Content marketing is taking off, and with good reason—it’s an effective way to reach potential customers and establish your brand as an authority in your industry. Many small businesses don’t know where to start when it comes to content marketing, though, and that’s why we wanted to write this guide on why content marketing is important for your business, plus how you can start creating content today. Let’s get started!
What Is Content Marketing
Content marketing isn’t about blogging or even social media. It’s not about selling either. And it’s certainly not a campaign designed to get you cheap traffic on a page that says buy now! It’s about writing great content and delivering real value with each piece you put out into your audience. You want to be as useful as possible, as often as possible, without expecting anything in return.
The payoff comes when people start linking to your posts and sharing them with their network; they become advocates of your business because they already know and trust you, and they believe in what you do enough to tell others. In other words, content marketing puts people first—and brings customers back time after time.
Writing excellent content will also help boost your SEO rankings by creating more authority around your brand. This signals Google that you are an expert in your field who knows how to attract like-minded individuals through great content. Because remember: no one knows who you are yet! Any new website starts from scratch and must work hard to gain legitimacy from search engines. More content written by you means more content available for search engines to crawl, which helps establish authority and credibility for your site in the long run.
Examples of Successful Content Strategies
There are many ways to get started with content marketing, but there’s one strategy that has been very successful in driving traffic and engagement on your website: providing free value to potential customers in exchange for their email addresses.
One company that relies heavily on content marketing is Maptia, a startup based in London. In just one year, they grew their email list to over 50,000 users by creating beautiful travel guides (with accompanying photos) of unusual destinations around the world. They then invite readers to subscribe to their newsletter (offering sneak peeks of new destinations and discount codes) in exchange for an email address. And each month, they publish several highly visual pieces of content around different themes. Because their content caters directly to travelers and adventurers who will spend money if given a great experience—and because these people tend to be social media-savvy—this approach works well for them.
Other startups have also seen success from creative content strategies that don't involve asking subscribers for money directly. For example, one digital publishing startup publishes news stories about Web security twice per week and engages readers with questions at the end of each post; after answering those questions via email or social media channels like Twitter or Facebook, readers become subscribers and gain access to paid resources hosted on its website.
The Power of Content Marketing
A few years ago, content marketing was considered a creative way to make money on the internet. But these days, it’s so much more than that. These days, content marketing can help your business stand out in a crowded marketplace and can be used to build brand awareness or even boost sales. Regardless of your business model (whether you sell products or services), having a strong online presence and an engaged following are critical success factors in today’s digital world. That’s where content marketing comes into play: It allows you to create engaging, shareable content around what your business does best. And if done right, content can drive traffic, social shares, and—most importantly—revenue to your site/blog/shop/etc. Some businesses use infographics as an engaging form of data visualization; others turn their podcasts into audio-only versions of their blogs. The possibilities are limitless!
Content vs. Traditional Advertising
Content marketing and traditional advertising are closely related, but also distinct. While traditional advertising typically involves a company’s promotion of its products or services through media channels that require paying large sums of money (for example, radio, television, print, and online display ads), content marketing focuses on promoting brands or products through content creation and sharing activities. This includes written blogs posts, online videos, and infographics. Since it allows business owners to reach their target audiences directly through existing platforms such as social media networks, content marketing can save companies both time and money compared to traditional advertising methods.
However, content marketing shouldn’t be confused with influencer marketing. Traditional advertising takes place outside of social media platforms, while content marketing efforts take place largely within them. These two types of campaigns have distinctly different outcomes—and shouldn’t be compared against one another when conducting market research or trying to determine which method would work best for your brand strategy. As long as you understand why each approach works and what makes them unique from one another, you should be able to craft a successful content marketing campaign that meets your overall business goals.
How To Start A Content Strategy For Your Brand
You can’t have a successful business these days without an online presence, and you certainly can’t have a strong online presence without content. Content marketing refers to any sort of content (written, visual, audio) that you create specifically to drive business. It might seem overwhelming at first, but with some tips from experienced professionals and a little bit of elbow grease from your team, it’s something that you can develop and keep up with on your own—it doesn’t need to be outsourced or expensive. Developing an effective content strategy will save you money down the road while helping to establish brand loyalty. Content writing should form a solid foundation for your brand and help put you in control of your message. Here are five steps to take toward creating one:
1. Define who you are: A content writer needs to understand who they’re writing for before they begin creating content in earnest. Knowing who you’re trying to reach out to convert them into paying customers is critical; if people don’t want what you have, there's no reason for them to spend time reading about it! Figure out how many different kinds of users visit your site and how often so that your strategy targets those specific demographics effectively.
2. Determine who you're not: After figuring out exactly who your audience is, it’s important to figure out which other companies aren't included within your target demographic. This way, when you start coming up with content ideas, they will be extremely focused on that niche audience instead of being generic and oversaturated content that may end up confusing potential buyers. This step also helps writers stay away from me too pieces–content that has already been created by other similar businesses and just regurgitated by yours.
3. Develop long-term goals: When developing your content strategy, think about what kind of results you want in six months, a year, and three years. Are you looking to acquire new users? Have a large social media following? Get more traffic to your website? Depending on whether or not these things apply to your brand identity and goals, determine where it is most appropriate for you to place each type of content. And after setting goals, make sure that all employees involved know their roles as well!
4. Find subject matter experts/other brands: One easy way for companies to learn more about their ideal audience is through speaking with experts in their field and observing competitors both offline and online. The good news here is that, especially in content writing, your company doesn’t even necessarily have to be industry-related. For example, a food company could learn more about consumers through observing and analyzing content from fashion blogs to see what makes their followers tick.
5. Build your content calendar: Once you get started on building your content calendar, you may find that sometimes whole weeks go by without you posting anything new. Make sure to include topics for each week, and then move things around based on fresh ideas or external factors such as holidays and seasonal events. Keep track of how much work goes into your content creation—things like research, development, and revising—so you can decide if outsourcing any parts of it would be helpful to you or your budget. Don’t be afraid to make yourself available to your audience either! We’re sure they have questions, and making yourself available for comments or chatting with them in forums or via email is an awesome way to talk about what you offer and build trust with new visitors.
Beyond Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube: This can be a great way to organize content across a variety of channels in addition to helping users share it easily!
6. Stay on top of SEO: This allows you better chances of appearing higher up in search engine rankings. Taking advantage of tools like Buffer can help you post content at optimal times throughout each day as well.
7. Don’t forget about mobile! More and more traffic comes from mobile users, so make sure your content translates into a format that’s easy to read and share from a smartphone or tablet.
8. Don’t be afraid to fail! By analyzing what has worked (and hasn't) through trial and error, you'll be able to learn more about what works best for your business.
9. Never underestimate the power of referrals! User-generated content may result in users becoming brand advocates—if it's positive, that is! Encourage your audience to use social media to help get your message out to their friends, families, and followers.
Beyond Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube: These are all huge sites on which your company can benefit by sharing its content (and branding!) with other networks such as Reddit or Tumblr and publishing valuable industry news on Medium. And that’s it your content strategy is ready.
Hope this article was helpful. If you are searching for the best Content Marketing agency, do contact Social Croww. Want to learn more? Connect-with-us. We will be happy to answer your queries.
We offer all kinds of content marketing services that give your brand the voice it deserves. Send your questions and requirements to us and we will be happy to help!