Can you imagine listening Hideki Matsui (“Godzilla”) crushing baseball in a Radio/Audio or would you rather like to watch it on TV? Likewise, creating an online presence without right content is like watching television muted or like listening to it as a commentary on Radio. You cannot taste the real flavor. Great content always adds flavor to your brand and Google loves it too. Your content could be in multiple formats – text, graphics, video or Audio, and marketing your content in multiple channels is the challenge in front of any online entity.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a branch of marketing where “Content” plays a major role in attracting Social Media, Google etc and hence your customers. Creating Content and sharing it across different media either through online or offline is termed as Content marketing. Any business would like to have a brochure that talks about what they do and that is what Content Marketing is – in simple terms. The main focus of Content marketing is not selling but building a rapport with the customers by providing them with quality information and up to date details about the product. Invariably Content marketing compliments sales in a bigger way. Content marketing is an intellectual marketing technique where detailed information about a product or brand is given to the customer. It is the art of building a relationship with the customers even before your actual sales takes place.
Effectively it has become a very prominent part in marketing a product. Why has it become popular all of a sudden? We are living in an age where the consumer has a lot of options to choose from and s/he will not choose something that does not attract. So brands and products cannot simply rely on the age old traditional method of advertising to attract the customers. These days Customers do not just buy a product or service just because they saw an ad on TV about the product. Before taking any decision on buying, the consumer does a lot of research work looking into the pros and cons about a particular product. The consumer also goes on to compare one product with another product. When a person buys a mobile phone, he immediately does research about the mobile phone’s price, specifications, check peer reviews and compares it with other mobile phones before making a decision. This is where content marketing comes into play. Any product or service should be backed by enough information that will make the consumer to buy the product.
“Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads”- Kapost
Content marketing educates the customer and gives a lot of information about the product or your service to the customer. When the customers start using the product they will be gathering in-depth knowledge about the product. Once they get positive feedback, they will invariably become an evangelist about the product. In fact, your customers will become a part of your sales force. Brands, which focus on content marketing, had succeeded in promoting their products at a greater pace. Who requires content marketing? The question should have been “Who does not need content marketing?” .The obvious answer is every online business irrespective of what they do if they have to survive and compete in today’s competitive market, should do content marketing. If you have a website, then you definitely should have a person to handle content on your website. One cannot just create a website, add some junk and wait for the website to do magic to your business. Unless and until a content Marketer weaves his magic wand by adding the right content on the website, no one in the online world will come to know about your online presence. Marketers spend more than 25% of their marketing budget on content marketing.
How does Content Marketing help in Online Business?
Content marketing helps in lead generation. It plays the sales role in a different way. Customers have stopped believing in sales personnel because of the common belief that sales personnel exaggerate a lot. So if the content is strong, then it does the talking and it would bring leads. A properly managed content marketing firm does not have to spend much on advertising costs on other media. Other media use the strategy of broadcasting, whereas the secret behind content marketing is “narrowcasting” where it exactly narrows down to the niche group of quality customers that the brand needs.
Captivating content is a top 3 reason people follow brands on social media. – Content+
Content marketing helps Search Engine Optimization in a bigger way. The websites with rich content always attract Google crawlers and draw huge traffic towards them. Also, Social media marketing is highly benefited by Content marketing. The more high-quality content you have on your website, the more is its presence in the social media circle like FB, Twitter since people start spreading what they read and like from your website or social media. A different form of content marketing is Content writing and it is just not about logging something on the website or on different media platforms. Many are still under the impression that Blogging and Content Marketing are one and the same. But, Content Marketing is much more than that. Blogging is definitely one form of Content marketing. For example, this article written in this blog itself is a form of Content marketing.
Blogs give websites 434% more indexed pages – Hubspot.com
Video and Audio Podcasting are forms of Content marketing. These days when anyone has to learn visually, they can go to YouTube and search for it. If someone decides to bake a cake, then they immediately search for cake recipes online and also would search for videos on baking. So Updating Content through Videos is one form of content marketing. MS PowerPoint (PPT) slides have not lost its charm these days. Be it class lectures or office room meetings, the power point decks are used to convey the points. Uploading PPTs and sharing them online is another form of content marketing Infographics Even though PowerPoint presentations have still not lost their charm, it is the time that online content marketers are upgraded to Infographics. This is one of the most powerful growing tools for B2B marketing. Publishing white papers, manuals, brochures, leaflets, flyers, banners online also come under the content marketing umbrella. Photos and graphics are powerful tools. You can convey an idea through a cartoon strip or through a simple picture and this draws audience too. An inspirational quote will be even more inspirational if it is represented pictorially.
Content with images get 94% more views. – Jeff Bullas
Remember Orkut – The social media site? One feature that stood out in Orkut was the Testimonial feature where your friends would say all great and wonderful things about you. In Content Marketing, Testimonials play a great part in marketing your product. When people talk good about your product, you can proudly display them on your site. If you are a thought leader in your industry, then case studies is a must have a thing on your website. People will go crazy downloading the case studies you upload on your website.
How to prepare for content marketing or what do you require?
First thing is, you need content for your brand or product. There is no point in blatantly blowing your own trumpet when there is nothing there to showcase. However when you work on your content marketing strategy, never ever lie. The customers are no fools to believe whatever we write on a website. There are millions of websites that give them information to cross check, and they will eventually find that you are lying if you have just painted a rosy picture of yourself on your website.
Content creation is ranked as the single most effective SEO technique -Marketing Sherpa 2013
Here are the steps in preparing yourself for good content marketing :
- Collect data
- Organize it
- Write Content- Check for Grammatical mistakes, Do spell checks
- Keep things simple
- Get a bird’s eye view of your website and try to picture where each content should go
- Hire a Content Marketing agency that fits your budget
Finding a content marketing agency – Here are some tips.
Everyone who has an internet connection has become a content marketer these days. So if you are trapped by the wrong content marketing agency, it is similar to admitting your head into Lion’s mouth. Rather than settling for a content marketing agency, zero down to the best content marketing agency that fits your need.
- 1. First look at the portfolio of the content marketing agency and research on their work. You will understand how good they are.
- 2. Secondly, ask the content marketing agency to give you a content marketing strategy. Some agencies just come up with theoretical junk that may not work in all practical scenarios.
- 3. As content marketing heavily relies on writing, make sure that the agency writer’s style matches your corporate culture. Your corporate culture might be very conservative and you might be looking for a website with a very traditional layout. In such a case, if you start working with a content marketing agency who is all jazzy, funky and totally liberal, then they might not be the right fit for you.
- 4. If you are a technical firm and if you need technology-rich content, then a content marketing agency that relies on the strength of the literary skills of their Shakespearean copywriters may not be helpful at all. What you need is a content marketing agency who has a technical writer who knows the language in which you want to communicate with your audience.
- 5. Do not settle for an agency that just types the content that you provide and upload them on the website. The content marketing agency should be able to creatively think of ways of driving traffic to your page.
Where to start?
The article would have given you an idea on what to do and what not to do in content marketing. Now before even taking the first step, prepare a checklist and understand where you stand
- Do you have people in your firm who can produce content?
- Do you or someone sitting next to you is ready to capture what you learned in your business?
- How often can you produce content that is useful to others or for your own good?
- Do you need an in-house blog writer or are you going to outsource them?
- What is your Content Marketing Budget?
- What is the platform that you need to build my blog on? Why?
- Do you have your own Social media marketing team? If not do you need outside help?
- Are you a good storyteller?
- Is my Consumer base looking for a content that I can provide?
Once you start jotting down points like this on a piece of paper and start answering them, you have taken the first step forward. Now create content that will answer the doubts and questions that your consumer base have! This is how you can attract them. You can also use the help of a Content Marketing agency for your Content Marketing needs.