Often used to describe a wide range of marketing disciplines, ‘content marketing’ can be a confusing term. Online PR, blogging and social media are just some of the elements that make up content marketing, so, in this Digital Marketing Basics post, we’re going to cover off what content marketing is and how it benefits your business.
So, what is content marketing?
To find the most reliable definition of content marketing, I always find it useful to look to the pros; The Content Marketing Institute. Their definition just so happens to be one of the most comprehensive:
“Content marketing is 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.”
– Content Marketing Institute
Let’s break that down into human speak, shall we?
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach…”
PLAN: Your content marketing efforts shouldn’t be random – they need to have strategic thinking behind them, with a solid plan in place. By being strategic in our approach, we’re able to focus our efforts and get better results.
“…focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content…”
CREATE: As part of your content marketing efforts, you’re going to create some awesome content that your audience is going to love. Thanks to your strategy, you’ll know exactly what types of content to create and the problem you are trying to solve for your audience.
“…to attract and retain a clearly defined audience…”
PROMOTE: Content Marketing exists to attract the right kinds of people for your business. Great content is only useful to your audience if they can find it. By promoting it in the right places, and attracting your ideal customer, you’re able to increase your chance of finding a qualified lead. And once you’ve got their attention, you’ll want to keep them! Retain them with even more valuable content.
“…and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
ANALYSE: Whilst content isn’t there to serve as a ‘hard sell’, it is there to drive a desired action from your ideal customer. Did your efforts pay off? Did you drive a profitable customer action? By analysing our efforts, we’re able to see if all our hard work has paid off.
More importantly, how does content marketing benefit my business?
Now that we understand what content marketing is, it’s useful to understand how it benefits your business. Below are just some of the ways your business can benefit from implementing content marketing into its marketing efforts.
Builds brand awareness
By consistently producing useful, problem-solving content you’re able to build digital word of mouth with your ideal customers. People will keep coming back to you as a knowledgeable source of information and share it with their peers if it adds value to them. You’ll become the company that people rely on – making them more likely to buy your products or services.
“Content is the best medium for solving problems, entertaining people and adding value.”
It retains and builds loyalty with your customers
Want to keep your customers around for longer? Then you need to keep creating content that adds value to their lives. Think about the brands you’re most loyal to; why do you keep going back to them? It’s because they add value to you. Content is the best medium for solving problems, entertaining people and adding value.
It has a direct, tangible impact on your site’s SEO
By using keywords in your content you think people might use to find your company, products or services, you’re more likely to appear in search when people are trying to solve problems.
For example, if you were an accountant worried about losing customers to the new school of accounting apps, you might write a blog post called ‘7 reasons to hire a local accountant instead of using an app’. Not only does this post promote the value of your services, it’s targeted towards a query a potential customer might search for, such as; ‘accountants vs apps’.
Drives profitable customer actions
Perhaps one of the best qualities of content marketing is its relevance throughout the Buyer’s Cycle. Whether someone is researching, considering or making a decision about your products or services, content marketing can be used to target potential customers at every stage.
For example, if someone was researching accounting firms, and they were trying to decide who to go with, they might go to a third party site for an impartial opinion. Perhaps they come across a list ‘10 of the best accounts in Liverpool’. As the accounting firm, you would want your name to appear in the list and enter into the mind of your potential customer.
These are just some of the ways content marketing benefits your business. If you want to get a deeper understanding of how it can help your business, download our free eBook; The Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing.
Got a question about content marketing?
If you’d like further advice or support on your own content marketing efforts, get in touch with our team on Twitter with #ContentMarketingQ, we can’t wait to help! And you can enjoy even more Digital Marketing Basics posts by subscribing to the J&R Journal.