You’ve probably heard a lot about content marketing in the last year-or-two but despite this, you might still feel a bit “left in the dark” in regards to what content marketing actually is. There is a lot of misinformation online, so we thought we’d compile an introductory guide to get you started with the topic.
We’ll be looking at what content marketing is, what types of content is might involve and the benefits of getting involved in content marketing.
What Is Content Marketing?
Essentially, content marketing is a relatively new form of marketing (on the internet at least) in which you provide media content free of charge to your potential customers in order to get their attention.
What does this mean in plain English? It means that you create things like blog posts, guides, infographics, microsites etc in order to grab the attention of your target audience. You can also use content marketing as an educational tool to inform potential customers about your product in a simple and engaging manner.
To put it simply, you’re offering content free of charge to your audience in exchange for being about to market/advertise your product or service to them.
What Types Of Content Can You Create?
The difference with content marketing is that unlike traditional advertising (e.g. TV advertising, radio advertising etc), you’re creating content that the consumer actually wants and engages with. With traditional advertising, the consumer gets interrupted by the advertising and because of this, they need to lose engagement. If you’ve ever gone to make a drink when the TV adverts come on, this is an example of a loss of engagement.
Because of this, it’s important that you create content that the consumer genuinely wants, rather than a blatant advert or sales pitch that simply serves as an annoyance.
Common types of content used for content marketing include:
- Blog posts
- Educational Content (whitepapers etc)
- PDF’s + eBooks
There are other things you can do too; it’s all about creating something that your audience wants to see and that they can engage with. Below, we’ll take a more in-depth look at a few of these content marketing examples (along with some good examples of content marketing in action).
If you have a blog, you can use it as a content marketing tool for your business. A lot of companies use their blogs as self-promotional areas (i.e. for posting company news and nothing else) but there’s a lot more you can do with your blog(s) than this.
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, you can create valuable blog post content on your blog that your audience will be able to engage with. For example, let’s assume that you run a plumbing company; you might create a blog post about what to do if you get a blocked toilet, or what to do if you get a water leak. This type of useful information will not only appeal to your target audience but it will also educate them.
The screenshot above provides a good example of how to use blog posts as a content marketing tool. QuickSprout is an SEO/internet marketing blog and they regularly publish helpful and useful blog posts that appeal to their target audience.
This blog post is an example of content marketing in action too.
Infographics are probably one of the most common forms of content used for content marketing and typically, it’s because they can be extremely powerful.
If you’re unfamiliar with infographics, they’re essentially graphics that provide information in a visually appealing way. The idea is to make information easier to understand and consume via the use of imagery and graphics. They’re also embeddable which is great for your marketing efforts, as other webmasters are able to embed your graphics with ease.
If you take the obesity infographic above for example, you’ll see that it contains a lot of facts, figures and statistics about obesity, yet it is presented in a visually enticing way. This helps people to understand the content.
Videos are a great content marketing medium as when done well, they can be extremely engaging. Like infographics, they can also easily be embedded across the web using an embed code.
One great example of video content marketing in action (that any SEO’s and internet marketers out there might already be aware of) comes from Moz.com. Each Friday, Rand Fishkin (the CEO) produces a short video on a marketing/SEO related subject. The videos are informative, helpful and as you can imagine, they get shared around the web a lot.
You too can create videos like this for your business. All you need is a good idea and a basic video camera. For most small businesses, the camera on your Smartphone will do the trick.
What Are The Benefits?
So, this is all well and good, but what are the actual benefits of investing your time and money in content marketing?
Well, there are many. Here’s just a few of them:
- It educates your customers about your product/service and entices them into making the purchase.
- It provides something of genuine value for your potential customers without (seemingly) asking for anything in return. If content marketing is done well, you won’t need to ask.
- It’s often a lot more cost effective than ‘paid’ advertising. A good infographic may cost just a few hundred pounds and attract hundreds of customers whereas a CPC marketing plan may cost double.
- It helps to introduce your business, product or service to a new target audience (as content will get embedded on other sites).
- It increases website traffic.
- It brings only targeted traffic too!
- It provides some SEO benefit as content marketing will often indirectly lead to backlink acquisition.
Those are just a few of the potential benefits of content marketing; there’s a lot more if you put your mind to it!
Content marketing is an extremely engaging form of marketing that all small, medium and large businesses can take advantage of. It can be extremely cost effective and it has a range of benefits (as mentioned above).
It also has the opportunity to generate a huge ROI if it’s done well and if you can engage your target audience effectively. To get started with content marketing, try writing a blog post or two; or perhaps a useful guide around a common problem in your industry.