Content marketing, what is it?

September 28, 2015

Content marketing, what is it?

Marketing has changed exponentially over the years. Only a decade or so back we were more receptive to adverts, mainly because they weren’t as present; now, on the other hand, with most people using social media every day, we can’t escape the campaigns and sales messages.

As well as saturating communication platforms, this abundance of marketing has also led to many people developing the ability to automatically scroll past or blank out unsolicited content without digesting it, whilst advances in technology give the option of skipping it completely. This combination led to the requirement of a new form of marketing, one based on valuable, unique and regular content, hence the term “content marketing”.

Content marketing takes many forms, each of which can be used to grab attention, engage the viewer and gently promote a call to action. Examples include everything from blog posts to ebooks and testimonials to memes, with quality and purpose remaining integral. Quality is straightforward enough, such as a well-designed image and captivating copy, and purpose can be as simple as making someone laugh so that they follow your Facebook page. Whilst these essential elements may seem obvious, you’d be surprised how many companies post things that are either tacky and low-resolution or interesting but irrelevant to their business (and often both). Your content reflects your brand, so a strategy should be in place to ensure it benefits both the viewer and your ROI.

Below are a few suggestions of content marketing that you can try. Whilst some will be just the ticket, others may be unsuitable, so it’s a case of choosing your winners and then drip-feeding them consistently over the long-term. By presenting your audience with superior content, you’ll soon build a base of brand advocates, business leads and new customers, improving your web traffic, Google rankings, social media followings and profit margins in the process.

Blog posts
Every business should have a blog. They’re easy to manage and usually free to run, plus they create a base where visitors can access insight from your team. Try mixing it up with industry news, POV articles, internal developments, charity work and occasional pieces that are vibrant and shareworthy, such as lists.

Images
So simple, yet so effective. With 65% of the population being visual learners, an image is a great way to get your message across to your social media followers. Adding your logo to unique visual content will also help to increase your brand awareness.

Videos
An extremely versatile form of content, videos can convey anything from tips and advice to funny and eye-opening content. As well as adding to YouTube, we recommend that you also upload the video directly onto Facebook, thereby benefiting from the site’s direct content algorithm.

Infographics
The perfect blend of visual content, data and key messages, you can create infographics using websites such as Piktochart. Even better, hire a designer to create some for you, as that way you have total control over their shape and structure.

How-to guides and downloadable resources
Got something worth sharing that you can’t fit into an image or short video? A PDF is a superb means of encouraging your audience to download and digest your brand whilst giving them something truly useful.

Testimonials and case studies
You really should invest in getting feedback from your customers and making it available on your website. This way, visitors can get a more detailed idea of the services you provide from a variety of sources. You can also combine case studies with other content marketing formats, such as images, infographics and videos.

Email newsletters
An oldie but goldie, email newsletters are an effective way of delivering messages directly to inboxes. In order to retain subscribers and gain new ones, keep your emails to a fortnightly or monthly schedule and make them concise, visual, impactful and worthwhile. This can be achieved through exciting news, details of upcoming events and special offers when appropriate, and most importantly, make sure to direct people to your website!