Whether you know it or not, as a human being with access to the internet, you are fluent in the language of content. When you’re laughing at a meme that one of your friends shared in a WhatsApp group, or you’re diligently following a YouTube make-up tutorial, or you’re forwarding an insightful study to a colleague, you’re engaging with content.
Content Marketing Defined
Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing content that is valuable, consistent, engaging, relevant, and tailored to your audience. It’s an ongoing strategy that targets everyone in your funnel, from the people who just found out about your brand a couple of minutes ago, to the loyal fan that’s referred three other customers in the past month.
Different types of content include:
1. Blog articles
2. Longform guides
6. Original research
7. Case studies
9. White papers
The aim of content marketing is not to overtly sell your products or services, it’s to educate your audience with relevant and valuable material. Over time, you’ll build up a larger and larger knowledge base until your site is the go-to place for information in your niche.
You can think of it almost like a game of Monopoly. Writing your first article is like purchasing Mediterranean Avenue (that’s Old Kent Road for UK readers). The more content you create–videos, eBooks, podcasts–the more streets you purchase. Pretty soon, you own the majority of the board.
If you think of the Monopoly board like a search engine and each street as one of your target keywords, it’s easy to see why players (a.k.a customers!) will start landing on your site.
The beauty of content marketing is that it helps drive warm leads–people who are actually interested in your products or service!–directly to your site. Sometimes, if you create content that is of a greater value (such as an eBook or an original study), people will be willing to give you their contact details in exchange for the content, and then you can start nurturing them with even more content until they become a happy customer.
What is Content Creation?
Content creation is a vital component of any successful content marketing campaign, and that is why it’s so important to get it right.
But, of course, if you want your content to generate a healthy ROI then there’s a lot more to it than simply the creation. In order to succeed, you need to create good content. No, great content. And there’s a lot of work that goes into that.
You see, while content is a widely used marketing tool, it’s also widely misunderstood. Simply pumping out reams of content will do nothing to help you stand out from the crowd. In fact, 211 million pieces of content (including YouTube videos, Instagram posts, blog articles, emails, and much more) are posted online every single minute. And only a small percentage of that will ever make an impact and generate a return on investment (ROI). Whether your investment is time, money or both.
The good news is, you can learn how to create content that will make it into that top percentile. It all comes down to your content strategy.
7 Benefits of Creating Content
So, why should you create content in the first place?
There are many other ways to market your business, so you may be asking yourself: why does content deserve a cut of my marketing spend?
Content marketing is important for achieving many marketing objectives, from increasing web traffic to invoking a sense of brand loyalty among your customers. Let’s take a look at some of those benefits in more depth…
1. Increases Website Traffic
If you have a breadth of targeted, comprehensive content (with a strong strategy behind it) on your site, then you’re going to start generating more organic traffic.
Well, think about the process of how people search for things online. Most likely, they head to Google, they type in a question or a phrase–e.g. ‘content marketing ROI’–and the first page of results loads. They click on one. Probably the first one.
The search result that they click on will then take them to a page that Google has determined to be great for answering the question they have.
If that page happens to be on your site, then bingo! You just scored some organic traffic, maybe even someone who will become a lead and then eventually a customer.
With PPC (pay-per-click) becoming more competitive, and therefore more expensive, organic traffic is becoming increasingly important. A recent study found that the average cost-per-click (CPC) across all industries in Google AdWords is $2.69, and the average conversion rate is only 3.75%.
2. Builds Authority on a Topic
As more people visit your site through the organic search results to read your amazing content, search engines will begin to notice that you’re the go-to place for the particular topic that you’re covering. In turn, your site will gain more authority, both on search engines and among the masses. Authority is built when people share your content and/or respected sites link back to it.
It’s worth noting that this doesn’t just apply for B2C companies. According to a DemandGen report, when researching a company, 95% of B2B buyers view content as trustworthy.
3. Encourages Action
At the end of the day, all you really want from your marketing efforts is to increase sales and gain a larger share of the market.
Okay, we know it’s easier said than done! But content can help with this, too. Well-structured, informative content can encourage people to take action–such as downloading your app or purchasing your products. In fact, content marketing has been found to have conversion rates 6 times higher than other marketing methods!
Everybody does at least a little research before parting with their money, whether it’s asking their friend if that new restaurant in town is really all that good, or downloading an eBook to find out how to make an animated explainer video.
By creating content, you can control how your potential customers conduct that research by putting it right in front of them.
4. Helps and Supports your Audience
The great thing about content marketing is that it isn’t just a one way street. Yes, it helps you to increase conversions, but it can also serve to help and support your audience. And this double-use is one of the reasons that it’s such a popular form of marketing.
Great content does not simply sell your products or services to the reader. It answers their burning questions, alleviates their doubts, educates them, and, a lot of times, it also entertains them.
According to the Content Marketing Institute’s Annual B2B Content Marketing Report, the 3 most popular goals achieved through content marketing were increasing brand awareness, educating audiences, and building trust. It’s no coincidence that two of those top three goals revolve around helping and supporting customers.
5. Builds Brand Loyalty
In the same CMI report mentioned above, building brand loyalty with existing customers ranked 6th in the most popular goals achieved. This shows that content isn’t only a successful tool for increasing web traffic and leads, but also for helping and delighting existing customers.
Existing customers are extremely valuable. In fact, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, compared to 5-20% for a new prospect. By keeping them engaged with useful content that helps them get more from your product and service, you strengthen your relationship and also increase the chance of them recommending you to their family and friends.
Some forms of content, such as videos and blog articles, are highly shareable and this can help create a buzz around your brand.
Specifically, video has seen a surge in popularity across all major social channels. According to a recent Wyzowl survey, 84% of video marketers have used Facebook as a channel (up 68% from 2018) and 51% have used Instagram (up 41% from 2018).
The same survey found that 48% of people would be likely to share video content with their friends, and 21% would be likely to share articles and/or blog posts.
7. It’s Long Lasting
Most marketing efforts, like social media ads and PPC campaigns, are going to burn through your budget quickly. And, of course, they only generate results while you’re pouring fuel (a.k.a money!) on the fire.
Content, on the other hand, can continue to produce results long after it was created. This is particularly true for evergreen content–pieces that will always be relevant to your target audience. For this reason, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates 3x as many leads.
Thanks for Reading!
Content marketing is not an option for brands anymore, it’s essential for the survival of your site. And if you want your site to not only survive, but thrive, then you need to think of content creation like breathing. It’s a constant necessity.
By reading this guide, you’ve educated yourself on exactly what content marketing is, how it can help you and your audience, and all of the benefits it reaps.
Now all that’s left to do is…
Get started with this comprehensive list of the best content creation tools.