Today content marketing has a tremendous influence and is the best way to communicate with a sophisticated world. We all are familiar with the proverb “Content is King” and have heard about it millions of times. In fact, all the marketing strategies are built around content.
What is Content Marketing?
According to contentmarketinginstitute Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
Over the years brands have been telling stories through a variety of content formats to attract and retain customers. Now the buzzword ‘content’ has become mainstream in marketing than ever!
You as a startup might have the following concerns
Is content marketing worth for my business?
Why should I invest in content marketing?
What about the budget?
If YES, then this article aims to uncover the hidden opportunities in content marketing and why you should invest.
Do you agree? customers today live online and you are witnessing the evolution of their buying process. With many platforms available your customer keep searching, learning, and hearing about the product to determine if that fits their need.
The concept of being loyal to one brand for a long time has gone. Now to buy any product consumers are more inclined towards other people’s experiences/ reviews and keep checking social media for recommendations too.
An interesting fact,
Nearly 700 Million global devices were blocking ads in 2019 and more than one-third of internet user in India is blocking ads. [amazonaws]
Unfortunately, paid ads are becoming less effective and this ad-block movement gives rise and shines to Content Marketing. It’s one of the effective and budget-friendly marketing.
Today content marketing is one of the most trending topics, don’t just take my words. Here is a google trends graph showing the recent popularity of Content Marketing.
The digital marketing ecosystem is becoming extremely competitive. From a startup’s perspective, it’s equally important to engage online with your audience to build a digital presence. This is one of the cost-effective marketing where you can reach your customers from multiple directions.
An interesting statistic for startups,
70% of people would rather get information about a company or learn something from an article or blog post rather than from a traditional advertisement.[convinceandconvert]
For a long term content strategy, your fundamentals need to be set correctly before you pour all your energies to hit the digital space, here are ;
5 ‘D’s to consider while creating a smart Content Marketing Strategy
- Define your goal – Before you start creating your content, identify your needs. Your needs could be to increase your brand awareness or to generate leads or for customer engagement.
- Discover your target segment– Know who your audience is, what type of content they consume, and which social media platform they engage with. There are online survey tools such as Hotjar and Survey Monkey which can provide insightful information to understand your target segment.
- Decide your content – Determine how your content will solve the problem for your audience. The more specific your content is, your chances are greater to establish authority in your business. Here is a guide for you on how to write better content.
- Differentiate your content approach – Tell what makes you unique. Start gathering inspiration from everywhere and play with your strength to get your audience hooked. See how you can compete in the game because google optimizes is based on three key aspects of content: Quality, Relevance, And Uniqueness. Use free chrome extension Keywords Everywhere, a keyword research tool that shows you useful google keyword search volume.
- Design your long term content calendar – Use the content calendar framework for what your business plans to share and promote across all the digital channels. You will have the ability to visualize your social content strategy and keep improvising over a period of time
Let’s dive into 5 reasons/benefits, why small businesses need content marketing?
1. To Build Trust With Your Audience
When it comes to establishing relationships and trust with your audience, startups have an advantage over large industry leaders. While industry leaders are focusing on a wider audience, as a startup you can connect closely with your audience at a micro-level. This will help to create more problem solving and engaging content.
Here’s, compelling statistics about trust,
84% won’t consider a product that doesn’t pass their trust standards. [activemarketing]
So, how do you pass the trust standards through your content?
- Create The Right Content:
- Ensure Content Quality
- Consistent In Posting
- Determine The Content-Type
- Initiate Two-Way Conversations
- Consistent With Your Brand Voice
- Make It Shareable And Promote
More informative content is published; your audience will start believing you as an expert and gradually starts follow you on social media.
They may even share or subscribe to you because they want to hear more from you like some special offers, promotions, information, and more. Your content should keep your audience educated than having sales talks.
2. Improve Your SEO (Search engine optimization)
Content and SEO go Hand-In-Glove. There is always a demand for valuable content is every industry. Content marketing majorly consists of informative content targeting a particular audience through keywords.
SEO is all about keywords.
93% of online experiences begin with a search engine; this is extremely valuable to getting more eyes on your website. [forbes]
What is SEO? Refers to search engine optimization, or the process of optimizing a website so that people can easily find it via search engines like Google
What is a keyword? Let me put it simply, keywords are the topics or set of words in which people are entering into a search engine to find relevant content.
How do I start picking those keywords? By doing keyword research, which is an act of finding the terms your audience is typing to get information about your business or any topics which are similar to your business.
Keyword research helps you to understand your audience on a deeper level, so you can create content focusing on targeted keywords to improve your visibility on the search engines. Talk to your audience about your business and product and look for what type of search they are making on the website.
Here are different types of content that are best for SEO;
- Blog Posts
- Product Pages
- How-To Guides
Take advantage of what people are searching for; use Google Suggest and Google Trends for developing content ideas. The suggestions or trends that google offers are based on the real searches that have been done by people. Use them to identify the topics or keywords that resonate with your target audience. As well as for analytics tools like Google analytics.
3. Build Brand Recognition
Your brand is a story and establishing brand recognition is an important stage of the marketing funnel. Creating your signature style content about the brand defines your identity. It allows you to attract your audience in such a way that they keep coming back for more because they are looking for unique content every day.
The best thing is to use your company’s blog post as a weapon for creating recognition. When you publish a blog it’s about sharing your learning from experience, being transparent more clear, and authentic, showcasing your area of expertise; people are curious to know what happens behind the scene. It’s a feeling!
And a blog post that has an emotional connection will help your audience to connect with you on a personal level; they will be keener to know about your brand’s hero journey.
A survey says, 79 percent of people say that user-generated content highly impacts their purchasing decisions.
Here are my favorite ways for your startups to build brand awareness;
- Get Social
- Ask For Reviews
- Local Participation
- Everyone Loves Free Stuff
- Offer a Special Discount
- Referral Program
- Outstanding Customer Service
When you can get attention to your brand with quality content, there is no need for advertising. You simply can advertise your content instead of products.
4. To Create Cost-Effective Content
Content marketing is one of the most popular channels to reach your target audience where they are! It’s moving like the speed of light, going way beyond videos, blogs, and social media posts.
You as a startups owner might wonder how to implement a myriad of content marketing strategies with a constrained budget and limited resources.
But, content marketing is not that expensive the way you think, here are some budget-friendly content marketing ideas;
- Social Media
- Discussion forum
- User content
- Search Engine
- Behind the Scene (BTS):
Create a Blog: example.com/blog, it can be a short or long blog with catchy topics. Create an editorial calendar to ensure you are on track. Fascinate your audience by adding photos, videos, infographics, or interesting surveys so that they stay on your website for a long.
Social Media: You have multiple social media platforms available for content sharing. Post at least once a week and ask your audience to share their feedback on your post, this way you can engage with your audience.
Discussion forum: Be a part of a conversation with like-minded community platform. These places people give honest feedback about the company/ product or services which is in-line with your target audience. You can make note of this feedback and get those implemented while crafting your article.
User Content: You should share photos, reviews, videos, or any type of content created by your user about your brand on social stories. I love it and feel encouraged to buy more products when a brand responds to my post and share on their official page. Do encourage your audience to use hashtags, for you to find the content easily.
Search Engine: Keep optimizing your content by updating the trending keywords to fuel your online visibility. You should never stuff your page with keywords. Create problem-solving content to allure your audience.
Behind the Scene (BTS): Do you like to see behind the scene of your favorite movie or series? When you create BTS content people will have an emotional connection towards your brand. You can share how your products are made or some tips and tricks. This exclusive inside look can lead to an increase in overall brand authenticity.
Other riveting statistics show,
Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads. [DemandMetric]
Content marketing is a long-term strategy with results that grow year after year. It might take time to improvise your strategy as an old saying practice makes perfect. Once you are started, keep churning out quality content and constantly evaluate it.
5. To Generate Leads and Conversions
Your audience is searching for information and reviews before making a purchase. That’s where content marketing plays its role in lead generation. Do you think, convincing your audience is a challenge? Having valuable and problem-solving content can bring in much interest and leads.
Here are some types of content which can serve as a lead magnet;
Above these resources are informative and an immediate problem solver to your audience.
Over a century later, we have a proven framework for lead conversion i.e AIDA Marketing Model. The AIDA model describes the four stages a consumer needs to go through to become a customer. The stages are Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action
Even though this is an old model, you can boost your content marketing strategy; AIDA MODEL has the flexibility to adjust with the current business ecosystem.
AIDA model is your customer’s purchase journey, so why not create your content using this model.
Awareness: In this digital age, the buying process is through the web, so you have invested time in implementing best SEO practices, keep publishing more informative content. This will allow bringing more visibility and awareness within your target audience.
Interest: Once a customer is aware of your brand, allure them with your content such that they feel you understand their problems. Create thought-provoking content like e-book, webinars, product demos so they visit your website to find more.
Decision: Now the customer is on your website, you want to turn that interest into a decision. The decisions come from some proof or evidence about the product/service value. Hence user-generated content is vital, ensure the landing page has ratings, reviews, testimonials, and social share. Make sure you keep encouraging your customers to share feedback on social channels.
Action: A crucial step to convert your website visitor into leads. Provide a pleasing call to action (CTA) link; it can be an encouraging purchase or subscription or schedule sales calls, live chat sessions, and many more. You note that the content you post should have a simple call to action; make the CTA process flawless for your visitor.
As small business owners increasing your customer base is always rewarding however you should slightly nudge your existing customer to maintain the growth. The effort and cost of retaining an existing customer are less than acquiring a new customer.
Create an engaging event like contest participation, ensuring their queries are swiftly answered and entice them with your weekly or monthly newsletter.
88% of B2B marketers use content marketing as a lead generation tactic. [ Demand Metric ]
The shelf life of your content directly depends upon the engagement score. So when you get your visitors from the search engine use the lead magnet to capture the details. This allows creating personalized content that is offering tailored products/services just for them. Adding a few tweaks to your content marketing strategy will fuel your lead mechanism.
Content marketing is the foundation of all marketing efforts. If you are not great at it, hire someone; invest a small amount because your brand needs to stand out in the digital space. Of course! There is a plethora of free tools, solutions, and resources available, I would suggest not always go for free as your business grow its important to monitor the patterns, trends and incorporate those into your content. No matter, whatever is your budget constraints, you miss a huge opportunity if you are not taking advantage of Content Marketing.
It is essential to understand consumer behavior which is driven today by the digital world, check out this amazing article helping you in Understanding the Digital Consumer-by ecomidentity
Today knowledge and learning can be obtained with a few clicks of the mouse, whether you want to scale up in digital marketing. Get started now and check out these 6 Awesome Free Online Courses To Learn Digital Marketing! – by webnwire
Ready to try content marketing? , check out Tips to Become a Pro Content Writer – by divyasblog
You should also check out THE INCREDIBLE STORY OF CONTENT MARKETING- by Yasar to level up your content marketing
A comprehensive guide will help you get started Deep understanding of SEO basics in 2020 – by svnzone
Know all about Content Marketing – by godigitalmarketing
CONTENT MARKETING IS THE PRESENT AND FUTURE WAVE!
I recently conducted a survey within a small group of start-up owners to understand how well they are using the available digital opportunities. Here is what I asked “What kinds of digital marketing do you engage-in for your business? “
The top four digital marketing activities they would like to engage-in are Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, And Email Marketing.
The survey reveals a surprising mindset of startups, they prefer marketing activities that don’t require much expenditure at the same time they are focus on creating awareness through high-value content. So start powering your online presence through content marketing, patience is the key!
Do let me know with your comments if you found this article helpful and the facts influenced you to take action for your business. I was wondering if you would take 5 minutes to fill out this survey helping me to get an insight into your digital marketing preferences. TAKE A SURVEY