Content is king. That’s what the experts say anyway, but what do they know? Well, a lot—they’re experts. But what makes content such a big deal? Why do nearly 84% of companies use content in their marketing strategies?
Let this article be your guide to content marketing. We’ll walk you through why you should care about it and what you can do to make your content marketing strategy into a lead-generating machine.
Additional resources for building out your content marketing strategy:
What Is Content Marketing?
To put it simply, content marketing is meant to help people—not sell products. It can be any form of content, including (but not limited to):
- Blog articles
Content marketing is meant to provide quality information that helps nurture your audience and guide them further down your sales funnel.
While content marketing isn’t meant to promote your products, it still helps improve your sales. For example, if readers find your content to be highly informative and helpful, they may become more loyal to your brand. This brand loyalty may then generate more sales and conversions.
What Are the Benefits of Content Marketing?
Better brand loyalty isn’t the only benefit of content marketing. Here are four key marketing goals content marketing can help your business achieve.
1. Enhance SEO and Search Engine Marketing
Blog articles, a form of content marketing, offer prime real estate for keyword optimization. You can directly answer questions commonly asked on search engines within your content—a practice that makes your content highly discoverable. In fact, over 34% of people will click the first result of Google, while only 2.6% will click the tenth result. And we don’t even want to talk about the second SERP—you need to aim for at least the first page.
Google and other search engines take several things into account for SEO, like whether or not your content is high-quality. If your articles solve the issues of the reader (i.e. they don’t navigate away from your webpage immediately after opening it), Google will determine that your article is highly relevant and award you with a higher ranking on search result pages.
Written content also provides opportunities for link building, which can attract new traffic and increase your website authority.
2. Improve Brand Reputation and Authority
Speaking of authority, if your content establishes your brand as an arbiter of quality information, customers will begin to see you as an industry expert. They can become more loyal to your brand as they come to you for answers to their questions, further cementing your brand reputation and authority within the industry.
3. Influence More Conversions
One study found that 60% of people are inspired to seek out a product after reading content about it. When you give your audience a high volume of educational content, they feel informed enough to make wiser purchasing decisions.
4. Get Social Media Traction
Quality content gives you the chance to start trending on social media. If a video or blog article goes viral, it can attract more social media followers and elevate your brand awareness.
But content doesn’t have to go viral to be useful on social media—creating a steady stream of consumable content keeps your audience engaged and interested in your brand.
How Is Content Marketing a Unique Strategy?
Sure, content marketing may help you with a lot of marketing initiatives, but so do a lot of other strategies. So why do 88% of B2B marketers use content marketing in their strategies? Well, here are three reasons why so many marketers prefer content marketing:
1. It’s Cost-Effective
Content marketing offers high ROI—in 2020, a majority of companies only spent less than $10,000 on content, but 68% of those companies expect to increase their content budget in 2021. That means more and more companies are impressed with what content marketing has done for them.
2. It Builds Relationships with Customers
Roughly 27% of internet users use some kind of ad blocker, thus limiting the ways that advertisers can connect with their audiences. Content marketing isn’t affected by those ad blockers, so you can still access that 27% with your messages. But attracting new customers shouldn’t be the only goal of your content marketing strategy; repeat customers should be a massive part of your revenue.
Repeat customers will benefit from any fresh content that addresses new ideas and questions. They’ll feel rewarded for sticking with your brand when they learn something new.
3. It Sets You Apart
Chances are, you are competing with several different companies that offer similar or related products, and you all want people to choose your products. Content marketing allows you to share your unique voice with your audience and give a more in-depth reason as to why you are the ideal product.
If your content feels distinct from your competition, both in voice and material, your audience will have an easier time remembering who you are.
What Kind of Content Should I Create?
Before we can get into our tips on how to do content marketing the right way, you need to figure out what kind of content to create. Hubspot shared 12 different types of content that people actively engage with, but there are really only five types that you need to pay attention to:
- Case Studies
Each of these forms of content have their own benefits. For example, video content is an excellent option when you need to instruct your audience through a step-by-step process—if you wanted to teach them how to make lasagna or knit a scarf, it’s much easier to follow along with a video than interpret words on a page. eBooks, on the other hand, are great for going really in-depth about a topic.
However, what you can create also depends on the resources you have available—videos and infographics, while popular and highly engaging, require specialized skills and programs to effectively execute. Blogs are the most popular form of content because they are easy to execute and see great results.
Top 12 Tips to Doing Content Marketing the Right Way
Convinced that content marketing is a stupendous thing? Then your next step is to do it and do it right. We want to ensure you have a good experience with content marketing right out of the gate, which is why we’re sharing our top 10 content marketing tips with you.
1. Solve a Problem in Your Content
Readers will only click on your content if they want to. This sounds obvious, but some marketers prioritize targeting keywords instead of targeting reader interests. If your content addresses a specific question or problem and tries to offer a solution to that problem, you’re much more likely to get a click out of them.
To truly solve a problem in your content, you’ll need to write a lot. Don’t be afraid to go deep on a subject, because longer content actually performs better than shorter articles. According to Hubspot, the article length that gets the most attention is between 2,250 and 2,500 words.
Wondering how you can know which questions to ask? Check out our next content marketing tip.
2. Get Your Content Ideas from Real People
The easiest way to get content ideas is to ask your customers directly. You could do this through:
You may also look for questions that customers are already asking. You can find these questions through your product reviews or in the online forums your customers take part in. Facebook groups, Subreddits, and even Twitter threads can all reveal the concerns of your customers.
If you still feel like there are any gaps in your content strategy, then you can look at what is working for your competitors with a competitive analysis. See what kind of questions they answer in their content that gets the most traffic. If they are answering more and/or different questions than you, then you should also address those questions.
3. Prioritize Quality Over Quantity
To ensure your content stays genuinely valuable to your customers, only publish your best material. That will probably mean producing less content, which is perfectly fine—it’s better to give readers one superb article than four mediocre ones.
But just because you’re writing fewer articles does not mean you’re allowed to spend less time on writing content. The time you save only writing one article should be spent on research and rewrites to make your content the best it can be.
4. Give Away Your Best Ideas for Free
If you have a fantastic answer to a reader’s question or an idea of how they could improve their situation, answer it in your content. Don’t hide your best pieces of writing behind a paywall or subscription service. When you share your most valuable information for free, you’re sure to attract loyal customers.
5. Perfect Your Headlines
Headlines are what grab people’s attention, so you better put some serious effort into writing them. David Ogilvy, the renowned copywriting expert, coined the 50-50 rule: spend half your writing time on your headline and the rest on your body copy.
Does this seem over-the-top? Well, if you don’t try to grab attention with your headline, the chance of someone reading the article you spent so much time on is next to none. Depending on how much time you spend on your headline, your click rates can fluctuate by up to 500%. And when all people seem to do is browse through headlines, you need to write one that is captivating and truly stands out.
6. Prove Your Claims with Data
Articles are much more authoritative when they have data to back up their main points. And as we are in an age of disinformation, it can only help your brand to support your article with truths.
Anytime you make a measurable claim in your article, whether it’s a percent or calling something the “most effective,” you should include a hyperlink. This shows customers that you aren’t misleading them with faulty information and you truly believe in your writing.
7. Repurpose Old Content
Have old content that isn’t performing well anymore? Give that article the kiss of life with some old-fashioned repurposing. That may involve updating the information in the article to be more current, or restructuring it entirely to be more evergreen.
You can also add more keywords into older content if it is no longer ranking for the previous keywords you targeted.
8. Format Your Article for Skimmability
Even if you spent hours or even days perfecting your article, most people won’t read it. At best, the internet is full of skimmers.
While you should still inject each of your sentences with a healthy amount of value, it’s equally important to format your article to be easily skimmed. That means:
- Using bulleted lists (see what we did there)
- Highlighting keywords in the text (and using keywords as hyperlinks)
- Writing meaningful and clearly defined subheadings
- Writing smaller paragraphs that don’t delve into more than one idea
9. Write What’s Relevant to You
If your content doesn’t seem to relate to your industry or product, you’re going to confuse people. That’s why REI only writes about the outdoors, and we only write about marketing—writing anything else would seem out of place. Sticking to what you know is the only way people will see your brand as an expert that they should listen to.
10. Put Your Content on the Right Channels
The channels on which you display your content should make it easy for readers to consume and share. And usually, the kind of content you produce will inform where you put it—your blog posts should go on your website’s blog page and your Facebook posts should stay on Facebook. Other content, like videos and infographics, can be more fluid about where they can be put. Good places to put these types of content are on your social media channels or in email marketing campaigns.
11. Promote Your Content for Optimum Engagement
While you could rely on SEO to rake in organic traffic, it’s best to couple your organic leads with some promotional efforts. Here are some ways you can promote your content:
- Email newsletters: Customers who are interested in what your brand has to offer can sign up to receive your email newsletters. In those emails, you can include links to content you’ve recently produced.
- Paid promotion: Whether it’s with Google Ads or a promotion service on a social media channel, you can pay to boost your content. With Google Ads, your content can shoot to the top of SERPs when a search query includes relevant keywords. Meanwhile, social media ads will promote your content and charge you on a pay-per-click basis.
- Community engagement: A more natural way to promote your content is to interact directly with your audience on social media channels. For example, you can join a Facebook group that relates to your industry and talk to your audience in comment sections. When the conversation allows it, you can suggest that people check out your content.
12. Measure Your Content’s Performance
Of course, the only way you know if your content (or any of these tips) works to improve lead generation and organic traffic is to measure their performance. Regularly monitor your progress, checking to see how your content is engaging your audience.
Some web hosting platforms have their own measurement tools you can use to find this information. Otherwise, Google Analytics is an excellent resource to find out how your content is performing.
Start Your Next Content Marketing Campaign with Big Leap
We’ve only scratched the surface of what it takes to create stellar content. But these 12 content marketing best practices should help you start crafting your content strategy and deliver compelling articles to your customers.
If you want more assistance in crafting the perfect content marketing strategy, we’d be happy to help. Contact Big Leap today so we can craft the perfect content for your business.