As marketers, it’s our job to know our audience. To understand their pain points. To empathize. To provide them with the answers or solutions they’re looking for.
So how do we do all these things? One way is through content marketing.
Over the past few years, content marketing has been increasingly embraced by marketers. In fact, this year 88% of B2B marketers and 76% of B2C marketers said they used content marketing, according to the 2016 Benchmark, Budgets & Trends—North America reports from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs.
But there are still a lot people out there who are searching for some of the content marketing basics.
Our team recently dug into content marketing related keywords and keyword categories, as well as related SERPs and our own data, to identify what people really want to know about content marketing. As a result, we identified five common questions users have about content marketing—and we’ve answered them all below.
Let’s dive in.
#1 – What is Content Marketing?
Simply put, content marketing is a strategic marketing technique that aligns business and consumer information needs with relevant content.
At TopRank Marketing, we believe in an integrated approach to content marketing, using multiple content marketing tactics to help our clients be the best answer for their customers, wherever and whenever they’re searching.Wherever your customers are looking, be present, useful and “info-taining.” @leeodden Click To Tweet
From blogging and social media to infographics and eBooks, content marketing is most effective when you employ a variety of tactics to consistently inform, persuade and build rapport with your customers—without trying to sell them something outright.
For a deeper dive into this topic, check out our post What is Content Marketing? Definition, Examples & Resources for Learning More.
Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI) own resource on what content marketing is. Find that resource here.
#2 – What is a Content Marketing Strategy? (And Why Do I Need One?)
A content marketing strategy provides the answers to the why, who and how a content marketing program will help you achieve your business objectives. It’s your infrastructure. Your game plan. Your roadmap.
Without a strategy in place, you’re throwing content out there and hoping it sticks. With a strategy in place, you’re able to plan, produce, promote and measure the effectiveness of your content, and use that information to propel your efforts forward.
Get more on this topic by checking out our post What is a Content Marketing Strategy (And Why Do I Need One?).“Build an audience first and define products and services second.” @joepulizzi Click To Tweet
#3 – How Do I Create a Content Marketing Strategy?
Your content marketing strategy is your foundation and it should be uniquely tailored to your brand and audience. Here are some best practices to get you started on creating your content marketing strategy:
- Identify who your target audience is and their paint points. This will allow you to come up with valuable and relevant content concepts, and address the needs of your audience.
- Define your objectives. (e.g. more brand awareness, increasing site traffic, increasing conversions, newsletter signups, etc.)
- Identify the content marketing tactics you plan to use in your strategy. (e.g. blogging, PPC, webinars, social media, etc.)
- Identify the social channels your plan to use to engage with your audience. Ask yourself: What channels does your audience use the most? What content do they respond to the best?
- Define how you will measure results. (What metrics and tools will you use to see if what you’re doing is working?)
- 7 Steps to Documenting Your Content Marketing Strategy
- What’s the Secret of the Most Powerful Content Marketing Strategy? Simplicity
- How to Pick the Best Content Marketing Tools for your 2016 Content Marketing Strategy
- The Mortified Marketer: 8 Lessons To Help Evolve Your Content Marketing Strategy
#4 – Why Content Marketing?
In today’s digital world, buyers are self-directed. Research indicates that 71% of B2B buyers get their information online. Content marketing is a way to satisfy your customers’ quest for answers and arm them with the information they need to make decisions. Content marketing also creates signals across the web that build credibility, authority and rapport with your audience, along with many SEO benefits.
In addition, research shows that content marketing is typically more cost-effective than other forms of advertising or marketing, can drive higher conversion rates and increases audience engagement.If your content marketing is encouraging engagement, that’s a sign of relevance. @JasonMillerCA Click To Tweet
- What a GREAT Marketer Does With Content (eBook)
- Why Content Marketing is Imperative for the Future of Public Relations
- Is Content Marketing a Viable Lead Generation Tactic?
#5 – How Do I Do Content Marketing?
Content marketing is not just one tactical technique—it involves using a myriad of techniques within your strategy to drive toward your goals. We call this an integrated content marketing approach. Below are just some of the content marketing tactics that you can use:
- Co-creating content with industry influencers and thought leaders
- Social media
- Email marketing
- Content curation
For more information on all of these tactics, as well as more than 20 others, check out our post: Content Marketing – Tactics and Best Practices. Here we offer pros, cons, best practices, industry expert insights, examples and resources for 30 content marketing tactics.
- Content Marketing: 10 Daily Habits to Create More Powerful Content
- The 4 Essential Questions Your Content Must Answer in Less than 15 Seconds
- How to Write for People: 5 Ways to Create Connections & Personality in Your Content Marketing Efforts
- 7 Ways to Optimize Your Web Content for Humans & Search Engines
What other questions do you have about content marketing? Ask them in the comments section below!