Content has been around since the invention of language or perhaps even further back, from the time of the first intentional exchange of sounds to create meaningful communication between two or more people. Evolving over the centuries, content has become more complex and sophisticated. With its myriad of different formats, content can be anything from shared information of key political negotiations which impact on humankind to the casual tweet between two strangers. Content is an integral part of our everyday.
Perhaps the main differentiating quality of content today is the fact that it is constantly in demand and immediately accessible via the various social networks.
Content as an opportunity for brands
This is where the opportunities for brands lies: supplying content on the different online platforms creates a means of communicating with a target market on an almost one on one basis. In fact, the brand itself has become a persona with which your target market can engage. This develops a relationship, where the target market invests emotionally in the brand through content which resonates with the target market’s ideas, lifestyle and values.
In this blog post we’ll take a look at content, content marketing and the different formats you can use to implement a targeted content marketing strategy.
What is content marketing?
Perhaps the best place to start is at the foundation: what is content marketing? One definition that we really like is from Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute:
“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.”
Content marketing is content which is strategically created and used in order to catalyse an emotional response and achieve a particular marketing goal – be it customer retention, creating a relationship between a brand and target market or a myriad of other marketing goals. Content marketing can be a tool which not only facilitates a relationship between a brand and target market, but also helps to make a difference in people’s lives.
Benefits of content marketing
Using information strategically involves providing different types of content to your target market. This information can cover a wide range of subjects from solving problems for your target market to giving them tips relating to the lifestyle around your product. Producing effective content and using it strategically has these benefits:
- Positions brand as an expert in the industry
- Creates awareness of your brand’s services and offerings
- Builds loyalty with your audience
- Personalises the brand
- Attracts people to your site
- Maximises your SEO
Content can be produced in a variety of visual and auditory formats. Some of the main formats are as follows:
This content can be used strategically to address and solve your target market’s problems. Blogs can also help SEO. By using keywords which come up in Google searches, your blog can rank higher on the Google results page.
Additionally, blog content can be re-purposed to generate further content in different formats and on other platforms.
eBooks provide in-depth information on a specific subject, relevant to your brand and target market. This content is a key component of a brand’s marketing material, often used with landing pages to enable your target market to provide contact details before being able to access and download the eBook content.
This win-win situation, allows your target market to acquire valuable information, while becoming a potential lead for the brand.
Templates and Checklists
Any app or content which saves time in our busy world is regarded as being valuable. Checklists and templates fit this bill, providing the ideal outline which can be implemented by your target market. This increases association and affiliation with the brand, making it more likely that they will continue to engage with your brand and move further down the sales funnel.
Visual content is becoming more and more significant, partly because we are predominantly visual in our understanding and processing of information and also because it is easier and quicker to see something, rather than to read through information.
Types of visual content include infographics which visually represent information or data, often simplifying content and making it easily digestible.
Video also has an important role in this category. As more users access the internet via mobile, video is becoming an essential part of online content consumption.
Vlogs or video blogs is another form of video content. This is a more personalised format, often reflecting a personal brand rather than that of a company.
Audio content can be extremely helpful, transforming commuting time into a constructive experience. This medium is ideal for information which can be accessed and listened to, wherever your target market may be.
White Papers and Case Studies
These types of content are an ideal way of positioning a brand as an authority in an area. Like the eBook, they are a strategic part of your marketing arsenal, facilitating target market engagement through a leading page.
Book and App Reviews
This is another way of establishing your brand’s expertise and providing the target market with valuable information. In this way, the target market view the brand as a trusted resource, which further cements their relationship with the brand.
This is the process of publishing your content (visual, audio or written) on a different website or platform than that of your brand. Advantages of syndication is exposing your content to different target markets, creating more awareness for your brand.
A second and important off-shoot is getting a link back to the original place where the content was created.
This plays a significant role in SEO, with Google regarding a backlink as another external site validating your content, which in turn validates your brand. This helps to increase your ranking on a SERP, allowing your brand to rank as high as possible. Sites where your content can be syndicated include: LinkedIn, Yahoo, Medium and Feedly, amongst many others.
Content marketing has become an essential marketing strategy as target markets become more savvy and sophisticated in their demand for content and the ways in which they want to consume content. When marketers take up this challenge to meet these demands, a brand is brought to the forefront of the target market. In this way, brand information can be consumed around the clock. This adds value to a target market, solidifying brand relationships while entrenching you brand in the mind of your consumer in the process.