What is Content Marketing? Definition, Applications, and more.
What is Content Marketing? Definition, Applications, and more.
Content marketing is one of the most popular ways to reach new customers and engage your current audience, but for many, there is still only a vague understanding of content marketing. What is it? How is it different from traditional marketing? How can you optimize your content to fit this mold?
This guide to content marketing should help you answer all your questions and more.
Content Marketing Definition
So, what is content marketing? Content marketing is a specific method of positioning your content towards the needs of your users. Our definition for content marketing is:
- Content marketing is a marketing strategy that emphasizes pushing high-value content to consumers in an attempt to broaden your audience and ultimately increase profitable actions from those consumers.
This approach attempts to increase profit from customers by providing consistent and valuable content to them. The value of your content should be driven by the needs of the audience, and by providing solutions to their problems content marketing seeks to drive profitable action.
There isn’t necessarily a specific kind of publicity that is unique to content marketing, so it can sometimes be difficult to clarify what is and isn’t considered content marketing.
For some piece of marketing to be considered part of a content marketing strategy, you must consider the interpretation of the reader. If the person consuming your blog post is doing so with the intention of learning a new solution to an issue they face, that would fit the mold. Because this type of outreach is primarily focused on providing tangible value to the customer, you should be able to determine if it fits by asking yourself “did the recipient receive value from it or not?”.
Because there are so many unique avenues to reach users, content marketing is not focused on the type of content that is produced. Instead, focus on the positioning of that content relative to the customer’s search intent.
Ultimately, If you only gain one piece of knowledge learning about content marketing, it should be the importance of adding value. This is the main distinguishing feature that transforms regular blogging into content marketing.
If you aren’t sure how exactly to add value, just ask your customers what they are struggling with or what they are looking for. They’ll tell you what they need and that’s where you need to focus your content.
Content Marketing Advantages
Here are some of the biggest advantages of using a content marketing strategy.
Saving Costs & Converting Sales
Content marketing creates a coherent, consistent, and organized method of bringing valuable solutions to the customer. Because of this, your marketing strategy loses the wasted cost of overlap and is able to effectively target your selected audience.
Providing solutions to your customers helps your brand twofold. Firstly, by creating content specifically targeted at helping your audience, you negate the need to create a large ad campaign that would effectively tell them the same thing. Secondly, you create a sense of brand loyalty that engages your customers not only with your content but with your product as well. This is a great way that content marketing helps convert sales.
Trusting & loyal customers
As your content continues to reach and assist your customers, they will become trusting of your brand and eventually advocates. Their advocacy is a great way to increase sales because customers often trust other users much more than the people selling to them. Beyond converting sales thanks to content engagement, your brand advocates also act as important salespeople.
Because your content is specifically geared towards giving your customers utility, you will continue to build an engaged audience instead of only fleeting impressions. Building a trustworthy audience is incredibly important online and as long as you help solve the user’s issues, they will return to you for more help, effectively engaging your marketing strategy.
Attracting new customers
As your content is able to engage more people and answer their questions, you become a more credible source for others seeking the same answers. You are backed by other customers who trust your brand, and that helps bring in new potential customers. Because of your credibility online and with other trusted users, content marketing helps attract new members to your already strong audience.
Content Marketing Best Practices
There are four essential best practices for content marketing -- Positioning, Value Proposition, Overall Goals, Strategy & Approach. These essentials are the best practices for content marketing and are necessary to ensure your strategy is successful.
When determining the positioning of your brand, think about the larger ecosystem of products and where you play. This will help define your brand and find consistency in your marketing.
Positioning is especially important because it allows you to curate your marketing strategy to a specific audience and reach them consistently. Reaching your users is the main goal of any content marketing strategy, so figuring out your positioning is critical to your success.
If you aren’t sure about where your brand resides in the larger ecosystem of products, think about your direct competitors, the ideal experience you seek to provide, and what makes you unique relative to other brands.
Understanding your brand’s unique value proposition is key to having a well-put-together content marketing strategy. Knowing what makes you unique and valuable helps drive the overall theme of your content and also helps target users that your solutions address. Every brand will address problems from different angles so it’s important you understand how you stand out.
If you are having trouble identifying your value proposition, think about these questions: what elements would make you choose your content over someone else's? What unique value does your content bring to the table?
In order to structure a good content marketing strategy, it must align with your overall business goals. If your content doesn’t push solutions that are related to your brand, then it’s not aligned properly. This might sound obvious but it’s important to stay consistent with the approach you take to your consumers in order to maintain credibility with your audience.
Make sure that when you create your content that it’s focused on the specific solutions you present to the user. This should work twofold by both helping solve the problem the customer is experiencing and present your unique solution to them.
Strategy & Approach
The strategy and approach of your content marketing is the cumulation of the aforementioned practices, and are the actionable tasks that integrate your goals, value proposition, and positioning. Decide what population you want to reach and then formulate a strategy to solve their problems.
Content Marketing Examples
Websites are obviously one of the main places content marketing exists because the internet is where people go with their questions. When determining if your site is optimized for content marketing, consider other places that users go because of interest, and sites that are trafficked because of demand.
Sites like Fresco and their articles detailing the definition and advantages of online whiteboards , and WithOurs with their comprehensive article on prenupital agreements are examples of content that seeks to solve consumer issues. These articles are not seeking sales directly, they are solely focused on providing as much value to the user as possible.
By focusing on providing strictly value-based articles, they engage an audience focused on solving those problems, one of the principal uses of content marketing.
One increasingly popular marketing strategy is creating videos, usually on websites or on youtube, that target customer demand. Creating video content is an easy way to express your point while also being able to engage in other mediums and hopefully reach a younger audience.
Videos can be short and sweet, addressing points clearly and thoroughly while strictly focusing on the customer's needs. Short videos are some of the easiest content for users to consume as well which makes them ideal for content marketing strategies.
Similar to video content, making infographics can be a great way to provide fast and lasting value to your customers. Infographics are appealing and digestible to users and are able to provide helpful statistics in a memorable way.
Using infographics makes people more likely to remember the value they gained because you can provide a visual aid for them that represents your unique brand.
The ability to give infographics lasting association to your brand while also providing streamlined value to the customer makes them a great content marketing strategy.
Content marketing is one of the most popular marketing strategies for online brands because it provides them deep-rooted credibility and continued engagement from their audience. I hope this guide helped answer all your questions about what content marketing is and how to best apply it in 2021.