Monday, July 13, 2015

A Comprehensive Guide to Content Marketing

Content Marketing A Comprehensive Guide to

In the digital world which we live today, the marketer is no longer the one looking for the client. Rather, the opposite is true. Here are some statistics that reflect this fact:

  • 81% of shoppers will conduct an online research before visiting any stores
  • Consumers spend around 79 days researching online before making any purchases
  • The buyer guides himself through 60 to 90% of the traditional sales funnel before contacting a sales person or even brand
In view of these statistics, there is need for the marketer to position himself in a way that is easily accessible and noticeable for the client to get to know where he is. One of the best way to do this is via creation of valuable and high quality content that will inform, engage, and attract an audience, while promoting the brand.

Before we look at the ways to come up with a killer content marketing strategy, let us look at some of its benefits:

- It increases brand awareness
As prospective buyers and users search the web, they keep encountering your brand in search engine results

- It increases brand preference
Your content establishes your brand as an authority in your industry, winning your buyers’ trust

-  Long term results
Over time, customers will benefit from a database of content on your site

Let us now look at what a successful content marketing strategy should entail:

Depending on your industry and target audience, you should have:

1. Blog posts

The blog should cross-promote other content. This ensures that you consistently have fresh content. Your blog posts should be based on SEO, and if your marketing team lacks knowledge in this area, you need to outsource.

2. Ebooks

These are aimed at educating. They should use conversational language representative of your brand. The content should also follow a narrative structure.

3. Cheat sheets

They are usually 2 to 3 pages. Your formatting should make it very easy for the reader to scan through. You can also link to other sources for more information.

4. Workbooks and Templates

These are designed for print. They should be interactive and practical.

5. Whitepapers and reports

Like ebooks, their purpose is to inform. They use a more professional language. They also allow for interaction and partnership with other organizations.

6. Infographics

Here there is use of both texts and graphics, but words are kept to a minimum. Again, if you do not have a graphics designer on your team, seeking a professional would really help.

7. Slide decks

These use slides to break down complex ideas into steps. Keep text at minimum. Use the same font throughout and use big graphics.

8. Video

Make the video timeless. This way, you need not upload too many videos. Ensure that your videos contain high quality content. Upload the videos to YouTube and link your website. This way, there is a possibility of reaching a wider audience.

9. Case Studies

Build case studies with complete stories as well as real numbers. The focus will be on the value and results, not the brand.

Social media and content marketing

Your strategy will be missing a large portion if you do not factor in social media. Social media platforms are the vehicle for your content. There are 3 types of social media platforms that you can utilize:

- Your own platform
This is the brand’s own social media platform – Facebook page, twitter handle, or even other accounts on other social sites. This is a quick way to reach your target audience

- Paid platforms
This is where you use paid advertising. Look at the network’s demographics and determine what works best for your brand. For instance, brands in the fashion niche may benefit more from Instagram as compared to brands in the law niche.

- Earned platforms
This is where your audience shares your brand’s content on various social media sites. This is the most valuable platform, but it is also the hardest to create and build.

When it comes to the social media site to use, you need to use one where your users are. Here are some of the demographics of the various social media sites that there are:

1. Facebook

Most Facebook users are usually college-educated, lower income women.

2. Twitter

78% of the traffic on twitter is generated by emerging markets. Most of the users are recent college graduates who live in urban areas.

3. LinkedIn

This is the professional social network. It has the largest percentage of college educated, high income users. Around 64% of referrals to corporate websites emanate from LinkedIn.

4. Pinterest

47% of shoppers online have made a purchase as a result of a recommendation from Pinterest. Its users tend to be more affluent women living in rural areas.

SEO and Content Marketing

Here are some SEO best practices that should be part of your strategy:

- Using Keywords Naturally

Identify the main keyword, its synonyms, and a few related keywords. Use them in the content, headers and even page content. Be careful not to overstuff the keyword, that is, use it too many times. Usually 3 to 5 times is ideal. Remember you are actually creating content for the reader, not search engines.

- Earning Natural Links

Never get links from spammy sources. Build relationships with professionals in your industry who will share your content. Link to their primary sources. Ensure your links are from high quality sites.

- Images and video

Ensure that your blog posts and landing pages have images and videos. This decreases bounce rates.

- Gated and Ungated Content

You may give away information for free so as to build relationships with clients. However, it is also advisable to gate some of it. You can gate bigger resources, for instance a white paper. All they need to do is provide basic information. Gated content helps you know which visitors are serious and nurtures leads as well.

All in All

Remember, a good content marketing strategy is one that provides the answers that customers are looking for. This, coupled with accessibility on search engines will help your brand to connect with your audience as well as engage with it, converting leads to sales. What part of your marketing strategy have you overlooked? What do you need to change?



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