Your Ultimate Guide To Content Marketing
Your content is your GATEWAY to more leads, customers, revenue and profit and your content marketing strategy is a crucial part of any business’ success. There are a ton of ways to achieve your business goals, but content marketing is not only proven to work, it’s one of the fastest and most sustainable means for your business growth.
In this guide, I share with you ideas, golden nuggets, tactics and strategies that your marketing agency or your internal marketing team should be constantly working on to ensure your business is tapping into its full potential.
Content marketing is a different mindset at the heart of it. It requires you to really think about your audience and customers and focus on what they want and not what you want.
Your audience want content that simply improves their lives whether it’s in entertainment, education, or helps them achieve their personal or business goals. They want content. They already consume content. There is no shortage of channels to distribute content and as a by-product, there is no shortage in supply of content.
What’s quite important is that your content be valuable, authentic, practical and beneficial to them as much as possible.
By constantly polishing and improving your content, you will improve your brand awareness, brand engagement, customer loyalty, lead generation and sales to a point where you can establish yourself as a thought leader within your industry and possibly on a bigger scale.
In this guide, I share with you best practices, ideas, tactics and strategies on how to upgrade your content marketing the very next day. I’ll talk about the different types of content, what’s effective and what isn’t, how to maximise your content reach and impressions, how to generate business goals from your content. I’ll also share examples of some of the best brands and business out there that are doing a great job with their content marketing.
But first, let’s cover some basics.
What is Content Marketing?
Content Marketing is a framework by which you create and share with your audience various types of content that adds value to them and helps promote your business in the process.
Why is it critical for your business?
Besides what I mentioned in the introduction of this blog post, here is why content marketing is very important for your business.
- Content marketing allows you to build a stronger connection with your audience
- You can build better brand loyalty through content marketing
- Your content marketing if done right can boost your sales conversions
- Content marketing can, in the long-term, help establish you as a thought leader
- Your content marketing strategy complements your other growth marketing strategies to maximise your top line and bottom line
What are the types of Content Marketing?
1. Social Media Marketing
As of this writing, research shows that there are 3.96 billion active social media users across the globe which cover 50% of the world population and the annual growth of the number of social media users is 376 million people. Let that sync. From Facebook to LinkedIn and TikTok, there is a social media network for everyone. Theoretically, to maximise your potential on social media you need to be on every channel, a marketer said. No. Not always true. Your target audience is not on every channel. They are spending most of their time on some social media platforms and so should you. Not only that, how you communicate with them (including content types) on each channel and how you do your media planning are important factors to your success.
2. Video Marketing & Vlogging
Over half of consumers like to see videos from the businesses and brand they follow. It’s quite simple. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what’s a video worth? Especially if it’s crafted well, produced well and really engages your audience? Video is convenient in many ways. Instead of reading a 5,000-word blog post, I can watch a 2-minute video summary. A video also plays a significant factor in the psychological stimulation aspect. But like any other content type, it has its time and place. For example, you can better reach your audience when they are busy or not able to be fully attentive through image posts or even blogs.
3. Case Studies
Case studies are especially effective for B2B marketing. There is nothing more powerful than showing your audience evidence that supports your pitch and what you are selling.
In content marketing, a case study is a type of content that allows you to portray your business and product or service as valuable to your existing and prospective customers – in an effort to convert your audience to customers.
A case study is an engaging story and sequence of data points about a problem that you aim to solve. It often starts with presenting the problem or challenge, the factors and variable involved, and the solution you believe is most effective. Case studies are exceptionally powerful when accompanied by research and statistics that reinforce your message.
You can promote and distribute your case studies in various ways including face-to-face meetings, LinkedIn, Website downloadable assets or even in recorded or streamed presentations.
Webinars are a very effective content marketing strategy simply because it allows you to engage and interact with your audience on a more personal level at scale. And the keyword here is ‘at scale’. A webinar is essentially a seminar on the web. It allows you to connect with a wider audience and market your business by having a 1-to-many medium where you can share, discuss and present your product or service.
Webinars today are mostly used as a lead generation and sales closing tool. From a marketing funnel standpoint, your webinar is typically a middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU) marketing tool. To be successful, it requires that you build your top-of-the-funnel strategy to ensure you have a substantial amount of traffic flowing to your webinars.
Blogging is the godfather of content marketing and has been around since the beginning of mankind. Or probably not. But at least since human were able to document their ideas and stories on paper or even walls like the ancient Egyptians. In the modern digital era and with the birth of search engines, blogging was one of the first (if not the first) ways marketers used to generate traffic. And till today, blogging has its place and respect in the marketing world. I wouldn’t be writing this if it wasn’t important.
Blogging not only allows you to create a sustainable channel of lead and sales generation, it also helps you establish authority and trust with your audience. As a blogger, you are practically an author and most authors have a level of respect and trust with their audience that they wouldn’t have otherwise.
As a business, blogging is quite critical to get right because it’s a fundamental element of your SEO strategy. When you blog, you are able to not only promote your business but also cross-promote other businesses or blogs that will in turn want to collaborate with you and this is where the compounding effect of blogging can work on your side.
6. Podcast Content Marketing
Podcast marketing is one of the most recent and exciting content marketing types that have exceptionally evolved and grown over the last few years. Over half of the US population has tuned in to a podcast (2019, Podcast Insights). Besides the fact that it is becoming increasingly popular, your audience will appreciate you for it. If blogging builds trust and credibility, imagine what long-form video blogging (aka podcasting) would do?
Podcasting is certainly the dark horse of the content marketing world and sooner rather than later will be a necessity for any business that wants to grow exponentially.
Your Content Marketing Strategy
1. Create SMART Goals
This what is going to give you direction in regards to your content marketing strategy. Your goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound). For example,
- Increase your sales by 20% in the next 3 months
- Improve your ROI by 10% in the next 6 months
Your goals should ultimately be business goals that can be broken down to objectives like
- Increase new site visitors
- Increase social media following
- Increase content engagement
2. Choose what content marketing channels you’ll focus on
This is a very important part of your content marketing strategy and it’s important to get it right. Fortunately, it’s not quite complex to determine what channels you need to focus on as there are a ton of stats online that can help you figure out the right channels based on your product and target audience.
3. Decide on the type of content.
How you communicate your content is equally important. Is your business going to focus on long-form video, short video snippets, images, blogs, etc? What topics and content your audience will find most valuable and would like more of. One way to find out is by analysing your own past content and see what content had the highest level of engagement. If you are starting out, you can look at what your competitors are doing and get an idea on their top-performing content. When deciding on what you want to share with your audience, the following questions can help you dramatically
- What does your audience expect from you and your content?
- What personal or business challenges they might have?
- What makes your product or service interesting to them?
- How can you help them achieve what they want?
- How do they spend their time?
- What other interests do they have?
Generally speaking, you want to build a buyer persona if you haven’t which will help you determine a lot of components of your content marketing strategy.
4. Set a budget
The good news is that your content marketing strategy today can be done at relatively lower budgets than ever before. From video marketing to blogging and everything in between, they are a ton of tools out there can help you create content at low budgets. However, if you have ambitious plans for your business and can allocate a marketing budget, hiring a content marketing agency is a no brainer. A marketing agency can help you cut a lot of corners and get there faster whilst allowing you to focus on the core parts of your business. In all cases, having an idea of how much you want to spend is important and should be tied to your business goals and KPIs.
For example, if you believe your content marketing strategy is going to deliver 10% more revenue, then how much can you afford to pay on your content marketing for the additional 10$ of sales generated?
5. Distribute the content
If you are starting out and have a small following, it’s important to sponsor your content and not just post it and hope that it will go viral. There is no point in investing in great content if it’s not going to be seen. Using a content calendar is highly recommended because it will allow you and your team to have a bird-eye view of your content throughout the month. It’s also great for collaboration across your organisation. Social sprout is one of my personal favourite tools for scheduling content to social media but there are a few other great tools out there.
6. Analyse and measure results
This is perhaps the least exciting step but one of the most critical ones. To improve your content, you need to understand how your audience is interacting with it. The key metrics you want to be looking for are
- Organic reach
- Organic engagements
- Total Engagements
- Cost per Sponsored Engagement
Aside from these, you also want to be looking at the type of comments and sentiments that your content has generated.
Best & Winning Content Marketing Companies
SAAS Content Marketing – Hubspot
HubSpot is probably one of the first companies that will come to mind when you think about great content marketing. Their blog will teach you more than what a bachelors in marketing will. No exaggeration here. With circa 2 million followers on Facebook and just under a million on Twitter, over 250K people on their mailing list, they’ve done a tremendous job in the SAAS space and most of their success can be attributed to their strong blogging which is then repurposed and used in all other forms from email marketing to videos and webinars.
E-commerce – GymShark
A billion-dollar gym clothing company. These guys are extraordinary. And their content marketing is nothing short of outstanding. Besides leveraging influencer marketers across the board, their content works and captures the attention of their target audience. Take a look at their YouTube channel, for instance, they’ve nailed it. From exciting videos like ‘50,000 Calorie challenge’ to ‘Home Workout’, their videos are great content. If you look at their Instagram, it’s a bit different. It’s more about the look and feel, the aesthetics, more close up on the fitness models.