Introduction to Content Marketing
THE MARKETING WORLD HAS BEEN TURNED UPSIDE DOWN. It was not long ago that marketers were still focused on placing product messages in front of consumers’ eyes to generate leads. But the Internet and technologyhave quickly changed the game. Consumers are now users; they are in control and are harder to reach than ever. In order to reach them, build relationships and generate/nurture leads, brands must produce quality content that is engaging, interactive, mobile friendly and sharable. And as quality content proves to be one of the most effective assets in modern marketing, organizations are developing a near limitless appetite for producing it.
Brands know why, but are struggling with the “how?” question to content marketing. How do I develop a strategy? How do I publish fire-like content? And how do I make it spread to get me ROI I’ll like? This guide to content marketing seeks to answer the “how?” question. It should be used as an expanding learning tool that offers valuable, relevant and simplified information during each stage of the content marketing process. Its format should remain adjustable and its content will be ever evolving.
Many marketers do not realize that content marketing is one of the oldest and most effective strategies in history. Over time, the basic principles of content marketing have not really changed. What continues to change are the content distribution channels/platforms used to reach your audience. Some marketers of today may say the evolution of the internet has killed off traditional channels in favor of the digital realm. However, this evolution only makes us (marketers and consumers) look at channels differently, simply because they are used differently by consumers. Content marketers thus have the responsibility to look at all available channels to tell stories. This is why it is important to stay on top of current trends and find what your audience is interested in, talking about, wanting to learn, what technology they are using and the space they are spending time in.
In order to break down successful content marketing, this manual first offers a high level overview of the concept – its history, why it’s successful today, and what the necessary mindset is. Next, this manual breaks down how to get your strategy started. Your strategy will incorporate strategic, operational, and tactical planning, content creation, distribution, and metrics for multiple stages of the buying cycle to multiple customer personas.
Successful content marketing isn’t always just about the content. Relevant targeted marketing is also necessary, which is why online advertising with relevant targeting capabilities is explored next. “Getting Started” emphasizes the importance of having a marketing strategy and how to plan for it. “Online Advertising” covers direct response-click like Google AdWords and online advertising networks. “Social Media” provides general and specific information on current platforms so that you can lay the foundation and create conversation when people aren’t immediately ready to buy. With high-quality content, social media and relevant targeted marketing, you can build awareness, protect your reputation, build a community around your brand, enhance customer service, help your research and product development, drive sales, become an industry leader and generate leads.
Why Content Marketing?
What the Cavemen Taught Us about Content Excellence
CONTENT MARKETING HAS BEEN AROUND FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS.
Cavemen used to sit around the fire, telling stories of their daily adventures. These stories were told again and again. Listeners would pass them on to their friends, who would tell them to their friends, and so on. The interesting and compelling ones would eventually be drawn on the cave walls and immortalize for centuries to come. And the stories that weren’t interesting or compelling – nobody would pass those on. The story tellers were probably interrupted even before they finished. Engagement was a priority even 100,000 years ago. Stories were in the hands of the people at least until the birth of film and television, when advertisers and executives had to give their approval for a story to make it to the audience.
A Fresh Marketing Mindset
The rise of content marketing has nothing to do with stopping anything with traditional marketing. Actually, we need both. The home runs occur when content marketing and traditional marketing work together to help tell the same story. Take on the mindset:
1. Content marketing and social channels are constantly changing.
- Your content marketing strategy needs to be able to constantly and quickly adapt
- Stay ahead of what is trending and what tools are the best for reaching your audience
- Tools are constantly becoming “so yesterday,” which is why it’s necessary to review the performance of each content marketing tactic you use, and also listen to and monitor your online reputation on a constant basis to ensure that you’re always heading in the right direction.
2. Content marketing is dynamic and non-linear.
- Marketing today differs from traditional media in the past where story telling was static and a one-way street
- Successful content marketing strategies allow and anticipate a non-linear and dynamic story telling process that involve several media formats, social networks, and consumer generated stories. Yes, that’s right – Consumer generated.
3. There is no one size fits all model.
- Each content marketing strategy will be different depending on the client
- A successful strategy will be customized to fit your client’s needs, which involves implementing different social media channels, technology and stories.
4. Content marketing campaigns are not for everyone.
- A good content marketing strategist knows what your client needs and if a content marketing campaign will be the most successful path or not.
5. Content marketing is channel-agnostic.
- You should be looking at all available channels to engage with customers…print, in-person, and online (including mobile). The Internet’s evolution is only making us look at channels differently, not necessarily killing them off. All channels are used differently by consumers. It’s important to understand your niche audience and find the best places to reach them with an integrated approach.
Most Popular Content Marketing Tactics
CMI, the content marketing institute released B2B Content Marketing stats for 2016. The institute found that some of the most popular ways, by percentage of companies, are social media (93%), case studies (82%), in-person events (81%), e-newsletters (81%), blogs (81%), article and video posting (79%), photos and illustrations (76%) and white papers (71%)