What is Content Marketing?

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What is Content Marketing?

What is Content Marketing?
Direct advertising flooded the Internet. There is no more place where once a consumer could hide from annoying advertising. Not surprisingly, it became much more difficult to arouse the desire to “get something” without irritating.

People no longer want the product to be “pushed” by someone, even if they need it. They want to make decisions by themselves, after hearing the opinions of loved ones and independent experts. They need information that will not be forced but help them to make a choice.

In the modern marketing world, active advertising has faded into the background, now it is much more important to build communication channels correctly and get feedback from the client. It is a two-way communication on which the development of most modern companies is based. And content marketing is the connecting link between the company and the consumer.

The concept of the content marketing and its implementation.

Content marketing - is a marketing technique aimed to create and disseminate a high-quality, relevant and, above all, useful information for the consumer.

The goal - is to create trusting relationships with the client, increase website traffic, increase reputation, loyalty, recognition and sales growth.

Content marketing “gently” pushes a potential buyer to a certain choice, it does not decide for the buyer and gives time to think, does not crush the time frame of stocks. The key word here is good, and the key goal is trust. From simple advertising to content differs in that it is useful in itself. It does not find and pursue the consumer, the consumer finds it in the search engines, voluntarily gets to know it and even shares with friends.

Indisputable advantages of content marketing:

· Trust
When you start giving the user the necessary and useful content, the user will have the impression of you as specialists who can be trusted, because time after time you have already helped the user with advice in your articles.

· Increasing positions in search results, increasing traffic
Content marketing is close to SEO. More interesting and unique content - a higher position in the search results, and interesting articles will bring you search traffic.

· Reputation
Try to gain respect not only among customers, but also among colleagues and even competitors. A good reputation will help the company find valuable personnel, recruit your ranks with fans of the brand, who will not only recommend you to friends, but also possibly protect your company in various forums from attacks from dissatisfied customers.

· Sales growth
And this is inevitable. When your regular reader decides to purchase a certain product, the regular reader will turn to the company that has shared his or her experience with him/her, gave advice, did not get aggressive advertising and patiently was waiting for him/her to make a decision.

It is important to understand that content marketing is not aimed for instant results. This is a game with complex rules, which will take you so long, however, in marketing, easy ways no longer lead to anything. And content marketing itself will lead you to a client, to a client who fully trusts the company. And this will win a leading position for you in the fight for consumer loyalty.

Where to start?

1. Goal settings
2. Identify a target audience
3. Choosing channels dissemination of Content
4. Create Content
5. Allocate Content on channels
6. Creating a long-term plan
7. Strategy analysis and modification

Goal settings

A clear statement of the goal will help draw up the most optimal achievement strategy. Want to increase the number of subscribers on your YouTube channel or increase the number of reposts of your informative articles in your corporate blog? Every goal has its nuances.

Identify a target audience

Before you start your blog or write articles on social networks, you must determine for whom you will write all of this; in other words, your target audience. This affects, what topics you will cover to attract the TA you need. In the ideal case, the reader should be hooked so much that he or she wants himself/herself to share your information with friends or colleagues. Therefore, all means are good here: From a serious article in which topical issues are sorted out, to jokes and funny pictures from your field of activity. It is also important that sharing your Content is easy enough. Usually, buttons for posting on social networks are enough.

Choosing channels dissemination of content

The next important question: How to convey your content to the desired audience? The following options are possible:

1. Corporate site or blog;
2. Third-party site or blog, that your TA is reading;
3. Social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter etc.);
4. Emailing;
5. Media, Web portals and other thematic sites;
6. Conferences, seminars, webinars, roundtables and other educational events;
7. Books, magazines, catalogs and other prints.

Implicitly, your platform will become a platform for the client. However, it does not mean that there will be no more advertising materials on your page. Most importantly is do not forget whose page it is and do not go over the top with advertising. Most of the content should be useful or entertaining, allow about 20 percent our of 100 for commercial content.

And what’s important - give the reader time to digest the material. Find a sweet spot in the frequency of publications depending on the topics of your business and target audience.

Creating content

Next, you need to answer a very important question: Who is going to write the content? The following options are possible:

· General manager

It is unlikely that anyone in the company knows their business better than its founder, that is, the General manager. He or she knows all the pitfalls and can tell so many interesting things, however, it is unlikely that he/she has a lot of time for that and the Head does not necessarily have the writing skills or holds a degree from a language and literature department.

· Staff members

You can instruct employees to write notes on behalf of the company on social networks. Over time, the Head will find out who shows writing skills among subordinates by analyzing the readers’ activities.

· Third-party organizations

A company selling content will significantly save your time and time of your employees, but this is rather a costly approach. Moreover, the contractor does not know your business as well as you do.

· Third-party expert

Having resorted to the help of a third-party expert, you will be able to learn something new about the scope of your business by yourself. But, unfortunately, not every expert will want to write in your company's corporate blog.

· Visitors

Sometimes, it is the site’s visitors that can leave a lot of useful and unique information. Therefore, a concept such as guest blogging should not be neglected. The only negative side is that it is quite difficult to get a visitor to share stories or thoughts on a specific topic.

However, do not forget that content is not only textual content. Today, there are 4 content formats:

· Textual (news, article, post, questioning, research etc.);
· Graphic (pictures, photo report, illustration, infographic etc.);
· Video (interviews, commercials, movies, video clips, webinars, video reviews, training courses etc.);
· Audio (music, audiobook, podcast etc.).

Proper combination of these formats will make content more attractive for consumers.

Classification content by channels

If you run a channel on Youtube, it’s logical that all information clips should be uploaded there. Your corporate blog can position itself as a serious platform where you will publish reviews of new products, give advice from experts and share something interesting from the industry. And your Instagram profile can be entertaining.

Long-term plan development

It is important to systematize the publication of the content. You must know exactly the dates and topics of publications for the week, month, quarter and even a year in advance.

Strategy analysis and modification

The effectiveness of content marketing is difficult to measure by the number of sales, as it is a long-term tool. Therefore, it is necessary to proceed from specific goals. Do you want 5 thousand subscribers? Perfect! If people are subscribing - you are on the right track, if the number does not change or falls - you are doing something wrong and your strategy needs to be reviewed. But do not forget that a written article can lead a client to you in six months down the road or even in a year.

What do you do if your business does not transact with consumers but for businesses?

Doing business in B2B is different from doing business in B2C, and content marketing is not an exception. A business-to-business product is much more complicated than a business-to-consumer product and needs to be examined more thoroughly.

Today, a commercial consumer does not need to meet and communicate with a company representative as before. People are much more comfortable finding all the necessary information over a cup of coffee in a calm and familiar environment where no one puts the heat on them. Therefore, it is extremely important that among the information that a potential client will pass through itself, your content also appears.

What to write about?

Explore the market, write comparative articles about goods and services, consider your cases, give recommendations to beginners, organize polls and publish the results, analyze all kinds of issues, the sources of their origin and be sure to tell about ways of their solutions.

There are common mistakes in writing B2B content:

1. In pursuit of informativeness, do not forget that articles should contain a veiled call to action, for example, to further travel through your site. People should not just read and leave; they should remember your goods and your company. Try to maximize the user's presence with you, create all the conditions for this.

2. Despite the complexity of your business, do not make your site too complicated. The visitor should spend a minimum amount of effort for any actions on your site. For example, do not run away with complicated registration or links to third-party resources. Comfort is above all. If you have a video content, try to provide it in text format for those who prefer to read. As often as possible, put yourself in the place of the consumer who first visited your site.

3. Provide the user with the most detailed and useful information, do not allow yourself to do specious articles. Do not stop figuring out the needs of your potential customers, and as deep as possible cover solutions to their problems.

4. If you are not sure about something - do not write about it at all. You must be an opinion leader in the eyes of the reader, your articles must convince and not leave unresolved issues. If your organization does not have an employee who can write quality content, do not economize, turn to third-party organizations. Try to involve as many experts as possible in the content creation process.

5. Your content plan should be consistent and logical, one article should cling to another. Random, rare, unrelated publications will not help you.

6. Do not forget that the content needs to be promoted: Mailing lists, active position in social networks, etc... SEO also remains an essential tool to help search engines to index your unique content.

7. Try to predict the client’s reaction to your actions and respond correctly. There should be a built-in interaction between you and your client.

B2B content creation strategy is similar to the strategies described above:

1. Start by creating the list of goals;
2. You should have a clear understanding of who your customer is;
3. You should understand his or her preferences, his/her problems and know exactly where he/she is looking for answers to his/her questions (websites, articles, books, blogs, etc.);
4. Find someone who will write quality content for you. In the B2B field, it is much more difficult to achieve quality and relevant content than in the B2C field. Try to contact experts more often;
5. Find a sweet spot in the frequency of publishing content;
6. Consider all possible channels for communicating information and by analyzing the results, choose the most effective ones;
7. Pay attention to each stage of the sales funnel. Be of interest to the potential client with tweets, warm his or her interest with a detailed information teaser, keep your attention with small useful posts and strengthening the credibility of informative articles;
8. You must be aware of the purchasing circle your customer is in. There is a huge difference between searching information at the initial stage and searching at the final, for example, putting equipment into operation;
9. B2B performance analysis differs from B2C analysis in that the resulting leads have the same meaning as sales. In B2B, a potential consumer is not just one person, an entire organization can stand behind him or her. And often it depends on properly built relationships with one person, whether your organization will serve a company of 200 employees or not.

So, content marketing is not a magical tool of the future, it is a necessary thing that is already in the present. No need to abandon the good old advertising, but to remain competitive in a world that is snowed under a huge amount of all kinds of advertising, you need to keep up with the times and always give to consumers a little more than competitors.

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