Content marketing or content creation is a term that I’m sure most of you have heard of somewhere. If you’re a student, you’d probably have heard it in marketing class as one of those cliché answers to “how to engage your audience”. If you’re an entrepreneur, someone probably had it pitched to you as a way to help grow your business and brand.
Both answers in the above scenarios are undoubtedly correct. You are well aware that content marketing is definitely necessary for helping to connect with your audience and achieve greater heights in terms of awareness. But what exactly is content marketing? The term obviously suggests that content marketing is marketing through the use of content, but the breadth of content marketing is wide-reaching. Today, we will discuss in this article what is content marketing exactly to give you a full understanding of the different types of content as well as a basic understanding on how to get started on content marketing.
According to Content Marketing Institute, content marketing can be defined as
“The marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action”
The definition does indeed help us breakdown the vague understanding that content marketing is for “engagement and awareness”. Content marketing’s core objective is to appeal to a CLEARLY DEFINED AUDIENCE through valuable content and ultimately bring your sales up.
What Are The Types of Content in Content Marketing?
There are literally, tons of ways that content marketing can be done and we aren’t exaggerating. Below is an infographic (which by the way, is also a form of content!) created by Hubspot to illustrate the plethora of content formats available.
We know, the infographic does look overwhelming with the endless variety of content options that you can produce. Recall that in the definition of content marketing, you’re supposed to be using content to attract your clearly defined audience and create value for them in order to gain business.
You might have noticed that in the graphic above there are content formats like “Vlogs”, “Podcasts” and “Photos”. All these sound like really normal tasks that don’t require any specialization to perform and to some extent, that’s true. Anyone can create content. A random guy who just films his daily life and posts it on Youtube is a content creator.
What distinguishes a content creator from a content marketer, however, is the strategy and approach they would take towards content creation. A content marketer creates content with a game plan. Content marketers strategize, plan and deliver suitable content based on their campaign’s objectives.
The Importance of Content Marketing
Marketing can be segmented into two different forms. Outbound and Inbound Marketing. Outbound marketing is where companies would send their sales team to go and get leads via cold calling, roadshows, mass e-mails and other forms of outreach tactic. While these strategies do get you leads sometimes, but they don’t necessarily guarantee you quality leads.
Content marketing does the opposite. Content marketing is a type of inbound marketing. The premise of inbound marketing is to create attractive, quality content that delivers value to your target audience, enticing them to your business. In return, your business will be able to enjoy heightened brand awareness and quality leads because of the value that you are deemed to be giving to your audience.
Content marketing is also prevalent in the different forms of digital marketing that many business owners are interested in right now. Interested in doing SEO for your business? Content is a key aspect of it as search engines value high-quality content in determining its rankings. Want to run social media marketing campaigns to build your company’s audience engagement? Content is a necessity to drive interaction and brand recognition. Even for things like PPC advertising, businesses definitely need top-notch content to supplement their highly optimized PPC campaigns for success.
In short, quality content is value and value begets awareness and ultimately conversion.
How to Start on Content Marketing?
The process of crafting a content marketing strategy can be broken down into the following steps
1. Goal Definition
Like the start of all good campaigns and strategies, you must always begin with the end in mind. Step one of an excellent content marketing strategy would require you to question yourself on the objective of your content creation. One good guideline to follow is the 5Ws and 1H which refers to who, what, when, where, why and how.
Consider the following
- Who is the content for?
- What kind of content would add the most value to them?
- When do I want to run the campaign?
- Where do I want my content to be published?
- Why is there a need for the content marketing campaign?
- How is this going to add value to my company and audience?
2. Customer Definition
You must be very clear about knowing your customers needs to run a successful content marketing campaign. To clearly define the target customer that your content is catered for you should form a customer persona and research clearly on what this persona needs.
The customer persona will include information like:
- Background Information (Age, Job, Income, Geography, Gender)
- Behaviours (How does he/she go about his day, what are some of the habits)
- Wants and Needs (What does the customer desire that the market couldn’t fulfil)
- Pain Points (What are the issues the customer currently face)
Having a customer persona defined helps to fulfil the criteria of a clearly defined target audience for content marketing. It will act as a guiding principle on which your content is created on as it guides your content’s relevancy and potential value that it can add to your target customer.
You should also plan out your customer’s journey and the touchpoints they will have with your company. To do that, you can use what we call a marketing funnel. You can read more about this and how it helps in planning out the customer journey in our marketing funnel article that we have previously written about.
3. Figure Out What Kind of Content You Want to Create
Now that you’ve established clearly who your target demographic, you will have to figure out how the type of content that you want to create. As mentioned earlier, there is a myriad of content formats that you can use to attract your audience. Find out what you think appeals to them the most and create content based on that.
For a start, you could try something simple like writing blog articles or creating infographics. Infographics are a great way to capture attention and present information concisely. There are tools that can get you started on infographic creation such as Piktochart and Venngage that are easy to use. Case studies are also a great way to start on creating content as it helps to build trust for your target audience in your product.
You could also try tapping on the usage of social listening tools like Awario to try and find out what your target audience’s interests are. The use of these tools can help you to listen in on what your target customer’s authentic opinions are about your competitors and industry. This can help you to spot opportunities for content and thus give you an idea of the kind of content you can create.
SEO tools are also useful for deciding the kinds of content you want to create. Ahrefs is the perfect tool for helping with ideation of content. With the keyword explorer tool, you will be able to find out things like search volume and questions being asked that are related to your targeted keyword. This can help you to generate ideas for blog articles or even videos as Ahrefs SEO software also helps in researching Youtube keyword traffic volume.
With the tools above, you should be able to get a sense of what your defined target audience is looking for and create the type of content that can tackle these desires.
4. Manage and Publish Your Content
The management of your content calendar is crucial to the success of your content marketing campaign. To constantly keep your customers engaged and have your brand be etched in their minds would require consistent production of quality content.
This is why the content schedule is important. Having a content schedule will help you to plan for things like seasonal content which lets you ride on holidays and seasonal trends, some of which may particularly appeal to your target audience. The content calendar also will help you to manage the different platforms that you want to share your content on.
5. Track Your Content’s Performance
After deciding on your content type, you will carry out your plan and create your content. The part that follows the delivery of your content would be tracking. Fine-tuning of your content marketing campaigns requires tracking and measuring its success.
If your campaign is run on social media pages like Facebook, Instagram, Line Ad or TikTok, these platforms have built-in analytics tools to help you track your content’s reach, likes, views and engagements. However, if you were to be writing blogs and doing infographics, you would need management tools.
For blogs, we would recommend you use content management websites like WordPress, which allows you to track data such as views, how you acquire your viewers and other data for your content. There are also companies like Hubspot offering content management in their Hubspot software.
Content marketing is indeed not as easy as the name would suggest. We know that this might be quite a bit of information to learn, digest and execute. Incepting a successful content marketing campaign is definitely not the easiest thing to do, but with proper planning, creativity and time, it is achievable. It is definitely worth it a shot if you’re new into digital marketing, although alternatively some companies prefer to outsource this effort to a digital marketing agency.
If there is any one key takeaway that you should remember from reading this article, it has to be value. Always remember that in content, value creation is key, value creation is king!
Now that you’ve learnt what content marketing is about, why not delve deeper into the depths of digital marketing by learning more about how to build a digital marketing strategy for your business! Or maybe since you probably would have content that you’d need to post on social media, how about you read an article on the 3 basic Facebook marketing mistakes you should avoid?