Content marketing is one of the easiest ways to gain the trust of consumers as an authority in your industry.
We operate in a buyer-driven market where buyers reach out to sellers, fully informed on what they want, specifications they require and their reasons for those requirements.
According to this study, consumers spend an average of 79 days conducting online research before they make a purchase. 81% of people also research online before making big purchases. By the time they are done with their research, they are fully informed of the options available to them.
All this is because of the content buyers are now exposed to. Content drives the market now and every business should be able to understand and take advantage of the benefits of content marketing.
Content marketing involves creating and sharing beneficial and engaging information online for your target audience. The aim is to gain the attention of potential customers, while subtly marketing your products or services to them.
Content marketing is not direct marketing. It is concerned with providing your audience with useful information they can benefit from.
How does content marketing help your brand?
There are two major ways content marketing can benefit your brand:
1. It drives new leads to your website and social media pages.
If you provide information people are actively searching for online, your brand will gain a lot of attention and recognition through organic traffic.
2. It establishes you as an expert in your field.
To be able to provide usable information, it means that you have a very good understanding of your industry. This promotes trust in your brand and the products under the brand.
To make the best out of your customer’s exposure to information, you should be providing enough content that gives a clear view of your products and the needs they satisfy.
NOTE: There are a variety of content creation tools and resources available, that can assist you during your planning and execution stages.
Content Formats Consumers are interested in:
- Blog posts
- Product reviews
- Social media posts
- Comments on both blogs and social media posts
- Podcasts and webinars
- Live Chats
- Virtual events
- Surveys and polls
- Emails and newsletters
Note: It is unrealistic for any organization to attempt to effectively explore all the content formats available. All you need is to identify the few that work for you and resonate with your audience. Instead of spreading your content too thin to cover all the channels, you can focus on the few you’ve chosen and make them a mine of information.
Questions to Ask During Content Creation Process:
Who am I creating this for?
You need to be sure that your target audience will be interested in the content you are giving them. Whatever information you are sending out must have the power to pique their interest.
Does this information solve any problem?
What can be gained from consuming your content? It is important to have a clear view of this before you start, so you don’t lose focus of the key points.
What channel would suit this content?
The type of content will determine how it will be presented. For example, a product review can be presented as a blog post supported with images, or as a video. Interviews could be made into audio files and made available for online listening.
Does it depict the unique style of my brand?
Your brand should have a significant style that every content published must follow. It could be the writing style or graphics used. A regular reader/viewer should be able to identify content from your brand by a glance.
Content Marketing Strategies to Apply
1. Identify your buyer persona
To effectively engage your target audience, you need to know what their interests are. You can do this by conducting market research and converting your data into usable information by designing a buyer persona.
2. Get creative
When you fully understand your audience, you can identify what issues might pose a problem for them. Using this, map out content ideas and develop and schedule them using a content calendar like CoSchedule to keep your content organized and promote timely uploads.
3. Keep an eye on your competitors
While working with your own ideas, it is still important to stay updated on what the competition is doing. If there’s spiked interest from your target public on a topic or trend, try a test run and include it in your content.Watching the competition also gives you the opportunity to identify the areas they are lacking in, and include them in your own content marketing strategy.
Watching the competition also gives you the opportunity to identify the areas they are lacking in, and include them in your own content marketing strategy.
4. Encourage social media sharing
Posting and promoting content on your social media pages is just one part of using social media as a strategy.
You should also encourage readers/viewers to promote your content on their own pages. You can make this easier by providing social share buttons.
Regardless, when you put out interesting, usable information, most people will share them without being prompted to do so.
Content marketing can be overwhelming in the beginning because of the amount of creativity (and actual creating) needed to make it work. It is advisable to start with just one or two content formats, get comfortable using them, and grow from there.
Also, remember that content marketing strategies are constantly evolving with the needs of the consumers. Periodic research is needed to stay up-to-date with what your target audience wants to see. This can be done easily using surveys and online polls.
What content marketing formats do you use for your business and why do you prefer them? Be sure to leave a comment below!