In the fast-paced world of marketing, it is increasingly important to identify ways to deliver content effectively and efficiently to target audiences. Regardless of whether the content is pushed out via a holistic marketing automation strategy or simply via email marketing and blogging, it’s not just about pushing out information. It’s about delivering relevant, valuable information to your users that will help you achieve your end goals.
Content Marketing Explained
Before you brave the rough waters of content marketing, you need to know what it is and how to apply it. According to the Content Marketing Institute, the preeminent educational resource for content marketers worldwide: “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.”
But what does that mean? It means, as content marketers, you must know your audience and identify the right channels to communicate with them, always delivering relevant content to each audience.
It is not as easy as you think. But keeping these three steps in mind will help you accomplish your content marketing goals.
1. Ask “Why?”
As marketers, we get into the habit of executing tasks (i.e. tactics) without thinking about the overarching strategy. Tactics and strategy are two very different things. We must take more time to ask “why?” Continuing to ask “why?” allows marketers to peel back the layers of the content to make sure that every piece created is aligned with the overarching strategy.
When you are about to start creating a new piece of content, make sure to stop and ask “why?”:
- Why are you creating this piece of content?
- Why would someone be interested in this topic?
- Why should someone choose this content over the competitors’?
If you can clearly answer these questions (and other similar questions), then you’re likely on the right track. If you can’t, then we recommend going back to the drawing board.
2. Be Honest and Transparent
When it comes to content creation and content marketing, honesty and transparency will be key. Content marketing can achieve various goals. Some of which include:
- Increasing organic traffic to website
- Improving site engagement (i.e. time on page, number of pages viewed per session, etc.)
- Building brand awareness
- Increase conversion by “giving” away free content
- Growing one’s database by asking for/requiring email addresses (and other contact information) to access certain content
However, simply creating generic content will not help. In order to successfully accomplish any of the goals listed above, you need to be honest and transparent with your users. In this day and age, there’s a lot of content out there. This means your content needs to stand out from the rest. Being honest with your users and treating them like real people will help you do so. They’ll respect you more and value your relationship.
For example, say you’re creating content for a plumbing company. Sure, you want these users to call you to fix their problems in hopes that it’ll turn into a booked appointment. But, you know what else would be great? Creating content that helps your users fix small problems on their own. Easy DIY tips on your website can help build trust with your users, thus building the relationship. By giving them this information up front, they’ll be much more likely to call you over the competitors next time they have a problem.
3. Build Unique Content
The third thing every content marketer needs to focus on is creating unique content. Like I mentioned above, there’s already a lot of content out there. Take a look at this screenshot from Google Trends.
You can be certain that just as searches for the term “Content Marketing” continue to increase, so does the amount of content being published.
So, creating the same content everyone else is creating is only going to waste time and money. Instead, do your research. See what’s already out there, and then improve upon it.
You need to make sure that your piece of content is the best piece of content out there on the topic. This will help ensure users searching for related information land on your content over the competitors. You may find yourself wanting to jump back to#1 in this list and ask “Why?” That’s great. You’ll find that content marketing is an ever-evolving process.
Asking “why?”, being honest and transparent about the brand or product, and creating unique and strategic content will help you stand out from the competition. Without a solid strategy in place, you are doing your team, your client, and your brand a disservice.
Don’t just throw up words to fill space. Think about the goals you’re trying to accomplish by creating each piece of content. Are you educating the audience, trying to collect contact information, or asking them to make a purchase? Whatever the overall goal may be, make sure you have a clear strategy in place before beginning.
Good content can lead to OK marketing. But great content that provides your users with value can lead to great marketing.
Here’s to great content!