Content marketing is not a buzzword. It’s a proven method to nurture leads and get your target audience to notice you.
When a person notices your business, usually, their first interaction happens with your content. That content could be a blog post, ebook, checklist, infographic, social media post, YouTube video, or a podcast. That first interaction can determine if a person continues engaging with your business or brand.
That’s why it’s so crucial to have an effective content marketing strategy. A good plan can turn strangers into loyal followers.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is an inbound strategy that allows a company to create authentic and meaningful content for its audience. Content is a natural way to connect with your audience and set yourself apart from your competitors.
The ultimate goal of content marketing is to create value for your audience so that you become a reliable source for information, products, or services.
When done correctly, content marketing can increase your audience size, brand awareness, conversions, and sales.
Why is content marketing important?
There are many ways to reach a target audience, so why should you consider content marketing?
The truth is, people don’t want to get immediately hit with a sales pitch. They want to get to know your brand and decide if they like and trust you. Earning trust from your audience will make it easier to build a loyal customer base.
Content marketing can help you build a loyal community, educate your audience, and develop strong relationships.
Different Types of Content Marketing
Content marketing can come in a variety of forms. It’s not only blogging! Let’s go over what type of content you can create for your audience.
Videos also have high engagement! As many as 89% of marketers say that videos, in general, resulted in a good ROI. This is because video marketing engages an audience in a way that text just simply cannot. Visuals can leave a lasting impression of your brand and its personality, which in turn gains your audience’s trust.
55% of Americans have listened to a podcast, which presents a huge opportunity for reach! Some people listen to podcasts for entertainment, others for fun, and some to learn, so it’s a great opportunity for your brand to contribute to these conversations happening all over the world.
A podcast can cover numerous topics including business, travel, personal development, and more. Choose a topic that is in line with your brand or your audience’s needs and start producing episodes.
You can invite guest experts to join your podcast, share stories from your audience, or solve problems that your listeners are experiencing. There are a lot of creative ways to connect with your audience with podcasting.
Pro Tip: Podcasts can also be repurposed into other content to reach even more of your audience.
One advantage of having an email list is that you will always have access to your subscribers. (Unlike social media where outages and the algorithm may work against you.) Email is a direct line of contact, so prioritize email and building out your subscriber list!
You can also send personalized emails by segmenting your email subscribers. This is highly recommended if you have multiple customer personas and will let you send specific content that your subscriber wants from you.
Blogging is where you can let your expertise and creativity shine through. Share topics that matter to your audience and open it up for a conversation with a comment section.
A blog can increase traffic to your website and build brand awareness. Businesses that blog can get twice as much email traffic than companies that don’t. Talk about using email marketing strategically!
Other ways to strategically increase your blog traffic is to add internal and external links to related posts. Guest blogging on other websites can help boost your audience reach as well.
But what do you do with all of this traffic? The good news is that you can monetize your blog! Many bloggers earn money with ads, affiliate links, and sponsored content.
Social Media 📱
There are many social media platforms to choose from - Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram are just some of the options (but we recommend having at least a few active which will help to increase reach and increase brand trust).
These platforms let you create and share different types of content with your audience. Everything from posts, photos, live videos, and more are available. They’re an excellent way for your audience to get to know you better by sharing things like behind the scenes content, live Q&As, polls, and much more!
Pro Tip: Stuck on social media content ideas? We brainstormed 30 social media posts for you!
User-Generated Content (UGC)
Any content marketer can tell you that continuously churning out new content can get exhausting. So why not have your audience do it for you?
User-generated content is created by your fans and not by you, but you can share and promote it! This also works to promote authenticity, build trust, show your audience that you value them and increase engagement. Plus, people trust other people’s real testimonials, so UGC is an excellent way of demonstrating this.
Webinars are essentially educational presentations on a specific topic. They usually include slides or visuals and may involve more than one person speaking on a particular subject.
They are a great way to get a little more personal with your audience, put a face to the name, and establish credibility. Hosting a webinar is also a great chance to show your audience a less formal side, bring out some humor, and get to know them better.
Webinars can seem like large productions, but even small businesses can create webinars, so give it a shot!
Creating a Content Marketing Strategy
Now that we’ve discussed content types, let’s go over how to create a content marketing strategy. Yes, you need a plan! Putting out new content with no aim might not resonate with your audience and certainly won’t help grow your business.
The first step is to create a goal. You need to be specific about WHY you want to make that content. Some common content marketing goals include:
- Increase engagement
- Boost website traffic
- Improve brand awareness
- Increase conversions
- Build relationships with influencers or brands
Define your audience persona
Once you know your goal, you can define or re-evaluate your audience persona. Your persona will help determine what type of content you should create. How can you reach this person and address their problems and desires?
Depending on your business, you may have multiple personas. You also may have to create different content to reach all of them, but the effort is worth it. You don’t want to leave a valuable audience behind by ignoring them.
Pro Tip: If you’re unsure where to start, check out our guide on defining your audience persona.
Create a content calendar 🗓
At this point, you’re ready to start brainstorming content that is valuable to your audience.
But first, you need to create a space to keep track of your content! That’s where content calendars come in to save the day.
Content calendars will keep your content organized and ensure that you are clear on what will be published. This is the ultimate method for staying consistent with your content distribution.
Create content ✍
This is where the fun begins! Now you get to create content and distribute it to your audience. You can use social media tools like Later or Hootsuite to schedule your content in advance and save yourself some time. Both tools have free and paid plans.
Analyze your results 📈
Keep track of the results you get from your content marketing efforts. Every week, month, or quarter, you can analyze the metrics and determine if you are reaching your goals.
Suppose you are hitting your goals, great! Keep doing what you’re doing to engage your audience.
If you find that you’re missing the mark, take the time to re-evaluate your efforts and identify the problems you may be having with your content marketing.
Bonus Content Marketing Tactic: Engagement
There’s more to content marketing than posting pretty photos and stylish videos. One central point of content marketing is to create opportunities for you to engage with your audience.
So don’t forget to actually engage with them! Respond to their comments on your blog and social media feed. Encourage your audience to send you messages on Twitter. Follow-up with someone if you notice that they wrote a complaint on social media.
Content will give your audience something to talk about online. Engaging with those comments will help you build relationships. Relationships will create better conversion rates.
Content marketing creates connections with your audience and builds relationships with them. Every business needs strong relationships with their audience to succeed. Content marketing will help promote your credibility, build trust, and nurture leads.
Get started by evaluating your current efforts and determining which content resonates with your audience.
What is your favorite content type? We’re clearly big fans of blogging 🙃. Let us know your favorite in the comments section!