So what is the content marketing definition and what can content marketing do for you?
Could it be that this is your missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to growing your business?
It just might be.
So let’s take a closer look and start with a short definition.
What is Content Marketing Definition?
Content marketing is providing valuable and insightful information for your audience through various content formats. Content helps the readers solve problems and doesn’t directly promote your brand.
This means that the main focus is on creating content that is helpful and insightful to your readers.
It helps you build trust and showcase your knowledge.
By doing that you will try to persuade your readers that you are the right person to talk to about the problem they are facing.
Or to satisfy the need that they have.
Remember that content creation is a never-ending circle.
Also is good to understand that by writing your blog means that you own the media and you don’t need to rent it.
This is one of the reasons your business needs to have a website.
The Content Is The Present And The Future Of Any Marketing
Whatever way we look at marketing, it always has been and always will be about content.
This is the substance that fuels the engagement.
You see companies send us information every day.
The problem is that most of this information is useless or it provides no value.
In most cases, you will find that most of the companies send you commercials and promoting material.
This works if you are already ready to buy.
If not they are just wasting your time and their time and money.
So you would like to make sure people trust you because you are providing value through your content?
Of course, you would.
This is where content marketing comes into place.
Because this will allow your readers to get to know you and bring you benefits in the long-term.
Just listen to this.
According to Demand Metric, 70 % of people are more interested in finding more about a company through an article than an ad.
Also in the same research, 70 % of customers feel to be closer to a company if they have read some of their content.
It’s also good to remember that 96 % of B2B buyers want more content from industry leaders (DemandMetric).
You can be one too.
The content will present you, your company and your industry to new people.
But remember that just writing isn’t enough.
Your content should be engaging.
This is a problem that 87 % of people, that write content, are facing (Source).
The problem persists mainly because creators of the content are still not providing useful insights into the industry, but they promote their services and products to quickly.
You see it’s important that you are telling a story.
Write like you talk, don’t be too official.
But remember the grammar.
You could be taking a good example in comic books.
With stories that people follow they are increasing the interest in superheroes.
By providing a backstory the companies inhales a new life into their toys.
And most of all we get emotionally attached to the characters and they can sell more.
You could be wondering, but why?
Well, it’s quite a simple reason, we the people like stories.
This is what helps them sell more action figures, comic books, video and computer games and everything connected.
You have definitely seen superhero movies, especially in the recent years?
It’s connected to content marketing.
Remember they don’t promote their products directly, they promote the story.
No Content, No Marketing
No matter what you are doing and how you look, if you want to market yourself or advertise, you’ll need content.
No matter what marketing strategy you will want to use, you will have to include content marketing.
If you have no content and you don’t use content marketing, then the advertising won’t work.
This means that you won’t have anything valuable to show in your ads on social media.
You won’t have anything to rank in search engines.
And this means less traffic for you.
Remember that if you don’t have some quality content prepared, then social media marketing won’t work.
Because people are looking for stories.
It’s the same thing with PPC ads.
There’s gotta be amazing content presented so that it converts visitors to clients.
The same goes for inbound marketing. It’s also leaning on quality content.
Remember that quality content makes sure that you have daily visitors on your website.
By having daily visitors on your websites means that you can convert them to subscribers and include them into your email lists.
So you see that content creation is important.
But the content strategy is the foundation of it.
However, if you aren’t using content marketing your content strategy won’t work as planned.
You see, there is no point in content if no one can find it (not the same to no search volume).
To see the results you will need to put in the time and a lot of effort.
Creating content is just the beginning.
And it has to be of top quality.
The Difference Between Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing
Most of the marketing experts (Hubspot research) actually say that content marketing is just a strategy inside of inbound marketing.
I could agree with that.
You see, if you look at it closely and you develop your strategy further you see that they are closely connected.
But nevertheless, there is a difference.
Content marketing is you providing your visitors with knowledge, advice and entertainment trough:
- blog posts
- price calculators
This is meant for a broad audience.
While inbound marketing is dedicated to a more narrow and targeted audience.
But remember that your business can benefit from the combined use.
You see, to get the right traffic you need to create ideal client profiles (inbound marketing).
Then you need content marketing that will bring visitors that suit that profile to your website with the content that you create.
Remember that content marketing isn’t in any way a direct marketing of your services or products.
It’s about showing your expertise, educate, provide value and be helpful to your visitors.
That way you’ll be solving their problems and the next time they will have a similar problem, you’ll be the first on their mind.
A great approach to make the user experience when dealing with your company, better.
Writing Blog Posts Is The Foundation of Content Marketing
Remember that for content marketing to work, you need to create content.
And writing blog posts is the foundation.
Blog posts can be used as a foundation for everything that you want to create later on.
I would highly suggest that you create an ideal client profile.
Then create content for that person.
You can create more profiles as you grow because you don’t serve just one kind of a person.
But start with one, because it will be easier to manage the content creating process.
By creating content for your ideal client you will not only increase targeted traffic but also increase the conversion of your pages.
This means more subscribers and more clients.
By writing posts you will be building trust, your reach, and influence.
And these 3 things are what will make your visitors buy from you.
Don’t Forget To Create Other Content Formats
You heard it right.
Like said in the previous chapter, writing blog posts is just a start of the content marketing.
To be effective at using content marketing you have to transform your content into other content forms too.
Because that way you are increasing the level of user experience for your visitors.
And also, you are making your reach bigger.
You know how some people are preferring one media channel from another and you can use it to your advantage.
Turn your blog posts into Slideshare presentations, videos, infographics, podcasts, e-books, whitepapers, or email courses.
Remember that all these formats can be used to increase reach and build trust.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the formats.
Is being consumed more and more.
You can also see that some social media platforms give it even a bigger reach.
So why wouldn’t you capitalize on it too?
Remember that this means more views and more exposure.
It’s good to know, that video has the second biggest search engine in the world.
You know it, you probably use it quite often, it’s YouTube.
But the thing that you should also pay attention to, is the optimization of videos for YouTube.
This way you can get more views.
Still don’t forget to post videos on Instagram, Linkedin or Facebook if they can fit into your strategy.
And they should.
if you are B2B it’s good to be on LinkedIn, as it prefers your video content over written content.
Let’s move to the next type of content.
Are a voice medium.
In today’s digital world they aren’t hard to publish.
But they can be hard to put together.
As it’s not always easy to get the substance to talk about.
But remember, that they have one big advantage.
You can listen to podcasts everywhere and anytime.
Because all you need is a smartphone, with a solid connection.
Still, a very popular medium and I believe it always will be.
Because it’s about providing a value.
If you spam your email campaigns won’t work.
The best thing is to actually get people to subscribe to your email list.
That way you know that (well most of them) are willing to receive an email from you.
Because of that, you can have some of your traffic guaranteed, when you publish a new post.
Or you have a new offering.
That way you’re not only relying on search engines.
Why Should You Use Content Marketing?
The answer to that can be as simple as written below.
Because it will increase your reputation and the reputation of your company.
Along with that, your brand will get better exposure, more reach, and more clients.
According to a Hubspot research the companies that blog 16 X per month get almost 3,5 X the traffic that the ones that blog 0 – 4 X a month.
Not everyone has the resources to do that, but as many times that you can the better.
Concentrate on evergreen content (it means that is always relevant), so you’ll get traffic for longer.
Keep in mind that the same research also showed that 47 % of buyers read between 3-5 blog posts before actually contacting the sales department.
For me, the most important thing that you should remember is, that content marketing will improve the relationship with your clients.
As seen from the above stat.
That’s because you create content for your audience and by doing that you are indirectly talking to them.
By doing that you are increasing the chances that your potential clients will buy your product or service.
And it doesn’t matter if you even mention your product or service in the content or not.
To better understand why content marketing can benefit you, let’s take a look at the buying process:
- Deciding on the alternatives
- Buying decision
While the traditional marketing works on the last two steps.
So, when your potential client is already deciding which product or service to buy and if to buy.
The content marketing is getting you involved at the start.
It will help you to better help your clients.
That’s because you will provide them with content that is going to show them the problem and how to solve it.
This way you are the one providing the solution.
This means that the next time they’ll have a similar problem you are going to be on their mind.
With content marketing, you are creating content that can also help you with your social media marketing.
It’s a win-win situation.
How Long Does It Take Before The Content Marketing Kicks In?
It’s understandable that if you are investing your time and money, you would like to know when the results will show.
With content marketing, this can depend on many factors.
- How much content are you creating?
- Is your content the right quality?
- What’s the competition like in your niche?
- Do you create the right content for the right people?
All these variables can influence how fast you’ll get results.
Remember, that just creating content is not enough.
If it’s not the right quality, then your potential clients won’t like it.
The same goes for search engines.
If there your niche is saturated then it can take you longer, because you need to beat more competition.
To get more clients from content marketing it’s really important to know your audience.
So the times vary.
But you should look at this through different eyes.
If you are creating content that is providing answers to questions that you or your sales team is frequently asked.
Then this can prove to be the best sales help you could get.
Because maybe now, that you have answered a question from a potential client in detail, they could be ready to buy.
As you now have the possibility to use that piece of content in your sales process.
The same goes for your sales staff.
See, this is the part of the benefits that content marketing can give you instantly.
Here you can also see, why it’s important that your sales team is present in your content creation.
Because they are in constant contact with your potential clients, and they know what are the best what questions your clients have.
Trough time, you’ll see an increase in traffic, leads, and sales (first results in 30 – 90 days, but it depends on the variables mentioned above).
You can also get a result that is seen immediately if you use content marketing when describing your products.
Because that way you can have a direct conversation with your customers and you can present the unique value proposition of your products and services.
Positive Effects Of Content Marketing On Your SEO
There are a lot of positive effects on your websites SEO.
But first, let’s just quickly take a look at what is SEO optimization?
This means that you are preparing your website to rank high in search engines.
You do this by making sure:
- your HTML is by the book,
- that you have set up the right H tags on the right places,
- you include the right keywords
- you write meta descriptions for your pages
- that your images have alternative or alt text
- your website has a good internal linking structure.
- that you create quality and valuable content.
All of this is really important, but remember that the most important is the content.
That is the substance that will grow your reputation and reach.
And because you are creating your content for content marketing, you are creating benefits for your website’s SEO.
You see, for a strong and SEO, the most important thing is content.
They are connected.
As one can’t really work without the other.
That’s why content marketing and SEO also go hand in hand.
Or at least, in my opinion, they should go hand in hand.
Unfortunately, it’s still widely accepted that SEO is some kind of a magic, that can work without quality content.
This is the foundation for it.
You should remember that for example Google (other search engines too), wants to show his user the best search results.
This means he is after quality content for his first page.
They use more than 200 ranking factors to rank websites.
So you see, you need content to do well in SEO.
That’s why it’s also crucial to do your homework when you decide to start writing.
Be sure you do a comprehensive keyword research.
It’s important, that the keywords that you want to use, have a sufficient monthly search volume.
But also remember, that not all keywords are suitable for you.
You should know the intent behind a keyword.
The intent will show you what did the searcher mean with the search query.
You can spot this by search your keyword in Google and see what kind of pages are ranking on the top.
Are the pages ranking selling or are they posts or are they mixed on the first page?
And if they are mixed which ones are in the top 3?
This will tell you what kind of content you need to rank for that keyword.
Because this can tell you that there is a limited possibility to rank high.
It’s also beneficial if you know the stages of your customers buying cycle.
That is because the keywords that are used in the buying stage have less search volume than the ones at the beginning of the awareness stage.
If you are thinking why?
It’s because not everyone is ready to buy and you got there a narrowly targeted audience.
This is also why not every keyword with low search volume is a bad choice.
Plus they are usually easier to rank for because there is less of a competition.
This is also a parameter that you should look at.
It can tell you if it’s worth to try and rank for the selected keyword.
Or if it’s even possible.
It depends on your domains authority.
Are the ones that will strengthen your domain authority.
Backlinks will also help you to get more out of content marketing.
And here you can see again that SEO and content go hand in hand.
The content will help you build more backlinks.
And the backlinks will help you rank higher in search engines.
By being higher in the search engine, you’ll get more traffic and more potential clients.
Remember that backlinks are telling the search engines that your website is trustworthy and has some quality content.
That’s why they are so important.
If you are going to create quality content regularly you will see the results eventually.
Can You Be Successful With Content Marketing If You Don’t Have A Big Budget And A Big Team?
Well, if you want a quick answer… Yes, it’s possible.
That’s something to be excited for.
But remember that even if you are doing it yourself, there is an investment.
You will have to invest your time and put in the needed work, to make it shine.
The thing is, that if you don’t have the resources, time and the team to create new content on a regular enough basis, you should focus on the evergreen content.
What is evergreen content?
This content isn’t time sensitive and it most likely won’t get old.
It will always remain relevant.
I would suggest writing as many of these as possible.
Also, these posts will make you a reference in your niche.
They will promote you as an expert in your industry.
Because you don’t have the resources you can write about everything.
That’s why it’s important that you chose topics that can stay relevant for a longer period of time and doesn’t need constant updates.
You should choose topics that are really in line with your company and industry.
Topics that will show you and your company’s true face.
It can sound like a cliche, but quality over quantity.
Sometimes it can be enough that someone is helping you to do a research on the possible topics.
Try to find the solution that can help you in your capabilities.
There are more strategies, but this is the foundation.
It’s good to remember that you should always optimize your strategy for your specific business.
The first thing to do is, to see what kind of content you already have.
So take a look at:
- what kind of content do you already have
- how long and deep is your content
- what category does it fall in
- is your content still relevant
- is the content connected and relevant to your company
Definitely, don’t forget to see if it’s optimized for SEO.
If your content is short and old, update it and dig deeper into the topic.
Make sure you are writing about all the important details.
I would recommend that you don’t write less than 1000 words.
But I would encourage you to go beyond that.
As Brian Dean found out the average post on the first page of Google has 1890 words.
I’ll say be close to 2000 or more words.
But only when possible. Do just throw in the word, because you are chasing a quota.
Remember, quality over quantity.
Now let’s get back to the strategy.
This is how you can start to plan a strategy:
- Find out what are the biggest pain points of your clients
- Create a content strategy that will expose these problems and solutions
- Combine your content with buying cycle
This means that you will need to do a research on your target audience.
That way you will get the answers that you need to create your content.
The best thing to do is to create an ideal client profile.
Start with one.
This way you’ll have an easier job of creating the content suitable for that client.
Later when you’ve created enough content you can easily add more profiles.
After all, no one is dealing with just one type of person.
Let’s get back to the profile.
It’s important that you find how your ideal client is feeling when he/she can’t reach their goals.
It can be a big help if you try to do a research on your client’s emotional state.
After that, the next step is to create content that will talk to your ideal client in every step of the buying cycle.
Step 1: Awareness
You can create the following content for your visitors that are in this stage:
- Educational posts, videos, podcasts
- e-guides, e-books, whitepapers
- researches tied to your industry.
This content will help you to get your clients to realize that they have a problem or the need for your product or service.
Remember that in this stage the potential client doesn’t have a clear idea about the problem or the need for the product.
While they are learning, it’s good to have a certain mechanism in place that will keep you in front of them after they leave your website.
Almost no one buys on the first visit.
Because they don’t know you yet, and they don’t trust you yet.
It’s good to collect their emails or get them to sign up to browser notification ( really popular these days).
To collect email you can set up pop-ups, with e-books, e-guides or checklist offers.
You can even get your posts converted into pdf and let them download the post as an e-book.
Of course, the regular newsletter sign-up should also be active.
But don’t go overboard.
Rather be helpful than intrusive.
Step 2: Research
In this stage, the client is already aware of the problem and the need for your product or service as a solution.
But they are researching what kind of possibilities do they have on the market and which solution is the best to solve it.
The following content is recommended to create:
- Comparison of products and services
- Expert guides that are created in collaboration with an expert in your niche
- Live videos and webinars
- Sending newsletter (collecting emails can really pay off)
Videos can also be used for your post to be turned into a video.
Remember to use the content suggestion from step one too.
These should just be added to your arsenal.
Step 3: Buying decision
In this step, they are ready to buy.
They now know what it’s all about and how to solve their problem and which service is the one to do it.
Your mission is:
- find out what is it that your clients would be looking for if they are ready to buy your products or services
This is the last step.
Here is your shot at convincing your potential client to buy from you or go to your competitor.
You can create posts that are targeted precisely to the ones that are ready to buy.
The thing is that you can do this by including a call to actions (CTAs) into your posts.
But don’t put these CTA’ into every post.
Because if the post is not for this stage then it will seem like you are being pushy.
This can be a button to buy a product, reserve a consultation, free audit or a discount.
Let’s look at some examples.
If you have a makeup shop or fashion blog, you can write a post and create a collection for the summer.
Do you sell these products?
Redirect them to the shop, where they can find all of these products.
You can also do similar with other e-commerce shops.
Let’s say you offer services.
You offer a free audit, or coupon, special offer.
Shopify does this with CTA’s that are convincing you to register and open an e-commerce shop.
Let me tell you an example with my business in mind.
I post an article that talks about how to create a successful website.
You as a client are interested in creating a website for your business.
Then you find this article, that answers your questions that you were worried about.
I place CTA’s in the article for a free consultation, and you sign up.
You can do it similar to that.
Now you maybe look at the steps and see that there is one less than above in the post.
That’s because this way your start of building your sales funnel will be easier.
If you believe that having more steps can help you, why not.
Sometimes it can be tricky to move your content to a specific step, so maybe more steps in the funnel can help you.
Content Distribution And Promotion
In this chapter, we will look at how you can distribute and promote your content.
As you saw, a blog is the foundation of content marketing.
But these days it’s not enough.
You can enhance your efforts.
We could say that these are the other forms of content marketing.
You need to be active on social media.
This doesn’t mean that all you do is publish a link to your post.
Participate in discussions.
Answer questions that your potential clients are asking.
Pin your post to Pinterest.
Most of the business owners forget about distribution.
The “build it and they will come” doesn’t work anymore.
It’s not enough to just hit that publish button your blog and you’ll just magically increase traffic.
It’s important to know what is happening on social media.
If you just look at an organic reach on Facebook, for example, you can see that it has fallen to almost zero.
My advice is to post shorter posts, that don’t include a link to an article.
If you want to put it into the first comment (I still do it the old way so you can share the link in it too).
But do remember that in most cases Facebook has become a pay to play.
You can get more out of it if you engage your potential clients in groups.
However, there are tools on Facebook that can help you.
Make use of live video.
This enables you to directly communicate with your clients.
The best part is, that all you need is your smartphone.
You can also do live videos on Instagram.
It doesn’t allow you to share links in posts.
But if you have big enough of following you can share links in stories.
While we are at the stories, you can also share stories on Facebook.
On Instagram make sure you are showing off your day in the company.
Share short advice videos or posts.
On LinkedIn, you have the same option to join the groups as on Facebook.
I would say be active and participate or even initiate conversations.
Be sure to share posts on your profile too.
Especially video posts.
These are at the moment really powerful because they are preferred by the Linkedin algorithm.
Share articles on your LinkedIn profile.
You can share the article from your blog.
But do add the canonical URL, so you tell Google that this article has been already published.
Make sure you share your articles on Medium.
Another platform where you can share your blog posts, and follow other authors.
And it automatically adds the “originally published on” canonical URL.
To get your reputation even higher and maybe get some additional backlink you can share slides on SlideShare.
Transform your posts into a slide presentation.
As we can see these days it’s a good idea to start your own YouTube channel.
Create educational videos.
They can be posts transformed into a video.
Show yourself and bring your brand closer to your potential clients.
That way you’ll breathe some life into your company.
A good way to distribute and promote your content is still Twitter.
You can basically find your potential clients and follow them.
Then share the content that they could be needing.
It works for B2B and B2C.
Email Marketing And Automation
Email marketing is still here and not going anywhere.
As I mentioned above, if you work on your email list it can bring a lot to the table.
It can help you personalize the user experience, which can make an extra impact on your visitors.
Of course in the boundaries that the GDPR is presenting.
Email marketing is helping you to talk to your clients.
By integrating that with automation, you can make that experience even better.
Say that your visitor is looking for some services or product on your website, and you can send him an email with relevant content.
This can really increase your chances of securing a new client.
Yes, this can also be done with chatbots.
I personally don’t like Facebook messenger bots, because in my experience they are annoying.
But I do like chatbots in your chat on your website.
Instapage is a great example of it.
A good example is also the chatbot on Sam Hurley’s website.
You can work on automation here too.
And it can work as well or even better than email because it’s in real time.
You can use it on all social media channels.
Paid advertising will definitely get you more traffic and bigger audience on social media.
We should not forget the search engine marketing, like AdWords (now Google Ads).
That could bring more traffic directly to your website.
If you look at it this way, the ad is also your content.
Because it should hold a story.
That’s what matters the most.
There is something that sticks with me from James Cook, founder of StoryMatters.
The hero in these stories that you’ll produce isn’t you, but your client.
In my case you.
That’s why the next chapter is about customer relationships.
Content Marketing Improves Customer Relationships
If you believe that your content is only for attracting new clients, then you are wrong.
Your content production and pointing out potential problems and their solution are also helping your current clients.
You are building better relationships with your current clients too.
This is a part that many companies forget, after sale services.
You can create these content pieces to build better relationships.
- E-guides and How-to posts
- Ask your clients for a review that you will then share on your social media account, where you tag them, so you show your appreciation.
So, what is this?
This is simply put a content that was created by your users.
Which means that your users publish a post on social media that includes your company, your product or service, and your user.
Usually, it also means that they have tagged you.
Do you remember the Coca-Cola campaign about sharing it with your friends and they had the bottles with names on it?
Of course, you do.
There were so many posts with these bottles that you could get a headache.
But it worked.
It can work for you too.
Maybe it’s a bit easier for B2C products than B2B, but still, it depends on the niche you are in.
Have a photo contest.
You can propose a hashtag that is unique and you will know who is posting images.
Then you should interact and select the winner.
This way you are not showing as a company but more as part of the group, you are more genuine.
Remember that this also builds trust and reputation.
So make sure you don’t break it.
This is a great opportunity to do on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat.
It’s true that technically content marketing is just one of the strategies in inbound marketing.
But you have to remember that it’s so more than that.
You can see that it combines and brings so many positive effects to you, your clients and your company.
However, it’s not only about marketing.
If you are doing content marketing, then you are providing value to your visitors, you are in a way of empowering them.
You are providing a solution, even if the attempt to do it themselves.
But through the post about content marketing definition, you see what it is and how content marketing can increase your sales, open up new markets and improves your relationships with your clients.
If you get one thing out of it, I want you to know that is about providing value and showing clients that it is possible to do it.
Remember that your client is the hero in your story.