The Four Fundamentals of Content Marketing

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In my previous posts, I have explored the basics of utilizing social media to drive traffic to your company‘s site. But without solid content marketing, your best efforts to define yourselves online on those various platforms would be lost.

Why, you ask? Mainly because it’s through content marketing that companies can present a consistent message in order to engage and educate consumers. It can also be helpful. And being helpful can turn viewers into potential buyers of your product or service. More than building brand awareness, companies can use content marketing to guide their clients in all stages of the buying processes.

Content Flow Chart BlackboardContent marketing is never strictly about promoting a product or service. Instead, it’s more concerned with providing something of value to both current clients and potential customers. If done correctly, it can turn ordinary consumers to raving brand evangelists. Which is why I strongly believe that it must be part of every brands’ marketing strategy if they are going to be successful in 2015.

If you are confused about the principles of this kind of promotion, you’re not alone. However, I have some useful tips to get you started.

Content Marketing 101

Content marketing can be defined as any piece of information that encourages a prospective client toward an informed sales decision. The content itself can come in dozens of different forms, including the use of:

  • Email newsletters
  • Blog posts
  • Social media updates
  • White papers/eBooks
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars
  • Video
  • Photography

Choosing the Right Content

As with any effective marketing plan, understanding your audience is key. Is your product or service mainly geared towards millennials? Or are you targeting older adults instead? Not only will these details offer valuable clues to assist with drafting your message. But, it will also give you an idea of what type of content is best to meet your client’s needs.

Once you have a sense of who your customers are, you can then select the type of content that works best for that demographic. The great news is that there are extraordinary amounts of research available to assist you with this. For example, a recent Yahoo! study identified that the majority of millennials surveyed responded positively to escapist interactive content that generated positive emotions. While another prominent study suggested that those who self-identify as baby boomers respond best to materials that cater to them being part of the “me generation.”

Identifying the Right Distribution Option

Equally important is identifying the best way to share the newly created content. When deciding on a method-businesses should consider everything from potential ROI (return on investment) to content type. When considering distribution, brands should plan to incorporate a combination of traditional marketing methods (such as Red Bull’s successful Red Bulletin print magazine) with modern digital techniques.

Curious as to what will work for your company? Try studying successful content marketing campaigns by your competitors. You can also access key marketing strategies from organizations like the Content Marketing Institute (CMI)-which has extensive tips and tools available at no cost.

Defining Goals and Measuring Success

According to a recent study conducted by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs only 38% of B2B companies believe that their content marketing is effective. This number is not surprising-especially when you consider that less than 50% had a clearly defined content marketing strategy.

When considering content marketing, it’s important to define what action you want your core audience to take. For many content marketers, this means taking time out to map out your desired response.

By breaking down the personas that each individual within the buying process adopts-it helps to create specific targets for your project to meet. It also makes it easier to judge the initial investment needed.To assist in visualizing this stage, CMI has created some great templates for businesses looking to begin this important step. Although it is geared towards those who are working in the B2B sector-it can easily be adapted for the B2C market as well.

Key Takeaway – Content marketing is the practice of creating information designed to guide your target audience through the sales process. This content can the form of anything from blogging to eBooks. In order for it to be a successful part of your campaign strategy-brands must take time out to identify the buying personas that they are trying to reach. Doing so will not only aid in creating goals but will ultimately assist with determining ROI.

This is part of the Social Fundamentals Series, enjoy the previous articles in this series below:

The Top Six Fundamentals of Using Twitter

The Five Fundamentals to Using LinkedIn

The Five Keys to Using Instagram for Your Business

The Five Keys to Marketing Your Business on Pinterest

Five Fundamentals for Using YouTube for Business 

Five Fundamental Tips for Using Facebook for Your Business

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