What is Content Marketing?
April 1, 2021
What’s the best way to captivate your target audience and cultivate a wellspring of revenue, in the most informed generation in decades? Content marketing.
You want to capture your customers’ attention, yet you don’t want to come off as too salesy. You want to build community around your brand but you need strategy. Well, content marketing is a powerful way to engage observers and transform them into warm leads. It is a strategy to establish your authority within your market while increasing your visibility.
Content marketing is the strategic rhythm of generating captivating content to target your ideal customers and bring them into a topic-centered community. As you nourish this community with high-value, useful content, you build trust as an authority and eventually turn them into paying customers.
A study conducted by Hubspot said “WordPress users produce about 70 million new posts and 77 million new comments each month.” Content marketing is on the rise, yet content marketers must focus on refining their strategy in order to pierce through the noise.
Why is content marketing important?
The content you create is, at its core, written communication addressed towards your target audience. You are showcasing your brand personality, providing customer service through education, all while providing solutions and advice to your customers through content.
Content marketing is a powerful way to establish thought leadership
As you make new discoveries and solve customer problems through your business solutions, you can take that knowledge and package it in a way that positions you as an expert and thought leader within your industry. You establish a reputation as a trusted advisor to your customers. What better way to demonstrate your years of industry expertise to the masses?
Content marketing helps generate warm leads for your business
Content marketing is also a way to build relationships and connections with individuals and organizations in your industry. As you give advice online, you will come to mind when people are looking for the solutions you offer.
Content marketing helps you build trust within your market
As you build a rhythm of content creation, sharing specific, relevant, high value content over time, you strengthen connections and build trust among your industry. As you add value, people will know that you are not just looking to make a sale, but you are truly looking to help.
So, where do you start with your content marketing? Here are a few powerful content marketing strategies to help engage your community and grow your brand.
Strategies for content marketing
1. Start with why
If you were to describe your business or your brand to seventh grader, what would you say? It is important to know how to explain your business value on simple terms so that when your customers interact with your social media posts, blog articles and forum comments, they instantly get it. The Internet moves fast, especially social media. Everyone is competing for your customers’ attention. So, why you do what you do must be crystal clear.
If your message isn’t clear, people start to tune out and eventually your content will be weeded out by the algorithm. This is why you should take some time to discuss the principles of your business with your marketing team.
What causes and values drive your business? Who is your target persona and why do they care about your services or products? If your value isn’t clear, your business could be seen as irrelevant. So, not only should you start with why, but return to that “why” every time your messaging falls through the cracks.
Your "why" will also help you determine which content marketing techniques work best for you. Social media may prove more effective when appealing to younger audiences, whereas email marketing may be more effective when it comes to a business client.
Your "why" should inform every part of your content marketing strategy.
2. Educate your customers
The more educated and informed your customers are, the better buying decisions they can make. When they make better buying decisions, they become repeat customers. Use your content marketing as a tool to empower your customers to become better buyers, improving their business decisions and allowing them to experience the full benefit of your products or services.
There are many creative ways you can educate your customers. You can create tutorials, videos, infographics, list posts and more.
3. Create a place of community with content marketing
Your online community is the digital living room of your business. The living room is where conversations happen and where guests and new customers are welcomed. Community can be a powerful way to bring your target audience together to receive support and guidance from your business and even from one another.
It’s also a great setting to share your brand story and to explore your "why". You can utilize polls, live video and have ongoing conversations to further engage members. The more engaged people are in your community, the more likely they are to make a purchasing decision in your business’ favor.
4. Automate your customer journey with an email list
People are using social media for entertainment, inspiration and to check in on friends and family. People use blog posts and websites to conduct research. Well, email is where people do business. Invoices, receipts, proposals and other business decisions are handled through the email inbox. Individual and business customers engage differently with the email inbox than they do with social media or blog articles.
Start with an email capture. It could be located on your home page, or you could create an email signup page to share on social media. Create a lead magnet by offering something of value to intrigue your target audience in exchange for their email list.
Once you have their email, then the magic begins. You can reach out to inspire them, to educate them and to update them on your latest business offerings. Generating sales can be as simple as sending an email when your list has been engaged and nurtured over time.
Start by writing three or four emails that describe the value proposition that you offer your customers. Tell your brand story in a way that is personal and engaging to your customers. Tell them why you do what you do and how you can help them. In each email, invite them to have a conversation with you by replying to the email, joining your Facebook community or completing a survey. Let them know that their input is valuable.
You can use an email service provider such as MailChimp or ConvertKit to schedule those emails to automatically send as soon as customers join your email list.
5. Leverage the use of video to engage new audiences
Video has become more and more popular with the introduction of platforms like YouTube and with the growth of platforms such as Tik-Tok, IGTV and Facebook Watch.
While some customers enjoy reading, you have a new set of people who are visual learners and prefer video content. Video content can be a great way to make a genuine connection with your target market. You can show people how to use your products by doing tutorials on Tik-Tok. You can teach a masterclass on IGTV or Facebook Watch. You can conduct interviews of thought leaders within your market on YouTube. The possibilities are endless.
Find ideas for videos on YouTube and TikTok by researching what your competitors are posting and even watching viral videos across different verticals. The best ideas can sometimes be a mosh of two totally different ideas. Get creative! Just be sure the videos you create are true to your brand identity and messaging.
6. Host live, virtual experiences
What better way to connect with your target audience than to have a live, virtual experience? You can connect with your audience directly using webinars or by going live on social media platforms such as Instagram, YouTube or Facebook.
There is also a new platform, called Clubhouse, that allows you to have an interactive, audio-only discussions with others in real-time. You can invite panelists and other thought leaders to share in order to broaden your audience and create more value for your customers.
As you develop your content marketing strategy, brainstorm conversations that your customers are interested in having. What questions have your customers asked you? Build a live experience that invites your customers to get to know you and your brand better, thereby building stronger, deeper connections with real customers.
Live conversations are also a great way for you to learn more about your customers' problems and the type of content you should be developing. Take this information back into your content marketing strategy.
7. Repurpose content, but make it native
The magic of content marketing is that you can use the same content over and over again, while reformatting it to assimilate to the look and feel of the platform. Native content appears in a way that is consistent with the platform’s design and guidelines. For example, Instagram is a visual platform, while LinkedIn focuses on educating and building thought leadership so your LinkedIn strategy would be different from your Instagram strategy.
Create one major, longer piece of content such as an article or video and break it into different formats like podcasts, quotes, memes, shorter video clips - you name it!
Finally, measure your success
Most online platforms including WordPress and social media, incorporate tools you can use to measure how your content is performing. Be sure to utilize these tools so that you can understand what is and isn’t working for your business. Implement a process for reporting your data and making regular improvements.
As you implement these strategies, let us know which one brings the most growth in your business! We’re rooting for you!
About THE AUTHOR
After working for multiple digital advertising agencies and managing hundreds of client accounts, spending millions of dollars via Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Native Ads and Direct Media Buying, I took things out on my own and started SparrowBoost. Now, my tight-knit team and I continue to get smarter and more efficient at running our own campaigns and we share our knowledge with you.Learn more about SparrowBoost