Content marketing for business is a necessity in this day and age.
The times have changed. As a brand, you can now own the media instead of renting it.
Think about it. Not so long ago, the content was independent of advertising, with different parties involved. So, the publisher and the advertiser were separate entities.
Earlier, as a business, if you wanted to advertise your products or services, you had to contact a newspaper. This is because these businesses didn’t produce content themselves and relied on the newspaper brand’s reach to interact with their customers.
But the times have changed now. As a business, you can own both sides of the game: the publisher and the advertiser.
So, content marketing is the intersection of advertising and publishing. You can share valuable information with your audience and advertise your products on your platform.
Now let us look at what exactly content marketing is.
Introduction to Content Marketing
Let us first look at the definition of content marketing provided by the Content Marketing Institute.
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience and, ultimately, drive profitable customer action.
So, it all about building a relationship with your audience through your content by providing value.
This value is in the form of information that makes your customer smarter and helps them make informed decisions.
The general assumption here is that if you provide value consistently over time, the customer will reward you with their business, loyalty, and trust.
As such, it becomes critical that the customer realizes the value you’re offering.
As per the content marketing formula, if you offer valuable content to your audience, it will attract even more people to your content. And when you have an audience, you create an opportunity for your brand to advertise your services.
So, the more audience you attract, the better results you’ll find for your advertising efforts.
Similarly, if your content is not good enough, you’ll not find an audience. And for any successful business, you need an audience for your business to survive.
Now that we know a little bit about content marketing let us look at its history.
History of Content Marketing
The best way to understand where content marketing as an industry is heading is to look at its journey so far.
Content marketing is not a new thing. For a long time, John Deere’s monthly magazine, The Furrow (est. 1895), centered around people and their connection to the land, was considered the oldest example of content marketing.
But recently, it was unearthed that the trails go further back in time. Check out the infographic to see the brief history of content marketing by the Content Marketing Institute.
In 1732, Benjamin Franklin first published the yearly Poor Richard’s Almanack to promote his printing business.
Nearly a century and a half later, Samuel Wagner launched American Bee Journal, a magazine still published to date.
And similarly, other brands kept putting in efforts on building trust with their audience through the mediums available at that time.
A Google Trends capture for the topic ‘Content Marketing‘. As seen more recently, the popularity of content marketing has only risen and is not looking at stopping anytime soon. Brands have realized the power of content marketing and how important a component it is in their whole digital marketing setup.
Despite the age of the technique, the power of content marketing hasn’t diminished at all. That’s what makes it evergreen. And as for the future, it is and will keep going strong.
Till the time businesses exist, content marketing will exist.
Types of Content Marketing for Business
There are many different types of content marketing, and these include:
- Digital Magazine/Books
- Social media posts
- Podcasts (Audio/Video)
- Print Magazine
- Software download
- Educational resources (Case study, White paper, free report, guide, ebook)
- Useful resources (cheatsheet, swipe file, templates, tool kits, resource list)
- Specific lead magnet
- Demo/free trial
- Customer success stories
- Mini class
- Comparison/spec sheet
Even though they are different in type, they have the same goal of providing valuable information to the audience to support the business goal.
Talking about the goals, let us look at some goals and objectives of content marketing for business.
Objectives of Content Marketing for Business
It is essential to precisely define objectives that you want to achieve through content marketing. Some of the common goals that content marketing can perform are:
- Building brand awareness
- Increase offer awareness
- Increase engagement
- Grow website traffic
- Grow retargeting list
- Email list growth and lead generation
- Initial customer acquisition
- Lead nurturing
- Converting leads into loyal customers
- Customer retention
- Boosting buyer frequency
- Maximize immediate customer value
These are some of the goals of content marketing. To measure these goals, you need specific metrics. In the next section, we’ll be looking at the metrics involved in content marketing for business.
Content Marketing Metrics for Business
To measure your content marketing goals effectively, you need to measure some metrics. Some of these metrics include:
- Number of leads/email list growth
- Offer conversion rates at different stages of a funnel
- Retargeting list growth
- Email open/ Click-through rate
- Average customer value
- Retention rate
- Buyer recency/frequency
- Number of sales qualified leads
These were some of the metrics to measure how effective your content marketing campaign is.
Why is Content Marketing Important for Business?
Let us look at the advantages of content marketing which makes it all the more critical for business.
- Central Hub
Content is the central hub of any marketing campaign, and everything revolves around your content. You look at any marketing campaign, and at the center of it all is the content. Content is not only the king but the whole kingdom. Your content is what makes your brand unique and sets you apart from your competitors.
- Organic Traffic (SEO)
Writing quality content optimized for the search engines and the user increases your content’s chances of getting ranked on the search engine.
When a user likes your content and spends time on that webpage, it gives the search engine a signal that the user likes your content. The search engine wants to show the best results for a query. A prospect spending time on your content gives the search engine a signal that your content is good, and so, the search engine promotes your content.
This helps in bringing organic or free traffic to your website and helps in generating leads. Further, a website forms an integral part of a business.
One of the cool things about great content is that people love to share valuable content in their circle to make them look smarter. They usually do this on their social media platform or do it in their articles, citing you as the source. Check why Social media is important for business?
This user signal tells the search engine that your content is relevant and useful to its audience. In turn, the search engine rewards you as an authority on the subject. The higher the authority of a website that links to your content and the more people visiting your site through those links, the better your website’s authority will become.
Moreover, you’ll start ranking on the search engine for that keyword.
Content marketing is less expensive than many traditional marketing channels and more effective and measurable too.
- Building Trust
When people read your content, they get to know about your company. As you provide more value with your content, people are inclined to start trusting your brand. Over time, these people will turn into loyal customers of your brand.
As more and more people following your brand and engaging with your content, it also helps build brand awareness.
- Transformation of the buyer’s journey
Content marketing and funnels (sales) go hand in hand. A well-designed funnel helps identify and qualify a sales lead by understanding their buying process stage. This helps develop strategies to move the customer closer to the sale.
There are three stages to a sales funnel: Top, Middle, and Bottom of the funnel.
Stage1 (TOFU): When the customer enters the funnel, he is in the awareness phase. This is where they identify the problem they need to solve and begin their research for solutions. The content available in this stage is designed to educate them and understand the best solution to their problem.
Stage 2 (MOFU): As the customer moves down the funnel, he shifts from the awareness to the evaluation phase. During this stage of the funnel, the content available educates leads on their options, which are narrow and focused on evaluating and coming closer to a final purchasing decision.
Stage 3 (BOFU: The funnel’s final stage covers the customer journey’s conversion phase. At this stage, leads are ready to convert or decide on the best match for their problem. Some buyers at this stage just need a little push, which could be in the form of a special offer, discount, or promotion. The sales team is most involved at this stage, so the content must align with what they need to close the sale.
- Understand the customer
Depending on how your customer interacts with your content, you’ll get to know them better. This way, it can help you find gaps in your content and your product gaps.
If you’re still wondering if content marketing is useful for a business, check out these facts, which will lead you to conclude the importance of content marketing for business.
Content Marketing Tools For Business
There is humongous basket of tools available online. Depending on the objectives and the channels a business is focussing on, objective specific tools are available. Let us look at some of the best tools available for content marketing for business.
- Pexels (Free stock images and videos)
- Buzzsumo (Content content curation and social media analysis tool)
- HubSpot (All in one marketing, sales, customer service, and CRM software)
- CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer (Headline generator)
- Buffer (Scheduling social media posts)
- Canva (Graphic design platform)
- Portent Idea Generator (Titles and Idea generator)
- Answer The Public (Keyword research tool)
- Hemingway (For improving your writing)
- Hotjar (Spy software for behavior analytics and user feedback service)
- HootSuite (Social relationship management software)
- Google Analytics (Analytics software)
- RankMath (SEO plugin for WordPress)
- WP Forms (WordPress forms plugin)
- Zapier (Online automation tool for integrating different platforms)
- SEMrush (All-in-one Marketing toolkit)
- Ahref (Toolset for backlinks and SEO analysis)
- Grammarly (Digital writing assistance tool)
- GetRespone (Email marketing platform)
- ClickFunnels (Online sales builder)
- Evernote (Capture, organize, and maintain notes)
- Zoom (Platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars)
- Camtasia (Screencasting software for creating video tutorials and presentations)
- Audacity (Audio recording and editing software application)
- InVideo (Online video editor)
Next up, let us look at some of the best content marketing tips to follow for business.
Content Marketing Strategy for Business
Most businesses don’t have a well-documented content marketing strategy, and so they don’t do well.
Starting your campaign with a well-planned content marketing strategy is essential for the success of the campaign. Without a plan, you risk it all as success or failure is just a matter of luck.
Here are some steps you need to follow to ensure success:
- Set your Goals and Objectives
Before starting any journey, you need to know where you’re heading too. Similarly, it would be best if you had specific goals for your content marketing mission.
This involves drawing your customer avatar to understand them better. When you’re aware of the problems they are facing, only then can you offer a relevant solution. And that is why you need to be clear about who your target audience is.
To better understand your target audience, you need to look at their Demographics, sources of information, challenges and pain points, objections and role in the purchase decision, etc. When you have enough data about your customer, you can prepare a Bio Persona of your ideal customer.
- Establish the Metrics to be measured
The best way to achieve your goals and objectives is to make them specific and measurable. This involves setting key performance indicators (KPIs) for your content marketing strategy.
The KPIs will help you analyze your goals and objectives. Depending on the various metrics you measure, you can vary your approach to get the best results. For instance, A/B testing for headlines is used to find which headline works best in open rates.
- Assess the present situation
Before you set out running new content marketing campaigns for your business, you need to know your whereabouts.
You can start by doing a content audit for your existing content. This means looking at all the content, such as blog posts, guest posts, videos, podcasts, infographics, etc. This is done to assess the existing content and find out any content gaps in the system.
Making new content is as important as fine-tuning the existing content. If there are any errors or scope for improvements, refresh the content by injecting freshness in content by updating it.
Moreover, you can also look at what has worked in the past and try to imitate that success. Minor tweaks in the system can show great results. So, be looking for any improvement possible for existing content.
- Content Types to be targeted
The next step is to know which channels to target. For that, you need to be aware of where your audience hangs out. As a business, you need to know where your audience spends most of their time. Only when you know you can focus your efforts there.
It would make no sense to focus all your efforts on blogging when most of your audience is into video marketing.
- Allocation of Resources
Now that you know what type of content you’re planning to create, who it is for, and where you’re planning to share it, it’s essential to have everything you need to deliver on your content marketing strategy.
The resources may be the Human in charge of creating the content. This can be a content manager working for the company, an external third party (Digital agency), or even a freelancer. The role involves creating, editing, publishing/uploading, and analyzing the whole process of content creation.
Another resource allocation process involves choosing the right tools and Softwares to execute the strategy.
- Create a Content Calendar
Planning your content is essential for keeping up on track with the content marketing strategy.
As part of your content strategy, you’ll need to know precisely what and when you want to publish your content on the platforms you use.
Creating a content calendar is similar to doing your homework. When you plan your content, you are doing things in advance. That way, you’ll always be a step ahead in the game.
- Distribution and Marketing
After you create the content, the next step, and probably the most important, is to distribute it.
As the adage goes, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Similarly, after you create new content, you need to distribute and market it to ensure that it gains traction.
- Measure the Results
One of the most critical steps of a content marketing strategy is to assess your campaign’s success.
To check this, you’ll have to check the KPIs you set at the start of the campaign and see what’s changed and whether you’re hitting your targets. You can use Analysis tools like Google Analytics to check your progress.
You can keep tweaking your content and resources to maximize the results.
And that is how you run an effective content marketing strategy for a business.
The reason why content marketing is so successful for a business is that it works. In this day and age, it is one of the best ways to build awareness of your business and drive inbound leads.
Content marketing levels the playing field for all businesses no matter their size.
The beautiful thing about content marketing is that it finds so many applications for a business that it is no longer an option but a necessity for all brands.