Content marketing is a form of marketing that shares information or material with a targeted audience to create positive associations for a brand or business.
To be effective, content must be consistently valuable to the audience and relevant to the brand.
Content marketing focuses on creating materials for users to find during an organic search or as a response to a call to action (CTA). By contrast, traditional marketing campaigns, such as direct mail, craft outbound marketing messages to influence branding or trigger CTAs. Content marketing materials can be anything from blog and social media posts, to deeper items such as guides and webinars.
Content marketing is inherently tied to search marketing (SM) since prospects are typically searching for content to answer specific questions or needs. For both B2B and B2C businesses, this can mean creating content to inform and support their target audiences at each stage of the funnel or buyer’s journey.
60% of people expect the brands that they research to provide the information that they need, when they need it.
Content marketing offers many benefits to companies that utilize it well.
Content marketing is an essential part of modern marketing strategies for 96% of B2B companies.
Every business or brand with a web presence should be paying attention to content marketing. Blogs, articles, and videos all deliver content.
The only question is how to use it most effectively given your overall strategy and near-term objectives. Objectives will drive goals, budgets, and timelines.
For inspiration, consider how these two companies successfully integrated content marketing into their marketing mix:
Blog and resource center — Data integration tool provider, Talend, uses their blog and a related resource center to accomplish two compelling goals.
First, it presents an array of informative articles that serve to establish the company as a trusted expert in data integration. Second, the articles and self-help guides give customers the opportunity to resolve problems without engaging support.
Spotify’s decade in review campaign — Spotify’s 2019 Wrapped tool cleverly combined a content marketing device with listening data to create a way for their subscribers to reminisce about the past decade. As a campaign, the tool uses the emotional connection between music and daily life to create a compelling infographic that begs to be shared. As a secondary benefit, it reinforces Spotify’s decade-long history and dominance in a competitive market.
Start tearing down those silos.
Buyers are savvy. They recognize traditional marketing campaigns as mere promotion and often treat them as spam. After being bombarded with messages imploring them to buy, they tend to become numb.
More than 200 million people use ad blockers online.
Only 3.4% of Google searches result in a click on a paid ad.
To respond, marketers have to be creative and think about content from the customer’s perspective. They want to be informed and learn about what they need with as little hassle as possible.
In all cases, content marketing materials should address customer interests while highlighting your solutions, business, and differentiation as appropriate. Quality content often accomplishes these objectives in subtle, yet compelling ways.
A great concept for a clever campaign can flounder without quality execution. In a competitive marketplace, your content has to be of very high quality to be effective, because only the best content can bubble up to the top.
Developing content to these standards requires thorough research, careful planning, and quality writing.
The best way to begin, or begin improving, content marketing is to take an inventory of what is already produced. It’s easiest to tweak content that already has resources attached to it before starting content from scratch to fit the audience’s needs.
Then, start getting integrated with other internal departments. What is the next big product launch? What is the new sales goal for the quarter? Before inventing a new story, get involved with what’s already going on.
At Profound Strategy, we’ve found that when it’s done right, SEO has the highest ROI of any content marketing tactic. Good SEO is a one-time investment that builds organic traffic that continues to grow over time. All the more reason then that SEO content marketing needs to be done well: the effort to develop content is wasted if it never gets viewed.
Even though SEO content marketing offers the best ROI, it is one of the most complicated marketing disciplines to do correctly. SEO has evolved by leaps and bounds in recent years, yielding a dramatic learning curve for companies not already invested.