Content Marketing – What is it and how to work with it?

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Content Marketing is an extremely popular term these days. However, it exists since the birth of the internet. In its overall concept, content marketing means producing highly relevant content for your target audience as a way to help them clarify their doubts, attract potential clients, or simply make yourself an authority on a particular topic. Of course, the better the content you create, the greater your audience’s awareness that you are an authority on what you say.

It is no wonder that big names like Neil Patel, Gary Vaynerchuk, Tony Robbins, among others, have become authorities in their niche markets. Whether through written content, video content, or any other type, it was through a content marketing strategy that they quickly positioned themselves as real authorities.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is the pillar of inbound marketing and consists essentially of creating relevant content or of extremely positive impact on your target audience, whether it is educational or professional contents, tutorials or simply entertainment. Whether it is a Gary Vaynerchuck producing content to attract new customers to his digital marketing agency, or a Kéfera Buchmann creating entertainment videos that generate views and therefore sponsors and money with ads, content marketing begins and ends at the moment you create any kind of content.

One of the biggest confusions around the subject of content marketing regards the content to be created. There are professionals or companies who think that content marketing means writing about what their companies do, the benefits of their products, how fantastic they are, and so on. In fact, content marketing is the opposite of that. It is writing about your client’s pains, their difficulties, delivering incredible content on a particular topic. All this without asking strictly nothing in return.

Content Marketing is the best example of good karma there could be. Good content, which helps your audience, will attract an awesome return without the need to advertise anything.

In short, content marketing is the creative process that indirectly, through a piece of content, creates authority or attracts potential new clients without doing any direct marketing of your products/services. It is talking about your niche market and what your customers need.

Advertising vs. Content Marketing

Advertising vs. Content MarketingOne of the most debated themes among advertising fans and fans of inbound marketing is the effectiveness of each of those strategies. As you probably know, ads allow you to place your products or services in front of thousands of people for a low cost without the need for extra work. However, inbound marketing advocates that creating relevant content for your audience not only helps you to become an authority in your niche market, as this helps you to drastically convert more your advertising efforts.

If you have not understood the difference yet, take into account, for example, my professional history. When I first started my content blog there in 2008, I was anything but known in that market. In fact, no one was talking about content marketing or inbound marketing back then. Those terms were still a mirage at the time. However, it was through the creation of content in text (articles and tutorials) and video (classes, webinars, lectures, etc.) that I positioned myself as a specialist in digital marketing, without actually having in any way advertised that professional trait. The market itself, over the years and through the content I created determined that I was an expert in Digital Marketing and Affiliate Marketing, the two themes that I most approached over the last 10 years.

If you need other examples, just check out the blogs from Expedia, McDonald’s, RedBull, GoPro, and other companies that use content marketing as an extremely important strategy in generating contacts and interest in their brands. It is the same as you imagine an appealing business strategy without selling any product. Sell without selling.

What are the goals of content marketing?

Content marketing is critical not only for the organic traffic it generates, but mainly for the perception it creates with its audience. If you review some of the examples I mentioned earlier, you will understand that those professionals who are considered experts in their areas, they live of content above all. The perception that they are experts comes precisely from the content that was generated and shared. Of course, the same applies to companies. Companies that generate relevant content end up generating a very positive perception of their brands.

Adding up to all of this, content marketing is usually created with a goal in mind. Depending on your purpose, you will have to adapt your speech and even the type of content you intend to create for a certain audience:

1. Generate more organic traffic to your site

One of the main results of a good content marketing strategy is the generation of organic traffic. If you have ever studied SEO (Search Engine Optimization) you probably know the importance of creating good content. If you make really good content, not only will they generate quality organic links to your site, but they will also have a positive impact on attracting traffic through social networks. Of course, good content will generate links and shares on social networks and this will tend to help your site gain more visibility into organic search engine result pages.

2. Generate more organic leads

Content marketing equally works for organic lead generation. Sometimes, people follow your work, but they do not buy from you. This happens in many cases because these people are not yet ready to buy and/or feel confident enough to make that decision. With content marketing, in addition to nurturing those leads with relevant content that will probably help them dispel some of their questions, you gain greater trust by ensuring that when they feel comfortable buying that product/service, they will remember you and probably buy this product from you or your company.

As you create content, you are building a very large organic lead base. Your content drives organic traffic, organic traffic generates leads, and those leads turn into businesses. And all that happens on autopilot, no need to take any kind of direct action.

NOTE: Of course, for you to generate qualified leads with your content, it is important that your website/blog already have a contact capture form implemented in advance, with subscription boxes at the main places on the page.

3. Increase your brand awareness

Whether you are using content marketing as a personal or business branding strategy, by generating relevant content you will exponentially increase your brand awareness. Generating relevant content creates a greater level of interaction with your followers, as well as feedback and interest from your target audience. This will increase your awareness in this market progressively, generating a greater interest in your work or in your company.

The way your potential clients interact with your content determines part of the value of your brand. Highly relevant content generates more interaction, while less interesting content generates less interaction and naturally less sharing on social networks. Creating this interaction with your readers is critical for several reasons:

  • You create a stronger bond with potential buyers of your products/services;
  • You gradually increase your brand awareness for this market segment;
  • Over time you build a base of faithful followers of your work;
  • You close more deals and generate more sales in the long run;
  • You understand the difficulties of your audience and adapt your content and products to them;
  • You generate organic traffic to your site on autopilot and increase the visibility of your business.

4. Lower customer acquisition cost

There are several things to take into consideration regarding this subject. I often tell my students that when we buy ads we have reduced a window from six months to probably six days. When we have a business goal, time is essential and often clients do not want to wait or embrace a content marketing strategy. When working with content marketing, however, while the results may take a lot more time to appear, in the long run it will be quite profitable for several reasons, but particularly regarding the Cost of Customer Acquisition (CAC).

Marketing FunnelIf we imagine a company blog that generates 50,000 organic visits per month, we are talking about incredible customer acquisition potential at extremely low cost. Although advertising often means a high investment, it is also necessary to consider that content marketing has a cost. Thinking, idealizing, creating, editing, revising and publishing content or several contents also comes at a cost. This cost is usually associated with one person: the person who created that content. But the cost exists.

The great advantage of content marketing is that depending on the type of content you write, it can generate perpetual organic traffic over time, which means attracting potential clients to your business over several months or years. Imagine posting 30 articles on your company website or on your personal blog that can attract 5 to 10 new customers monthly each month. The cost of acquiring each of these clients, over time, will drastically reduce, because your investment was already carried out there in the beginning when you created the piece of content. Get it?

According to HubSpot, companies that have blogs and publish content regularly attract 55% more visitors, attract 97% more links and have 434% more pages indexed in Google. (Source)

How to work with content marketing?

While at first it may seem like an exact science or simple enough to put into practice, in fact, content marketing requires a lot of determination, focus and attention. It is important to plan correctly and in advance all the content you need to create, organize your team, set goals for each of your content, etc. There are several types of content that you can create, both for your personal blog and for your company blog. You decide what content and what strategy you want to implement, but it is important to know what each of these items requires in terms of effort and dedication. Take a look:

Types of content you can create based on a content marketing strategy:

  • Blog content;
  • Social networks;
  • E-mail marketing;
  • Landing Pages;
  • E-books;
  • Videos;
  • Infographics;
  • Podcasts;
  • Apps;
  • Online tests;
  • Reviews;
  • Webinars;
  • Tools;
  • Kits;
  • Templates.

As you can see from the list, there are lots of options when it comes to content marketing. But you will need to define a strategy for each of those contents, since it will not be enough to produce a text for your blog, publish a video on YouTube or make a post on Facebook. You need to understand how each of those content formats works, where to advertise, how to advertise and, above all, how to amplify your message to reach as many people as possible.

Content blog

When I first started my blogs back in 2007, there was nothing to predict how important that tool would be in a content marketing strategy in 2017. Ten years have passed and blog remains the main source of traffic for the vast majority of entrepreneurs and companies around the world. If you have never created a blog, keep in mind that in addition to being an incredible tool for generating traffic, it also allows you to control your actions and analyze the behavior of your potential clients in an incredible way.

A well-structured blog with good SEO and really relevant content can generate awesome long-term traffic and thereby attract potential new customers to your business, whatever it is. Whether you are selling online courses, have a digital marketing company or simply work with business consulting, a blog is an incredible tool to find new clients.

1. Good SEO is essential

SEO - Ranking FactorsIf you do not understand anything about SEO, it is important to start there before you create your blog. Understanding how search engine optimization works can make an incredible difference in the impact and results of your content. Start by studying a little bit about SEO and understanding the HTML structure of a blog, to avoid making unnecessary mistakes and/or writing content that no one reads because they simply are not easily found on Google.

After that, it is important that your content is properly optimized for Google so the crawler understands its content, which parts are most important, and mainly the keyword that defines your content piece. This does not mean that you should write the same keyword countless times in your post! This is called manipulation and may result in a Google penalty, ok?

Some things you need to keep in mind when writing content for your blog:

  1. The title of the article should include the main keyword (e.g., Content Marketing — What is it and how to work with it?).
  2. The title of your article should have an HTML tag such as <h1>title</h1>.
  3. Subheadings of your article should be marked with headings of type <h2> or <h3> depending on relevance.
  4. Your post URL has to be short and to the point. It is important that the keyword is in the URL as well.
  5. Your content should be properly styled, ensuring that the reading is enjoyable and you can retain the reader:
    1. Use of quoted text;
    2. Use of visually attractive images;
    3. Use of bold to highlight relevant parts of the content;
    4. Use of links to the sources;
    5. Use of italics to highlight terms or foreign words;
    6. Use lists with points or numbers to synthesize information (such as this!);
  6. Images should use attributes such as title and alternative text (alt text).
  7. If using WordPress (recommended!), use an SEO plugin (I recommend Yoast).
  8. Fill in the fields of the SEO plugin for the Title and Meta Description of your article, which are basically the title and description that will appear on Google when someone searches for content similar to yours. These fields are very important and should contain the keyword of your content.

2. Consistency is essential

Over the past 10 years, I have written more than 5,000 articles on websites and blogs. One of the things I learned from this experience is that consistency is key to achieving good results in the medium/long term. This means posting new content to your blog with certain frequency. Of course, there is no set rule for this, so you can write one post per week, two posts per week, or one post per day. You decide how you prefer to do it, considering that you need to be able to do this without complicating your schedule.

Consistency is critical because it creates a routine with your readers. It is not by chance that Kéfera Buchmann publishes a new video every Thursday. In addition, creating pressure to produce such content (and not to fail with your audience) also creates a very important consistency, which generates not only recurrent traffic from regular readers but also traffic from new visitors who are discovering this content for the first time.

3. Diversification of the covered topics

Another important aspect is the diversification of the topics you cover. If you are always talking about Instagram, there will come a time when you no longer have what to write about. When you open this niche to something more global, such as digital marketing, you can talk not only about Instagram, but also Facebook, E-mail Marketing, Automation Marketing, etc. It is not always that a very specific niche is positive, especially regarding company blogs.

If you have an architecture company, for example, you can talk about various subjects related to architecture, design, product design, interior design, etc. If you have a Digital Marketing Agency, for instance, you can talk about E-Commerce, Social Networks, UX/UI, Mobile, among other subjects. Diversification is not only crucial, it helps you to have ideas for new content to publish.

Social Networks

Many entrepreneurs and businesses confuse social networks with entertainment. Although social networks were originally created for that, today they not only serve that purpose but also many other professional goals. Today you have pages of large companies on Facebook, which do use it as a work tool; you have LinkedIn; all the top luxury brands in the world already joined Instagram, etc. Social networks are no longer merely play spaces, they are an important presence of companies in communicating with their target audience.

This is where content marketing comes in. Creating content for social networks does not necessarily mean entertainment. Social networks are now used as the main means of communication when the goal is to consume content, find information or simply have fun. Your presence and positioning in social networks should reflect what you want to achieve in your career, that is, if you have a professional presence, share professional content, write interesting content that will help your audience, etc. This will give you a professional position in this area of business.

Here are some reasons for you to work your content on social networks:

  1. It is where your audience is present and where people spend more time throughout the day;
  2. In social networks your content is amplified in an incredible way. Shares generate an incredible spread of your material;
  3. Social networks are the right place for you to meet your potential clients and clarify doubts;
  4. Ads on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc., are extremely cheap and allow your message to reach thousands of people at a really low cost;
  5. Social networks are an extremely important place of traffic generation, authority and leads;
  6. Social networks are a complement to all other strategies you have: blog, videos, courses, etc.

1. Each profile has a different approach

It is very common for entrepreneurs and companies to create profiles on various social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc.) and then publish the same content on all of them. This is a terrible mistake. It is the same as you imagine General Motors, which owns the brands Chevrolet, Opel, GMC, ACDelco, Vauxhall, OnStar, and others, and all of them start to make the same cars but simply with different brand names. Does that make sense?

If you create a profile on Instagram and another on Facebook, the content you publish in each of these networks must be different. They are different target audiences, who consume content in different ways. That is why it is often important not to be present on all networks, but only on those that really make sense for your business goals, whatever they are.

2. Sell without Selling

I have talked about “Selling Without Selling”, which is basically the core strategy of content marketing. Through highly relevant content, in addition to helping your audience, you will still be able to improve your authority and attract potential customers. Unfortunately, social networks continue to be used by many professionals in the most mistaken way possible, which consists of basically spamming all possible groups, trying to spread a miracle offer for fast enrichment. Do not be that person!

3. Interaction generates trust, which generates interaction

Social networks are the right place to create interaction with other people. Unlike the real world, where you would probably be ashamed to approach another person to talk to him about any trivial matter, on social networks you can do this without having to go through that feeling. And they are great for creating interaction with other professionals, establishing connections, etc. These interactions generate greater confidence in you and your work and this naturally creates more interaction and so on.

Engage with people. This is essential to your growth!

4. Measure > improve > measure

As in the previous section, measuring your key performance indicators (KPIs), the impact of your content and your actions will give you a holistic view on how you can improve the content you share on social networks. The great advantage of the digital environment is that everything is measurable, which means that all your actions on social networks can be measured to the smallest detail, generating extremely relevant information on how to act on the next content you create, to reach your target audience in more positive and relevant ways.

  1. Analyze the impact of your content regarding the people you reach, but not only that. Reach does not mean sales!
    1. Review the number of impressions in your publication;
    2. Analyze the number of interactions made with this publication (likes, comments, shares, etc);
    3. Analyze the clickthrough rate on each of your posts and its match in your Analytics;
    4. Review the number of people who took action on your site or blog after viewing content on social networks;
    5. Analyze the number of leads captured through this content marketing action.
  2. Comments on your content are also one of the most important metrics because they give you a more objective view of how that content helped the person or not;
  3. The number of shares of a content determines how popular this content is. Google already uses social networks as a ranking factor, meaning that content with greater social interaction tends to be more important to Google than content that generates little interest (it does make sense!);
  4. If you run an ad campaign for a certain content, try to understand how positive it was for your business or for the dissemination of that content;
  5. Measuring the conversions generated via social networks in new contacts or leads is crucial for you to understand if the content is really working and generating great interest on your business or company.

E-mail marketing

Some say that e-mail marketing is already dead. People are tired of receiving unsolicited communications and the power of e-mail marketing has been lost.

I totally disagree with anyone who thinks like that. E-mail marketing continues to be one of the main sources of sales conversion of my digital marketing actions and is an extremely powerful persuasion, communication and conversion tool. Of course, good email marketing strategy requires good audience segmentation. As with any other digital marketing action, targeting is the secret to conversion. It makes no sense to send content about affiliate programs to a subscriber who is interested in knowing how to create a blog. Such targeting is fundamental in order to have truly effective results.

As might be expected, there are huge e-mail marketing strategies that we could talk about. I will talk about only of those that are really important and can help you achieve good results in your content marketing and communication strategies:

  1. Segmentation is the secret – Without a good segmentation of your database, specially by interests, you will be basically doing the same as the companies that advertise on television to any audience. It would be the same as sending a message to anyone, not understanding if that person is really interested in the subject or not. As such, the conversion rate will be miserable.
  2. Good design sells more – The vast majority of professionals and companies tend to overlook the image immensely. Whether it is communication through newsletters or in your Facebook posts, your image dictates not only the quality of your work, but it also helps you sell more or less. It is the same as you imagine a cleaning company where the office is completely messy and dirty. It does not make sense, right? Worrying about the design of your newsletters is critical to achieving good results.
  3. Less pictures and more text – Newsletters with many images usually tend to go to spam more often. This happens because of the relationship between text and image, which is one of the factors of a spam message. Text messages are also lighter.
  4. Good title increases the opening rate – Good title tends to improve your rate of emails that are opened. In this situation it would be ideal for you to perform several A/B tests to understand which titles generate more interest for your audience. Understanding the behavior of your readers is critical to achieving results.
  5. Do not buy contacts – Buying contact lists to send newsletters is called spam. Try to work with your own contacts and focus your strategy on attracting new contacts and leads.
  6. Measure, measure, measure – As we said earlier, measuring the results of all your actions is essential for you to understand your audience and your future actions. If you do not measure the results of your e-mail marketing campaigns, you’ll never know what works best for a particular segment of your audience and this means losing sales.

E-mail Marketing Statistics

Landing Pages

Landing pages are an extraordinary communication and lead generation tool. Very common these days, landing pages not only allow you to communicate a particular product or service of your company, but also could be used in a lead generation strategy. In both cases, landing pages can be seen almost as infographic in web version, where you can approach different content and help your audience understand certain subjects, for example.

If you have never worked with landing pages, it would be interesting to understand in advance the power of these tools and how they can really help your business. You can also analyze some very interesting tools to create landing pages, such as WP Profit Builder, OptimizePress, Unbounce, LeadPages, among others.

E-books

Creating e-books is another interesting way of putting content marketing to work in your favor. Imagine for example that you write 30 articles on your blog and that 10 of those articles are related to a single theme. You can easily compile these 10 articles into a file, adjust the texts, give a review and publish a practical e-book that your potential clients can download. Of course, this is a great way to generate leads and potential contacts that you can later nurture through an email marketing strategy, moving from leads to clients of your company/business. Who does it well is HubSpot and SocialBakers, who are constantly launching small e-books on certain topics with a clear lead capture strategy. Therefore, you can also invest a little more time and create something really unique. That would be fantastic!

Videos

Video is probably the content format that generates more authority these days. If you imagine that a written content, while relevant, does not have its author in the foreground and that a video puts you in front of your potential client, you will probably understand the difference. The video humanizes your content and puts you in a position of greater prominence, which increases your notoriety and generates greater confidence with your audience. Several studies indicate that a video on a sales page for a product increases the client’s purchase intention by more than 80%, which translates well into the confidence that a video can generate.

The most modern smartphones already have high resolution cameras. You do not need to buy a video recorder or a high resolution camera. A basic equipment that guarantees some quality is enough to generate an excellent result.

We can also talk about “lives” that are so in vogue these days. A Facebook Live or an Instagram Live have incredible potential of views and in most cases is done with a simple smartphone. From the moment you have something to say, the medium is not the most important, but the message.

Tools

Many companies create simple tools to help their potential clients. This is a fantastic content marketing strategy, because in addition to serving as a way to generate leads, the tool solves a problem for the user. One of the best examples is the Make My Persona tool, created by HubSpot, for example. It is an extremely simple tool, but it helps any professional in creating a persona.

Of all the types of content marketing actions out there, this is the most complex one. Often the creation of tools requires the creation of a design and, later, the development of the web or mobile application, which will probably be a very high investment. However, if you have that possibility, it is a great way for you to deliver something really useful to your clients and therefore generate an extremely rich and tremendous potential database of leads.

How Not to Do Content Marketing

Surely, content marketing also includes several things you should not do. I have talked about several of the things you should avoid when working with your content and especially when you put together a strategy to promote them. However, it is important to remember some basic principles of content marketing and errors that can be easily avoided:

  1. Content Marketing Takes Time – One of the biggest mistakes that the vast majority of professionals and businesses make is not giving time to content marketing. If you believe you are going to start writing content on your blog today and tomorrow you are going to receive thousands of Google visits, let me warn you that this is not going to happen! Content marketing takes time, is demanding and of course it takes a good deal of patience.
  2. Analyze the market before producing content – Of course you will have an idea about what to write, but wouldn’t it be interesting to validate this idea in the market and understand if your prospects really care about it? It is not because you think a content is good that it really is. Do a market research on Google or Google Keyword Planner to understand what the market is really looking for.
  3. Contextualization is important – If you have a company selling computer equipment, it does not make sense for you to write content about programming or ecommerce, right? As much as diversification can deliver results, a lack of contextualization will ultimately kill your content marketing strategy and your business.
  4. Consistency is essential – The famous phrase “out of sight, out of mind” does not exist by chance. The consistency of your actions will determine the success of your business. If you start posting 1 article per week on your blog, it is extremely important that you maintain that consistency, otherwise your readers will be disappointed with you.
  5. Metrics are metrics. Sales are money! – It does not matter if your Facebook page has 5,000 likes or 50,000 likes. It does not matter if your blog received 15,000 visitors yesterday. At the end of the day, what matters is the practical result of all this, namely, sales. If you did not sell, your strategy is probably wrong.
  6. Responsibility and attribution of tasks – It is often said that “too many cooks spoil the broth”. This is said when there are too many people trying to do the same thing, so the final result will not be good. This means that if there is no one responsible for the content production task, whether it is recording a video or writing a text for the blog, that task will not be fulfilled. That simple.

Now that you have understood how content marketing works, it is time to come up with an action plan and start working your communication strategies better.

Good Work!


Cursos de Marketing Digital




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Content Marketing – What is it and how to work with it?