Hey! What is the content? What exactly is content marketing?
I am glad you asked.
For a phrase brandished around the web, it is not surprising that few people who refer to content actually mean uploading videos, but it is much more than that.
The content marketing Institute offers this definition:
“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience with the objective of driving profitable customer action”.
In other words, content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without directly selling.
It is creating and using remarkable media content e.g. Blog posts, articles, reports, videos, images and pictures to generate leads, inform and enhance the relationship between a business and its stakeholders.
Instead of going about telling people how great your product is, you are busy delivering quality content that improves the lives of your target audience and your business ultimately benefits from gaining their trust or building loyalty enough to do business with you.
Content marketing is not new; Even before it became a buzzword, there have been several forms of content; events, industry magazines, tracts, TV programs, trade shows, and demonstrations.
It has simply gained a new level of attention with the ability of every individual and business to become a content creator.
Content marketing is hard-wired into the heart of all forms of marketing.
While so much can be said about content marketing; it does not exist on its own. It needs Social Media as a vehicle, Search Engine Optimization as the fuel and Pay-Per-Click advertising as the driver.
Here’s the catch; people are more likely to read and share your content with others because they find it remarkable.
The right article, video, podcast, pictures have a way of garnering awesome attention for you or your business.
Somehow the tools to generate the required media content are easier to secure the skills are simpler to acquire.
You can be a rock star, only if you get your content creation and promotion right. Yes, today’s emerging consumer is more complex, demanding and harder to satisfy but one thing is sure we love to watch, listen, read and share great content.
Promoting your business through great content has never been easier. We love to ask others their opinions and we love to share what we find remarkable.
In the last decade, word of mouth was said to be the most powerful form of marketing; today, it’s the word of mouse.
Creating great content has become the single most powerful tool for businesses to build their friends, family, and colleagues. According to Lee Odden, Content is the main reason people go online in the first place.
Content Marketing Cycle
I will discuss content marketing under the following;
. Content marketing strategy
. Content creation
. Content curation
. Content promotion and distribution
. Content recycling
CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY
This deals with your content idea and how it ultimately benefits your business goals. It will control the flow of resources, human, material, and finance. It will also serve as an ongoing guide throughout the process.
Some of the questions your content marketing strategy should answer could include;
Who is your target audience? Who are you trying to reach with your content? Where do they hang out online? Be as specific as possible.
What are your objectives? Make this as plain as possible.
What are your goals?
What does success look like 6-12 months from now?
What type of content will likely be easier and more relevant to your business?
What types of content will you produces? Blogs, podcasts, videos, tutorials, guides, interviews, info-graphics or curated content.
How often will you publish your content? How will you promote your content?
All this will be in your content marketing strategy.
. CONTENT CREATION
Generating content is a delicate choice and balance between either creating content or curating it.
Content creation basically turns you into a powerful source of information and quickly positions your brand as a thought leader.
When a company creates its own content, it owns it. When you share content on your website or blog, you can use the content to turn them into leads and it can also position your brand as an authority.
. CONTENT CURATION
Content curation is a kind of content marketing such that rather than creating your own content, you are able to sort through the large amounts of content on the web, sifting, sorting, and presenting the articles, images, videos in a more meaningful and organized way.
The simple explanation of this process is to begin to think like an editor rather than a writer.
Curation lets you become a resource by sharing content other than the ones you create yourself. People look to you like the latest source of information.
It positions you as the source of industry trends and progress. Curating content for others shows you care about your target audience beyond constantly looking to sell them something.
Let me give you some popular and best performing curation tools include the following
Storify helps its users tell stories by curating social media. Based on specific protocols e.g. using hashtags, you can bring together all content based on keywords, hashtags, and events. It creates a long-form social curation by having all contents in one place.
These curation platforms function as an online newspaper today. It helps users select the best of content in their internet category and serve it to their fans and followers, helping to source and serve fresh information regularly.
. CONTENT RECYCLING
How do we take that one post we toiled over for hours and make it work for our business in more than one way and for more than a few days?
Sometimes called content repurposing or rejigging, content recycling is the ability to recycle the format of your comprehensive article, audio or video in order to serve to the same audience in a different way.
Consider when you take your business press release and rework it as an article for your blog. Consider taking that blog post and reworking into short bursts of information fit for a set of twitter posts.
What if that same information can be developed into an awesome info-graph or its central theme rewired into a cartoon?
This simply explains content recycling.
To repurpose your content, you need the right tools. While some of the content creation tools can also be used to repurpose existing content; some others include;
. Tools to share snippets of your content on twitter: Tweetdeck, BufferApp, Hootsuite.
. Tools to convert representations, PDFs and other types of content into a video: Mindflash, Knoodel, Jing, screenr, Camtasia, Screenflow.
. Tools to create online or offline presentations: PowerPoint, SlideShare, Prezi, Zoho, AuthorStream, Roojoom, Spundge.
. Tools to convert blog posts to e-book: Anthologize, Zinepal, BlogBooker, Bolg2Book, Fastpenci.
. Tools to write and schedule social media updates: Buffer, Hootsuite, Postling, If This Then That (IFTTT), NextScripts, Tweetdeck.
CONTENT PROMOTION AND DISTRIBUTION
Writing or creating powerful content is less than half the work, promoting it is the other. Your content is useless if it is not getting the time and attention of the people who will likely read and do business with you.
. Content Promotion Tools:
They help simplify the process of promoting and distributing the content across social networks, news outlets, and press release databases.
. Promote Posts On Facebook:
Paid facebook promoted posts improve the visibility of your content to a number of people which it would have never attained organically.
. Submit to Paid Content marketing companies:
These platforms bring together content advertisers with content publishers. While they help business and people with platforms to make money from it. Example include outbrain, Buzzfeed, Content BLVD, Onespot, nRelate, Gravity, Linkwithin, Taboola, RevContent.
THE EIGHT TYPES OF CONTENT TO CREATE
Here are the eight types of content and how they can be used;
- Pillar articles / Blog posts
- Videos / Animation/ Motion Graphics
- Photos/ Images / Infographics
- Reviews, FAQs, and Q&As
- Case studies/ White Papers/ Industry Reports
- E-book / Presentations
- Email Newsletters
- Interviews and Curated Content
- Webinars / Livestream/ Podcasts
1. Pillar Articles, Blog Posts
Call it pillar, flagship, evergreen, timeless article, these are articles you read and you feel the need to keep seeing them for life.
Pat Flynn of smart passive income simply described it as, a particular type of blog post that can also be described as epic, monumental and comprehensive.
Usually a longer tutorial-style post, a pillar article goes above and beyond to provide the best and detailed information about how to accomplish something.
This kind of post is a deadly piece of ammunition in a blogger’s arsenal because it can drive massive traffic, easily become viral and drastically raise the value and authority of the blog and its owner.
While most bloggers will like to think that quick, short and straight forward articles will work, the contrary is the case; pillar articles rock.
Pillar articles are original, rich, well- research, timely, thought-provoking, instructive and complete guides that are beneficial to the readers.
2. Videos Cartoons, Animation and Motion Graphics.
Yes, videos need to be in your content marketing plan. While some parts of Africa may still have expensive bandwidth, remarkable videos still get the required eyeballs.
Just as the power and hype that TV arrived with, videos and animations accessible by smartphones and tablets allow people access videos on the go.
No other platform conveys audio, videos, text, and emotion better than videos. Videos are great for brand awareness, instructional and how-to guides and have the possibility of going viral.
Till today people still love to refer to one of content marketing’s oldest milestones the Bazooka Joe bubble gum.
People loved buying the gum in order to read the comic strips; the producers want to sell.
3. Photos/ Images/ Infographics
We are bombarded with information every day; however, images, pictures, cartoons, and infographics are a great way to kill two birds corner attention and communicate value with one stone.
A picture is still worth a thousand words and creating simple illustrations, cartoons, still, 3D animations will make a killing every day. Infographics are really information and graphics which is a way to present factual information in a visually appealing manner.
They are creative ways to disseminate information without ‘’bombarding’’ your audience with boring figures and statistics. Afrographique is one website which aggregates statistical data in a creative manner.
4. Reviews, FAQs, and Q&As
Creating a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) essentially in Questions and Answer (Q&A) format quickly deals with knotty issues around your industry.
Yes I agree, Q&As aren’t really what you’ll call a great read but people have questions on their minds and an attempt to answer them can greatly help someone make a decision.
Online reviews or FAQs on your website are not the opportunity to go on a chest-thumping spree, by selling your stuff. It is an opportunity to anticipate and respond to potential concerns of your target customers.
5. Case Studies/ White Papers/ Industry Reports
Well researched case studies about a business you had helped or how some other organization solved their challenges will go a long way to demonstrate your expertise. Also, developing white papers, industry and research reports about your industry will also make great content material.
Especially if you are a Business-to-Business (B2B) company (i.e. your products are sold to other business to use), case studies are a powerful way to show your prospective clients you know what you are doing and you can get the job done.
While papers and reports are a smart way to position you and your business as a thought leader in the field.
Top tools to create online surveys include;
. Poll Daddy
. Google Docs
. Survey Monkey
6. E-book / Presentations
Creating and sharing e-books and presentations online are a great way to gain the attention of your target audience.
It can be a way to gain the attention of your target audience. It can be an incredible source of traffic. You can turn your press release, article or blog post into a presentation, about how your business can add value.
Especially for customers who go online to research before they make their buying decision; presentations and e-book can provide the right information about your products and services.
How does it work? Have the content ready, as an e-book or presentation.
Look for a strong document sharing website like Slideshare; create your account upload your document and you can leverage on additional traffic coming to the website which clocks like 60 million unique visitors every day.
Another website to share your presentation or documents include;
7. Email Newsletters
Digital newsletters are scheduled and ongoing emails from businesses or entrepreneurs to a list of subscribers that have requested to be informed about updates, events and special offers.
This is essentially email marketing but as against the common email format, auto-responder messages and email blasts, this follows a typical editorial style that follows a consistent publishing calendar.
Newsletters are a great way to stay in touch with potential and previous customers by providing useful content to help their buying decisions.
8. Webinars / Livestream / Podcasts
Webinars are a seminar that takes place over the internet. Livestreaming is live videos being streamed online real-time meaning you can access a video recording of live events from anywhere across the globe.
Podcasts are audio content recorded and available you can organize live webinars; create a Q and A session to address your customers most pressing needs, stream an event live or even demonstrate your product’s capabilities.
Stakeholders and other prospects will have the opportunity to listen and watch form different geographic location.
Some internet tools used for this have been mentioned in several other categories.
. Google hangout
. Webinar Jam
Not only entrepreneurs use social media and other digital platforms to reach their goals, but brands are also doing it. Content marketing presents brands with an opportunity to extend their traditional reach into digital platforms.
Many small and large corporations are already considering this but they are not sure how to go about it.
Which brands can we learn from? What are they doing right?
That was lots of examples. And these are only the tip of the iceberg. I hope they give you a good idea of what it takes to be a good content marketer and create a good marketing strategy.
What’s more, I really hope that you see that it doesn’t take a huge marketing budget. Today, anyone can use content marketing to their advantage.
The world gets noisier each day. Before long, we will all have to utilize content marketing if we want to remain successful.
Those who focus their energy on telling good stories, no matter the platform or context, will win in the long run.
Yelling louder won’t help you anymore. Only yelling better things will.
So what’s your story? Are you using content marketing already?
If you have any other great examples I’ve missed, please tell me about them in the comments.