digital Ready

Content Marketing at a Glance

Strategy Check List Content Promotion Measuring Success
Define your audience Influencers Consumption metrics
Determine the type of content Submissions to directories Sharing metrics
Refine and own keywords Share on social media Lead generation metrics
Calibrate your core message Share on relevant groups Sales metrics
Design an editorial calendar Run email campaigns  
Allocate resources Press release  

If you are looking for a comprehensive & guided digital marketing course, please check our Certificate Course in Digital Marketing (Offered at our Academy in Hyderabad)