Content Marketing by Definition
According to The Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is a premeditated marketing approach which focuses on the creation and circulation of varying content formats to attract and keep a previously defined target audience. These efforts are undertaken to drive “profitable customer action.” But what does that really mean?
The term “content” can refer to a wide number of formats which allow companies to share information with their customer. Written content was historically used and consumed most often, but video content is now the preferred method of information consumption for consumers, according to recent studies. Written content might refer to blogs, articles, website copy, eBooks, white paper, or case studies. Other forms of content used by modern marketers include videos, podcasts, memes, infographics, or general digital graphics.
This content can be distributed through a number of different platforms, with the vast majority of preferred outlets being digital. This includes a company’s website or blog site, as well as social media platforms, emails, and forums. The strategic use of paid advertisement to promote content is also widely used, particularly when the content is centered around something of importance to the consumer (such as a sale or announcement).
How Content Marketing Works
Knowing what content is and how it is distributed is useful, but how does this marketing method really work? This marketing approach is intrinsically inbound, which is a term developed by HubSpot for marketing methods focused on engaging with the customer versus outright selling to the customer (like traditional outbound marketing methods).
By engaging with the customer, companies focus more on building a relationship with their target audience that creates trust and loyalty. Customers are given valuable information that will make them more informed decision makers and are treated with a high level of customer service at every interaction.
The content created to engage with the customer is primarily non-promotional and meant to rank highly in the search engines. This is done through a technique called SEO or search engine optimization. Many different aspects of content allow it to rank highly in major search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing. Among these aspects are the inclusion of relevant keywords and article formatting.
When content ranks highly in search engines, more people will be exposed to it. Statistics show the majority of people who use search engines do not go past the first three pages of results, while a large portion of people never goes past the first page.
When people find a company’s content on search engines, they click through to the website or social media platform that content is hosted on. They then have an opportunity to read through the content, which will have a call-to-action. Typically, a call-to-action (CTA) will be found at the very end of a piece of content, but they can also be located at the top or in the middle.
A CTA tells consumers what a company wants them to do after consuming a piece of content. It might prompt them to subscribe to an email list, call a company about a quote, follow a company’s social media pages, or download an eBook, to provide just a few examples.
10 Quick Tips for Effective Content Marketing
Not all content marketing efforts are created equally. Studies have shown there are certain techniques which make content marketing more effective. These ten quick tips can help create better results from the company’s content marketing efforts, and build great habits for a foundation of success.
- In written content, utilize H2 headers throughout the article or blog posts to break up information. Using bullets and numbered lists can also help to break up content.
- Diversify content offerings to reach the largest number of people.
- Incorporate closed captioning in videos to help search engines better understand what they are about.
- For videos, graphics, and podcasts, make the best use of complimentary on-page copy, including descriptions and titles.
- Share blog posts and articles on social media platforms.
- Use only one or two social platforms, and keep them active for best results.
- Ensure all content (in all formats) is relevant and useful to your target audience.
- Prior to formatting a content marketing plan, ensure that a target audience has been accurately defined.
- Instead of posting randomly, create posting schedules for both blogs and social platforms to ensure they are kept active.
- Use metrics to see how well different platforms and outlets are performing, so it is possible to readjust as necessary.
Content marketing is an effective method of inbound or customer-centric marketing that is widely used by companies to reach their target audience. This method of marketing is especially popular with small to medium-sized businesses, thanks largely to how cost-effective content marketing is.
We help companies both understand content marketing and ensure their efforts are most effective through content creation, syndication, and monetization.
Contact us to see where we can help you grow through content marketing.