Understanding Content Marketing

content marketing

Content is the lifeblood of digital marketing. It is the information or the message that gives purpose to each function of digital marketing. Content powers all the moving parts of your digital marketing campaigns so these can deliver the results you expect.

Content could be any written article, image, voice, or video that serves to inform, educate, entertain, or influence your target audience. It can also be your marketing or brand message.  It attracts your audience, engages them, and moves them to decide or to act.

Creating good content and making sure it’s consumed by your target audience is what content marketing is all about.

Why content marketing

It is a strategic marketing program that aims to attract, engage, and retain a specific target audience by creating, publishing, and distributing useful, helpful, and resonant content.

  • Content marketing is for the long-term

To deliver a positive ROI, your content marketing efforts should be programmed for the long-term. Your strategic pathway should lead you to what you want to achieve after a pre-determined time frame. What do you want to achieve with your content marketing say one, three, or five years from now? How would you like your brand or business to be perceived by then?

  • It has clear objectives

As mentioned above, you have to set specific objectives for your content marketing efforts. Is it building a reputable brand within your community of followers or within your domestic market? Or, creating a highly engaged community of brand loyalists? Maybe boosting sales from $xxxM to $xxxM three years from now? Your objectives depend on or are aligned with your overall business goals.

  • It lends focus and consistency

With SMART objectives and clear action plans, your content marketing strategy provides you with the focus to ensure that your efforts are aligned and in sync with what you want to achieve. It also gives you guidance on consistency of the content you are dishing out to your audience.

  • It takes into account past and present content

Your strategy also considers what content you have produced so far by buyer persona, journey stage, format, topic, or campaigns. You can evaluate the impact of these content on your objectives and how you can repurpose them to boost your current and future content marketing efforts.

  • It deals with the buyer persona in every stage of the buyer journey

The content marketing strategy addresses the needs of your various buyer personas. Content are created for specific buyer personas to ensure that it resonates with them. What is valuable to a certain demographic or psychographic profile might not be so interesting to another.

Content is also developed for the awareness, consideration, and decision stages of the buyer’s journey. You can vary the topics and formats for each stage. For example, you can publish blogs or social content for the awareness stage, questionnaire or case studies for the consideration stage, and invitation to free consultation or free trials for the decision stage.

Implementing a content marketing strategy:  Generating ideas

The ultimate goal is to drive sales by converting your website visitors and audience to customers by providing content that guide and help them make a favorable decision on your brand.

Essentially, you have to generate ideas that are helpful, useful, and resonant to your target personas. Where will you get ideas? You may use these:

  • Ideation

Ideation is the process of forming your own ideas or concepts. It should give you a somewhat predictable flow of ideas although it may not be in a straightforward manner. It is something like this:

  • Gather raw topics of likely interest to your audience while you consume related content from other sources.
    • Analyze and distill the raw topics you believe can directly be of use and helpful in addressing the needs and problems of your target audience.
    • Let these topics sink in deeper into your conscious and sub-conscious understanding of your target audience’s needs and problems. Allow it to mellow.
    • After some time, check back on these and see which topics are really appealing to write about.
  • Target persona content consumption habits

Check out social media or blogs for topics that your target audience engage with more often or on regular basis.

  • Competitors

Look at what your competitors are writing about and check how their audience are engaging with them.

  • Keywords used in search

Use Google Search to determine what the popular keywords being used by your target audience when they search for answers to their needs or problems. Look at these keywords and see what topic ideas you can extract or make out from them.

  • Brainstorming

Brainstorming with people dealing with the same target audience can also give you new ideas.

What you need for content marketing

  • Brand message – You should have a distilled and clear brand message.
  • Keywords – What keywords do you want to be known and rank for.
  • Content promotion – Promote your content organically and supplement it with paid promotion.
  • Content performance – Set your KPIs, analyze results, and evaluate how it impacts your overall business success.

I will discuss the above topics at length in my succeeding articles.

Wrap up

Content fuels your digital marketing efforts. Without good content, you online initiatives go nowhere. Content marketing should follow a long-term strategy and be implemented through well-programmed campaigns. Learn more about doing content marketing systematically and successfully.

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