Thanks to the rise of the Internet, today’s consumers are much more self-directed in their buying journey. With so much information at their fingertips, they’re taking the research reigns and using the information they discover to make their purchasing decisions. In fact, research shows that B2B buyers conduct an average of 12 searches before ever going to a brand’s site.
Of course, this means that traditional advertising and marketing techniques are becoming less effective, and many marketers are looking for another way to successfully reach their audiences. And that way is through content marketing.
What is content marketing?
Let’s dive in.
Definition of Content Marketing
Content marketing is a strategic marketing technique that aligns business and consumer information needs with relevant content. Content can act as a means to attract, engage and convert a specific targeted audience. From blogging and social media to white papers and eBooks, marketers use a variety of content marketing tactics to consistently inform and persuade their customers–without trying to sell them something outright.
Content marketing can be used by small organizations and large companies. With so many different tactics, businesses of all sizes can tailor a mix that works for their product, their audience and the resources they have available.
The Purpose of Content Marketing
Content marketing is about nurturing the relationship with your audience, and arming them with the information that they need and seek. The content you create becomes a part of their self-guided buying journey. If you succeed, you can capture their business and loyalty.
At TopRank Marketing, we believe the key to content marketing is creating high-quality content that allows you to be the best answer for your audience, whenever and wherever they’re searching for information. And this can be done through an integrated approach that uses a mix of tactics to achieve your content marketing objectives.
For example, creating high-quality blog content is an excellent way to provide resources for your audience and make them more intelligent. But just publishing the post on your website won’t get you the ROI you’re looking for. That content can featured in a monthly newsletter, promoted on social media pages, or perhaps be repurposed into an infographic to be more visual and encourage more social shares.
Content Marketing Examples
As mentioned above, content marketing is not just one single tactic, but rather a mix of tactics that work together. Below are some examples.
Health & Style
Infographics provide a tool to educate and inform your primary target audience through rich visualization and storytelling. This infographic from Health & Style is a great example of content marketing because it represents a combination of blogging, content repurposing and social media tactics. The infographic was created by turning a lengthy blog post into something eye-catching and easily shareable. To date it’s received more than 26,000 social shares.
Content curation is a unique content marketing tactic because it doesn’t involve creating original content, but rather a finding and compiling some of the best posts on a particular topic and then sharing it with your audience. BuzzFeed is arguably one of the best content curation machines out there. Using public photos and videos, trending news events or popular pop culture topics, BuzzFeed is consistently delivering clickable and shareable curated posts.
A great example of using influencer content as a content marketing tactic is The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn eBook. Influencers were included in the creation of the guide and it was promoted and repurposed through multiple channels. With both influencers and content communicating the value, LinkedIn was able to gain visibility of as a marketing solution, which resulted in major ROI for the program and millions in new revenue.
Content Marketing Resources
If you’re new to content marketing, here are a couple posts to get you started.
Content Marketing–Tactics and Best Practices: This blog post includes links to articles on 30 different content marketing tactics, each of which includes pros, cons, examples, best practices and additional resources.
Are you an experienced content marketer looking for new inspiration? Then check out the following articles.
Are you a small business looking for some how-to help? Hopefully, these posts can help you out.
Are you a company that is considering an addition or expansion of your content marketing efforts? We have some resources for you, too!
What other questions do you have about content marketing? Ask them in the comments section below.
Header image via Shuterstock