You’ve decided to use a content marketing strategy to engage customers, widen your audience, and drive up sales… hopefully. Choosing to utilize content marketing is one thing, but making money from such a strategy is a whole different animal.
In today’s marketplace, nearly every business and brand has some sort of content marketing strategy in place whether they mean to or not. If they are posting on a blog or social media channels, they are using content marketing. So what is content marketing? And how do you use it effectively to make money? Glad you asked!
What Is Content Marketing?
Content Marketing Institute describes content marketing as “the method creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
Before you get drowned in that technical definition, let’s focus on the most important part of that definition: valuable. The value of the content is what sets this marketing strategy apart from others. It’s what makes the audience seek out your content rather than avoid it.
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Providing value is also what makes content marketing so tricky. You must always be listening to your audience by analyzing their actions and behaviors. Constantly monitoring what they are reading, sharing, and interacting with across all of your channels with the intention of use that information to further refine your strategy. It’s a never ending cycle.
Why Content Marketing?
So now you know what content marketing is, but as I’ve just said, it’s a difficult strategy to develop and maintain. The work will never be done. So why should you choose to spend the time, effort, and likely money, into developing this strategy over others?
Content marketing is actually a guerilla tactic of sorts in that the audience may not even recognize it as marketing. When you run a paid ad on social media, it’s obvious to the consumer that it is a marketing campaign.
But with content marketing, you could be educating and helping the viewer fix a problem they may not even know they have! If done correctly, content marketing can make your customer’s recognize, trust, and respect your brand through your valuable content.
Content marketing strategies can also have trickle-down benefits to other digital marketing efforts. For instance, it will provide additional content to share as part of social media marketing campaigns. Plus, it contributes to SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, efforts by building up content on your website which is then found by search engines. In fact, for many companies the bulk of their SEO efforts are probably the result of content marketing.
How Do I Use Content Marketing?
Developing a content marketing strategy will have two major components: integrate and build. Integrating will involve spreading your content across all of your brand’s various platforms. This could include your company website, landing pages, blog, and social media profiles. Once you have rolled out your messaging and content to all available platforms, you’ll need to begin building an audience you can market to.
In order for your content marketing to be effective, you need your audience to see it. The best way to achieve optimal reach is to strategically spread your content across multiple platforms. However, this does not mean that when you publish a new blog post you simply link to it on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. You’ll need to think critically about who the content is relevant to and where you can reach them. Remember: you are trying to create value, not noise.
When it comes to social media, each network has its own audience demographics which should be considered when developing your integration strategy. For instance, 86% of SnapChat users are under the age of 35, while 61% of LinkedIn users are aged 30 to 64-years-old. So if your target audience is a 45-year-old executive, you probably won’t see favorable results from SnapChat.
You may also consider that while one piece of your content is targeted to and valuable for a specific demographic, another piece of content may play better to a different demographic. And that’s ok! The key is to understand the value of the content and share it with the right group of people at the right time.
In addition to social media, you can also integrate content in various places on your website. You may choose to have a call to action (CTA) on your home page for a new whitepaper. You can use your social media platforms to direct followers to a specific landing page with content. Or you can simply curate your company’s blog.
Once you pick your desired platforms and plan your distribution, you’ll want to choose a few metrics that will measure your success in getting the audience you want to take the actions that you desire. Some possible metrics include:
- Landing page conversions
- Blog or newsletter subscription growth
- Social media follower growth
- Social media interactions (likes, retweets, comments, shares)
- Mentions on social media
- Mentions and backlinks from other websites
No matter the metrics, a well-designed integrated content marketing plan can be a great way for getting your brand in front of your ideal prospects while providing them with something of value.
After you’ve established your plan of action, you’ll need to begin growing a targeted audience you can market all this great content to. This is a delicate balance between extending your reach as far as possible while continuing to find people that need or want your product.
A good place to start is Facebook since it has an incredibly diverse user base. Possibly more importantly though, Facebook has a robust Insight feature within their Business Manager platform. The Insights feature can help you better understand your audience and choose the most appropriate target for your marketing efforts by providing an extensive amount of data.
This data can include demographics like age, gender, location, and education; psychographics like attitudes, values, opinions, and aspirations; behaviors like interactions, conversions, sign-ups, and clicks; and other media preferences like frequently visited pages. With all this data at your fingertips you can hyper-target your content to test what works best.
You’ll then be able to carry over those findings to other platforms and to the audiences you know use those specific mediums. By knowing and understanding your audience, you will be able to provide them with the best and most valuable content. Once you’ve mastered that, your content marketing strategy will be performing at an optimal level.