Content marketing seems to be the latest jargon at every strategy meet. So what is it? Is it just another marketing fad or is it important and here to stay?
Content marketing is super important. Although it may be an independent variable at the strategizing stage it should still be incorporated in the Integrated Marketing Mix.
Content marketing came about as a marketing solution to a particular problem. This is a problem that is faced by every business no matter how big or small the company is. Just as products and services have evolved, so has advertising. Advertising has been divided between traditional mediums and digital advertising. Even within digital advertising we’ve got newer ways to reach the consumer. But alongside technology and communications, we often forget that the consumer himself has evolved.
The problem of an evolved consumer is that they can instantly identify and discard or ignore commercial content. They do not care about your brands benefits; they see right through advertising scripts and are often irked at advertisers for assuming the masses have no common sense. They have learnt to filter out banners and blocked pop-ups, their television service providers allow them to skip ads. If there is one thing consumers all have in common it is the fact that they do not have the time for your ad.
Content is now at the core of marketing strategies. What you say, when you say it and what medium you chose to communicate with is very important.
The entire purpose of Content Marketing is to reach the consumer at every stage of the buying thought process.
A consumer will buy those products that add value to their lives. The entire process of purchase is need-satisfaction. Your communication begins with helping the consumer understand what it is that they need. Then it moves on to helping them select your brand and beyond that you need to convince the customer to stay loyal to your brand.
Quality content is at the centre of all marketing efforts. If you are a brand that sells umbrellas, connect with your consumer. Talk about the ill effects of getting wet in the rain to create the need for an umbrella. Quality content could also involve poems, ten best things to do during the rain and other such content relevant to both your brand as well as the usage of your product in a more subtle manner. The entire purpose of this exercise is – no hard selling!
Advertising is all about getting creative and understanding the medium that you are using. Social media is a very powerful tool as far as content marketing is concerned.
In order to have a good content marketing strategy you can use the following guidelines:
1) Understand your audience and their buying behaviour:
Who are your customers? What drives them to make the purchase decisions they make? What questions arise in their mind and do we have the content ready to answer these questions?
Right from when the need arises until they decide to purchase, understand all the steps that go in between and create sequential conversations that assist the consumers at every step. The content must be developed in a manner that allows the consumer to arrive at the conclusion that your brand is the choice they need to make.
2) Take a customer oriented route:
This is all about brand listening. Use tools that help identify what popular search keywords are most relevant to your brand. Understand where your web traffic is coming from and identify the need they were looking to satisfy. Social Media tools are very helpful in identifying the content consumption patterns of both your current and potential consumers.
3) Incorporate content for SEO:
SEO is all about using the right keywords and meta tags. Once you have identified those keywords which the consumer is most likely to search or use, create content using those keywords. These will then be converted into meta tags which draw traffic to your page.
Ensure you use atleast three to four relevant keywords and create articles that are a minimum of 300 words long where the keywords are used atleast once.
4) Create a framework:
Work with a system in place. Create an editorial calendar – plan and space out your content. This will help you plan out your content and set goals that you want your content to achieve.
5) Crosscheck ground reality with your framework :
Based on the editorial calendar that has been created, keep evaluating and cross checking whether your content is meeting the goals you had set out for it. You will be able to edit or re-create a new plan based on how your current content is performing and based on changes in customer perceptions and notions.
Content marketing strategies usually require a lot of research into the consumer. It is an ongoing and dynamic strategy building process whose details should be shared to the entire marketing executive team.
The different methods for Content marketing involve good Public Relation articles and events, social media marketing, pay per click methods and a whole lot more. A good mix of each of these backed by strong and relevant content will lead to a prosperous future for any business.