The world wide web is a vast sphere and if your brand must stand out from the millions of others online. It is absolutely important that your marketing strategy focuses on the specific needs of your target market.
This is where content marketing comes in. Possibly everyone has heard about content marketing and it has become a buzzword in the digital marketing industry. But what exactly is it? Why is it so important for brands to include content marketing in their online marketing strategy and how effective is this tactic? In this article, we are given a comprehensive review of content marketing. How it is done and why every business needs a content marketing strategy.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing strategy is simply a digital marketing strategy which involves the creation, publication, and sharing of relevant content that your visitors to your website will find valuable and helpful. Content marketing is essentially convincing your customers of the value of your service from communicating. To them through your content without necessarily selling to them. As a digital marketing tool, content marketing is done online, usually carried out via blogs posts, social media platforms, videos, podcasts, e-books, and other interactive tools through which you can reach your target audience.
To illustrate how content marketing works, say you run a website with an e-commerce element. A typical marketing strategy would involve directly selling your products or services to your customers. However, if you were to use the content marketing strategy. You would give your customers and prospective customers with valuable information about your products or services. That will help them learn something new without directly advertising your business.
In another example of how content marketing strategy works; assuming you have a luxury day spa business and you are looking to increase your customer base. You can start a blog where you publish keyword optimized articles on a regular basis that focus on skincare, beauty, and cosmetics. As your posts begin to climb in rankings on search engines. People searching for skin care tips are likely to come across your posts on the SERP which will direct them to your site. Provided the post was useful and relevant, they are likely to keep coming back for more tips and advice to learn from the expert. While some visitors may decide to implement the changes on their own, some others are going to decide to try out your services and could eventually be converted to regular customers.
Content marketing can work with virtually any business and when it is well implemented, it can be very efficient and effective, rewarding you with the support and loyalty of a large customer base.
What is the purpose of content marketing?
The main purpose of a content marketing strategy is brand awareness. It is used to attract new customers, retain old ones and enhance genuine customer engagement. People implement content marketing strategies to boost positive customer behavior towards their businesses. Content marketing strategy as a digital marketing strategy gives a cutting edge advantage to businesses and as long as you consistently deliver valuable and relevant information to your customers, you will eventually gain their trust and support.
Research has demonstrated that content marketing is very effective in today’s digital landscape and it is considered as the single most effective means of inspiring positive reactions from prospective customers.
What is the importance of content marketing to business?
Content marketing has a lot of benefits to offer and below is a list of some of the importance of content marketing to businesses.
Content marketing helps to improve the reputation of brands
Creating and publishing good content can help you build trust with your customers and prospects. When internet users read your content, they begin to develop an opinion of your brand and if they are always met with engaging and valuable content, soon enough they will begin to think same of your brand.
Essentially, the more value your content provides, the more it helps to build trust and enhance your reputation amongst your target audience. If people see that you are consistently delivering useful and helpful content, soon enough you will become their go-to resource whenever they need answers.
Content marketing enhances SEO, visibility, and traffic
Content Marketing Strategy and search engine optimization go hand in hand. Good content should be optimized for search engines with carefully embedded long tail keywords. Google indexes the text on webpages and if it recognizes that your content is useful and relevant to the user’s search query, it will rank higher in the search results. This gradually increases your ranking on search engines to promote organic visibility.
Statistics show that businesses that update their websites regularly generate about434% more indexed pages,97% more inbound links and 55% more website visitors. The visibility exposes businesses to new prospective customers which can result in increased traffic as well as an increase in conversion rate. While search engine algorithms keep on changing, as long as you continue to create and publish relevant and useful content, your business will continue to climb higher on search engine rankings.
Content marketing enhances conversion
Good quality content can help your website conversion rates. According to statistics, content marketing strategy has 6 times the conversion rate of other digital marketing strategies and at least 74% of companies reported increased marketing leads, both in quantity and quality after the implementation of content marketing strategy. This is because not only does it connect you to new prospects, it helps you educate them by giving them the information they need.
People would always appreciate learning new things and once that trust in the quality of your content has been built, they are bound to convert to customers soon enough. Conversion, in this case, could mean getting more information or making a purchase. Whatever conversion means to your business, having a call to action in your content can help optimize it for conversions. It will help the reader decide what to do next.
Content marketing is cost-effective
Not only is content marketing strategy very cost effective compared to traditional marketing, but it is also the marketing strategy capable of providing the highest ROI. According to statistics;
– content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing method but generates 3 times its revenue.
– 60% of consumers are more likely to check out a product after reading useful content about it.
Content marketing is for the long term
Unless you shut down your website or delete a post yourself, once the content is published online, it is there forever. This means that you can still enjoy traffic from old posts long after they must have been published. Granted, some articles are time sensitive which comes with a gradual reduction in interest and relevance. However, content that is not sensitive can remain in Google’s index, drawing in new visitors time after time with absolutely no effort on the publisher’s part.
What It Means to Get Branded Content
Today, the landscape of digital marketing is saturated with ads and overwhelmed with such invasive advertising, a lot of consumers have resorted to using ad blockers. With direct ads becoming more disregarded, brands resorted to another means of digital marketing – branded content marketing.
What exactly is branded content?
In the basic sense, branded content is a digital marketing strategy. Revolves around the creation of content linked to a brand such that users can make a connection with the brand. This content can be in the form of articles videos, podcasts or any interactive element. Capable of delivering relevant content to the consumer. With branded content, the goal is to grab the attention of the consumer. Either to entertain or teach them something and drive engagement via content.
While content marketing is focused on the product/service using content that consumers are likely to find valuable and helpful, branded marketing, on the other hand, is not focused on a product or service. The aim of branded content is often to resonate with the consumer on an emotional level.
What are the pros and cons of branded content?
According to the Content Marketing Institute, branded content gives content marketing a bad name and there have been arguments for online marketers to drop the technique. However, despite the debate, when done right, branded marketing can be a very effective marketing strategy. Below, we are going to evaluate the pros and cons of using branded content marketing strategy.
Pros of branded content
- It is created to draw the user’s attention naturally without being invasive like blocking the content or hindering navigation like in conventional digital advertising using banners and pop-ups ads. Which generates more rejection among users.
- Branded content marketing is a flexible technique. Content can be created in a variety of formats such as videos, podcasts and other interactive elements. This content, which is often in sharable formats such can be shared on blogs and social media channels, encouraging their potential of going viral.
- It can help to boost traffic and leads. As a follow up on boosting visibility, as your branded content campaign becomes more viral. The brand is exposed to more traffic and users who could eventually be converted into customers.
- Branded content is designed to elicit a response from the consumer. Thus, it promotes loyalty and a deeper level of engagement amongst the consumers.
- There’s also the money aspect of branded content, the publishers are paid to advertise branded content, while the brands sponsoring the content to get more access to consumers in exchange.
Cons of branded content
- There are ethical concerns about branded content as it is often misleading. While some actually provide valuable information to the consumers, some others do not and brands often take advantage of the naivety of consumers to promote their ads and businesses.
- Google News does not support branded content and it is stoic on its stance about mixing Google news with sponsored content and advertorials as most publishers tend to do.
Is branded content effective?
The short answer is yes. Branded content is very effective which explains why the notion of dropping branded content by the Content Marketing Institute remains a divisive issue. Below are some ways in which branded content is effective;
- Branded content marketing makes use of storytelling. It presents a story of the brand to the consumer, usually a story that represents the brand’s corporate values. This storytelling generates added value for the consumer, usually in the form of entertainment.
- This advertising technique is also quite effective because it appeals to the emotions of the consumer. A branded content does not try to tell you why a certain brand is better than others. It aims to connect with the audience on an intimate level where its competition naturally fades out.
- Unlike conventional means of digital marketing like banner ads and colorful pop-ups, branded content marketing is less invasive. It feels more organic and is designed to appeal to the interest of the user which allows them to accept and engage with it feeling like it is being forced on them.
Ways to Get More People to Your Content
Having good content is one thing, distributing it is another thing entirely. With that said, it is important to understand that regardless of the great quality of your content, if no one is reading it. Then it does not matter. In content marketing, exposure is as vital as the quality itself and this is quite evident in the fact that brands. Businesses are constantly doing their best to increase their level of exposure online.
If you are looking for ways to get more people to view your content, here are a few tips and tricks to use.
Ensure that your site is optimized for search engine
Optimizing your content for the search engine will never go out of style. Google algorithms may change but SEO will always remain valuable. That said, SEO helps to improve your ranking on the search engine which in turn improves your visibility. More visibility means more visitor traffic to your website which will result in more people viewing your content. To optimize your site for SEO use long tail keywords in your content, make sure your meta descriptions and headings are properly written out.
SEO doesn’t just end with the content, it is necessary to work on your website as well. Ensure that your website is responsive to mobile, in other words. Users should be able to view your content comfortably on their mobile. A good percentage of internet users today access the web through their smartphones. You could be losing a lot of customers if your visitors have to pinch and zoom their way around your website.
Also, it is important to ensure that your website is fast. No one is going to wait around for a page to load if it takes too long. The slower the page speed, the higher the bounce rate. To improve your page speed and make webpages load faster, reassess the structure and layout of the pages and images as well as third-party plugins.
Add social sharing buttons
A large percent of internet users are on at least one social media platform. From Facebook to Twitter to Instagram, nearly everyone is on these platforms and getting your content there could really help you get more people to view it. That said, if you run a website, you do not have to post the content yourself on Facebook or Twitter to boost viewership. All you need to do is add social sharing buttons and let your audience do the sharing on your behalf.
Provided you post high quality engaging and valuable content. Your audience would want to share it with their friends on social media once they finish reading it and if you have social sharing buttons. The job becomes a lot easier for them.
Where you place your plug-ins is also important. While a lot of people place the plugins at the bottom of the article. So users can easily share it once they are done, some others place it at the top of the article. The logic behind this is that people are more likely to read an article if there are high share numbers. However, regardless of where your buttons are, your audience would eagerly scroll up or down to find the social sharing buttons if they find it engaging and useful enough.
Make use of influencers
Believe it or not, using social media influencers to promote your content actually works. Influencer marketing is very effective because consumers have gradually grown distrustful of direct advertising from brands. People are now used to misleading with inaccurate advertising and as such, there is a lot of disregard for that type of advertising amongst consumers.
However, marketing with influencers is a different ball game. Influencer marketing is particularly effective because the audience feels more connected to them. Influencers have the power to impact the buying decision of consumers and for consumers on the other end. Having an influencer validate or endorse a product may just be all the marketing you need. Influencers come at a price but it is often nothing compared to the visibility your content will get.
It is also important to choose influencers whose values and interest align with the corporate values of your brand. For example, if you are a personal trainer and you want to get more people to view your content on your fitness blog. You should go after an influencer who advocates for a healthy lifestyle and maintaining physical fitness. This way, you won’t just be gaining exposure, you would be gaining exposure to a targeted user base.
What is Clickbait Content?
A clickbait content is basically content with a title or hyperlink specially created to entice a visitor to click on the link and continue reading an article, hence the name “click bait”. The titles or hyperlinks of these click bait article are typically very compelling, catchy or sensationalist.
Clickbait intentionally exaggerates and over-promises just for the purpose of driving traffic to a website. According to Mediaite, while there is often an element of truth in clickbait headlines, they are fundamentally dishonest.
The goal is to grab the users attention, pique their curiosity and persuade them to read an article. According to Wired, internet users are moved by emotional arousal and click-bait headlines are exaggerated for this very purpose – to appeal to our emotional side. To illustrate; here is an example of a non-click bait title and a click-bait title.
- 5 ways you can lose weight
- 5 amazing ways you can get rid of fat and achieve your dream body (no. 3 will blow your mind)
- Losing weight has never been easier, these 5 tips will leave you completely unrecognizable.
Does click bait work?
The answer is yes. Using clickbait content as a marketing strategy does work, as long as it is used sparingly and smartly. The primary goal of content marketing is to generate traffic and attract visitors to your site. Thus, if a strategy is driving visitor traffic, it goes to say that such a strategy is effective right? Thus a lot of small businesses rely on clickbait content as it is a fast way of bolstering web traffic. The resulting increase in traffic caused by clickbait can significantly improve the ranking of a website. On search engines which are usually what most website owners go after.
However, while clickbait may be considered an effective marketing strategy, it is not recommended. This is because most times, the catchy headlines can sometimes be misleading and visitors directed to the site often end up disappointed. When the content does not match the title or is not as helpful or relevant as the title made it out to be. Thus, while clickbait may bolster traffic, it is not enough to keep visitors coming back for more.
Is clickbait content good or bad?
Although clickbait seems like a relatively new phenomenon having been popularised in the modern age by websites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy, clickbait far precedes the digital age. Even in the traditional marketing industry, newspapers have been using sensationalist and provocative headlines to drive sales for years now. While you may be tempted to use click bait to booster traffic, there are negatives to using click-bait content. Below are the pros and cons of clickbait;
Pros of click bait-
- Clickbait can help you generate more page views for your content
- Clickbait content is often easy to skim through and are created to encourage social media sharing.
- As a result of more page views and social shares, clickbait can enhance brand awareness.
Cons of click bait-
- Internet users are becoming desensitized to sensationalist headlines, thus saturation of clickbait content in digital marketing is reaching a climax. As such, in the near future, click-bait content will not be as effective as it is today.
- Clickbait is often intentionally misleading and website owners who create these contents may end up damaging their brand by destroying the trust of customers. When the content doesn’t match the compelling headline.
- Google regularly tools out new updates to improve search results. These algorithms are designed to filter out click bait, fake news, and duplicate content. Sites associated with low-quality content are often punished with lower search rankings. Thus, while trying to bolster traffic to your content you might end up just lowering your ranking on Google.
In all, clickbait can be fun, the sensationalist headlines are bound to improve traffic and enhance your presence online. However, as a website owner, it is left for you to decide if you would rather have quality content. See your traffic grow organically or resort to using clickbait content. Which is bound to hurt your rankings on search engines in the long run.
Conclusively, when it comes to content marketing strategy, the quality of your content will always be the most important thing. Nevertheless, it is imperative to understand that for the most effective content marketing. Content Marketing Strategy should be strategically developed, with a clear purpose and a target audience. Also, this digital marketing technique takes time so it is important to be patient. Results may not be obvious until about 6 months after implementation. However, the rewards of effective content marketing are worth the wait.