Content Marketing Institute portrays “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
This quote is the holy grail of what content marketing means. A question arises in our mind what actually is content marketing? How does it impact our online presence? Today we will be telling you the untold story of content marketing.
In order to understand content marketing first, we should understand
What does content mean?
Content in the context of this article is the content we see on the web. Let us tell you this that Content is the King as far as your presence on the web is concerned. It impacts your every business move on the internet.
Because people, in particular, are searching for some information about you or your service on the internet, and that’s where content comes into play. How well you have represented yourself on the web will justify how well you reach your marketing and business goals online.
With the growth of digital communication channels, people are bombarded with the information that they might not actually need. This creates a huge clutter and there is a very high probability that your message will not reach the intended target. This calls for putting in some extra efforts while placing your content in front of your audience.
Content creation can be broadly classified into 2 types:
- Topic Content
- Evergreen Content
Topical Vs Evergreen Content
1. What is evergreen content?
Evergreen content is the long lasting type of content that is useful and relevant over a period of time. It means that the content will not go outdated. Say evergreen songs. It brings in traffic for months and years in a stable manner.
2. What is topical content?
Topical content, on the other hand, is content that skyrockets suddenly and there will be no one looking at it after few days or months. It’s like a seasonal one. It gives a goosebump to your traffic alt of a sudden and them reaches to bottom or no in a quick time.
If you are looking for good traffic and engagement on a regular basis, then you should create content that will sustain for years – evergreen stories.
Content Marketing – Brief
The art of strategically placing relevant content in front of the intended audience which would eventually result in a reaction or response called content marketing. To be more accurate, content marketing is a process of placing relevant content frequently and grab the attention of target audience towards your brand. However, I would say, “content marketing is a commitment, not a campaign”. So, you need to be consistent in what you do and act as a Knowledge Resource Center (KRC). If you do it consistently, it will attract the right people to your brand.
Now, let’s discuss the untold story about this beautiful stream of marketing in detail.
The history of Content Marketing
Content Marketing has been from a long way and it has a history to itself. Let’s take a quick look at a case study on the evolution of Content Marketing.
Even before the dawn of computers and the information superhighway, people were using content to market their products and services. Benjamin Franklin in 1732 made the poor Richard’s Almanac promote his printing business. In 1888, Johnson & Johnson made a document called “Modern Methods of Antiseptic Wound Treatment”, that was targeted towards doctors who dealt with trauma.
From here in 2014, Forbes pointed out that there is a 60% hike in big business utilizing content marketing as a preferred weapon for grabbing customers attention.
Types of Content in the Digital World
Now, this is like opening a pandora’s box. Well, content in the modern context of digital marketing can be primarily divided into 3 types: Text Based, Infographics, Audio & Visuals. This is however not an exhaustive list because the modern digital media is ever evolving as far as the format of the content is concerned. Everything depends upon the intended result and how we want the audience to react to our content. For achieving the goal, a modern digital marketer might utilize all the types of content in synergy to create a masterpiece that will actually work.
Here comes the techno artistry of the phenomenon called “Storytelling”.
The art and science of storytelling are so effective that almost every major brand is now a content publishing house also. Brands are using content marketing in such innovative ways that soon content marketing will be a standalone marketing tool in itself.
One more thing that we need to consider here is that apart from storytelling a brand has to utilize every type of content in the equally innovative way in order to create a proper impact. They have to have text banners, static creatives, and audiovisuals that will enhance the recall value of the message.
Content Marketing Strategies
The secret to successful content marketing is having a right strategy.
When it comes to content marketing strategies, it becomes crucial to list down the underlying factors that will determine the course of action.
We need to narrow down our choices on the following:
Format: Which format of media will suit our objective perfectly, whether to go for video, images or a hybrid format.
Media: Whether we would go the organic way or the paid way.
Channel: Which platform to use for engagement.
Source: Whether the content is custom created or curated, etc, etc.
Intent: Why are we placing the content in the first place anyways.
With the explosive growth of social media user base, creating content that leaves the mark is of utmost importance. Let’s just say that social media lives and breathe content. People come to these platforms more for reading content than for actual social networking. Lets now focus on what would work and what would not work in the world of content marketing.
Vanity Content: Things like the press release and propaganda falls under this category. They simply don’t work now. The audience is really not interested in the glories of your past or your crap history. In fact, they have been exposed so much to this tactic that they have outlived it. Vanity content might work in places where you need to voice your credentials, but using it as a marketing strategy is surely going to give you a bad taste.
Conversational Content: Starting a conversation with your audience is one of the best things you could do. It’s a content marketing strategy that has a high rate of success. Why? Because brands are actually encouraging a two-way dialogue. We are talking about us, how we can help each other. The care factor comes to play and chances of people hugging and kissing your story become very real.
Convictional Content: Let’s talk about you! This strategy always has takers. Here our story is not about me or us but it’s about you. The marketers here are putting a very powerful and emotional appeal into their audience with their story or content. This strategy goes beyond the business angle and leads to something holistic which is bigger than everything else. This strategy actually forces the audience to act, and that’s what we all want as marketers.
Viral Content: This is the best kind of content that a content marketer can create. It provides both reach and conversion. However not every content that becomes viral is for marketing. Creating a content which has a chance to become viral requires great insights on the planning part. As it is often seen that viral content crosses the boundaries of demography and other parameters.
Measuring Content marketing ROI
We will now address this vital question ! How do I know its working?
1. Brand Awareness and Visibility : If the goal of your campaign is brand awareness and visibility, then you would want more people coming to your website or page, also you would want them to spend some productive time there. This can easily be gauged by looking at the click-through rate,time spent on the site, bounce rate and the number of subscribers that we get through our campaign.
2. Brand Health Metrics: If we have put out a message out to the world, we would certainly want to know what impact did it have on the audience. Brand health is hence determined by the volume of positive and negative feedback that the communication has received. This also lets us know the importance of the brand for customers. Brand health is generally measured by looking at the share of voice i.e. the number of times our brand is discussed when compared to competition. Sentiment i.e. Whether people are talking good things or bad things about us, or they are just neutral. Brand Influence : It is just the number of times our post or message is shared on the social platforms.
3. Diversified user base: Modern analytic tools like universal analytics by Google enables marketing to actually see what kind of people are reading their content, from where they come and how they behave. This information then can become a powerful tool for course correction for the content marketing.
4. Sales : Usual e-commerce metrics like CTR and time spent on page lets us know which specific piece on content is impacting our sales conversion rate. This calibration can really help boost the bottom line of any digital setup.
5. Innovation Metrics: This tool is used for analyzing a piece of content for its influence on establishing a social media trend. It’s very easy to get this information using Google trends and similar services for other social media platforms.
How many of them reading your promotional description with text and a link?
It’s questionable, right? But if you combine visual and audio, the result is powerful.
Video is more influential than reading facts in the text. Consumers today are watching more video content than before and 57% of online consumers were showing interest to buy a product after watching a video demonstration of the product. Video Marketing is a successful growing marketing strategy that combines engaging video into your marketing campaigns. As stated by Brightcove, brands which are using video content has seen a rapid increase of 157% in organic traffic from search engines and also helps to engage the customer on the website by 105%. Before developing Video Marketing campaign it’s necessary gathering target markets insights, conducting competitive analysis and Market research to achieve your strategy.
Benefits of Video Marketing
- Video increases click rate, open rate, conversion and search engine ranking
- With video can reach the target audience in an endless platform in a cost-effective way
- Videos boost information retention
- Video helps you connect with your audience
- People can download, pause, rewind, re-watch and share the videos from their phones/tablets/computers
Blogging is the best way to drive good organic traffic to website from search engines and it is the best way to build relationship with your new and recurring customers. According to Forbes, websites that having blog indexed got 434% more traffic compare to websites without a blog. In addition, business websites with a blog have 97% more inbound links, which improves Search Engine Optimization of the website. According to Hubspot’s data, brands which blog regularly saw an increase in ROI across the board. Blogging can even help B2B and B2C marketing Challenges. B2B marketers generate 67% more leads with the help of blogs. In one case study involving Denver-based entrepreneur Ben Walker, he used blogging as a way to dramatically improve his SEO. If you want to grow your business with blogging, you need to do some keyword research to analyze the consumers needs through that you can start with a strategy that covers topics which you gonna blog.
Infographics help you to showcase maximum of information into one eye-catching visual and it’s easier for the viewer to understand the information. You can pack different statistics from case study or research as infographic with visual representations like images, diagram, graphs and charts instead of text with bullet points. Your infographics should be simple and easy to understand to attract the viewers for getting more shares and can go viral. One of the biggest benefits of an infographic is its portable and embeddable design. The supporting content is key to earn high-quality backlinks. According to Jubaer Prodhan, SEO specialist at Vendasta Technologies, creating infographics and then allowing other sites to post them along with content that linked to company website increases content ROI and earns hundreds of backlinks from different domains.
To use infographics to build links
- Pick a topic that is relevant to your target audience
- Gather data points about your topics
- Create a good looking infographics
Fact shows that from 2010 to 2012, infographic search volumes have increased by 800%. since they get shared so much, you are increasing the reach of your brand in an extremely natural way.
Case studies are customer stories that narrate how your business has helped a specific customer or client become successful. This type of content helps them better understand and trust how your brand can add value to their lives or businesses. Case Study should give knowledge and actionable information. When you are buying something from online stores, are you directly going to make payment, without studying any review about the product? I don’t think so… Most of the time people look at product reviews, testimonials, demonstrations and products images/videos to see what kinds of experiences other people have had with the same product or service. Same-wise case studies are the first reference document for decision-makers to research a new product or service, according to market research. Depends on the reader your case study should be created. Adding customers real name in the case study gives significant weight to the product’s credibility.
eBooks should be filled with practical, useful, and inspiring content that aligns with the business’ brand. eBooks help to educate the prospects on a topic in a comprehensive and easily consumable format. Stated by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, eBook sales are expected to grow $2.31 billion in 2011 to $8.69 billion in 2018. This statement proves the importance of eBooks in the digital sector and it’s more informative than a regular part of advertising techniques. In the Marketing strategy, at least 39% of B2B marketers using eBooks. Implementing ebooks into your content marketing strategies will provide both your business and your customers something valuable that cannot be achieved with blog posts and articles alone. Through eBooks, customers get detailed information and solutions to their problems and will receive exclusive contact information and qualified leads to make your marketing efforts successful. eBooks are the best way to help with your demand generation and an effective type of long-form content that businesses can use to provide value for their leads and customers. An eBook should not be a 5 to 10-page ad and provide some type of useful information and insight for your target audience about their needs and challenges.
Example of great content!
What’s all this theory worth if we don’t see it in action. Just to add some juice to what we want to say, we are citing a great content marketing piece for our readers. This one is done by the dollar shave club and was done in 2012. Within 48 Hours of publishing this video, the content already fetched 12000 subscribers to its kitty. As on date, it has 25 million views.
Here is the video for you all to enjoy…