The concept of content marketing is one that is garnering a lot of buzz in digital marketing circles these days. Most traditional advertising techniques and strategies were more or less effective in capturing the attention of those who are already in the middle to lower portions of the marketing funnel– that is, those who have already decided that they desire a product or solution and are simply attempting to decide which one they ought to purchase.
This is all well and good since these folks are, by nature, the most motivated to buy in the immediate future, and so demand our attention as marketers. However, in most cases, this highly motivated audience comprises a relative minority of the population of potential clients and consumers available, and so it would behoove us to pay due attention toward the top of our marketing funnel as well. This is where great content marketing begins to show its value.
One potentially helpful byproduct of effective content marketing is brand awareness. If your company or service is not yet a household name, then building brand awareness is extremely important. One way to do so is through the employment of high-quality content such as blogs, infographics, videos, etc.
Related: What Is Content Marketing?
Content is a great way for potential customers to get to know your brand and what you offer by interacting with different media which serve not only to educate them on the virtues of your product or service, but to keep them engaged with the topic without losing interest. By employing multiple forms of media, thus providing value and creating intrigue, you gain the opportunity to explain your position and give consumers a more in-depth account of who you are, what you provide, and why you are a great fit for them.
One of the most critically important goals of content marketing is to help support SEO efforts. As we mentioned previously, the more traditional forms of advertising focused primarily on the bottom half of the marketing funnel, and commonly neglected those consumers toward the top. Another way to understand this concept is by breaking down the four main steps of the buying process:
Awareness: Before customers are aware of your brand, they may have a need. However, at this point, they may not be aware that a solution exists.
Research: Once a customer has become aware of the various solutions available, they will often undertake research in order to become familiar with the different options. For example, when someone decides to shop for a car, they are likely to try to figure out what different types of cars exist, and which one best fits their individual needs.
Consideration: At this stage, customers will have nailed down what type of solution might work best for them and begin comparing products from different vendors in order to ensure that they are purchasing quality products at a reasonable price.
Buy: Finally, customers come to a decision as to which specific product will best suit their needs and they move forward with the transaction.
Traditional advertising as we know it has been strongly geared toward consumers who find themselves at either the consideration or buying stages. These people are already aware of the existence of pertinent solutions and in many cases are active and ready to buy. Content marketing can be that final push to help them make their decision. Providing additional information on a product help to reinforce its virtues.
Content marketing has benefits that extend beyond simple reinforcement when applied to the earlier stages- creating awareness and stimulating research. In the context of SEO, this means that content marketing can be used to garner attention that otherwise may not exist.
When people seek out general information on a given topic, good content marketing will trigger search engines to point them in the direction of information that they may not have been searching for specifically but will aid them in their quest for knowledge and ultimately lead them to products and solutions that they may desire. Google, and others recognize the intent of the content and identify you as an authority in your chosen arena. In short, strong content marketing is easy for search engines to understand, and they tend to reward it by putting eyeballs on the content and getting people into your marketing funnel. This is great SEO.
These same content outlets have the potential to help you generate leads as well. As marketers, it is imperative that we establish a connection with potential consumers and find ways to engage with them directly in order to make sales repeatedly. Collecting email addresses is a great way to achieve this, but the fact is that most people are not simply going to hand over their personal information simply because we ask for it. The methodology behind content marketing is to offer real value to these people by building it into our content. By doing so, we offer them a real reason to engage with us and offer their emails in exchange for the valuable content that we provide up front.
There are many tools and formats that we can use to achieve this including (but certainly not limited to):
- White papers
These types of materials serve not only to establish oneself as an authority on a topic but to engage and persuade people to see the value in the viewpoint or solution you wish to present to them. Engaging people in ways that are meaningful and helpful is a great way to begin building trust and your email list at the same time.
Ideally, the content that is used to achieve this should be built around your landing pages in order to get the very most out of them. We want our content to be geared toward our bread and butter, the solutions or products that we do best. This way, it seems logical and unobtrusive when we decide to push offers through to them. By structuring our content in this manner, we become less of a “salesman” and more of a helpful source that people can trust to help solve issues in their daily lives.
Customer Retention/Brand Loyalty
As we alluded to above, it is important to establish trust with customers if we want them to remain loyal to our brand- and we do. We should continue to offer them information and guidance even after they have made an initial purchase.
- Continue to impress your customers. Offer them updated information regarding your niche and any new solutions you have to offer
- Continue to establish trust and build relationships – don’t just go for the hard sell every time. It is important that your customers get value out of your relationship and think that you care about them.
- Be helpful, answer their questions – stay top-of-mind with your customers.
Be clear about that fact that you are an expert in your field and that you know what great solutions for your customers are out there. Educate them on this with consideration of the following:
- Is your product complicated? Do customers need to know why they should use your product?
- Answer the most frequently asked questions about your product/services through blog posts, videos etc.
- Content marketing can serve as a great source of educational material for future customers and current customers alike.
Establish Your Brand as a Thought Leader
Another important goal of content marketing is to establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry. Whether you are a clothing company or a gym, content allows you to showcase your knowledge and expertise in your given industry. This will help you to:
- Set yourself apart from the competition
- Be the first one to write content about a new trend or change in your industry
- Show potential customers that you are trustworthy
Promote Your Products
This might seem like a no-brainer, but try not to be shy about using your platform to promote your products. Believe in your product and use these opportunities to show your customers that you believe in your products and they should too.
How to Meet Your Content Marketing Goals
Effective content marketing is going to involve content clustering. Creating a lot of in-depth content around one specific topic is an excellent way to show Google and your customers that you are an expert. Do this with many different topics to become a valuable source of information.
Related: What Is A Content Cluster?
Additionally, do not limit yourself to one type of media; rather, diversify the outlets you use in order to reach multiple desired audiences. Create neatly interlinked content to drive traffic toward landing pages which highlight products, services, and information that form the backbone of your business.
As content marketers, it is our job to provide value and information to our customers, build trust with them and earn their attention so that we have the opportunity to provide them with great solutions in a manner that is comfortable for them. If done thoughtfully, content marketing affords us a new and exciting opportunity to engage with a greater audience with more depth than was previously possible.