Digital Marketing for Beginners - Part Two: Content Marketing
By Ashley John - Digital Marketing Consultant
Our Beginners' Guide to Digital Marketing continues by focusing on Content Marketing. While all aspects of Digital Marketing need creativity, Content Marketing really requires you to push the envelope. In the simplest terms, Content Marketing involves creating content (in one of several possible forms) that engages audiences and encourages people to share and spread the word of the brilliant things you are writing about.
If you have a great imagination, an ability to connect trending and contemporary pop culture events to your business, and top-notch writing skills, Content Marketing will be a breeze.
What is Content Marketing?
Content Marketing is an upgrade of sorts on traditional marketing, which has seen a rise in popularity by growing online communities that are able to be formed by the accessibility of the Internet. While traditional marketing such as TV adverts and print clippings still prove useful, they can’t be shared as easily when compared to more contemporary online marketing methods. For example, if you see a TV advert you want to share with your friends, you’re likely to find it on YouTube, and send them the link.
Content Marketing involves creating content that is in some way valuable to your target audience; perhaps it’s informative, funny, or maybe changes their worldview on a subject. Whatever it is, it has to make your audience want to engage with you in some way, for example, either through commenting, sharing or occasionally buying. Content Marketing isn’t primarily about selling things to an audience, but proving to them that if they frequently return to you, you will have something new and exciting to share with them that they will want to see.
One of the most common forms of Content Marketing is keeping an up-to-date blog on your website. Entries can be brief, although they should be around 500 words or more in length for SEO purposes, but they should be readable and reflect your company’s brand. A blog aimed at teenagers about retirement homes isn’t really going to attract a readership. The best way to draw in an audience is by keeping up-to-date with pop culture and what’s happening in the world, and responding to those events.
A blog (and other types of Content Marketing) also gives you an opportunity to engage in Social Media Marketing and SEO, so should not be ignored.
Pros and cons of content marketing
The pros and cons for content marketing can be considered as two sides of the same coin, for example there is always news which can be reported and commented on, meaning you have a constant supply of ideas to work on, however, this can also serve as a con, because of this steady stream, turnaround has to be quick for your content to remain relevant, so you have to be on the ball.
Other pros include creating a shareable source of content, encouraging more visitors and a larger audience to engage with your work and your company. It can also help you pave your way as an influencer in your field, that is, by creating frequent informative content, you can present yourself as an expert in a particular field making you a more trustworthy source so people are more likely to revisit your site.
You can also use Google Analytics to assess how audiences are responding to your content so you can tailor your Content Marketing campaign in a way that’s more likely to draw a consistent audience, by giving them more of what they want, as long as you ensure you aren’t repeating old content (rehashing is fine as long as you can approach it from a new angle, but copied content is a big no-no)!
There is also the potential of creating an infinite cycle of readership if your content is engaging enough; Google ranks relevant content higher in their SERPS, which can then lead to further footfall on your site and so on.
Of course, no marketing strategy is perfect and content marketing comes with a few cons. The biggest con is that creating an effective Content Marketing campaign can be extremely time-consuming, and you can actually alienate your audience if you don’t frequently create relevant content. For example, imagine the reaction if our Beginners’ Guide to Marketing ended with part 1, especially as we had stated in that blog that we would adding new sections on a regular basis. If we did not then continue the guide, an audience would understandably be sceptical anytime we set out a plan to offer regular content. It’s important to commit to a regular publishing schedule.
Other cons include having to be sure you know how to attract your target audience, you may recall a gaff that Hillary Clinton made when she asked American students on Twitter to describe their student loan debt in 3 emojis or less, this came off not as engaging, but rather condescending. Be sure you know your target audience.
Types of content that people love
If you feel prepared to begin your Content Marketing campaign, you should know what sort of content you need to create to draw in an audience, but whatever you do, ensure that it is 10x content.
One thing that audiences and readers love more than anything is unique content, stuff they can’t get anywhere else. Things like insights, reports and studies relating to your industry are fantastic for drawing in people with an already established interest in what you do.
One specific type of content that gets a consistent readership is listicles (Top 10 best… etc), that’s because these articles are easily digestible, offer information quickly and aren’t time consuming to read.
Other ways you can provide your audience with great, shareable content is through infographics and newsletters, though these require a bit more technical knowhow of software like Photoshop and InDesign, but there are online tools which can help create attractive visual content.
If you have plenty of time on your hands and are more tech-savvy, then videos and podcasts are much more engaging content formats. Podcasts are especially popular, even more so if you can create something unique and informative. However, videos and podcasts should be approached with caution, if you aren’t comfortable with your production skills, or worse create boring content, not only will audiences disengage, but you could become the target of derision.
As with all forms of content, whatever you create has to be for your audience, and as such an understanding of your audience is paramount, and is, in fact, the number 1 rule of all Digital Marketing.
Tools to help with content marketing
There are a wide-range of tools that can really help with content marketing, including:
- Buzzsumo, an analytics tools to find out which content is performing well;
- Outbrain, a platform to promote your content;
- Quora, a site to demonstrate your specialist knowledge on a subject.
It’s also incredibly important to browse through social media on a regular basis. Social media has become one of the best places to find out about news and will help you discover new blog ideas.
There we have it, it’s time to put what you’ve learned into action, and you’ll be a Content (and Digital) Marketing expert in no time. However, if you’re looking for help with your business’ Digital Marketing, then here at Orantec we have the experience and know-how to help. For more information about our Content and Digital Marketing services, don’t hesitate to contact us.