When chasing audience engagement and building customer satisfaction and loyalty, content marketing plays a key role. Content marketing is the act of using content to attract and retain customers. It’s any media that can be used to create awareness about a product, service, or event.
The goal of content marketing is to create valuable and compelling information so that people will keep coming back for more. The easiest way for marketers to do this is by creating blog posts, infographics, videos, podcasts, etc. Content marketers want their content to be informative and interesting or entertaining enough that people will want more of it.
Why Content Marketing is the Most Important Skill for Marketers
In the age of digital marketing, content marketing has become a significant factor in many marketing strategies. The long-term success of a company hinges on its ability to produce and distribute high-quality content that resonates with customers. In recent years, marketers have started to recognise the importance of content. They have begun embracing content marketing as a means of targeting their customers and driving sales.
Key Content Marketing Skills:
- Understand customer behaviour: Marketers should have a good understanding of what customers want and how they behave in order to create effective content that will resonate with their target audience.
- Storytelling: Good storytelling is what makes a marketing message memorable. It’s the art of telling a brand’s story in an interesting way that will resonate with the audience.
Developing a Successful and Sustainable Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing works hand-in-hand with integrated marketing – a marketing approach that takes into account the customer’s journey and touchpoints.
Integrated marketing is more than advertising across multiple channels; it integrates all aspects of communication (i.e., advertising, public relations, events, web design and social media) to create a cohesive customer experience.
When developing a content marketing strategy, take the integrated approach. Convey a clear, unified branded message to drive higher customer engagement on your company’s products or services. Also, keep in mind that your four P’s of content marketing – Purpose, People, Placement, and Promotion – should work together in an integrated marketing campaign.
Marketing’s Four P’s and Their Role in Your Content Marketing Strategy
The four P’s provide a solid foundation for your content marketing strategy. They serve as the building blocks for creating content that’s relevant, valuable, and engaging.
What’s the purpose of this piece of content? What goals are you trying to achieve? The purpose of content is to provide value to your audience. When you’re creating content, ask yourself “what am I trying to accomplish with this piece?” If you’re trying to make your audience laugh, for example, then you’ll want to create humour. If you want your audience to get more engaged with the brand, then focus on a call-to-action or build awareness about your brand.
People are the most important part of content marketing. Without people, there would be no need for content. So, it’s crucial to know who your target audience is and what you’re trying to reach with your content.
There are many different types of people in our world today and each type of person has their own interests and needs. Suppose your business sells vegan products. Your target audience will be individuals who want to eat healthier or people who have dietary restrictions. If you run a business that sells athletic equipment, then your target audience will be those who want to improve their health or those who are athletes themselves.
The placement of your content is another critical aspect to look at. If it’s being used for a social media campaign, it needs to be distributed on the appropriate channels. For example, if the content is about how to make an omelette, post it on social media channels that are popular with foodies and those interested in cooking.
How are you going to promote your content? Promotion is essential to make sure your content gets the attention it deserves. In general, there are two main types of content promotion: organic and paid. Organic promotion includes submitting your content to directories like Hacker News, Reddit, Quora or Facebook Groups while paid promotion includes services like sponsored tweets on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.
Key Elements of a Successful Content Marketing Strategy
A good content marketing strategy is a mix of various content types, such as blog posts, videos, infographics, and webinars. Remember that content marketing isn’t only about writing content, but also about distributing the content across your website and social media profiles.
- The strategy should be tailored and varied.
For example, if the content is for a company website then it should be geared towards attracting potential customers. If it’s for an email marketing campaign, it should seek to build relationships with current customers. Content should be tailored to the purpose it serves and varied so that it does not bore consumers.
- The strategy should be executable and achievable.
Every content marketing strategy needs to be achievable – setting objectives that are too far out of reach will only cause stress and frustration in the long run. It’s important to set targets that are doable and achievable will boost productivity and morale.
- The strategy should be continuous and never stop.
Your content marketing strategy should not be time-limited like regular marketing campaigns. Aim for ongoing engagement, instead, it should be ongoing and sustainable, so that your potential clients feel that they can trust your company at all times.
Best Practices for a Successful Content Marketing Strategy
1. Know your audience and their need for information.
The more you know about your audience, the better able you will be to provide them with what they want. This means that you must do some research on who’s reading your blog or website.
You should also understand what types of articles they like and don’t like. Your content needs to be useful and applicable to your readers. If you write something that doesn’t interest anyone, no one will read it.
2. Create a plan and think about the message you want to deliver
Before you start writing, come up with a clear idea of what you want to say. Think about why you’re writing and what you hope to achieve from your content.
You’ll never get anywhere if you don’t start somewhere. Start by brainstorming ideas for your first draft. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling at this point; just focus on getting your thoughts down on paper. A good way to start is to write down ideas that come to you in an ‘Idea Bank’.
3. Focus on quality content and not quantity
Quality content is the key to success online. While blogs with low-quality content can get quickly shared and become popular on social media, these posts are rarely read for long periods of time.
Focus on publishing quality content that appeals to your target audience. Write content pieces that educate people, engage or entertain readers, or provide a point of view that’s difficult to find elsewhere.
4. Find your voice and start creating content that is uniquely yours
“Finding your voice” is often the first step people take when starting to blog. There are many different styles of writing and finding the one that suits you best can be difficult. One way to find your voice is to start by asking yourself what it is that you want to say. Once you know this, it becomes much easier to determine how to say it, what tone of voice would be best on a personal or professional level.
5. Make sure that you have enough time to write content every day
It’s important to make sure that you have enough time to write content every day. Anyone who wants to be successful with copywriting or just writing, in general, knows that it can be hard to find time to write.
Content development can take a lot of time, especially when you’re first starting out. So, be sure to set aside enough time to work on your content every day. Just like with any new skill, it will improve with more practice.
6. Have a clear goal or target audience in mind before writing any content
Writing for the Internet and the search engines shouldn’t be a guessing game. By focusing your writing on your specific goal and target audience, you can create content that will resonate with your site visitors. The more focused you are on these areas, the more likely your visitors will find what they’re looking for.
7. Be consistent with the frequency of publishing new pieces of content
The frequency with which you publish new content is dependent on the goals of your company, the needs of your customers and what your competition is doing. Posting content at least once a week will help to maintain high levels of traffic to your site, but this may not be possible for all companies.
8. Know what type of content works best for your product/service
The content you create for your product or service is one of the most important factors to its success. Knowing how to create content that works for your target demographic will help you gain followers, generate engagement, and drive conversions.
Creating the right content is the first step to helping your target demographic find you. However, people are bombarded with content all day long on social media, through email, and on other platforms; which makes it difficult for people to notice your post or message. If you want them to take notice of what you’re posting, make sure you put in enough time and effort into creating it.
9. Make sure that you know the different types of social media channels where you should publish your posts (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, etc.).
Social media has been a major influence on the way people interact with each other. In addition to being a place to share news and connect with friends, social media is also where people find jobs, make business deals, gather news, and access entertainment. However, it can be difficult to keep up with all of these different channels and make sure your posts are seen by the right audience.
Be mindful of what kind of content your target audience wants to see when they visit different social media platforms as opposed to your blog – your content should be tailored to match the channel it’s being published on or delivered to. The best way to do this is by understanding the audience that will be viewing your content.
Building Dynamic Buyer Personas for Content Marketing
You have a list of 10,000 possible customers. What do you do? You can’t target all of them, but you need to decide which ones to focus on.
Buyer personas are a tool for narrowing that list down to a few key groups, based on the roles they play in their lives and the problems they’re trying to solve. When you’re developing your buyer personas, remember that they should never be static – that is, your buyer personas should be constantly evolving and be adapting to changes in the market and their lives.
People don’t stay the same after all, so why would your buyer personas stay the same? Their needs and pain points change as they grow older, move, have families, start and leave school, etc. It’s important that your buyer personas reflect the developments in your buyer personas’ lives, that way you can adapt your content to match their interests and needs.
For example, if you have a buyer persona named ‘Homemaker Hannah’, a homemaker in charge of housekeeping, looking after the family and taking care of the home. Let’s say she was only recently married and you were targeting her as a young woman.
After a few years, however, your ‘Homemaker Hannah’ may have started a family, started a job to earn extra cash, or maybe she got divorced… Either way, her life no longer fits the label ‘Homemaker Hannah’. Time to change it up and update ‘Homemaker Hannah’ to match whatever your new research dictates.
Creating Successful Content
People want to find new information on their own, but they also want to be told what to do. If you’re an expert in your field, share your thoughts on trends and new developments in your field. Be careful to avoid “sales pitches” and instead offer value-added content that provides new insights. Remember, one of the principal purposes of content marketing is to earn your audiences’ trust and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating your content:
- Make your content relevant
The content you make should address your target audience’s needs. When you’re setting your goals for your content creation, make sure you’re thinking about what questions it’s answering or the problems it’s solving for your audience.
- Make your content Interesting
When was the last time you actually read an article or watched a video that was boring? Probably never. Why would you? Boring content is boring, after all, why would you read something that you did not find interesting? This is a key point when you go about creating your content: if it’s not interesting, your audience isn’t going to read it.
- Make sure your content is understandable
Having the best content in the world isn’t going to do you any good if no one can understand a word of it. Nothing turns audiences off faster than a technical, jargon-filled piece of content, whether it’s an article, video, or podcast.
Your audience is only human, and not all of them will be experts in your field so make sure you’re using lay terms and not overloading them with jargon.
A Note about ‘Going Viral’
In the world of content, people often talk about ‘going viral’. Social media trends are defined by the number of people who view them. Virality means that something spreads quickly throughout social networks.
A video goes viral when many people watch it online. An article goes viral if many people read it online. A petition goes viral when many people sign it. A website goes viral when many people visit it online. Viral content goes viral when it reaches a large audience. When someone shares something online, that person gets at least one other person who visits the page.
For example, if you write a blog post about how to make a doughnut-shaped cake, then three people read the blog post, and two of them share it with their friends. Their friends may also read the article and share it with their friends, and so on. Each person sharing your content is called a ‘viral’ user. In this case, the number of visitors to your site could be as high as 1 million people.
Virality ratios are calculated by dividing the number of new visitors from a given period by the number of existing visitors from the same period. A site may go viral if the virality ratio is above 1. For example, if you have 10,000 visitors per day and 2,000 of them come from the previous month, then your virality ratio is 20% (2,000 divided by 10,000). This means that you need to increase the number of new visitors by 20% to reach viral status.
Pros and Cons of Viral Content
As with most things in life, trying – or succeeding – at going viral is a double-edged sword. There are many benefits of viral content that you shouldn’t ignore, including:
- Good source of traffic: Viral content by its definition reaches a lot of people, and so has the potential to provide you with a lot of traffic.
- An efficient way to get your message out: Due to its wide reach and massive sharing, viral content allows you to get your message out more efficiently than non-viral content.
- Great way to build your brand’s reputation: Do you want to spread the word about your brand? Going viral has the power to spread your reputation far and wide.
- A refreshing way to market your business: Viral content has the potential to reach potential customers who may not otherwise see your content or hear about your brand.
- Save a lot of money on advertising: Viral sharing is a positive experience and allows your customers to keep the message going by continually sharing and resharing it, thus saving you money down the road that you might spend on advertising.
- Adds creativity to your marketing: Digital content doesn’t always go viral. In fact, it’s quite the opposite – you have to put in the effort and focus to hit your virality targets. This means adding creativity and really speaking to your audience.
- Let’s you stand out: Viral content is interesting and makes a lot of noise, allowing you to cut through the chaos of social media channels.
On the other hand, there are also disadvantages to going viral that should be taken into consideration if viral marketing is the strategy you’re going for:
- People might not take your content seriously because they think it’s just a joke: Viral content tends towards the amusing or entertaining, and if you’re not careful your original message can get lost in the ensuing sharing-frenzy.
- Less control once you’ve put it out there: Once it’s live, it’s out there forever and you have little control over where it goes or what people do with it. While this is true of almost everything that gets published online, viral content draws a special kind of attention to itself so it bears warning you of the loss of control.
- Needs more hands-on messaging to keep reinforcing your brand messages: Viral marketing is more engaging than other kinds of content marketing, and requires marketers to stay plugged in to limit the negative content that may be generated as a result.
- Can be a waste of time if it doesn’t hit your actual target audience: Your viral content may go viral with the wrong audience, and there’s not really much you can do about it.
- Can be hard to achieve virality: Generating viral content isn’t something that you ‘just do’. It requires a solid understanding of your audience and their psychology. It can be very easy to get it wrong and never go viral at all.
Measuring Content Marketing Success
Measuring your content marketing success is a two-pronged approach: metrics and return on investment (ROI). Most marketers, especially when first starting out, are more familiar with metrics than with ROI, so let’s start there first.
Which Content Marketing Metrics Should You Measure?
Many first-time marketers start off with vanity metrics – page followers, likes, etc. – rather than look at engagement metrics, which is where the truth of success or failure truly lies. There are six key content marketing metrics that you should be measuring:
- Lead Quality
How good are the leads that your content is generating? How valuable are they? How long do they stay with the company? It’s a good idea at this stage to know how to calculate lifetime customer values (CLTVs) which is done simply with this formula: “Customer Lifetime Value = (Customer Value * Average Customer Lifespan)”.
- Conversions (Sales)
What percentage of your leads generated are converted to real customers? It’s easy to talk about leads brought in, but their true value lies in whether they become customers or not.
- Web Traffic
How many visitors does your content pull to your website? Calculating the unique visitor count and understanding the demographic that visits your site will help you ensure that your content is hitting its mark.
- Onsite Engagement
What is your website traffic doing once it’s on your site? Is it exciting at certain points or lingering at others? Knowing how your website’s visitors are moving through your website can help you optimise their touchpoints and improve your content at each level.
- Social Media Engagement
Only now do we get to dive into all those shiny metrics that many of us are familiar with: likes, shares, comments, followers, etc. These metrics are all great ways to track just how engaging your content is and whether it is having the effect that you were aiming for.
- SEO Success
Content marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO) go hand in hand and should always aim to work together. Making sure that your content is helping drive SEO and vice versa will provide a solid foundation for your content marketing success. For more information on SEO and how to make it work for you, check out our SEO Ultimate Guide.
What is Content Marketing ROI?
Content marketing ROI is the percentage showcasing the revenue gained from your content marketing initiatives versus what you spent on it. For content marketing to be successful, the ROI must be positive.
The success of your content marketing strategy goes beyond just the money you make. If you don’t get any pageviews, shares, or visitors, then no one will find your business to buy your products or services. To get an accurate idea of your content marketing ROI, you have to identify what metrics will provide the clearest picture of its performance.
4 Steps to Measure Content Marketing ROI
You can calculate your content marketing ROI in four simple steps:
Step 1. Calculate your Expenditure
How much did it cost to create the content? If you’re working with an in-house team you’ll need to take into account the salaries of the team members involved in the content creation – copywriters, designers, etc. Also, be sure to include any expenses you incurred for content assets; for example if you needed to purchase images, video or audio stock.
Step 2. Calculate your Distribution Cost
What did it cost to get your content out there? Again, don’t forget to include in-house costs that may fall under this category. This will also include your paid promotions like PPC, social or SEM advertising. Be sure to include any costs for special tools or software for your content distribution or creation.
For example, if you pay for and use a social media management tool like Hootsuite, Buffer, or SproutSocial, or you use content creation tools like premium Canva, then these costs need to be added to your calculation.
Step 3. Calculate Sales Value
When your content strategy is working, it will generate leads that convert. In other words, you’ll be adding to company revenue.
In some cases, this is incredibly obvious and easy to track – a basic call-to-action on a content piece that someone clicks to buy a product.
Other times this relationship is less clear and indirect, in which case you’ll need to get a little creative with how you calculate the influence your content piece had on generating that specific lead. Most marketers do this by claiming a certain percentage of the lead revenue rather than the whole hog.
Step 4. Apply Formula
Steps 1 and 2 provide the total cost of your content development, and with step 3 you now have the value.
To get your ROI percentage, simply apply the formula below:”.
Everything Keeps Changing
“Omnia mutantir, nihil interit.” – Ovid
We live in a dynamic world, where things are constantly changing. Digital transformation has been spurred along by the pandemic of the 2020s, and content marketing strategies have had to swivel, pivot and overcome a whole host of challenges.
What was once a simpler game has now become a complex warren of strategies and goals. Content marketing leads the way in the development and showing of new ideas, innovations, technology and communication with target audiences. There’s little doubt that the impact of the global pandemic will leave its mark on digital marketing as a whole, and force content marketers to keep up with changing trends.
Everything is constantly changing and we are constantly learning how to adapt to the changes and use them to our advantage. As a content marketer, it is your responsibility to accept change and build on what came before you.
Ready to supercharge your content marketing initiatives? 2Stallions has an award-winning Content Marketing Team ready to help you achieve your objectives and grow your business.
- Messaging: Understand how to tell a good story and communicate your brand message to your audience.
- Target Audience: Know who they are, what they do and who to reach them by crafting dynamic buyer personas.
- Strategy: Build a content marketing strategy that is tailored, executable and continuous.
- Create Quality: Focus on creating quality content over a lot of content.
- Objectives: Set goals, understand them and know how you’re going to achieve them.
- Channels: Understand which channels you are going to be using and how best to use them to reach your target audience.
- Successful content: Know how to build content that is relevant, interesting and understandable.
- Innovate: Consider how to disrupt the market with your content.
- Metrics: Know what metrics you should be tracking and how to measure their success for your content marketing strategy.
- Value: Know how to measure and calculate your ROI.