Content marketing involves the creation and promotion of quality media in written, audio, pictorial or video form that is capable of engaging online audiences. As with other more traditional forms of marketing, content marketing is mainly used as a way of attracting the target audience, keeping a strong bond and contact with existing customers and to find ways to understand how current practices, products and services could be improved. In addition, of course, content marketing provides a great way of developing, nurturing and enhancing a unique brand and brand awareness.
Content marketing is an incredibly fluid field and has come a long way since it was considered best practice to stuff nonsensical articles full of key words to titillate the primitive algorithms that Google and other search engines used to rank sites. Now, not only are search engines more demanding and their algorithms more nuanced, consumers are better informed, far more selective and the trend has shifted (thankfully) to producing quality content. Of course, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is still important, but it sits further in the background, unseen, but working hard, while the content must speak for itself.
Why is Content Marketing Vital to Your Business?
Content marketing is absolutely essential for all modern businesses of all sizes, shapes and sectors. Yes, the idiom ‘content is king’ is as old as God’s dog, but you could do worse than to accept it as a near truth. Many industry spokesmen continue to wax lyrical about the importance of content marketing and for good reason. Jason DeMers, CEO and founder of Audience Bloom is quoted as saying, “for my money, there’s no better long-term strategy than content marketing.” As ever, the key to understanding this statement is in the detail.
Content marketing is indeed a ‘long-term strategy.’ Patience is essential and there is no overnight success to be had from dazzling the world with startling content. There is no denying, however that content gives great return on investment. It is permanent. Once it is online it is there forever and should you forge some quality links with other blogs and companies it should multiply and be shared, retweeted and co-opted over time. Good content is also essential for forging a relationship of trust with your customers. If you are seen to provide good solutions to pressing problems you will become known as a trusted voice. Perhaps, however, content marketing’s greatest asset is that its success is, to an extent, measurable.
How to Measure the Success of Your Content Marketing Strategy
“Content marketing is as much about relevance as it is about reach.” Pete Markey, Aviva. This is a statement that can cause concern among analysts looking to measure the success of a content marketing campaign based on analyzing the number of clicks, shares and likes of a particular piece of content. Getting bogged down in finding the perfect metrics to measure and monetize the success of your content strategy is rather missing the point.
While it is great to know how many people are reading and engaging with your content, you need to delve deeper and look at whether the right people are engaging and whether the content you are providing is conducive to lead generation. In terms of the measurable you can look at traffic, SEO visibility, which involves looking at keyword rankings across search engines, the visibility of your website as a whole and changes in your market share using tools like Hitwise. You can also analyze reach by looking at your social media channels and their popularity.This all takes a bit of practice, patience (SEO visibility requires constant monitoring) and trial and error to get to grips with, but for everyone, this is a learning curve that takes weird and wonderful detours on a regular basis.
A Few Keys to Successful Content Marketing
In so far as creating a great content marketing programmer, there is so much to consider, but you won’t go far wrong if you keep the fact that your content is being written for your customers in the front of your mind at all times. Who are you marketing to? Before you answer this question you must not start anything. In addition, you need to establish a voice. This voice should be consistent, in line with your brand and entertaining and engaging. You should use social media platforms as much as possible and on a regular basis, sharing your content at appropriate times and establishing rapport with fellow bloggers.
Great content does not feel promotional at all. It can have subliminal promotional aspects, but it should not feel like a hard sell. You should think of your content as a vehicle for showcasing your expertise and developing a trustful bond with your customers old and new.