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Content marketing: you’ve heard of it, but do you know what it really means?
If not, don’t fear. As a digital marketing firm specializing in content marketing, we have a wealth of information on the topic, and–in true content marketing fashion–we want to share it with you. Read on to learn what content marketing is, why you should care about it, and how you can implement it into your own marketing strategy.
What Is Content Marketing?
Contrary to what the term implies, content marketing means more than just marketing content. Content marketing involves creating useful content and distributing it toward a targeted audience in order to acquire a loyal following. In other words–giving free resources now in order to receive paid compensation later.
The emphasis here is on creating useful content. If your messages don’t resonate with the people you’re sending them to, those people won’t care about what you have to say. And if your messages aren’t even relevant to their needs, they won’t respond at all.
For an effective content marketing strategy, you first need to establish your ideal audience and pinpoint their unique problems. Then you need to offer solutions to those problems, and–although it goes against everything you learned in business school–you need to offer those for free. That way, your audience will gain trust in your company, recommend you to their friends, and look to you for help in the future.
So, what type of content should you be promoting? Content can come in a variety of forms, including blog posts, social media posts, emails, landing pages, white papers, eBooks, and more.
Ideally, you should start off a content marketing campaign with top-of-the-funnel content and slowly work your way to the bottom. The inbound methodology coined by HubSpot defines the four stages of a sale like this:
By adopting these four marketing actions, you can engage an audience that shares your values and gain not just new customers, but loyal fans who will stick with your product or service long after their first purchase has been made.
Why Should You Care?
At 9 Clouds, we believe content marketing is the best way to build a solid relationship with your potential customers. Here are a few of our favorite reasons why all companies should care about content marketing:
- Content marketing sets you apart from the competition. Currently, only 30% of marketers have adopted a consistent or integrated content strategy.
- Content marketing creates a culture of trust. 80% of business decision-makers would rather receive company information from articles than traditional ads.
- Content marketing works. Leads from inbound marketing have a 13% higher close rate than those from outbound marketing, and the return on investment of content marketing is more than triple that of paid search efforts.
Think of content marketing as a constellation of sorts–a star-studded collection of stories grouped around a common theme. Taken together, they form a bright, cohesive design that lights up the night.
So stop shouting into the void. Instead, craft a carefully considered content marketing strategy that demonstrates expertise in your field and builds a devoted customer base.
5 Steps to a Stellar Content Marketing Strategy
Ready to implement content marketing into your own marketing efforts? Here are five steps to get you started:
- Identify your target audience. Clearly define who your customers are–and that’s who they are, not who you want them to be. Make sure your entire team understands your potential customers’ demographics, their habits, and especially their problems.
- Craft content that provides solutions to their problems. Create content with your customers’ needs in mind. If it doesn’t add value to their lives, don’t write it.
- Usher them along the sales process. Once you’ve snagged someone’s attention with a top-funnel awareness piece, nudge them toward an even deeper level of engagement. Always close your content with an appropriate call-to-action that encourages readers to learn more, and provide elements that allow them to share your piece via email or social media.
- Close the sale. When you’ve led your lead to the end of the sales process, you can finally attempt to seal the deal. Make your offer sound like the most logical, natural next step to the path they’ve already been on.
- Evaluate and improve your content strategy. Anticipate and address objections to your product or service as soon as they arise. And always, always analyze the results of your content so that you can make adjustments where necessary.
Need More Help?
At 9 Clouds, we live and breathe content marketing. Not only is it the core of our own marketing strategy, it’s also at the center of the digital marketing services we offer our clients.
If you need assistance with creating useful content and distributing it to the right people, we can help you. Our content marketing methods are proven to help clients attract more qualified leads and convert more qualified customers.
To learn more about our content marketing services or to receive a free smart marketing evaluation, click the button below.[hs_form id=”22″]