What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a type of marketing where you publish articles, videos, podcasts, and other media that your customers will find engaging. The idea behind content marketing is to create useful, enjoyable, and informative content for your audience. The benefit of doing so is that you establish yourself as an expert in your field and position yourself as a leader in your industry. It’s not just blogging—although blogs are a critical component. It encompasses other forms of content like e-books, guides (like this one), webinars, and even videos. The objective: to attract and retain customers over the long haul, by consistently creating relevant, valuable content.
If you’re new to the concept of content marketing, here’s a quick and profitable definition: Content marketing is the process of creating, sharing, and distributing information in ways that encourage engagement, building relationships with your target audience. By delivering valuable and relevant content to your audience on a consistent basis, with a voice that is clear about brand expectations and company values, you can establish yourself as a leader in your market and increase sales for your business.
Common problems that content marketing can solve:
Content marketing is a sustainable, long-term strategy that’s designed to be relevant and educative to your audience. The power of influence that brands have through this medium is incredible, and if you create meaningful content that solves your clients’ problems, or gives them the tools they need to succeed in their business or industry, they will share your content within their network. And creating quality content means that it can be promoted through Facebook Ad campaigns too!
Encouraging your customers to read and interact with your content is a great way to establish thought leadership. For example, you can create a monthly e-newsletter and provide information on industry trends, company updates, or breaking news. Instead of bombarding your audience with advertisements, show them quality and educational information–this will build trust and loyalty over the long run.
Beyond search, you can use content marketing to develop a brand preference. With content marketing, you are essentially creating and distributing valuable and relevant curated content to your target audience. In turn, they will associate the source of that content with the value they get from consuming it. This establishes and reinforces your brand as an industry leader.
Components of content marketing:
Blog Post: The components of your content marketing strategy should include blog posts, e-mail campaigns, and more. A solid blog schedule will help you reach out to potential customers with fresh information, rather than spamming them with constant emails or sales tactics. Be sure to consult with a professional when it comes to SEO because that is an area that is easy for companies to mess up on their own. (Note: All the above examples were created in Microsoft Word and rearranged for Web use.)
Ebooks: Ebooks are a great way to build loyalty and educate your audience. More than just a long blog post, an ebook is an opportunity for you to communicate with your customers on a much deeper level. In this ebook we will talk about how to create ebooks for your business, their pros and cons and how to keep things consistent with your brand voice.
Video: Video content is the most engaging form of marketing that you can use because it’s more personal and visceral than text. At Northwestern Mutual, our goal is to create content about insurance education and financial literacy that people notice, engage with, and help us achieve our business mission. Content marketing can be a powerful way for you to communicate what you do as well as establish your authority in your marketplace.
Infographics: The word “infographic” gets thrown around a lot these days. There are a lot of companies selling a lot of things with pretty graphics. We urge you to be mindful of their purpose because infographics can be very useful in your content marketing strategy. They are great tools to complement blog posts or help customers visualize and understand your expertise.
Cheat sheets:Think of your cheat sheet as a three-page crash course for what you want people to know about your brand. The best ones are focused, only covering one or two key aspects of your brand. When it comes to content marketing, you’re looking to build awareness and trust, so say nothing here that you wouldn’t be proud to feature in a few different places on your website!
Case Study : The case study should be a story about your customer, one where you share the details of the actual results your customer achieved. It should not be an ad that pitches your company talking about how great you are. To build a case study, you may need to think like an investigative reporter, picking the brains of everyone in your company. You’ll want to know the pain points that your product or service solved for the customer, what revenue increases or decreases they saw and any other good or bad outcomes.