You know that marketing efforts are important to remind your customers about your business’ expertise, but are the efforts you have in place making enough of an impact?
Do your online marketing and communication efforts even extend beyond your own website?
By the end of this article you will better understand what content marketing is and how it can help you create an online presence to drive web traffic and establish online credibility. As a bonus, you’ll also get some tips on how to leverage existing marketing materials to point your new content marketing strategy in the right direction.
Content Marketing – Sharing Information through Targeted Efforts
Content marketing is the creation and distribution of content to educate or engage your target audience. The goal of sharing this information is to give this group something they perceive as valuable – this is the key difference between content marketing and advertising.
Ideally, in return for sharing quality information (content that serves a purpose or meets a need) you hope to elicit emotion and encourage engagement with your content. You know you’ve done this correctly when your audience begins liking, sharing, following, commenting and/or finding a way back to your website.
When you continually share useful content, your audience begins to trust you. From here, your content marketing efforts help you create relationships, build awareness, establish authority over a given set of topics and set yourself apart from the competition.
To learn more about expert opinions on the topic, read through these 21 different Content Marketing Definitions.
Getting Started – Identify Content
To kick-off your content marketing efforts it’s easiest to start with existing marketing materials, such as website content, blog posts, videos, photos, Power Point presentations, how-to manuals, etc. Although some of this information may already live on your website, you can still recycle these components as part of your content marketing endeavors, saving you time and effort.
Let’s say that you’re a caterer in Chicago. The content you already have on your website includes sample menus, photos and video from past events along with ecstatic client testimonials. By including this content on your website you help legitimatize your business. Now, using the principles of content marketing you can repurpose this content across numerous other online channels to further validate your company and help those searching for a caterer more easily find and share your content and get to your website.
Where Should You Target Your Efforts?
Your website alone cannot be responsible for your content marketing efforts. While blogs and articles on your site will certainly contribute to the overall strategy, you must diversify your efforts.
With content marketing you are trying to reach your intended audience where they ‘live’ online. Where do they gather research? Read the news? Seek out industry reports? Or socialize? These are the places you need to establish a presence, promote your content and demonstrate that you are an expert in your given field.
Only when you start to permeate the various outlets and platforms where your consumers interact online will you begin to grow your audience and reap the results of their loyalty.
For our catering example, repurposing existing content might take the form of posting pictures to Pinterest and Tumblr pages, Videos to YouTube, sample menu PDFs on Scribd along with more regular social media postings for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
To get inspired check out 50+ Places to Repurpose Your Content: The Ultimate Guide.
Be Real – Reap Rewards
With regular efforts to share content across the web you’re on your way to commanding attention and establishing authority.
But, before you can get to the point where your audience will take action – to submit a form, pick up the phone, comment on your blog, or even just click back to your website – they must first perceive your organization as authentic and trustworthy.
While content marketing efforts will showcase the knowledge base of your organization you need to walk a fine line between being promotional and bringing quality intelligence to the table. If you focus too strongly on making a sale, you risk pushing people away.
For our caterer, now that we’ve got a solid list of channels to share content across, we need to establish a regular posting schedule and make sure to avoid irritating our audience with too many notifications.
Although excess uploads and an abundance of content can be beneficial on some channels, that is not always the case, especially for sharing content using social media. This social media etiquette infographic is a great starting place to make sure that you are following some of the ‘unwritten rules’ of each social platform.
Search Engine Perks
Just as people can better understand your business and service offering with greater exposure and messaging, the same is true of search engines. Over time, as search engines digest your content marketing materials they grow more knowledgeable. This makes them more capable of returning your content and website in relevant search results and improving your rankings for particular topics and keywords.
The article, SEO is Actually All About Content Marketing, does a great job of explaining the relationship between these two disparate, but overlapping, topics.
Yes, content marketing efforts will require planning and scheduling. But, once you start to develop a rhythm and put a formula in place to repurpose your content across various channels you will be astonished at the sheer amount of new content that you can create with minimal effort.
For many, the creation of a content calendar with planned topics, types of content and placement can help streamline processes and minimize surprises.
New Content Creation and Competitor Analysis
Once you’ve got a system in place for repurposing existing content it will be time to start creating new content.
To kick-off this process, start by reviewing and analyzing your competitor’s content marketing efforts. This exercise will help you determine any ‘holes’ that might exist in your own website content and help identify topics where your competitors are thin on content.
Then, as you’ve probably guessed, once new content is created and added to your website you can get started with repurposing the content and using it across other channels.
For more information check out How to Conduct Competitive Analysis to Step Up Your Content Strategy.
It’s not enough to just have a business, a website, a marketing budget or a sales force.
If you’re truly looking to compete in an online marketplace, you need to integrate content marketing tactics into your overarching marketing strategy.
If you’re not feeling confident, get in touch with the Deep Footprint digital marketing team to learn more about how we can put together a search engine optimization and content marketing program to work for your business today.