Content should be at the core of your marketing. Why? Because, when done effectively, content marketing can be very powerful and persuasive. In fact, most organizations (52%) report being extremely successful with content marketing because it creates brand awareness, increases website traffic, and can nurture brand loyalty. It can also address “pain points” that your prospects or customers may be experiencing. So, let’s dive into: what is Content Marketing? And why it needs to be developed in a strategic way.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is an approach that focuses on creating, and providing, quality, relevant and consistent branded content to a market that is most likely to purchase from you. It’s so effective, that in one year alone, *55% of brands in Canada ran a content marketing campaign.
It’s also the preference when it comes to customers. Reports show that **70% of customers would rather learn about a brand through content than advertising.
How do you know the difference between good content and bad content? Go back and read our content marketing description above. But this time, remove the words “quality” and “relevant”. That’s the difference between content marketing and the other informational, spammy garbage you get from companies trying to sell you “stuff.”
Quality content is part of all forms of marketing:
- Social media marketing
- SEO and search engines (who reward businesses that publish quality, consistent content)
- Pay-per-click (PPC) ads
- Inbound marketing to drive traffic and leads
- Outbound marketing activities
What is the Difference Between Inbound and Outbound?
We can’t cover the subject of “what is content marketing” without explaining the difference between inbound content marketing and outbound.
Inbound is where you create a targeted content marketing campaign meant to capture the attention of specific buyers. The intention is to draw them into your community, so you can acquire new leads over the long term.
Outbound is where you broadcast your message more widely, to find buyers who may listen and engage with you. An example of this might be a special email offer used as a lead nurturing tool.
Inbound and outbound content marketing can both be used to retain existing customers, expand your client base, or re-activate past consumers.
Why Content Marketing?
So, what is content marketing going to actually do for your business? And how do you know the best ways to market a small business? First you need to understand a few basics of the buying cycle. It comes in four stages:
Stage 1) Awareness. Before awareness, a customer may have a need but they’re not aware of a solution.
Stage 2) Research. Once a customer is aware, they will perform research to educate themselves. For example, a traveller may try to uncover deals, to see which one will fit their needs best.
Stage 3) Consideration. At this point, the customer starts comparing different products from different vendors to make sure they’re getting a high-quality product at a fair price.
Stage 4) Buy. Finally, the customer makes their decision and moves forward with the transaction.
When it comes to the last two steps, traditional advertising, and marketing, work very well. Content marketing, however, is best applied to the first two stages of the buying process. Why? Because it raises awareness of solutions and it educates consumers about a product they may have never previously considered.
Think about it. Your customers could actually look forward to receiving your content! They could spend time enjoying your articles, social media posts, videos, and newsletters. They could even recommend you and share those materials with their peers.
When potential clients find your content, and find value in it, it makes closing the deal much easier. By the time they contact you, they already know about your brand, and your unique insights, which makes them already primed for wanting to work with you. You don’t have to engage in any high pressure sales tactics. You just need to work out the details, sign an agreement, and get started.
That all-important trust in your business, which usually, is built up during an extensive sales cycle, has already been created before you know your potential clients even exist. All thanks to content marketing.
Here’s How to Get Started
So, what if you’re not a writer, graphic designer, or web developer? Is it even possible to make content marketing a part of your overall marketing plan? How do you even get started building:
- A Content Marketing Strategy
- A Content Calendar (yearly and monthly)
- Choosing Your Content Types
- Choosing Your Content Tools and Channels
- Building Your Content Pieces
- Executing Your Content Strategy Blueprint
If you don’t have the expertise in-house or the time to muddle through it yourself, your next option would be hiring an agency that specializes in content marketing and content strategy.
At Original Ginger, we can support you in many ways. If you just need some direction and recommendations from a marketing consultant, but are willing to do the execution yourself, then a hybrid approach may work. You can book our Content Marketing Consulting Series (CMCS), which includes 10 virtual consulting sessions with one of our experts.
Through these one-on-one sessions, you can ask targeted questions so you can better understand, what is content marketing, and get answers that are specific to your business. Our CMCS can be personalized for your organization. Get step-by-step guidance on topics such as choosing the right images and photography, content writing tips, email and social media marketing, how to build a strategic content calendar, and building your knowledge of marketing techniques such as “triggers” and incentives.
– Before you continue reading this article –
If you want to save time, we can also develop your content marketing strategy for you and we can ensure it is specifically tailored to your business and goals. Visit our website here, where you’ll find more information about how we can help.
Intrigued and want to learn more? Don’t hesitate to reach out.