Content marketing is a real buzz word at the moment, if you type the phrase into Google you’ll get a zillion results back. There are a number of reasons for this massive interest in using content to help achieve many of your business objectives, much of it driven by technology.
Changes to the internet and the growth of new online tools means that many businesses can now engage directly with their target audience where previously they had to go through third party websites or trade magazines.
Using content to engage an audience isn’t new, it’s been going on for over 100 years when the first catalogues were introduced.
The difference today is that previously where you had to mail the catalogue to your “list”, today you can use content as an inbound marketing primer to pull an audience through to your website. This is achieved by ensuring that you publish relevant quality content on the internet and social media sites that gets matched to the key phrases prospects are searching for.
In the graph below you can see that since 2011 the term content marketing has grown exponentially and this has both positive and negative connotations.
Content marketing – Positives vs Negatives
On the positive side it’s now much easier for smaller companies to compete with larger rivals, although smaller companies may not be able to match the spending of larger companies, they can take a more proactive approach to creating and distributing their own content through blogging, enewsletters, video, podcasts etc where most of the cost is internal rather than through advertising or outsourcing their marketing. A flexible approach with quick decision making means you can react much quicker to an opportunity than larger rivals who have more structure and are less flexible (marketing by committee).
On the negative side because it’s now so easy to publish content, we’re seeing the growth of c**p content that’s produced for the sake of it rather than with a particular objective in mind.
Content marketing objectives
Content marketing can play a massive role in helping a company achieve its objectives but these objectives have to be known upfront as they impact the type of content you produce. Content can be used to :
- Generate leads
- Raise brand awareness
- Drive conversions
- Differentiate your offer from the competition
- Raise your credibility in the marketplace
An important consideration to ponder is that content marketing is platform agnostic e.g. it’s just as relevant to the offline world as the online. So when creating your strategy you need to consider whether you need a mix of traditional marketing and digital marketing. But it’s also important to recognise that creating and publishing your own content is not the only option available to you.
You may have come across these 3 terms
Owned Media: This is what we normally think of when we discuss marketing strategies, the content that we have on our website and social media platforms, our enewsletters, videos, podcasts. In short, the content we either create or have created on our behalf that we use to promote our marketing messages across both digital and traditional marketing channels.
Earned Media: Traditionally termed PR and relates to our press releases, coverage our content gains in the media and in other blogs or where we’re quoted in the press as a result of being seen as a “credible source”.
Bought media: Refers to advertising, e,g, traditional print advertising or advertorials but also Pay-Per-Click and remarketing advertising in the online world.
Considering the mix of these 3 media types can greatly impact your success e.g. if your main objective is to generate leads then using an ebook as a lead generation tool to capture email addresses could be promoted through a mix of blogging and email (owned media), supplemented by PPC advertising (bought). Similarly, raising brand awareness could be achieved through a mix of blogging, guest blogging, cultivating forums (owned media), PR (earned media) and remarketing or display advertising (bought media).
The achievement of your objectives could be driven by either taking a singular approach e.g. only using owned media or by using a mix of the above where the sum of the parts is greater than the whole resulting in a stronger more far reaching marketing programme.
By having a clear understanding of what you want your content to achieve you can prepare a content strategy that contains all of the key elements required to help you deliver the success you want rather than taking a vanilla flavoured approach and publishing for publishing sake.
Want to know more about how content marketing can help your business grow? Contact us today on 01803 413481 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. While you’re here why don’t you download my latest ebook; 6 stages to inbound marketing success