The world evolves quickly, and so does the market. A few decades ago, people had to deal with their businesses without using the internet. Can you imagine what that means?
The communication, the transactions, and all the software and tools that we have nowadays weren’t possible back then. With time, the e-mail came in Google, Facebook, and so we evolved.
Today’s businesses of all types and forms use the available technology to improve their revenues and gain awareness.
And why shouldn’t they? Being able to communicate in such useful ways with people from all over the world is a great business asset.
Nowadays, there’s the thing called “content marketing”; we’ll soon get to the full definition. An enormous amount of business started adopting this awesome traffic generation technique.
Content marketing allows businesses to reach a very broad range of audiences. More about this later.
Offline vs. Online
Here’s something to think about. When we talk about offline businesses, we’re talking about restaurants, real estate, or owning a bike renting service in your local town. Online businesses would be online stores, affiliate marketing websites, service-type services, and so on.
Now back to the interesting part: offline businesses can only reach a limited number of potential customers each day. Restaurants can only serve X amounts of customers a day because there’s a human resource, time, and materials limit.
While on the other side, an online business can reach an unlimited amount of potential customers. Because everything happens in the digital space, there are no boundaries like in real life. You can automate almost everything.
And this is not only about what type of business you have. It’s really about how you deal with it and how you promote it. Well, you can have whatever type of business (offline or online), and still use the “online medium” to generate good amounts of potential customers.
But What is Content Marketing?
According to the Content Marketing Institute,
“Content marketing is a 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.”
In other words, content marketing is a form of value, exchanged with a form or another of profitable actions performed by your potential customers. Let’s talk about what value is about when we speak of any type of business, but especially about the online ones.
Different Types of Value
In the entrepreneurial world, giving value means providing your buyers with solutions to problems, or just improving their life. Usually, value comes with a price; that’s just how everything works. If there’s enough demand, coming up with a scarce supply is the way to earn your way to the top.
Now, when we talk about content marketing, there are more types of value which you can provide. Let’s explore them quickly:
1. Education type
You’re basically educating your target audience and readers about a particular subject in a given niche. This helps at establishing yourself as an expert in the field.
When potential buyers identify you as an expert entity, they will trust you, your business, and therefore they will be much more open to the possibility of buying stuff from you.
This is more of a longer term strategy, because if you’re building an audience of followers, you can promote them your business services and products over and over again, at no cost.
E.g. If you have a pregnancy blog, you’re offering advice and education to soon-to-be-mothers. If you create an e-mail list, you can promote them toddler items after they give birth, and you continue to make a profit out of them while still providing useful advice and value.
2. Persuasive type
With the content you write, you can drive a lot of sales if that’s your sole intention. By creating remarkable sales copies and by also creating buyer’s intent through your content, you can directly get straight to business.
If the product or service you are promoting gives people enough value to make the purchase worthwhile, you’re on the right track. See, the persuasive method works differently from the education one.
Instead of allowing your potential customers more space to think and analyze the decision on their own, by creating persuasive content, you are marketing yourself and your business and provide the value only afterward.
Both types of approaches are profitable. We’ll talk more about how to approach some actionable strategies in case you decide to adopt content marketing as a part of your business advertising practices.
Which of the Value Types is Better?
Look at how the world looks right now. Everywhere you go and look you see ads. Unfortunately, marketing is quite aggressive nowadays. As an effect, the society becomes more and more resilient to persuasion.
The traditional method of providing value, which exists even today in many businesses, is more about selling rather than connecting & then selling. Now, if you’re a smart marketer or/and entrepreneur, you will realize that going backward is the way to do things.
So as an answer to the question “Which of the value types is better?” the education one is more reliable and at the same time even more profitable.
When you give value and expect less in return, you’re building a rapport and a connection with your reader. When your reader sees more of you, he realizes that you’re giving away FREE and helpful advice. This way you’re making sure that they will start to trust you.
A customer that believes you and your business is a lifetime asset. Value is everything. If your readers are pleased with what they’re learning, they’ll want to know more and will, therefore, listen to your indications.
You can sell them your products, make them buy other products using affiliate links, organize them in a newsletter e-mail list, and so many more actions. You see, you’re actually building a brighter future for your business.
How to Actually Do Content Marketing?
Content marketing is quite a broad field. There are tons of ways in which you can conduct a content marketing campaign. To be honest, you need to have a bit of knowledge in the field.
But don’t worry, even if you’re just starting out, the experiences and obstacles you’ll find along the way are going to teach you everything you need. With practice, you’ll master your marketing campaigns with more efficiency. That means more results.
Now I know I’ve bored you with my definitions and explanations, so let’s get to some action. There are certain strategies that successful content marketers approach for their businesses. Below you’ll find few of the best content marketing strategies and tricks to help you understand what you should do.
1) Create Awesome Content
The first rule of content marketing has excellent content. That means that your content must provide value, create engagement, and drive your audience towards certain actions.
If your content isn’t helpful and exciting, your readers or/and followers will stop reading and be interested in what you have to offer. They can really distinguish superficial content from the valuable content.
The engaging part of your content is extremely essential because it will generate new opportunities for promoting your business. We’re talking about social media and its amazing features. We’ll talk more about social media later.
Another important rule when creating content for your audience: write longer articles, make lengthier videos, record lengthier podcast sessions. If you truly want to help your audience learn new things, you must really offer a lot of value.
Any topic can be learned and mastered if only a proper education exists.
2) Create Content On a Consistent Basis
Posting few articles on a blog and expecting to get long term results out of them is non-sense. Having a successful content marketing campaign revolves around providing consistent and helpful content.
Your readers are expecting more material from you, and you must provide it. A demand-supply situation is created between you and your potential customers.
If you stop updating your website with content, people will come once, twice, and then never come back again. You’re going to lose potential leads, and you’re also hurting your website’s reputation; it hurts your SEO and your overall brand awareness.
3) Optimize Your Content for Search Engines
Google is the most famous search engine that rules today. For a business, being featured on Google’s first page could mean hundreds or even millions of dollars. It can also mean few thousands or hundreds. Either way, trust me, you really want your business to be on the first spot of Google.
Now, Google continuously updates its ranking algorithms. In 2016, content is one of the most influential ranking factors in Google’s “eyes”. Websites that have compelling and relevant content can quickly reach the first positions in Google.
The term “SEO” comes from “search engine optimization”. Basically, you’ll be optimizing your content in such a way that it’s friendly for the search engines ranking algorithms. There are all sets of practices when it comes to SEO content, but I’ll try to list them shortly.
- Unique content
- Longer content
- Social Media shares and links towards the content
- More other external factors. (Check the link above for more)
4) Take Advantage of Social Media
Social media is very popular nowadays. From youngsters to teenagers, adults, and elder, everyone uses it. Social media networks are the virtual space where people communicate extremely fast using efficient ways.
Content is also a type of communication. Individuals and business can reach all kinds of audiences by communicating through content. Social media and content are two different concepts but go very well together.
As a matter of fact, we can perceive content as the message, and see social media as a vehicle that helps to transmit that message to the prospect.
If the message is strong and purposed and the vehicle you’re using (the social media strategy) are both efficient, you’ll be successful in promoting your business!
The Two Types of Social Media Promotions
The first way of doing things is to create free social media campaigns. These consist of creating a page/profile on a particular (or more) social media networks and growing an audience of followers.
These followers will like your business page, and will, therefore, receive notifications whenever you have something new for them.
Everything you post on your website, you share it on social media. Every material that can prove to be valuable for your followers is worth distributing. In other words, you keep updating the people who chose to follow you with new, empowering content.
The second way of promoting your content through social media channels is called paid advertising. Basically, you are paying social networks to feature your content on other network user’s feeds.
For example, Facebook offers a pay-per-click system that helps you carefully target your audience and promote your business to the right people.
You’re creating an ad; each time someone is interested in your ad and clicks it, you pay Facebook a certain established fee. It could be 0.1$ or even 0.5$. The price is going to be established before the beginning of the campaign.
5) Use Different Types & Forms of Content
Content can be distributed through various forms. It’s up to you how you want to spread it. Basically, content starts from information. That specific information can be an article, video, audio, and so on.
Let’s look at few of the most popular content distribution forms that most of the successful content marketers use:
1. Articles & Blog Posts
One of the most digested forms of content. Most of the today’s websites offer written content because it influences their rankings, and it’s also really accessible for everyone.
After the written content, video content remains the most popular and used form of content. So many times, people prefer watching a video instead of reading a long article.
Videos also work well for satisfying entertainment needs. Try to understand your target audience. Do they prefer articles, videos, pictures? Choose what’s best for them, and start providing.
3. Audio Content
It could be podcasts, recordings, or audio books. There are, of course, more types of audio content. But these are the most frequently used and digested by the nowadays marketplace.
If you have valuable lessons that can be taught through a podcast, make sure you create one!
Infographics are detailed pictures that come with a fixed purpose: to educate the prospect and provide the most relevant information on a given subject by sticking to the point and the main ideas.
This type of content tends to be distributed quite a lot, and can often become internationally viral. It will obviously be your content, and thousands of people will be tempted to check out more information on your website.
6) Look for Guest Posting Opportunities
One of the significant SEO factors: backlinks. If you want to get backlinks, you must work for them. Most of the bigger blogs in literally every niche are offering guest posting opportunities.
Guest posting is primarily providing free (or paid) content to non-competition blogs. During these guest posts or at the end of them, there will be a link that will encourage the readers to follow back to your website.
What you have to do is find a bunch of guest posting opportunities, add them to a list, and contact each of them separately. Ask them if you can contribute with useful content and get something back in return.
Most of the times the webmasters will already have a “Guest Posting Page” which will list all of the article’s requirements and guidelines you must respect.
But What If I Suck at Writing?
In case you are a bad writer, don’t worry, there are some accessible solutions. As a general rule, we can’t be good at everything. Some of us are great marketers; some of us are great writers.
Not knowing how to write or not having the time or intention to do so will most of the times be costly. Instead of promoting your business using your time currency, you’ll have to pay some hard cash for your content.
There are plenty of online writing services that can provide remarkable content. You definitely want to hire real professionals instead of cheap workers.
In today’s fast moving marketplace you have two choices: adopt or stagnate. Using the proper content marketing strategies is a precious way of promoting your business.
If you are serious about generating more revenue and achieving your financial goals, you should actually combine content marketing with other marketing channels.
Actually, it’s not enough just to consider content marketing; it’s important that you take action immediately. Once you test things over and over again, promoting your business will become easier than ever.
This article is written by Jessica Freeman. She is a professional journalist and a freelance content writer at Australian Writings from Sydney, Australia. She focuses her content writing on education, career, marketing, and business topics. You can follow her on Facebook and Google+.