The internet is currently flooded with content from brands and businesses touching on every subject conceivable. So, if you’re just starting a content marketing campaign, it can feel daunting to stand out from the crowd and grab your audience’s attention. That’s why it’s helpful to better understand why content marketing is worth it for your business and the best way to develop your content marketing strategy.
Why Content Marketing?
B2B buyers go through anywhere between 70% to 90% of the buyer’s journey before actually speaking with a sales representative. They do that by reading and using a business’s content to learn more about it and the products or services it has to offer. That’s why content marketing strategies are so beneficial for B2B companies. But there are even more benefits that content marketing can give your business, including:
- Building Demand Generation: As you develop content, whether it’s for social media, YouTube, or your own website, you can let people know about your business and what it has to offer. This can help generate demand for your products and services by showing your audience that you can solve their problems and pain points.
- Creating Conversions: Content marketing allows businesses to place key conversion points within their blogs and videos using calls to action (CTAs). CTAs help engage with your audience and encourage them to interact with your company further by subscribing to your email newsletters, reading more content, or even making a purchase.
- Establishing Authority: When you develop content, such as a video or blog article, you’re often adding your own voice, knowledge, or expertise to it. This can help you establish credibility and authority in your industry, which can help attract new leads and prospects to your business.
- Creating Differentiation: When you develop content for your business, you also create opportunities to separate yourself from the competition. Whether it’s your authority and expertise in the industry or if it’s simply the differences in the products or services you offer, content can show your audience how you differ from other businesses and why you’re the best choice.
- Increasing Traffic: A term you’ll often find associated with content marketing is search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is the process of raising your content’s search engine ranking, so your audience can find it more easily. This, in turn, can help increase your organic traffic and lead more potential customers or clients to your website.
- Building Stronger Relationships: Content gives you a platform to communicate with your audience more easily and share helpful information with them. This information often includes solutions to problems or challenges they might be facing. This can help you build stronger relationships with your audience and develop trust with them, which can lead to higher quality leads and prospects.
How Does Content Marketing Work?
Content marketing is the process of developing content that attracts your target audience to your business. But an important distinction between content marketing and traditional marketing is that the content you create isn’t often an outright advertisement for your business. Instead, the general primary focus of content marketing is to deliver quality and beneficial information to your readers or viewers. Though it might sound counterintuitive to develop something for your audience that doesn’t directly promote your business, it’s actually the best way to build trust with them.
The more your audience trusts your brand and content, the more likely they are to make a purchase. In fact, 83% of consumers say they will not do business with brands they don’t trust. Once you develop trust with your audience, you can entice them to your brand using well-placed CTAs. These CTAs often encourage your audience to fill out a lead-generation form, which sends their contact information to your sales team. From there, they work to turn that lead into a sale.
Where To Use Content Marketing
There are a number of places you can use content to improve your marketing efforts, including:
Blogs are one of the quintessential content marketing tactics. That’s because they’re so versatile. Businesses can use them as a way to quickly comment on trending topics and inform their audiences about industry news. They can also use them as in-depth knowledge base articles that provide their readers with tutorials on how to accomplish different tasks, like how to perform a safety check, how to finance heavy equipment, or even how to perform content marketing. Businesses can even combine the two strategies, making their blog a one-stop-shop for everything their audience might need.
Email marketing is the act of sending attention-grabbing emails to entice your audience and bring them to your website. These emails can come in different forms, such as promotional emails, which might highlight a new product or advertise an upcoming sale. They might also be newsletters, which inform your audience about industry topics or promote content you might’ve published on your website.
Just like blogs, videos are a very versatile form of content marketing. You can use them for practically anything, such as customer testimonials, knowledge-base content, or even something special or unique to your brand. For example, Randall Reilly currently uses video content in our “Marketing Minute” series that talks about complex marketing topics and asks viewers to follow them for alerts on new videos.
Social media is a great way to stay connected with your audience and promote content from other channels. For example, let’s say you create a series of knowledge-base videos. You can create social media versions of those videos with built-in subtitles to promote on your social media profiles. Let’s say you create blogs. You can link directly to your website blog from a social media post to direct people to your site and the content you host there.
You can even develop separate social media posts for your audience to engage with that play off online trends or discuss industry news. This can show your audience that your brand is relevant and has a voice in your industry’s community.
Podcasts are becoming an increasingly popular option for businesses to use for their content marketing. Just like other types of content, there isn’t one singular method or form of podcasting that companies should use for their business. However, most businesses use this format for developing thought leadership in their industry. That’s because they can use podcasts to actively voice their opinions on different topics and provide a new or unique perspective to industry challenges.
Podcasts are also a great way for businesses to collaborate with one another. If you know of a business that operates in a similar market as yours, but isn’t a direct competitor, consider inviting that business onto your podcast. This creates a mutually beneficial relationship where you can benefit from their established audience, and they can benefit from yours.
How To Build an Effective Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing strategies are crucial to a campaign’s success. In fact, 60% of businesses who’ve reported their content marketing as successful had a documented content marketing strategy. Here is a list of steps to help you develop your own:
1. Determine Your Goals
Before you can start any content marketing strategy, it’s important to first determine what you want to accomplish. This can help you allocate your resources and budget accordingly, and help you monitor your campaign as you go.
For example, let’s say your goal was to increase your organic traffic by 10% over the course of two months. Knowing this, you can determine the best way to achieve that goal and create a strategy around it. For increasing organic traffic, that might include putting more resources into SEO and written content. It might also include more effort in your social media or email campaigns as well, depending on your audience. Which brings us to the next step in your strategy creation process.
2. Understand Your Target Audience
Understanding your target audience can help you approach them and engage with them more effectively. For the most part, that means understanding what type of content they like to consume and where they consume it. For instance, let’s say you discover that your audience prefers video content over written content. You can allocate more resources to video creation and focus less resources and budget on channels that might not produce as much benefit for your campaign.
3. Conduct Competitor Research
Looking at what your competitors are doing and how they’re focusing their messaging can help you determine the best way to attract a similar audience. This works by looking at their own content creation and channels, as well as by finding possible gaps in their content strategy. For example, let’s say you notice that a majority of your competitors all use blogs to attract their target audience. That might indicate blogs are something your audience likes to engage with.
On the other hand, you might notice that all of your competitors aren’t making use of a specific content channel, like social media. Though that might mean social media isn’t very effective with your target audience, it could also indicate that your competitors might have overlooked its effectiveness.
4. Know Your Content Development Plan
Knowing what content you’re developing is often half the battle. You also need to figure out who’s developing it and how long that development might take. However, each development plan can differ depending on if you’re creating video content or written content.
If you’re creating written content, it’s important to have, at the very least, a writer and editor to make sure you’re producing quality, informative articles, emails, and social media posts. It can also help to have other members on your team, such as a quality assurance specialist. But if you don’t have a team fully devoted to content development, be prepared for each article or blog to take some time.
Depending on how much content you need to produce, you might even need a slightly larger team consisting of multiple writers and editors. However, if you’re only producing one to two articles a month, it’s possible to perform that with a smaller team or even hire a freelance writer to help.
Video content is a much bigger challenge compared to written content. That’s because video content requires different tools and software to get the job done. That includes things like lights, cameras, microphones, and video editing software. But that doesn’t even account for the personnel necessary to complete the job, including video editors and graphic designers.
That’s why it’s important to develop a plan for your video content workflow and know how much content you want to develop each month. If you’re only producing one video a month, you might be able to rent equipment or hire freelancers to do different things, such as video editing and graphic design. But if you’re hoping to scale your production up, it’s important to know how much of an investment that might be for your business.
5. Create a Schedule
Creating a schedule for your content is a great way to plan ahead and make sure you’re creating content on a consistent basis. Developing content consistently tells both search engines and your audience when you’re likely to publish your content. Search engines use this information to know how often they should recrawl your site and its webpages. Your audience uses this information to know when they should check back to your website and read the new content you have available.
When you create a schedule, you can also plan around big events in your industry, as well as holidays. For big events in your industry, like a conference or new product launch, you can have content written ahead of time to let your audience know that it’s coming up. For holidays, you can develop social media posts and content to share in the day with your audience and show them you’re a part of their life in other ways. This is another great way for you to further develop your relationship with them.
Outsource Your Content Marketing
Need help developing your content and planning its marketing strategy? Outsourcing your content marketing campaign is a great way to save your business time and money, freeing up your schedule and budget for other areas of your company. Randall Reilly currently offers long-term content marketing solutions to help you improve your outreach and focus your marketing efforts on areas that will be most effective for your business. Whatever you need, from strategy development to content production, we can help. Contact us today to see how we can boost your content marketing efforts.