Content marketing is the process of creating and publishing Web content that attracts a target audience. No matter what the industry or clientele, an effective content-marketing campaign will generate valuable leads and enhance brand recognition.
Unlike traditional advertising, this strategy involves non-interruption marketing. This means that, rather than attempting to distract a viewer with a T.V. advertisement, radio promotion or pop-up ad, the business provides the content itself, communicating directly with readers about issues they care about most.
This strategy has been adopted by some of the most recognizable brands in the world including Coca Cola, General Electric and Sears. Companies like Colgate use content marketing by publishing guides, interactive articles and videos about oral hygiene. To date, Colgate has shared more than 400 articles for free, but this marketing strategy isn’t limited to large enterprises.
Online shoppers aren’t as concerned about how large a company’s marketing budget is, especially now that social media is the preferred method to reach customers. Both large and small businesses interact with consumers the same way on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
The Internet is the great equalizer, and smaller brands can participate in content marketing using expert services that are affordable and proven to be effective. SEO Prodigy provides these services by combining professional authors with expert marketers to produce content that your customers demand.
We take the time to analyze your company, its unique sales points and its audience to develop content that will connect with your clients. The right strategy—whether it’s educational pamphlets, informative blog posts or humorous social-media snippets—really depends on the company and its consumer profile. To find out how SEO Prodigy would approach content marketing for your company, call us at (858) 314-8895.
The Rise of Content Marketing
The 1950s are often described as the “Golden Age of advertisement.” The rise of television ads, which surpassed radio ads in 1954, opened the door to a new form of marketing.
Back then, it was enough to show a product couched in images that supported family values or independence. Fast forward 50 years, and the idea of using salesy ads has run its course through telemarketing, new forms of print advertising and online marketing.
By 2000, consumers were inundated with advertisements to the point that they found it easy to ignore marketing. That’s when the advertising community decided it was time for something new. Since then, content marketing has grown to be the most viable option for reaching, converting and retaining potential customers.
How BIG Is Content Marketing?
Before content marketing, advertising was all about getting the sales pitch into households in every way possible. This meant calling phone numbers, interrupting television programs and sending print ads through the mail. If traditional marketing was about reaching the consumer at home, content marketing is about reaching them online.
Why is it so important to connect with consumers on the Internet? Consider these statistics:
• 80 percent of Internet users connect with brands through social media
• 70 percent of social media users are also online shoppers
• Companies that produce full-text articles are 2.3 times more likely to receive a second visit from customers
Social-media users are in the habit of sharing interesting, engaging content, and they are more trusting of companies that generate that content.
The 4 Steps for Creating a Successful Content-Marketing Strategy
There is one fact that hasn’t changed for advertisers in the past 50 years: Successful marketing requires planning. The goal of creating a strategy is not just to decide how to define a brand but also to distinguish that brand from everyone else. The need to stand out is immediately apparent, considering that 27 million new pieces of content are shared every day, according to AOL.
1. Be Relevant
Being relevant is one of the most important parts of successful content marketing, and it’s also one of the most difficult to master. Staying relevant requires persistence because the interests of today become trite within a matter of weeks or even days. There are two keys for remaining relevant in that kind of environment.
The first is to understand your niche. In general, readers know exactly what to expect when they start reading any given article. In other words, they are looking to get something out of the article, and content creators must fulfill that expectation.
If they are looking for financial advice, they may read Forbes. Likewise, readers go to TIME for human-interest pieces. It’s important to understand what role you play in their reading life and what they are looking for when they read your article.
The second key to remaining relevant is to know your audience. At first glance, this may seem to echo the first key, but it offers very different information. To master this aspect of content marketing, businesses must look beyond their niche and gain an understanding about what other issues their readership cares about. In other words, a successful article appeals to the target customer on levels beyond the business’s services.
2. Create Engaging Content
The side effect of having so much content on the Web is that consumers have more choices than ever before. The same effect occurred on television; when there was only a handful of programs on during any given time slot, people had a limited number of choices for entertainment.
Now, if they don’t like a program, there are endless alternatives. For content marketers, this means that it’s more important than ever to hook readers and keep them hooked. If a reader doesn’t enjoy the first few sentences of an article, or even the title, he or she has no reason to continue reading.
Ideally, content should not be only relevant to popular trends; it also should be engaging on other levels. One way to ensure that content is successful is to focus on entertainment on a sentence level. Modern consumers are incredibly picky about grammar and style. For them, poor writing undermines authority and likeability.
Another way to engage revolves around forming an emotional connection. That doesn’t mean businesses need to pull at their consumer’s heart strings; rather, it means getting personal about what the service solves for the reader. For example, a pet store owner’s content should be less concerned with describing the animals for sale and more focused on describing the fond memories of childhood pets and the loneliness that a new animal can relieve.
3. Write Consistent Content
Consistency is the mantra in the mind of every great content creator. It applies to adhering to a publishing calendar to ensure that social media followers receive new content like clockwork. On a larger level, it means keeping the company’s brand intact by maintaining a reliable voice. This consistent personality is the common thread that unifies the customer experience as they read content week to week.
Contrary to traditional marketing guidelines, modern businesses shouldn’t be afraid to express a viewpoint. Ambiguity may decrease the number of people that are offended by an article, but it does nothing to win over everyone else.
Successful content is all about giving a business personality, which is essential for creating a social media following. Followers are more than just customers; they are also promoting the business every time they like or share an article. In return, they expect a more likeable, approachable face to the companies they follow.
4. Don’t Forget to Convert
Nowadays, strong content is king in the world of marketing, but that doesn’t mean that companies can neglect to sell themselves. Too many content creators produce strong articles that fall short in one key area: conversion. A helpful article doesn’t prompt readers to buy into the service or product on its own, which is why a successful strategy never forgets that content marketing is still advertising, and the end goal is a sale.
That said, the ideal pitch for content marketing is subtle and short, making it more important than ever before to say more while writing less and making every word count. A strong strategy will reflect how the business wants to approach the conversion process and the response it seeks from the reader.
In every case, honesty is the key to conversion. Today’s consumers are more discerning than the average 20th-century customer. They need to trust your company to invest in its services, and trust needs to be earned through honest conversion tactics.
Where to Begin
You might be thinking that this all sounds great but that you wouldn’t know where to begin. After all, what business owner has the time to keep tabs on social-media trends, monitor its SEO strategy and create compelling copy on a regular basis? That’s where we can help.
At SEO Prodigy, we are experts in the art of creating and sharing content that converts viewers into customers. We are proficient at using a variety of strategies to connect with potential customers including:
• Question and Answer Articles
• Case Studies
• How-to Guides
Our mission is simple: We help our clients reach their target customers in the Internet Age. To achieve this, we use a combination of content marketing, social-media promotion and website analytics. There has never been a better time to launch a new content-marketing strategy. To learn more about how we can help, call (858) 314-8895.