11 essential questions about content marketing answered
In our discussions with clients, we’ve often come across a common pattern of questions about content marketing. Some stem from worrying if it is worth investing in the medium. Other questions are around having clear measurement metrics or success stories from their industry. Below, we’ve put together 11 questions that most of our clients want to know answers to. You might find your answer here too and if not, you can scroll down to see how you can reach us. We’ll be glad to help out.
1. We are already putting out blog posts regularly. What else can we do?
So, you are getting the ‘content’ part right. You need to work on the marketing. The first thing you can do is a content analysis. Since you’ve been putting out content for a while, it’ll be great to check what type of inbound traffic it has be drawing in and if the traffic is ‘sticky’ (people who start from the blog check out the rest of the site). This will demonstrate the current effectiveness of your content and if the blogs are serving their purpose.
If they are working, you need to work on expanding their reach via newer social channels. If not, then you’ll have to go back to the board and chalk out alternate topics and strategies.
When you do a content analysis, don’t forget to check if all your posts are optimized well (SEO tags, meta information, Content, images, videos) and if they have the right call to action in place that’ll keep your user on the site and push them to take action.
Last but not the least, check on how your marketing actions like campaigns and newsletters change the footfall quality from the post over time.
2. How do you take a company that has mostly done traditional marketing and transition to content marketing?
Content marketing has many facets. Simply put, it plays a role in helping create and maintain the perception about your brand online. If you are a brand who is already reaching out to your users via traditional channels, you’ll now need to modify your content slightly without changing your voice or tone to fit into online media.
The first step in taking your brand online is your website. A website allows you to say a lot of things that traditional channels with limited time and space doesn’t. Though users generally come with limited time, they can choose to stay and engage with you if your content is good. Creating an engaging and optimized website is the first thing you can do to being your online content marketing efforts.
Next, you can work to claim your handles on popular social channels. Most people know for sure that Facebook and Twitter will have a big subset of their target audience. The rest of the audience may be divided into channels like Pinterest, Instagram, G+ and Linkedin depending on their fit. Even if you don’t plan to use all of these channels, it’ll be good to claim your handles and create a basic bio to avoid conflicting claims from competitors.
The above strategies work to generate brand awareness.
3. How can I use content for brand awareness and differentiation when I and my competitors are selling the exact same thing?
Interesting question. When you are selling the same product, content actually is the best weapon in your arsenal to chalk out differentiation. That’s because even if you have the same customer base, the persona represented in your marketing can be different.
Let us take two financial institutions that offer student loans. One company focused on the emotional aspects that govern the decision-making. Student loans are seen as a medium to fulfil aspirations and dreams. Hence the company and their loan projected themselves as a medium to help students achieve their potential without money being a roadblock.
On the other hand, the second company decided to focus purely on the practical aspects of taking a student loan. It described in length about competitive interest rates. It also put out offers on concessions during the entire loan tenure and special offers for girls.
Students looking for a loan are likely to come across websites from both these financial institutions. One thing that does tip in the favour of the former is a highly detailed FAQ section that cuts down the time during the decision-making process, providing better clarity.
4. How can you create thought leadership using content marketing?
Thought leadership is honestly a highly abused word in the field of content. We are a tad wary of self-proclaimed ‘thought leaders’ who claim to be one on their profile bios. Thought leadership does not come from one activity but a sum of all your activities online. It is about engaging in meaningful conversations, sometimes about your product and industry but also outside it.
This means you can share other people’s content if it is relevant. You can jump into conversations where you can add value. You can summarize your own experience on aspects of your industry/product that colleagues and outsiders (even those who are just beginning to cue in on the topic) will find of value. Being a thought leader is not about selling but becoming a resource.
5. How can content marketing help a new company / startup?
As someone new, you’ll be eager to share information about your product with prospective customers. And customers too, will, likewise want to know what the new player is doing to keep things different. Like all brands, you can do the regular stuff with updating content on your website, providing detailed FAQs and sharing updates on social channels.
Even then, there are two things are come highly recommended for startups
- How-tos: How to content in the form of text, video, images, and infographics will help prospective customers understand your product better. If you are selling a soil sensor that provides info on plant health directly to a smartphone, it’ll be great to demonstrate the app with a time-lapse video. If you are selling a beach towel that doesn’t get any sand stuck on it, a great beach video will do the trick.
- Test new waters: Startups often face the tough job of an idea and product validation. If you are in this phase you can create demo content and landing pages to test customer reaction to new products. Let’s say that you plan to sell a custom-designed cloth hanger that removes creases as it dries clothes (talk about wishful thinking!). A content landing page with the product benefits can work to your advantage where you can leave a lead form for those who are interested to know more.
6. I don’t have a huge budget. Can I still do content marketing?
According to DemandMetric, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing (and will also increase your leads by 3x). The cool part is that the ROI continues to pay off even after years. The piece of cornerstone content that you create today can reap returns in traffic and leads even after five years.
Let’s say you don’t have a huge budget. You can pick up the most important things that you need for content marketing and invest wisely.
A how-to video, for example, is a must for most brands as it works to answer a lot of questions in one go. Another must is a few cornerstone authoritative blogs that can help you drive traffic and improve your search engine visibility. Last but not the least, you need the best possible content on an optimized landing page / lead gen page. If you can get started with these three, it’ll be a good beginning.
7. How do you get everyone in the team to invest in content marketing?
A company puts forth many touch points for its customers. You have customer service representatives, sales and marketing personnel and project managers. In some cases, you also have technical staff directly addressing client queries. All these touchpoints can use content marketing to their advantage. In our experience, if others in your company are not pitching in your content marketing, it is either because they can’t find it easily, they don’t know how to use it or it isn’t tailor-made for their requirements.
You’ll have to get into a meeting with your colleagues to see which reason fits. Depending on how important the touch point is, you can then create custom content for them. It not only helps the existing team but also brings anyone new up to speed quickly. Creating an easily accessible library of content custom designed for sales personnel in your company will get them to use it more often.
The second way to get your team interested in making them a part of the content generation process. Senior personnel can put out their own articles on blogs or third party websites like Linkedin to attract attention. For those who don’t have the time for actual content creation, a person from the content team can interview and put articles together. With many members now pitching articles and ideas, you’ll have a healthy pipeline of content going.
8. What are the best metrics that define success in content marketing
For most businesses, success boils down to sales. If products and services aren’t selling then what’s the point of all the marketing, traffic and brand awareness? While we fully agree to this, you’ll have to look at content marketing as a must for you to function well in the online ecosystem. Without good content and optimization, you won’t be discovered online. Without a good website and proper landing pages, you won’t be able to generate leads and sales. Lastly, without an optimum presence on social channels, you won’t be listening to what your customers are saying.
So, start with the premise that content marketing is a must – it isn’t optional anymore.
Now, coming to ROI – Content marketing can, directly and indirectly, link to sales. Like all marketing and advertising activities that eventually link to sales, content marketing does so too. With online, you have the additional advantage of tracking each campaign and channel and optimize to do better.
If you still need the math, calculate where your company will be without content marketing. You won’t need any more convincing.
9. What can an SME do to better its content marketing strategy?
Most SMEs face three challenges compared to their larger, well-established counterparts – time, budget and resources. There a few important things that an SME needs to decide in advance. Is the content marketing going to be a DIY or will you hire an expert to do it.
Doing it DIY has an experimental, learning phase. SMEs who are short on time and resources will find it difficult to fully do justice here. Instead, hiring an external consultant with clear deliverables can considerably ease things out.
The strategy is not about a few blogs you put on your website. It ebbs and flows through each word you speak online.
Download our eBook about Budget-friendly Content Marketing for Smart SMEs now.- This is what SMEs need to understand about content marketing and how to get it started
10. Can content marketing benefit B2B companies? What are the differences between B2B and B2C content marketing?
The difference in B2B and B2C comes in the basic way we market to these industries. In the case of B2C, you are most likely speaking directly to the purchase decision-maker. When you are doing B2C, the content works in layers where each person in the B2B decision-making chain has something crafted for them.
B2B is fairly simple. You read about a police-style torchlight, click the link for purchasing it on Amazon and then buy it. In case of a B2B product like an industrial machine, you’ll have to appeal every one from the purchase manager to the product engineer to the CEO.
Because of the value of products (big-ticket purchases), many B2B decisions don’t get taken on the first go and require quite a bit of serenading. This also pushes you to think of content addressing each step of the sales process.
B2B content marketing also differs from regular marketing. The channels you choose and the resources you choose will not be mass media but niche places where your customers hang out like industry forums and professional networks.
11. If there was one content marketing tactic that you think I should start right now, which would it be?
If there is a single tactic you need to pick, we’ll recommend the email newsletter. It connects and branches out to multiple activities. You’ll need to drive traffic to the website to first increase your subscriber base. Next, you’ll have to create custom content to make the newsletter exciting and then the final send out.
Contrary to popular belief, email newsletters aren’t a free source of marketing. You have a one-time cost of acquiring subscribers, a monthly cost of maintaining an email list and time and resources to put the newsletter together. Even then, if you gain a substantial user base, it is one of the best pull marketing tactics that can make customers keep coming back to you. From creating recall to enhancing sales possibilities to cost-effectiveness, email marketing would be our pick.
These questions are just the baseline. We do tend to get a lot more in our inbox from prospective clients and we take the time to answer each of them. So if you have a question about content marketing, please drop us an email at [email protected]