Content marketing is just not writing blog posts that are SEO friendly. Of course, it is that but with many other variables.
Today more than ever, businesses are turning to content marketing to acquire new customers and increase sales. It is becoming as popular as ads were years ago.
People are tired of being sold to everywhere they go, especially online.
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So exactly, what is Content Marketing?
Content Marketing Definition:
Content marketing is a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services. It is NOT a sales copy!
What Are the Types of Content Marketing?
Often people think that content marketing is blogging for business, but it’s not only blogging, as you can see below:
- Blog Posts
- Social Media Posts
- White Papers
- Case Studies
- How To Guides
- Product Demos
- Q and A’s
- User Generated Content
- Forum Posts
Each of these content types serves a different purpose, and they all work together to help you achieve your content marketing goals.
1. Blog posts:
Blogging is one of the most essential content marketing activities. A blog gives you a platform to share your ideas, connect with your audience, and build relationships.
2. Social media updates:
Social media is a powerful tool for content marketing. It allows you to share your content with a large audience, build relationships, and drive traffic back to your website.
Videos are an engaging and effective way to communicate with your audience. They can be used to promote your brand, product, or service, or to entertain and inform your viewers. Brian Dean, Founder of Backlinko, now with Semrush, offers an excellent example of using video to your advantage.
Infographics are a visual way to present information. They’re great for explaining complex concepts or sharing data and statistics in an easy-to-understand format.
Podcasts are a great way to reach a new audience, or to deepen your relationship
with existing fans. They’re also a convenient content format, since people can
listen while they’re commuting, working out, or doing other activities.
6. eBooks and whitepapers:
eBooks and whitepapers are long-form content that can be used to build thought leadership and establish your brand as an authority in your industry. Readers that want to learn something about a topic love reading this longer-form content to learn something new.
7. Case studies:
Case studies are stories that show how your product or service has helped solve a problem for a customer. They’re an effective way to showcase your results and build trust with potential customers.
8. How-to guides:
How-to guides are a helpful content format that can teach your audience about something new or show them how to use your product or service. You can do them as a video or as a PowerPoint-type presentation.
9. Product demos and reviews:
Product demos and reviews are a great way to showcase your products and give potential customers an inside look at what they’re like to use. This works best in video format.
10. Q&As and interviews:
Q&A’s and interviews are a great way to get expert insight on a topic or to share the story of someone who’s using your product or service in an interesting story. It also gives your company a form of a testimonial.
11. User-generated content:
User-generated content is any content created by your fans and followers, and it can be a powerful marketing tool. UGC can be used to promote your brand, build relationships, and drive traffic back to your website.
Frequently asked questions are great to have on your blog posts as people may revert to see what is being frequently asked. It can answer their questions easily and quickly.
13. Forum Posting
Forums like Quora, Reddit, and many other niche-related forums are great places to show what you know and help others along the way in your niche. You can become a leader in these forums, and it helps you develop some backlinks for your content.
Content marketing is not just one thing – it’s a content combo. By using a variety of content types, you can reach your audience in different ways and achieve your content marketing goals.
What Makes a Successful Content Marketing Plan?
When it comes to content marketing, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, any successful content marketing plan should include some key elements.
First and foremost, content marketing should be based on extensive research. You need to understand your target audience and what they want to see from you. Only then can you create content that will resonate with them.
Audience for Your Content Marketing
Once you know your target audience, you need to determine what kind of content will best reach them. Will they respond best to blog posts, infographics, videos, or something else entirely? Once you know the answer to this question, you can start creating content that will reach them where they are.
7 Ways to Determine Your Target Audience
According to Marketing Evolution, there are 7 ways to find your target audience.
- Analyze Your Customer Base and Carry Out Client Interviews.
- Conduct Market Research and Identify Industry Trends.
- Analyze Competitors.
- Create Personas.
- Define Who Your Target Audience Isn’t.
- Continuously Revise.
- Use Google Analytics.
This takes time to refine and really hone in on your target audience. It is something that must be done regularly as your audience may change over time.
Strategy for Content Marketing
It’s also essential to have a content strategy in place. This means having a plan for what content you will create and when you will publish it.
Trying to wing it with content marketing is a recipe for disaster. By having a content strategy, you can ensure that your content is always on point and that you’re not just creating content for the sake of it.
What social networks is your target audience using? There is no sense in being on every platform if your audience is not.
Your Audience Personas
After doing the research, the best way to get started is to build a persona for your target audience. You want to build this persona so you can speak to them. It’s best to write for one person in particular.
Brand Position for Content Marketing
This helps you build your brand story. What pain points do you help your client with? How can you help your audience persona? Once you know those answers, you can start your brand story.
Mission Statement for Your Own Content Marketing
What do you want to achieve from your content marketing strategy? You should know this before you even begin the process. Know why you are creating the content you will create and how it will benefit your readers, customers, and your brand. Be sure to include the goals for it as well.
Your Business Case
Know what your goals are, then plan ahead with your budget in mind. Know how much money it will cost to produce the content you need to meet your goals. Is it sustainable?
Your Plan of Action
Finally, put your action plan in writing. It’s always best to see your goals and plans in writing. That way, with everything you do, you can be assured that each action aligns with your goals and plan. Of course, you may update it from time to time as conditions warrant it.
To create an effective marketing plan of action, start by clearly defining your goals and target audience. Conduct thorough market research to understand your competitors and customer needs. Then develop a unique selling proposition that differentiates your business.
Next, determine the most appropriate marketing channels based on your target audience’s preferences. However, set specific and measurable objectives to track your progress.
Create a budget that aligns with your goals and allocate resources accordingly, then you will be ready to implement a timeline with actionable steps to ensure timely execution.
Lastly, regularly track and analyze your marketing efforts to make necessary adjustments and optimize your results.
Consistency in Content Marketing
Last but not least, one of the most important elements of a successful content marketing plan is consistency.
You need to be consistent with the quality and quantity of your content to keep your audience engaged. If you start putting out subpar content or if you stop publishing altogether, you will quickly lose your audience’s attention.
The best way is to schedule as much content as you can. I love using a scheduling tool for that. There are many out there, and some also provide reporting and social listening. Go over your reports monthly, as you may need to adjust the days and times of your social media posts.
Of course, you will need to adjust along the way, so have a plan in place for that. Always be prepared to make changes when needed but have a schedule to stick to as you schedule your content. I love planning out 2 weeks in advance, as you never know when life will get in the way!
Final Thoughts on the Content Marketing Combo
Content marketing is a variety of forms to communicate your products or services without doing ads or direct selling.
It’s more of telling a story in different formats to what audiences are craving. Your company is there to solve your audience members’ problems with your product or service. Show them how that can be done in your content, and you will see results.
The Small Biz Tipster blog was started by Lisa of Inspire to Thrive. Inspire to Thrive has been in operation for a decade. It grew into a full-time business after 8+ years of being a part-time side hustle.
“After I grew the business I wanted to share my experiences with others. I love helping others with their businesses and helping them to expand their digital presence and grow their businesses.”