What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing means that valuable and relevant content is continuously, regularly and consistently provided on the sender’s platform and actively marketed with the aim of attracting and retaining an audience from a well-defined target group in order to gain their trust that the sender’s communication is worth participating in – also advertising and sales messages.
It is a way of marketing that goes very well with the digital everyday life of our time where we consume large amounts of content and (for the most part) can influence and choose the type of content and message we want to receive.
An improved definition of Content Marketing
Joe Pulizzi’s definition says it all. But many important aspects are unsaid or follow as a consequence. Of course, it is impossible to include all the nuances in a single sentence (or two).
Content marketing means that valuable and relevant content is continuously, regularly and consistently provided on the sender’s platform and actively marketed with the aim of attracting and retaining an audience from a well-defined target group in order to gain their trust that the sender’s communications, including advertising and sales messages, are worth taking part in.
When do you use content marketing?
Content marketing is an excellent method to use whenever there is a need to work on brand building. It is a long-term process that can be started as well in start-up as when the company is established.
No matter what stage the organization is in, it is important to do a basic preparation; to map and specify the current target group, formulate purpose and goals and prepare a strategic plan based on these.
It is also important to take into account from the beginning that, regardless of whether you choose to do it in-house or hire a content agency, it requires resources in the form of time and / or money to regularly create and disseminate quality content.
Types of content marketing
Fundamental to being able to put content marketing into practice is an understanding of what content means and what different types there are.
The term “content” contains (editorial) material in various formats; text, image, audio and video.
Content is thus everything from written articles and conversations in a podcast to a moving video on Youtube or a picture on Instagram.
The message can be tips, inspiration, advice, interviews or facts – it is free to be as creative as you like as long as the result is rewarding for the target group to take part in and is adapted to be published in the channels where the target group is located.
A prerequisite for implementing engaging and effective content marketing is that the company knows and understands its target group very well.
Then you have the best opportunities to make the right decision about what type of content will be well received by the target group and in which channels it should be published in order for it in the long run to lead to business benefit.
Content marketing for b2b and b2c
Content marketing can be used in both b2b and b2c. It is only a matter of meeting and satisfying the needs of the specific target group by adapting content and channels.
In b2c, for example, it is common to publish and disseminate tips, advice and curiosities in social media, blogs and podcasts, while in b2b it is instead more often about webinars, case studies and research reports in industry magazines and news emails.
Content marketing and SEO
Google is the world’s largest search engine, but Google can also be seen as a matching service between those who produce content and those who search for the answers to their questions.
When you see Google that way, Google becomes of utmost importance in Content Marketing.
If you do not get your content in the right place in Google, you lose + 96% of the value of your content marketing.
The reason for this is that once an article has found its place in Google, it often stays there for several years and generates traffic (value) for the brand that is the sender.
Content marketing without Search Engine Optimization is rarely profitable but with SEO, it can be among the most profitable a marketer can do.
Content marketing via email
In order for someone to take part in your content, there must be channels that lead the reader to your own platform, which is usually the website or blog.
When it comes to driving traffic to the website, SEO and social media play a crucial role. The big advantage of SEO and social media is that new people can find your content and open their eyes to your brand.
Once you have succeeded in creating an interest in your content, it is important to nurture and further develop the commitment.
Here, email will be an important channel for getting your content out and developing potential customer relationships.
There are several methods for e-mail marketing: from classic newsletters to automated mailings based on the user’s activity – so-called marketing automation.
When it comes to choosing the right strategy for sending out content via email, it’s about setting the right expectations.
The recipient’s expectations determine what, when and how you will communicate with your target audience. As long as you are clear and set the right expectations, you can be sure that your recipients will perceive your message as relevant.
If you also use data about the target group, you can make each recipient experience your content as personally addressed to them.
Four examples of content marketing
All companies have their own way of working with content marketing based on what feels relevant to their business and their customers’ interests.
Let’s say you run a DIY store that sells tools and building materials for home fixers. If you want to produce relevant content, it is important to understand the home fixer’s situation.
What construction projects do they want to carry out? What problems can they face? What do they need to know to get started?
By answering these questions, you can arrive at a plan with the following activities:
- Create a blog with inspiration and good advice on various do-it-yourself projects
- Start a YouTube channel with short videos with expert tips
- Send a newsletter that alternates relevant offers with content from your blog
- Set up rating and review pages on the website’s product pages
Get started with content marketing
If you are thinking of getting started with content marketing, it is important to formulate a clear purpose from the beginning.
Writing sporadic blog posts when the feeling falls on will not generate a loyal readership.
That does not mean you should bombard your readers with content just for the sake of it. The key is instead to have a clear idea of what your readers want and what you want in exchange for them.
To be sure that the strategy will last all the way, you should check the following points:
1. What do you want to do?
Start by deciding what the purpose is. Is it to create higher sales? Explain a concept? Or maybe to increase the number of subscribers to the newsletter?
When you know what you want to achieve, you can familiarize yourself with the target group’s situation: What do they need that you can offer? Where and how do they look for information?
Think through the decision-making process and the different steps that precede a purchase.
Then make sure to help them along the way with your expertise and knowledge.
2. Where are you right now?
Review your existing content (online and offline) to see what can be used for content marketing.
Can you use something from customer service, product documentation, existing reports, articles on the website, reviews or pictures?
You can often reuse your content by customizing the design and presenting it in a new package. If you lack content and lack the time and knowledge, it may be worth hiring external help.
3. Make a plan for your content
Decide who is responsible for creating and implementing your content marketing strategy.
The person in charge must develop guidelines for content production and ensure that everything that is produced follows common goals and your brand profile is followed.
Then keep track of production and distribution with the help of a publishing plan – and do not forget to decide how to measure and evaluate the results of your efforts.
4. Plan for distribution
A good editorial material gives you fantastic marketing opportunities. But no matter how good your content is, it does no good if no one takes part in it.
Therefore, proliferation is perhaps the most important point.
To create an overview of your distribution, you should divide the content into owned and leased channels. Owned channels include the platforms that you decide on, e.g. your website, blog, email newsletter.
The purchased channels are characterized by the fact that you do not have the same control over how and when the content reaches the reader.
This can be anything from social media, to purchased Google AdWords or purchased editorial content in the media (so-called native advertising).
To maximize the potential for good distribution, make sure it is easy to share everything you publish online.
Post links and icons so your article or movie can be shared via email or on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or other social media.
Email is a great channel for spreading and sharing things online.
What is the difference between content marketing and inbound marketing?
Content marketing is a big part of inbound marketing, but inbound consists of many other parts than those that concern the content itself.
Inbound is a customer-centric approach for the entire organization, which ensures that potential customers meet in different parts of the purchase price and focus on being guided on to the next step – from unknown visitors and all the way to becoming both customer and ambassador for the company.
To be able to do that, it includes a variety of methods and tools – how to design and work with forms and CTA to get visitors to convert, how sales and marketing work with different types of leads, how e.g. HubSpot can help the company identify activities and automate sales processes in the system, and much more.
Content marketing, on the other hand, is limited to the content that is created to communicate with customers and potential customers.
What is required for content marketing?
Resources, structure and insights. Since the core of content marketing is to create valuable content, a lot of research is required to identify important topics and insights on which the content should be based.
Some of that work is done by the creator of the content.
It includes online research to find the right content to answer and focus on the right keywords to rank higher than the competition, to interview subject matter experts around a specific area, to interview salespeople who have close dialogues with customers and can contribute insights about their challenges, or holding interviews with clients to find out what they would be helped by.
Then the insights must be transformed into a text, video or podcast, which requires different levels of time, skills and abilities.
For example, if an article is to be written for the blog, you need someone who is good at transforming the content into a text that is educational or inspiring – that is, a copywriter, writer or content manager.
But the same person also needs knowledge and understanding of what is required for the article to be visible to the search engines in order for the content to have an organic visibility.
Often, someone who is primarily responsible for keeping the work together is required so that production and dissemination take place efficiently and in a structured manner, but also that communication maintains a consistent common thread in all parts.
In addition, time is required.
Creating content takes time, and then it takes time before the search engines find the content so that it starts driving traffic to your site.
It is an ongoing process, as the content created needs to continue to evolve and change going forward.
But even if it is demanding, it is a well-worth investment that in the long run will pay dividends in the form of satisfied customers and more business.
Companies that want to follow in the footsteps of digitalisation, create new business and maintain their competitiveness in the market must create a digital presence.
An important piece of the puzzle to achieve this goal is the work with content marketing.