What is content marketing? Content marketing is promoting your product through the creation of blogs, videos, or anything else. But why is it important? Because content marketing is a very good strategy for a wide variety of businesses.
Being able to answer questions like “what is content marketing?” can be very important for your social media marketing agency. Not only do you need to be able to accurately articulate what content marketing is to your clients, but you also need to have a full understanding of what it is and when to use it. While many companies default to it, content marketing isn’t an end all be all.
If you don’t understand the importance of content marketing or what content marketing is, this article is here to fix that. If you do understand the importance of content marketing and don’t know what to do with it, this article is also for you. And, finally, if you recommend content marketing to everyone you should also keep reading.
Content marketing is one of the keys to digital marketing. By and large, it dominates the internet and makes up an overwhelming amount of the marketing advice that you’ll hear. It isn’t the end all be all, but it is incredibly important.
Understanding content marketing and when the right time to use it is can make your SMMA much better than the competition. It’s a major component of digital marketing that tends to get overused, so you should have at least a good grasp on it. Even if the content isn’t your thing, you might want to find someone more interested in it.
If you’re looking to increase your understanding of other types of marketing you can through some of our FREE training. Consider checking out our guides that walk you through questions like, “What is Web Marketing,” “What is Social Media Marketing,” and “How Does PPC Work.”
What is Content Marketing?
So, what is content marketing? Content marketing is the creation of content that will help you to develop an emotional connection with your audience. This content can take a lot of different forms, but the idea is the same: give them something to read, watch, or listen to that will help you engage your audience and get them interested in who you are and what you’re doing.
There are plenty of examples of content marketing that everyone would be aware of because there’s so much of it going on these days. Fashion runways are one of the biggest examples – they’re just a stage show created to get people interested in designers and connecting with new pieces. NFL Films is similar, as the NFL creates documentaries and a slice of life videos that help to deepen a connection with fans. In fact, the overwhelming majority of YouTube could be considered content marketing. Any monetized YouTube video is using content to generate awareness and profit.
For most content marketers, profit is only a secondary goal, though. Like with every form of marketing, the profit comes along after a connection has been made. So, the primary goal of content marketing is to build a relationship with your audience in a way that scales and allows you to exhibit your business and the people and thoughts behind it.
These days, almost every business can benefit from content marketing in some way. As we’ll discuss below, content marketing is definitely better for some businesses than others. However, content marketing often goes hand in hand with every other form of digital marketing.
For example, social media marketing is almost entirely built on content, even if it isn’t your own. The same goes for email marketing and digital lead magnets. Web marketing has perhaps the least to do with content marketing, although the personnel certainly look similar between the two. And, of course, SEO is practically entirely content.
If you want to learn more about how SEO and content marketing are related, here’s another article I did to answer the “how does SEO work” question.
The Importance of Content Marketing
The importance of content marketing is that it allows you to have a conversation with your audience, and to control the conversation that you’re having. By creating content around your business, you are able to send the message that you want to be heard and get out ahead of everyone else. This can help you to develop your brand in a deeper way, and show people what you care about and want to promote.
Content marketing can also allow you to become a resource to your audience, and offer value to them. If you can give your audience tutorials or anything else they can make use of for free, they’re more likely to want to buy from you in the future. A fabric company, for example, can make a lot of money by creating knitting tutorials.
From the SEO side, content marketing helps to drive direct traffic to your website. When you appear in Google searches, people click on your website. If your content is engaging and encourages people to stick around, this can become direct sales.
Content marketing also makes it easier for you to focus on buyer intent, and truly become a buyer first company. The more that you connect with your audience in the way that they want you to, the more they’ll connect with you in the way you want them to. So, if you can create content that they want to read your business can get ahead.
Through and through, content marketing is one of the best branding tools in any content marketers tool belt. It helps you to show off your brand in a way that you have total control of and can get you in front of an interested audience. People want to be wined and dined, and content marketing allows you to do that.
Remember the more that you offer the audience, the better off you will be. Content marketing allows you to garner interest in your product from people who are expressing an interest in your industry. You can use content to cast a wide net, and that net will catch some sales.
The Benefits of Content Marketing
Truly, the benefits of content marketing are too many to count. Content marketing is the key in the digital age to creating a trusting, loyal, interested audience. The best way to sum up the benefits of content marketing is this: it turns your business into a beloved celebrity.
The first benefit I want to discuss is the focus on customer intent. When you use content marketing, you convert any business into a service business. You can try selling your product 1,000 different ways, but using your website and social media platforms to offer value to the customer will be the most effective. The more you engage your customers, the more they engage with you.
When you use content marketing as a way to provide value, you also begin to associate your business with something positive. People like getting things that they want or need, so if you can give that to them they’ll like you. Providing value is one of the best ways to make your business a positive entity within your industry, and also to get people to share your business with friends who are potential customers.
Brand affinity is the best way to wrap up this idea. You use content marketing to make people feel better about your brand, and it does that in a way nothing else can. The more content you create, the deeper the enjoyment of your brand will become. Even if you aren’t producing the content, being a part of it can help you a lot.
You can also use content marketing to garner trust. Very similar to brand affinity, the more that you give and offer transparency, the more people will see you as human. People don’t trust corporations, but they do trust people. So, if you can show people that you’re human they’ll be more likely to buy from you.
For the final intangible, you can also use content marketing to turn your brand into an authority figure within an industry. If you think about everyone that you would go to for advice, they are content marketing in some form. Whether that person is a vlogger, a novelist, or a college professor – lectures are content, after all. If you want to be seen as someone who is important within your industry, you need to produce content.
Beyond these intangibles, content marketing can also help to grow your social reach and engagement. When you produce shareable content, that content will get shared and go beyond your own reach. If the content is good enough, then the people that you reach will turn around and become fans of your brand.
Similarly, people will like and comment on content that is designed for that. If you’re developing things with engaging your audience in mind, then they will likely be engaged. While this will take some work, it can help to grow your social following and get people actively interested in what you’re doing, which eventually become sales.
The final benefit of content marketing to consider is that the impact of content is very measurable. By focusing on content, you can use a bunch of different metrics to represent just how big your brand is. You can also use engagement metrics to show how much people like it. The more people are liking, sharing, and commenting on your content, the more you know that they are aware of your brand and view it in a positive, engaging light.
For example, you can use views and page views to see how many people you’re getting in front of. You can use likes, comments, and session duration to show much people are enjoying what you’re doing. While you can never truly measure how big your brand is or how people feel about, content marketing can help you to get very close. No other form of marketing can do this, and for that reason, content marketing is very helpful.
Who is Content Marketing For?
With all of that being said, the benefits of content marketing are not equal for all businesses. Although every business can benefit from content marketing of some form, I wouldn’t recommend the same strategy for every sort of business. Local businesses should treat content very different from digital businesses.
Digital businesses should have some sort of content marketing in place. For digital businesses, content is the best method they have to get involved with their community as an active voice. And SEO is the key for many businesses to get organic traffic in, and that obviously requires content.
For larger brick and mortar businesses – places that have locations in several different regions – content marketing can be just as good as it can be for digital businesses. Being involved with a customer on Google can get them into a nearby location, and therefore become a sale.
For smaller brick and mortar businesses, content marketing might not have the same impact. That doesn’t mean they can’t get involved, though. Content marketing can absolutely start within a smaller community, and be used to show off that community. A small botanist, for example, might be able to create fun videos on Facebook that their local community would enjoy.
However, smaller businesses might not have the ability to really get involved in content creation in the same way that bigger businesses can. And businesses that are medium-sized, businesses with maybe 1 or 2 locations without a real community, might not be able to use content marketing at all.
B2B businesses and sales-based businesses might need to take a different approach, as well. While software as a service business might be looking for a huge reach, a lawyer wouldn’t be. But that lawyer might be able to create content that can get them in front of a smaller, more targeted group of people.
When you combine content marketing strategies with social media marketing strategies, it can work for almost any business. But not every business needs to go all-in on creating content. I would only recommend it to businesses that offer a product online, in an industry where they can create unique, engaging content.
The 4 Types of Content Marketing
When you’re considering creating content for your business, there are 4 types of content marketing to consider. These are: written, visual, audio, and interactive. These 4 types encompass most kinds of content you can create, and most content marketing strategies will use 1 or 2 for maximum effect. When you’re new, it’s best to experiment with which kind works for your business.
Written content, in this day and age, is mostly blog content, but it also includes ebooks and email newsletters. Written content is usually the best for SEO, and also helps to connect with an audience that is actively engaged with the content. No one reads anything in the background, but nearly everyone has read a blog post recently. Consider using written content when you need to up your SEO or want to deliver to an active audience.
Visual content includes both video and image content. Image content is popular on Instagram and Facebook and can include everything from photos to infographics. Images are a quick and emotional way to show people what your brand is and what it’s about or can be a fun way to deliver small bits of information. Most other types of content will include images at some point.
Video content includes YouTube videos, Facebook and Instagram videos, and SnapChat or Instagram stories. Video is one of the most popular forms of content in 2019, so producing it is a no brainer for most people. Of course, producing a video is also getting easier but still requires a decent amount of effort.
When I mentioned audio content earlier, you immediately thought of podcasts and that’s exactly what I’m talking about. Podcasts are usually long-form audio bits that people listen to in a variety of settings. They’re huge among the millennial crowd and big among most of the rest. Podcasts aren’t for every business, but it can work for most.
The real key with podcasts is creating something that’s interesting enough to actually listen to for 45+ minutes. If you believe that you’re up to that challenge, then podcasts might be a good way to go. If you can transcribe the podcast into an article or get a visual element, these can be great to help you produce other kinds of content.
Finally, interactive content is sort of a new one. Interactive content is the creation of branded tools or games that give people something to play with or use and associate with your brand. As an example, YouTuber Jason Nash recently released a game based around his brand.
This content is sort of hit or miss and definitely difficult to produce, but when it hits it can hit big. If you or someone you know has the skill and passion for creating games and other interactive projects, this is definitely something that you should consider. Interactive content can get people to actively desire your brand, which is much harder to accomplish with other kinds of content.
When deciding what kind of content you want to produce, you need to consider what you can produce and what your audience engages with. If you’re selling audiobooks with the message that it’s more convenient than reading, podcasts make more examples than blog posts. But if you’re a good writer and a terrible speaker, that might take precedence.
Content Marketing Strategies
There are a few content marketing strategies you can use to help get your content off the ground and a few things that you should consider within these strategies. One of the quick tips that I love to offer people is that you should consider accounting for voice search with any SEO efforts. Many people are switching to dictation for Google, and when they do that the keywords they use to change up a bit.
Topic clusters are another big part of your content marketing strategy to consider in 2019. By clustering similar topics together through links, Google will start to up the authority of certain pieces of content. Topic clusters are built-in levels, with each level of the cluster linking to articles on the same level, or one up or down.
Of course, you should also have a solid keyword strategy in place when you’re building out your content marketing strategy. Figure out which keywords you can rank highly for, and what it’s going to take for you to do that. Create a hierarchy of keywords to help you develop your topic clusters, and you should have SEO mostly sorted out.
Selecting the right topics for social media content is also important. Figure out what people are talking about and interested in to help you plan content that they’re likely to enjoy. Consider, also, that people do still search for content on social media, so you should be looking for ways to get in front of them in those searches, too.
Choose topics based on your objectives. If you want a lot of comments, then look for topics that will naturally create discussion. If you want to create shares, figure out what kind of content your audience is sharing.
You should also consider if you want to focus on evergreen or topical content. Evergreen content is content that never requires updating, but might also stop you from joining in on popular trends. Topical content, on the other hand, allows you to piggyback on what’s going on but might also get outdated quickly.
No strategy should be 100% one or the other, but you’ll want to focus on one over the other. Topical content requires more effort but has a higher potential for short term growth. Evergreen content takes a longer time to grow, but you don’t need to worry about important content expiring in relevancy.
You should also consider content collaborations with other leaders in your space to help your audience grow. Whether it’s posting on their blog or inviting them on your podcast, getting other people involved in your content can help it grow quickly. You can also use your content as a way to help showcase other people in your space, which can help you build relationships with other businesses.
The Importance of Remarketing in Content Marketing
One of the most important parts of getting your content marketing to work is remarketing. Producing content by itself usually isn’t enough to create sales. What you can do, however, is combine content marketing with other kinds of marketing to create conversions.
Remarketing through email automation is one of the most used ways to help content marketing convert. Most forms of content go hand-in-hand with email sequences in the first place, so you can use them as easy lead magnets. Follow through with some bonus content, and you’re very likely to see conversions.
Messenger automation is a very similar solution and can work much better for social media content. You can ask people to type a certain prompt in the comments of a post and use that to launch a Messenger automation. You can then use Messenger to develop a further bond with your audience, and leverage that to create conversions.
Finally, you can also use your content as a lead for remarketing social media ad campaigns. You can run ads against a subset of people that have interacted with your content in a certain way, thus guaranteeing that the people you advertise to are going to be interested in your company. This can greatly increase the effectiveness of your advertising and is a huge payoff for a long term content strategy.
Content marketing can be one of the most effective forms of advertising in 2019. Knowing the answer to “what is content marketing” in precise terms is the key to a lot of modern marketing. Once you have an understanding of what content marketing is, you should be able to intuit what and who content marketing is good for.
There are a ton of different types of content marketing, each with its own benefits. And the benefits of content marketing are difficult to explain because there are so many of them. The importance of content marketing in 2019 cannot be understated, although some people do overstate it.
If you’re getting into marketing in 2019, content marketing is definitely something that you need to learn. There is no other form of marketing that is as omnipresent as content marketing, with the exception of social media marketing. But the two are practically the same these days, so they really go hand in hand.
For every social media marketing agency, content marketing needs to be on the table. It won’t be the right answer for every client, but it will be part of the answer for many of them. Look into what kinds of content you can afford to produce, and what goes over well in your niche. If you go into content marketing with some thought and strategy, it can easily work well for you.