Introduction to content marketing
It is a truism to state that traditional methods of conducting advertisements are becoming more and more unreliable by the day. Forward-thinking marketer s will tell you that there is a better way of doing advertisements, a way that is efficient and strategic in nature.
Content marketing is a marketing approach that is strategic and is primarily focused on the creation and distribution of consistent, relevant and valuable content for the purpose of attracting and retaining a well-defined audience as defined in the business, content and marketing plans.
Ultimately the goal is to propel customer action that is profitable in nature. Instead of pitching one’s services and products you focus on providing the customer with content that is useful and relevant with the goal of helping them find a solution to their problems.
Why marketers should consider content marketing and its benefits
This type of marketing strategy focuses on creating, distributing and publishing to a specific audience. Businesses use this type of market strategy to achieve the following goals;
- To engage the vast online community users
- Expansion of clientele base
- Increase or generate online sales
- Increase the credibility of a particular brand together with its awareness online
- Generate leads while drawing attention to a particular product or service
Content marketing is an efficient way of attracting prospective customers and also turning those prospects into customers or clientele. This is achieved simply by creating and sharing free information or content online that is useful to your target audiences.
The use of this strategy helps businesses, companies and organizations create brand loyalty that is sustainable, it helps in providing the customer with information that is valuable and it also creates willingness among both prospective customers and returns customers to engage the firm in the future for business.
One thing that makes content marketing stand out from other online marketing strategies is the fact that it heavily relies on meeting and anticipating the needs of the existing clientele in terms of information.
As James O’ Brien of “Contently” eloquently put it to marketers, the idea central to this marketing strategy is that a brand must provide something valuable in order to get something valuable in return.
The gist of this statement is that instead of merely being the commercial, one should endeavour to be the show instead of just being the banner advertisement aim at being the feature story.
Effective content marketing requires that one produces large amounts of content continuously, the content should come ideally, from a well-formulated content marketing strategy. A business that decides to use this marketing strategy should primarily focus on the needs of the customers or prospective customer.
Once the need of the customer or prospective customer has been positively identified, valuable information can be presented to the prospects and customers in various formats. The business may decide to use case studies, white papers, videos, podcasts, blogs, how-to-guides, email newsletters and infographics. Most of these formats for presenting information to prospects and customers are found in digital channels.
Therefore, digital content marketing is a process whereby the management uses electronic channels to forecast, identify and satisfy the content needs of a particular online audience. The digital content must also be updated constantly so as to have an influence on the behaviour of the customers and prospective customers.
But why content marketing?
In answering the question why content marketing? It is important for one to understand the steps of the buying cycle. There are four steps in the process of buying or purchasing goods or services these four steps are as follows;
Before being aware, the customer or prospect may have a particular need that needs to be satisfied but they are not aware that there is a readily available solution.
Once the prospect or customer comes to the realisation that there is a solution that can satisfy their need, they begin conducting research with the aim of educating themselves about it. For example, a buyer may try to find out the different types of motor vehicles that exist and which one will be best suited for their needs.
At this point, the customer begins to compare and contrast products from different sellers with the aim of establishing which among them is offering the best deal in terms of pricing and quality.
At this point, the customer makes a final decision and moves forward to complete the transaction.
Research has shown that content marketing focuses primarily on the first two steps of the buying process. Content marketing is interested in raising awareness about a certain product or service that is being offered while at the same time educating the customers or prospective customers about a service or product that they may have never come across.
Businesses that have used this marketing strategy effectively have reported an increase in terms of profitable customer action. This means potential customers or clientele find value in their content and by the time they are contacting respective businesses they are already convinced that they should do business with a particular enterprise.
The implication of this on businesses is that they find no need to engage in high-pressure sales campaigns. It becomes a matter of going through details, signing agreements and getting started on a transaction.
One major benefit of content marketing is that it helps in establishing trust between the prospective customer or customer with an enterprise. The trust that needs to be worked on during high-pressure sales campaigns is already acquired even before the business itself is aware of the existence of a potential customer.
Benefits of content marketing
There is a popular phrase that says ‘’ content is king.’’ For a while content marketing used to be a way that business and organizations set themselves apart from the rest.
Over the past few years, this has changed drastically, content marketing has become essential for any modern brand worth it’s salt. Behind every reputable brand, there is a great wealth of valuable and relevant content that effectively connects with that particular brand’s audience.
Below are some top reasons why one should consider employing content marketing as a strategy to propel your business into the next level.
Brand’s Reputational Improvement
Content marketing is an effective way of cultivating a sustainable relationship between a product or service provider with their prospects and customers.
The capabilities of building a good reputation for a brand is something that makes content marketing a must for many businesses. Today’s digital market place is a beehive of activities; it is therefore, of paramount importance that a business strives to build trust using their leads and customers alike.
Building trust with your clientele is essential in creating and sustaining a brand reputation that is positive. Creating content that is custom is a fantastic way of building and cultivating goodwill between the business and its customers.
When a customer begins to read the content of a business they automatically begin to form an opinion of your business and brand. If the information they find therein is useful, educative and engaging the same will be translated in the manner they perceive your enterprise. This being the case, one should realise that the more value your content generates the easier it becomes to build trust with your prospects and customers.
Great content is helpful in influencing conversions
If you study conversion statics you will be able to understand why content marketing is so important.
According to ABG Essentials content marketing provides businesses with conversion rates 6 times more than other digital marketing strategies.
According to a research conducted by Content Marketing Institute, it was shown that after reading a blog and its recommendations, 61% of online users in the United States of America decided to buy a particular product.
This marketing strategy helps increase conversions mainly because it allows the business to connect and educate its customers and leads effectively.
By helping the consumers make educated purchasing decisions, one is able to gain their trust and in the process, this helps in improving conversions.
In order for one to maximize their content for conversions, it is advisable that they add a call to action. The purpose of including a call to action is to guide the readership on what to do next.
Whether conversion means contacting the firm’s sales team, more information or buying a product or service it is important that you make this very clear to the person reading.
Great content is effective in optimizing your SEO efforts
The importance of content as a marketing strategy becomes crystal clear if one considers the important role content helps improve your company’s Search Engine Optimization.
SEO operates to improve your firm’s or company’s online visibility. For a company’s online visibility to improve it must create content that is optimized.
According to a study conducted by Tech Client, the creation of content is usually the most effective way of achieving online visibility. The more content you have on your firm’s website, the more likely a search engine will show users in their search results.
Secondly, it is important to note that having more pages does not necessarily mean more traffic or higher traffic. What this does it enables or provides an opportunity for your brand to appear for more keywords during a search. Something worth mention is the fact that the more content you have on your site the more reasons visitors have to stay around. This is great because a higher on-site time can greatly impact your SEO
Creating content that is great is a cheap way of bringing in new leads
Lead generation is very important for small firms or businesses. These establishments are reliant on traffic that is consistent so that they may grow their brand and boost their sales. Content marketing affords small enterprises a great way to conduct lead generation without breaking their banks.
According to Demand Metric, although content marketing costs 62% less than the ordinary marketing strategies, it generates three times as many leads. The affordability of this marketing strategy makes it a must-have for many small enterprises that are looking to maximize their budget.
Content affords you the opportunity to showcase your expertise in a certain field
Consumers are very keen on ensuring that they are dealing with people who are well versed with what they do.
They need to be assured that you are well versed with the ins and outs of your respective field or industry. One is able to demonstrate their expertise through the content they provide their readership.
As you are providing the readers with valuable information you are building trust while at the same time helping the client makes educated decisions in regards to a purchase. Make a purchase or not, the customer will remember the brand site that offered them the most valuable information.
The consumers need to have a piece of mind; they need to feel that their needs are being taken care of by industry experts who can easily troubleshoot issues that come up and give them credible answers to their queries.
Recommendation or content marketing takeaway
If you are still wondering why content marketing is the future of your enterprise, consider how effectively it can help you build a sustainable relationship with your clientele.
Once you have that in your mind consider the immense benefits that come with having a good reputation within the market place.
Reputation precedes your business a good reputation guarantees you customers long before you even interact with them. Failure to use this strategy at this day and age is an act equal to shooting oneself in the foot.
The strategy has been proven to work over the years and its results are when used effectively nothing short of phenomenal.
Using content marketing as a marketing strategy is a good way of ensuring your customers come back and secondly it is a good way of creating powerful brand ambassadors.
Content marketing is helpful to businesses of all sizes; it not only helps you boost your online visibility but also helps in building better relationships with your leads and customers.
What is content curation
Good content curation methods are usually not easy to come by. Content curation refers to the gathering of information related to a particular area or topic of interest. People who gather this information are called content Curators. Most businesses and individuals benefit from content curation methods as it groups enough information in a single place. Unlike the museum curators, content curators compile original information in the form of commentaries. Individual companies can also curate original content basing on their information. Here is a good content curation guide for you. Content marketing works hand-in-hand with SEO services and it is one of the best methods when creating viral content used by SEO companies and consultants.
You can carry out content curation either automatically, manually or through a combination of both manual and automatic methods. Manual curation is made by specialized curators while automatic curation follows three methods. These include;
- Social rating,
- Collaborative filtering, and
- Semantic analysis
Content Curation Methods
With this approach, the curators adopt recommendations and user ratings of content. The system identifies people whose interests are similar to the end user and make recommendations basing on the activities of the selected people. Most social sites such as Flipboard and Facebook use social rating by providing information basing on user’s likes, favorite pages, and recommendations.
The social ranking method considers the parameters such as page likes and shares. This reason explains why when you like a particular page on Facebook, you get other suggestions of groups dealing with the same topic. Other sites like Pinterest allow users to share and discuss the curated content
This method works on the belief that the selections a user makes now, predicts his future selections. It’s a process where the system forecasts the user’s behavior basing on past choices or selection. In most cases, collaborative filtering depends on the views of a particular social group or their votes on a certain topic. Most modern trends use the collaborative filtering method of content curation.
Businesswise, this curation method helps entrepreneurs to predict the overall target consumer pattern. They also determine the kind of content to suggest for these target groups basing on previous selections. This method explains how sites such as YouTube, Reddit, Amazon, and Digg operate.
Semantic curation works on the policy of factor analysis whereby relationships between various content is studied. The method examines how different elements relate to the source of information found in a given document. In this case, the system picks up and analyses all the topics and terms in a given source of information.
Sites such as StumbleUpon use this method of breaking down the content as per the topic, subtopic, and particular category. You can get all information you want by following the prompts on this site. Other sites combine semantic analysis, the AI technology, and user feedback to make refined content selections.
Content Curation Ideas
It’s imperative to apply various curation techniques to realise maximum results from content curation. Here are the top suggestions for maximising on curated content.
Social Media Sharing
Share a link to your favourite social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. You need to provide a link that best explains what your content is all about. This form of curation attracts many users to your website through the link provided on the social site.
Creating Original Content
It’s possible to create fresh content by commenting on third-party content. A good example of this form of curated content is commenting on a major favorite site and linking the comment to your site. This approach performs better especially when you use a compelling title that attracts many readers. Once you grab the attention of many people, you are sure of increasing traffic on your site via the link provided in the commentary.
You can request experts’ opinion or answer a specific question. The experts will provide answers in the form of original content. Most curators use this method because of the originality of the content. The experts provide informative answers which make your site authoritative and dependable.
Using Aggregate Created Lists
This type of curation is essential for attracting social media shares. However, you must write the files in an informative and entertaining pattern. The curator must get the information from various authentic sources before coming up with a comprehensive list. He can also add more useful information and categorise it accordingly. Writing an easy-to-read and comprehend content attracts many shares, thereby increasing traffic and even converting clicks into sales.
Collaborating to Create Social Content
In this method, the curator is in charge of the content and its presentation to the readers. This type of content is generated by users and is more informative to the end-user. The curator retains the right of making the content better to meet the requirements of the users. You can request your audience to provide original material to your content. Yours is to add a commentary and an appropriate title to the content. This method allows you to collaborate with customers, prospects, social media followers and other relevant influencers to create a quality original content.
Create the Top Lists
Many people like reading information ranking various things or categories. Lists help consumers to compare the available options before making a final decision.
You can create the lists ranking the best people or companies and share them through your social media handles. The people on the top lists will spread the word about your work. Additionally, your site will receive many visitors looking for the best services. This method is golden because many people love to be ranked among the best.
It’s advisable to publish various forms of curated content to enhance the participation of the audience. A good curator makes original content that is relevant and helpful to the public. Mixing different forms of curated content helps provide relevant content to your audience.