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What is Content Marketing & How to Make it Work for your Business

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Everyone wants to sell their products on the internet. But very few succeed. Marketers face this challenge every day, especially when it comes to marketing for small businesses and startups. How can you sell your wares better? If you get past all the jargon and complex theories, it boils down to one simple thing- you have to create good content that convinces your target audience to make a purchase.

It is a well known saying that content is king. Websites or social media platforms don’t run on Vaccum; they host content that powers them and justifies their existence. If you want to build your brand and meet your revenue goals, you must pay attention to your content marketing strategy.  And before you make the marketing strategy that best suits your brand, you have to know a few things.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is about creating and sharing content online. Content marketing is not a direct advertisement- instead, it aims to convince readers to make a purchase decision. So if you spot your favourite beauty reviewer recommending a particular lipstick- that is content marketing in action.

Content marketing is not limited merely to text. Content comes in various forms- blogs, social media posts, recommendations, videos, infographics, pictures and podcasts. The idea is to prop up a brand or product in such a way so that the target audience responds to it positively, and eventually make a purchase.

Content marketing is an inbound marketing technique or a pull technique, which “pulls” a customer towards the product or brand. So instead of acting like a salesperson who visits customers door to door displaying his products, content marketing seeks to draw the potential customer in with engaging content.

So now the question arises- how to create content that draws the customer in?

What is good content?

The primary marketing principle remains the same across segments, geographies and time- know your customer. If you want to attract customers, you must know who your customer is and what they want. This forms the very basis of creating useful content.

Understand one thing- you are not targeting everyone, because no product in the world will appeal to everyone. Identify your target audience first- who are they? Which age group do they belong to? What is the income group they belong to? What are their aspirations? What are the problems that they are likely to face? What sort of rhetoric do they respond to?

Once you have constituted a profile of your potential customer, you have an understanding of what they are looking for. Now if you want to create good content, you have to create something that will highlight how your product has what the audience is looking for. And you have to highlight it in a style that will appeal to them.

Content Marketing Example

Take a pair of jeans, for example. It is staple wear for both cowboys and the urban youth. Cowboys will probably be looking for a more sturdy material, while urban youth are more likely to look at the style and fit aspect of it. You must be clear about which group you want to target- and then, highlight your product as something which has what they are looking for. So if you talk about how stylish your denim is, and show how they can be styled to create a hip, youthful look – your content will attract the attention of youngsters.

How to Develop a Content Marketing Strategy?

Always remember- a brand which understands its customers better will still sell more. In marketing, you must pay attention to four steps of the purchase cycle- attract, interest, desire, action or AIDA.

Attract: Attract the attention of the customer. Write a catchy blog post. Create a sharp, snappy video. Use eye-catching colours in your images or infographics. Create content that should make your customers pay attention to.

Interest: This is about stirring your customer’s interest in what you have to offer- and showing him that you understand the problem. If you have a medicine for back pain, show how difficult it is for people with back pain to do regular housework. Now, they are eager to know the solution.

Desire:  Your next step is to show them that your product will solve their problem, so you must make them want to buy your product.  Demonstrate how your medicine will relieve back pain and how, after using it, the user can do their chores without experiencing pain and can also participate in activities with their friends and family.

Action: Here, you give the call to action. Tell your audience to buy your product. To provide them with a push, mention the price so that they know it is value for money.

If you can create content that follows the AIDA model and executes your concept with panache, you will attract the attention of your target demographic.

But are you connecting with enough potential customers?

The Benefits of Content Marketing and Its role in Integrated Marketing Communication

Customers are not a homogenous lot. Different customers respond to various forms of content. Some like to watch videos; others may like reading more. Some may be convinced via pictures, while others are more likely to look at the infographic.

Here comes the idea of Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC). Your content marketing strategy must take into account that people consume content in various ways, and you must make room for as many variations as possible.

For effective marketing, you must make sure that you cover all basic formats and platforms. The brand that can pass their content in a variety of forms will connect the most with its audience.

For example, if you are marketing a recipe, you must provide instructions in video, picture and text form. If you make only a video, some people might watch it. However, there may be others who may not have the time to sit through a video of 10 minutes- they would prefer to spend just a minute reading it. Other people may not want to read a wall of text, and instead, prefer a series of pictures with short descriptions.

If you do only one of the above, you will engage some of your followers. But if you do all three, you have involved all of them and as a result, have widened your reach.

Many marketers may baulk at spending money and time to create content is varied forms, but it pays in the long run. And you can calculate the ROI to understand the effectiveness of your campaign.

Measuring ROI of content marketing

Just like any other digital marketing strategy, you might be wondering:

  • What is the ROI of content marketing?
  • How to measure content marketing ROI?
  • How to determine whether your content marketing strategy is working?

You must calculate your return on investment(ROI) to determine if it is worth the effort and expenses.  And you must design different mechanisms for tracking and calculating ROI for different channels.

If you have created a website where you are posting your content, check if you are attracting enough traffic via Google Analytics. There are many tools available that give a more thorough analysis of the traffic that you are attracting. If you see that your articles are getting enough hits, you know your strategy is working.

Similarly, if you have done a guest post on another website, check how many people have visited your site from that article. You can check ROI by tracking how much traffic or sales you are generating via a particular route.

For example, if you have posted a video on YouTube about a particular product, check how many people have visited your website via that link and how many of them have made a purchase subsequently. If the statistics are encouraging, you will know which platforms, websites and formats are most successful in generating traffic and sales, and make marketing decisions accordingly.

Many social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have their tools for advertisers and marketers, which help track their ROI. You can also create your tracking mechanism by using external tools and methods.  However, you MUST track ROI if you want to grow your brand and make better business decisions.

Leverage PR for more effective content marketing

It is a must that you must have good collaboration between your content developers, marketers and PR department. The marketing team will give the developers the concept based on which they will create the content. The PR team must try to publicise it and make sure that the material is distributed across all necessary channels.

For example, it is the job of the PR to reach out to their media contacts to share a piece of content. They can also publicise it on social media platforms, or pitch to B2B partners. This helps your content generate more publicity for your brand.

At the same time, the PR team must pass on the feedback they receive so that the content can be fine-tuned, and the developers have some tips to consider while developing future content.

Conclusion

Content marketing is beneficial when it is done right. However, if you find it overwhelming, or are unsure about your steps, it is always best to talk to a professional or a right agency that can help you reach your marketing and revenue goals.

Branding & Digital Marketing Consultant and Founder of BrandLoom Consulting (A $1m startup). Help companies generate more revenue through digital marketing and branding. Growth Driver of Large Global Companies and Successful Startups. Built Sustainable & Profitable Businesses for over 100 Brands during 18 years long global career. Speaker at CII, CITI, ASSOCHAM and several prominent Industry Forums. Covered by TOI, ET, The Hindu, Silicon India, The CEO and many publications.

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