You’ve likely heard about content marketing and may have asked yourself, “What is content marketing? Why is content marketing important?”
I’m a fan of content marketing and recommend that our clients use it to build their businesses. In this article, I’m going to draw on my many years of experience to explain why content marketing is important.
Why do I recommend it? Why is content marketing important?
How is creating quality content going to drive business growth?
Content marketing is a cost-effective alternative to traditional marketing. It’s a digital marketing strategy that six-figure business owners can use to drive growth. It’s not hard, and content marketing costs are reasonable, but equally, it’s also not magic. Like most things, you need to work at it. You need to understand what it is, and how it creates value for your customers and our business. You need a content marketing plan if it’s going to be effective.
Content marketing isn’t just about creating quality content; it also involves optimizing, sharing, curating, and monitoring the performance of quality, consistent content across digital marketing campaigns and media platforms.
But before we jump into the details of why your business can’t afford to ignore it, let’s take a look at what exactly content marketing is and how creating quality content can benefit your customers and your bottom line.
What is Content Marketing & Why Is Content Marketing Important?
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and sharing valuable, relevant, high-quality content designed to attract, engage and retain a clearly defined audience. An effective content marketing strategy complements traditional marketing or can be an alternative to traditional marketing tactics. Consistently publishing content is an effective way to generate website traffic and attract existing customers and prospective customers into a marketing funnel.
This content can be in the form of blog posts, videos, social media posts, infographics, email newsletters, and more. Content marketing aims to provide helpful information to prospective customers without overtly selling a product or service. By delivering value in this way, businesses can establish themselves as thought leaders in their industry and build trust with their audience.
Get the right customers for the right reasons – The First Relationship Marketing Principle.
In essence, content marketing delivers valuable content that goes beyond functional benefits, resulting in relationship equity. Relationship equity fosters loyalty and long-term relationships. It’s competitive insulation. Content marketing attracts and retains the right customers for the right reasons. And as we’ve often discussed, loyal best customers bring revenue to your business in five ways.
Definition of Content Marketing
“OK I get it. Content marketing is important. I’ve heard a lot or people talking about it. But what is it?”
A fair question.
Content marketing is a buzzword that’s been tossed around over the years, but it’s not just another marketing buzzphrase. Content marketing is a long-term digital marketing strategy that consistently creates and shares valuable, relevant, high-quality content designed to attract, engage, and retain customers. Content marketing is the art of communicating your value to your customers by giving them value.
In today’s online world, where consumers have access to vast amounts of information, the importance of content marketing cannot be overstated. Content marketing is not just a recommended strategy; it’s an essential one.
Types of Content Marketing
Three types of content marketing strategies exist – Owned Media, Earned Media, and Paid Media.
- Owned Media is content that you create and distribute, such as blog posts, social media content, email marketing, and website content. It’s a way to use search engine optimization to generate cost-effective website traffic.
- Earned Media is content you don’t pay for but gain through shares, reviews, and word-of-mouth. It’s a key benefit of organic social media.
- Lastly, Paid Media is content that you pay for, such as ads on search engines, display ads, social platform ads, or sponsored content.
These different types of content marketing strategies can be used individually or in combination to deliver content that builds a positive brand reputation and generates website visitors, leads, and conversions.
Owned media refers to the channels and assets that a business or brand owns or controls. This can include things like a company’s website, blog, email list, social profiles, and other digital assets. Unlike earned media, owned media is entirely under a business’s control, which makes it an essential part of any content marketing strategy.
Here are the three to four most commonly owned media channels:
A business’s website is often the centerpiece of its owned media strategy. It’s the hub of the business’s online presence. A website can be used to showcase a company’s products or services, provide information to customers, and generate leads. Businesses us the website as the marketing funnel destination designed to support the buyer’s journey. Optimized website content, especially blog content is crwaled by search engines resulting in highly qualified organic traffic.
Creating blogs is an owned media that businesses can use to generate traffic via search engines and establish thought leadership. By creating high-quality, informative blog content on a regular basis, businesses can attract visitors to their websites and drive profitable customer action. Blogging is the most effective SEO technique that business owners can use to attract a clearly defined audience.
Email marketing is a cost-effective owned media channel that allows businesses to reach their current customers directly. Email service providers like MailChimp have marketing automation tools that content marketers can use to send targeted high-value messages and keep their customers informed about new products or services, promotions, and other updates that encourage repeat sales. Email marketing is a vital tool for customer retention. Create value by giving value.
Social Media Marketing
While social media is also an earned media channel, businesses can use their social profiles as part of their owned media strategy. Businesses can use organic (owned) social platforms as outbound marketing channels to build their brand and establish subject matter expertise to attract new customers by regularly creating engaging and valued content by their followers.
In today’s digital age, video content, especially how-to videos, is quickly becoming a must-have for businesses looking to connect with their audiences. And the best part? You don’t need to be a professional videographer to create custom content with videos. Authenticity is key. With some basic equipment and know-how, plus something to say that your customers will value, creating video content is easy and will resonate with viewers.
Podcasts have skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years. Podcasts provide an entertaining and convenient source of information for listeners around the world. Not only do they give listeners the opportunity to dive deeper into topics they may be interested in, but they also allow individuals to hear from experts and influencers in various industries. Having your own podcast gives you control over the content, and the optimized content can be repurposed in many ways. For example, a podcast can be transcribed and edited to become a blog post.
Owned Media Summary
Overall, owned media channels are critical for any content marketing strategy. By providing high-quality content and valuable knowledge using owned media channels, businesses can build their brand, generate leads for the sales team, and establish the business as a thought leader in its industry.
Earned media is a type of media exposure earned through organic means rather than paid for. It is a highly valuable channel for content marketing, as it can help businesses and brands to build credibility and trust with their best prospects. Businesses can leverage several earned media channels to get their message in front of potential customers.
Here are the common earned media channels:
Public relations (PR)
PR is one of the most popular earned media channels used by businesses. This involves reaching out to media outlets, such as newspapers, magazines, and blogs, to pitch stories or secure coverage. When a media outlet publishes a story about a business or its products or services, it can generate significant exposure and credibility for the brand.
Social platforms are another common earned media channel. Businesses can generate organic exposure and reach new audiences by creating engaging content and building a strong following. Social influencers can also be leveraged to reach niche audiences.
Word-of-mouth marketing is a powerful earned media channel that relies on people sharing their positive experiences with others. This can happen through customer reviews, testimonials, or simply through friends and family recommending a product or service to someone else.
We covered podcasting above in owned media, but it’s also a valid form of earned media. Being an expert guest on podcasts lets a business establish its credentials by providing valuable knowledge, and it supports search engine marketing by providing valuable inbound links to the business’s website. Being a guest on a podcast can also attract prospects to the top of your marketing funnel.
Earned Media Summary
Overall, earned media channels are essential to any content marketing strategy. By leveraging these channels, businesses can build credibility, increase brand loyalty, reach new leads, boost sales, and generate valuable exposure for their brand presence.
Paid media refers to the channels and platforms businesses pay to use for advertising. This includes various forms of digital advertising, such as pay-per-click (PPC), display ads, social media advertising, paid search ads, and more. While paid media can be expensive, it can also be highly effective in generating business traffic and new leads.
Here are four common paid media channels:
Search engine marketing
Paid search ads on search engines like Google or Bing are among the most common forms of paid media. By bidding on keywords relevant to their products or services, businesses can display ads to users who are searching for those keywords. This can be highly effective in generating high-quality traffic and new leads for businesses.
Social media advertising
Social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn are commonly considered owned media, but they also offer highly targeted advertising options that can be used to reach specific demographics or interests. Businesses can create ads in users’ feeds or on the sidebar and set targeting options based on factors like age, location, interests, and more.
Display advertising involves placing banner ads or other types of visual ads on websites or within apps. This can be an effective way to reach a large audience and generate brand awareness. Retargeting is a specific form of display advertising that targets users who have visited a business’s website or interacted with their ads.
While also an earned media channel, influencer marketing can also be paid. Businesses can sponsor influencers’ content and leverage their large followings to reach new audiences. Influencer marketing can be used to support the brand through the halo effect and promote products or services by partnering with influencers.
Paid Media Summary
Overall, paid media channels can be highly effective in generating traffic, new leads, and brand awareness for businesses. Paid media amplifies the impact of owned and earned media. Paid media is also more efficient when it’s part of a content marketing strategy that includes earned and owned media. Businesses can reach new audiences and achieve their growth goals by leveraging all three forms of content marketing.
The Importance of Content Marketing
As mentioned above, content marketing has become a buzzword in the world of digital marketing. It’s a marketing approach focused on distributing valuable content to audiences. Its goal is to attract potential customers and improve customer retention, ultimately driving growth.
Content marketing is effective because it provides a win-win solution for the business and the customer. By offering valuable information or entertainment, businesses can establish trust and credibility with their audience, leading to increased brand awareness, loyalty, and sales. Additionally, customers benefit from the useful and engaging content they receive, which helps them solve their problems, learn something new, or be entertained. Give value to create value.
How to Get Started with Content Marketing
It can be overwhelming to figure out how to get started, but it can be a rewarding experience with the right approach. We’ll walk you through the steps and provide the valuable resources and tools you’ll need for success.
First and foremost, success begins and ends with your customers. it is essential to identify your prospective customers and create content that appeals to them. Next, establish goals and develop a plan to achieve them.
Consistency is key in content marketing, so prioritize producing quality content on a regular schedule.
It’s also crucial to measure the success of your efforts and adjust accordingly.
With dedication and effort, consistent content marketing will help grow your business and establish your brand as a reliable source of information for your audience.
Have a Plan
A plan is essential for success in any endeavor, whether personal goals or business strategies. Going blindly without a clear direction is like driving without a destination. As the Queen said to Alice,
“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will do.”
A solid plan is like having a roadmap. A plan can help you identify potential obstacles, create a timeline, and allocate resources efficiently.
It’s important to remember that plans don’t always go as intended. Adaptability is key. However, having a well-thought-out plan will give you the confidence to tackle any challenge that comes your way.
Identify Your Ideal Customer
As a business owner, identifying your ideal customer is crucial. But it’s not just about knowing demographics like age, gender, and location. You need to know these things, but truly understanding your ideal customer means diving deeper into their pain points, values, and motivations. What drives them to purchase your product or service? What problems are they looking to solve? You need to map and support the buyer’s journey.
When you understand their questions, what they are, and when they have them, you can tailor your marketing strategies and product offerings to meet their specific needs. Not only will this help you attract more of your ideal customers, but it will also help you forge stronger connections (trust) and loyalty with them. So take the time to really get to know your ideal customer – make your content marketing important to them – it will pay off in the long run.
Define Your Goals
When it comes to defining your goals, it’s important to take the time to really reflect on what you want to achieve. Your short-term or long-term goals should always be specific, measurable, and realistic. Creating a roadmap for success becomes easier when you have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish. Remember what the Queen said to Alice.
However, it’s important to remember that goals are not set in stone – they can evolve and change over time as you learn more about yourself and your priorities. So don’t be afraid to adjust your goals as needed, but always keep working towards becoming the best version of yourself.
Perspective is also important. Having goals is fine, you should have them, but equally, your customers have goals. For content marketing to be effective, you must also understand the customer’s perspective. For example, a common mistake is setting a conversion goal for your website when in reality is your website’s primary goal should be confirmation. Content marketing generates interested website visitors looking for solutions to their problems. They are looking for confirmation that your offer solves their problems. Conversion follows confirmation.
Understanding the customer’s perspective leads us to keyword research, a foundation stone for your content marketing strategy. Choosing your keywords carefully and thinking of variations and synonyms is an effective SEO technique. You want to find the words or phrases your prospects use to find information. But it’s not just the words. Understanding search intent is key. If the intent is information, then create a blog post. If the intent is transactional, then create a service page. Use keywords and keyword intent to fine-tune your content marketing.
Target Your Ideal Potential Customers with Content
Knowing your target customer inside and out is essential as a business owner. Creating content that resonates with them is crucial to reaching your goals. By understanding your ideal customer’s pain points, interests, and preferences, you can tailor your content to suit their needs. A targeted content strategy will improve engagement, increase brand loyalty, and boost sales by delivering the right messaging to the right person at the right time.
Craft Engaging Content That Connects With Your Audience
Crafting content that resonates with your followers is essential to your content marketing. To create compelling content, you need to understand your audience. What are their interests, needs, and pain points? Use this knowledge to create content that’s valuable and that speaks directly to them. Keyword research is useful here.
Use the content marketing strategies and channels that your audience likes and appreciates. You may dislike Facebook, but if this is where your customers like to hang out, then this is where you should be creating content. This could be storytelling, humor, and visuals to capture attention and keep your audience engaged. Above all, engaging content is authentic. With the right approach, you can craft content that connects with your audience where they are.
Content Marketing Strategies to Avoid
In the ever-evolving world of marketing, it’s important to stay on top of the latest strategies and trends. However, just as important is being aware of what to avoid.
For example, using clickbait headlines or misleading content may initially attract visitors but will damage your credibility in the long run.
Another common mistake is not clearly understanding your target audience and their needs, resulting in irrelevant or unengaging content. For example, feature-laden content that expects customers to figure out how they will benefit isn’t effective.
You can ensure your content marketing efforts positively impact your brand and audience by steering clear of these common missteps.
10 Content Marketing Resources
These tools and resources can be used to create optimized content:
- Content Marketing Institute (CMI): CMI is a leading platform that provides valuable insights, guides, and resources on content marketing. Their website (contentmarketinginstitute.com) offers a wide range of articles, research reports, webinars, and training programs.
- HubSpot Academy: HubSpot Academy offers a variety of free online courses on content marketing, inbound marketing, SEO, and more. Their courses are comprehensive and provide practical knowledge and certifications.
- Google Search Console: Google Search Console is a free web service offered by Google that provides data on how your website content is performing in Google search results. It shows metrics such as the number of clicks, impressions, average position, and click-through rate (CTR) for ranked keywords and your website’s pages. This data helps you understand which keywords are driving traffic.
- Moz: Moz is a well-known SEO (search engine optimization) authority. Their website (moz.com) offers a wealth of resources, including educational guides, blog posts, and tools that can help you optimize your content for search engines.
- Keywords Everywhere: Keywords Everywhere is a browser extension that seamlessly integrates with popular search engines like Google, YouTube, Bing, and more. It directly provides keyword volume, competition, and related keywords on the search engine results page (SERP). This lets content marketers quickly identify high-potential keywords and their search volume trends.
- Neil Patel: Neil Patel is a renowned digital marketer and entrepreneur who shares valuable insights on content marketing through his website (neilpatel.com). His blog posts, videos, and podcasts cover a wide range of topics and provide actionable tips.
- Copyblogger: Copyblogger is a popular resource for content marketing, copywriting, and online marketing strategies. Their website (copyblogger.com) offers articles, tutorials, and ebooks on various aspects of content creation and marketing.
- Social Media Examiner: Social Media Examiner is a leading platform for social media marketing resources. Their website (socialmediaexaminer.com) features articles, podcasts, and webinars on content marketing strategies specifically tailored for social media platforms.
- Content Marketing World: Content Marketing World is an annual conference and exhibition dedicated to content marketing. The event brings together industry experts and thought leaders to share their insights, trends, and best practices. You can find recorded sessions and resources on their website (contentmarketingworld.com).
- Books on Content Marketing: There are numerous books available on content marketing that can provide in-depth knowledge and practical insights. Some highly recommended titles include “Epic Content Marketing” by Joe Pulizzi, “Content Inc.” by Joe Pulizzi, “They Ask You Answer” by Marcus Sheridan, and the new and improved “Everybody Writes” by Ann Handley.
Remember, the field of content marketing is constantly evolving, so it’s important to stay updated with the latest trends and strategies. These tools and resources will serve as a solid foundation and help you find relevant content that internet users are searching for.
Final Thoughts on The Importance of Content Marketing?
Is content marketing important? Yes, content marketing is important. It’s undoubtedly one of the most effective digital marketing strategies available today. It creates value by consistently distributing valuable content that’s relevant to best customers. As we’ve seen throughout this article, the benefits of consistent content delivery are numerous, including increased brand awareness and engagement, improved rankings on search engines, improved customer retention, and more.
In conclusion, when done correctly, content marketing is a powerful, cost-effective way to grow your business. You need to have a plan and understand your ideal customer so you can tailor your content to their needs. By researching keywords and keeping track of analytics, you can ensure that you can accurately measure your marketing efforts’ success and optimize content to improve content marketing campaigns further. With dedication and persistence, content marketing will be an effective strategy, it will drive growth for your business.
Since 2010, James Hipkin has built his clients’ businesses with digital marketing. Today, James is passionate about websites and helping the rest of us understand online marketing. His customers value his jargon-free, common-sense approach. “James explains the ins and outs of digital marketing in ways that make sense.”
Use this link to book a meeting time with James.