What Is Content Marketing? A Guide for 2020
Slowly disappearing are the days of telemarketing, radio commercials, and direct mail ads. Although these advertising forms still exist, they’re not nearly as popular or effective as they once were to reach customers. Say hello to content marketing, a rapidly evolving way of generating leads and conversions using the digital platforms customers use regularly.
You’ve undoubtedly heard of the term content marketing, but what exactly does it mean for you and your business? Our helpful guide explains.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a planned system of creating written and visual information (content) specific to your audience, helping them make decisions about your company, and answering their questions or entertaining them. Most content marketing today is inbound marketing, meaning that it draws people in through personalized content that makes them want to click over to find out more.
Inbound marketing contrasts with outbound marketing, which includes things like getting an unwelcome phone call or piece of mail that no one asked for. Now, people search for phrases online to find what they need, come across your content, and have their questions answered because of your content marketing strategy.
Types of Content Marketing
You might think of content marketing as blogging with SEO-rich content pieces. Although blogging is an exceptional type of content marketing that informs customers with engaging, helpful posts, it’s not the only way to do content marketing. There are also:
- Content syndication
- Email campaigns
- Social media posts
- Case studies
- Link building
You can use any combination of the above types of content in your content marketing strategy. The types of content you create will depend on your audience. Where do they hang out? What do they like to do? What type of information is easy for them to digest? Professionals and business owners might love reading case studies, for example, but single parents might prefer to squeeze in podcasts between their errand runs.
Why Is Content Marketing Important?
Developing a content marketing strategy is a crucial part of your success in today’s digital world. Customers no longer browse phone books to call the first company that fits their needs. Instead, they search Google or log into social media to see what their friends recommend. To grow your business and market to the right people, you need to be where those people tend to go online. That’s where content marketing comes in.
Here’s how a well-planned content marketing strategy can boost your business:
It’s an Excellent Way to Convert
While many people believe that telemarketing, direct mail, and other old-school forms of advertising feel forced and pushy, few feel that way about content marketing. That’s because content marketing is customer-focused. When you use it, you’re giving potential customers something in return for their time or their contact information: conversions.
Whether you’re looking to generate leads, get more likes, or make more sales, content marketing holds the key to all of it. And you’re not going to turn your audience away or annoy them if you’re using content marketing correctly.
It Speaks to Customers
Content marketing puts customers front and center. You give them the information they want and need through videos, social media posts, whitepapers, and other content pieces. Content marketing is personalized to their needs.
For example, a person searches Google to find an answer to a question they have. That search leads them to the top result, a blog post on your website that answers the question. At the end, you have a call-to-action that speaks to them, suggesting they buy a product or service that does exactly what they’re looking for. The result is an excellent customer experience that makes your customers feel like you can read their minds to know exactly what they need, when they need it.
It Saves Money on Marketing
Believe it or not, content marketing doesn’t have to hurt your wallet. In fact, a well thought out content marketing strategy can give you a better return on your investment than paid search ads, radio ads, and other forms of advertising. One high-converting landing page, for instance, could be all it takes to land your business tons of leads or sales. If your sales from that page generate ten times more than you paid to create it, you’ve hit a sweet spot with content marketing.
It Boosts Brand Awareness and Customer Relationships
Content marketing shouldn’t just be about sales. Although sales or revenue is the end goal for most content marketing strategies, your content will also build stronger customer relationships and let customers know more about your brand along the way. The more customers know about your brand (i.e., the more transparent you are), the more loyal your customers will be.
Content Marketing Tips for Brands & Publishers in 2020
How do you keep creating content that continues to work for your business, even as other companies do the same? Here are some of the best tips for content marketing in 2020:
- Be consistent with publishing content. Whether it’s weekly or daily, your customers should know when to expect something new from you.
- Brush up on SEO. Search engine optimization is a must-have part of your strategy that can help you shape blog posts, videos, podcast content, and more. Consider outsourcing this work to an SEO expert if necessary. Using keyword research, create winning blog post and content ideas.
- Repurpose your content. Save money and time by turning a whitepaper into a podcast episode or elaborating on a social media post with a long-form article on your site. You want your authoritative information to reach as many people as possible.
- Analyze, analyze, analyze. There are analytics tools available for just about every form of content; take advantage of them! You’ll learn what’s working well for you and where you need to place more focus.
Don’t forget to make your content shareable to put some of your content marketing efforts on autopilot! Add social media share buttons to your site in just minutes with a simple copy-and-paste code and let your audience share the high-quality content you worked so hard to plan and create. With a single click, your readers can share your content with their networks on all their favorite social media sites.