The ABC of Content Marketing
Is your business surviving completely on outbound leads? Are you struggling to find high-quality and consistent inbound leads for your business? Are you spending $$$ on advertisements, but the results still seem bleak?
If the answer to any one of the questions is yes, you need to create a robust brand image and engage and educate your target audience.
Are you wondering how you can educate and entertain your target audience and generate consistent, high-quality inbound leads? Well, then, content marketing is your answer.
Questions like what is content marketing exactly? What are the types of it? What are its benefits? And more will be explored in the blog below. So stay with us to understand everything you should know about content marketing.
What is Content Marketing?
The content marketing institute defines content marketing as a marketing technique that involves creating and distributing content that is valuable and relevant consistently to attract a clearly defined audience, with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
Say you run a beauty brand – your normal approach would be to advertise your products and talk about their benefits, right? On the other hand, content marketing involves creating valuable content that can help your target audience better understand how to do makeup and, in turn, how to effectively use your products. For example, look at Nykaa’s Instagram page and blog page. You will see them sharing different makeup looks, tricks of doing makeup, understanding how to pick a foundation shade based on your skin tone, etc. They are creating content that is informative and engaging for their target audience, and that’s what content marketing is all about.
Now that we are clear on the meaning of content marketing, let’s look at different types of content that are used for content marketing.
Different Types of Content Marketing Ideas
Think of content marketing and Coca-Cola’s share a coke campaign or GoPro’s user-generated content comes to mind – and while both are amazing examples for the same, content marketing is not limited to spending $$$ on creating larger than life campaigns. There are various forms of content that you can use to create engagement with your target audience on a limited budget.
There are multiple content types used for content marketing, but they can be broadly divided into three categories that are visual content, audio content, and written content. Let’s take a microscopic look at each content type, when and how to use it, and the benefits it offers.
Here are 9 Content Types in Content Marketing
The blog is one of the low-cost ways to increase organic traffic to your website. Businesses that blog create twice as much traffic than businesses that don’t. Creating blog content that can educate your audience about the services/products you offer and the benefits of consuming the same creates brand loyalty. For example, say you run a home decor brand, then creating blog posts like – how to decorate your room on a budget, or DIY wall decor or things to keep in mind while buying home decor, etc. will help your catch the attention of the audience who are looking for inspiration and can turn into potential customers.
Here are Few Things to Keep in Mind While Creating Blog Content:
- Provide value in your content.
- Make sure your content is SEO optimized.
- Use a pillar or cluster model to organize your blog topic.
- Be consistent with your blogging.
In addition, to creating blogs on your website, also invest in guest blogging. Creating blogs on websites/ e-magazines related to your niche can expose you to their wide reader base and brand you as a thought leader in the industry.
Press Squeeze Magazine is one such inspiration to look at when it comes to creating holistic blog posts for your website. Their content not only revolves around healthy eating (they offer cold-pressed juices and juice cleanse) but also healthy living. Their content ranges from giving information about workout clothes to suggesting healthy places to eat while traveling, all while keeping their primary focus on creating content around healthy eating.
2. Video Content
Video content is one of the most rewarding forms of content marketing. Social media video content generates 1200% more shares compared to text and photos. 54% of internet users prefer watching a video from their favorite brand. Video content also helps viewers in retaining 95% more information compared to retaining 10% of the information in the text.
Things to Keep in Mind While Creating Video Content for Social Media
- Keep your videos short – video length between 9 to 15 seconds tends to perform better on social media.
- Most viewers see a video in the mute mode so make sure your creatives are optimized for only visuals.
- Create a good mix of explainer videos and entertainment and engaging videos.
Humans of Bombay page for a long time was a picture storytelling page – however, they quickly jumped on the reel trend, and one can clearly see the increase in their likes. When you compare their post and video content posted on the same day – you will see their video generated 21,443 more likes compared to the picture content and 200 more comments.
Include video content in your marketing mix to not only increase your brand engagement but also improve your sales – 64% of consumers make a purchase after watching a branded social video.
You can see how Nykaa uses video content to drive engagement.
Podcasts are gaining popularity as its one of the most convenient forms of content to consume. People listen to podcasts on the topics they like while completing their day-to-day chores. Podcasts help you to exhibit your knowledge and establish yourself as a thought leader.
Clubhouse (an audio, social media app) offers a chance to create a live podcast where you can interact with your audience.
Things to Keep in Mind While Creating Podcast
- The optimum average length of a new podcast would be around 5 minutes. It helps the audience understand what you are all about without taking up too much of their time.
- The optimum length of podcasts that are successful is between 15 to 30 mins.
- Talk about things you are truly passionate about, as people can spot generic content very easily.
- Invite industry leaders/influencers from your industry as guests to increase your brand value.
The Tim Ferris Show by Tim Ferris is one such podcast that has been immensely successful. It generated 300 million downloads and has won the award of #1 business podcast. The podcast involves him discussing strategies, tools, and tactics to grow business.
Infographics offer an opportunity to get the best of visual as well as written storytelling. According to reports, we process visuals 60,000 times faster. Infographic lets you present data in an engaging way which otherwise would have been boring. It also makes your content more digestible – as not everyone has the capacity to read a 2000 word long blog post.
Things to Keep in Mind While Creating Infographics
- Keep it short and straight to the point.
- Add White Space, don’t make it look too busy.
- Make sure you have amazing data and a story to make your infographic stand out.
Kissmetrics was able to generate 2512598 website visitors, 41142 backlinks by creating 47 infographics. These infographics were able to generate 2512596 likes and 41359 tweets for Kissmetrics.
Example of an infographic by Kissmetrics
5. Case Studies
Case studies help your leads understand your business directly from your customer. They help create solid social proof for your business as your leads can see how your product or service has helped other businesses like them. Sharing case studies on your website and social media put the value you offer into action. B2B marketers report a 70% effectiveness rate of case studies in their marketing campaigns.
Things to Keep in Mind While Creating Case Studies.
- Write about clients your ideal customers will relate to.
- Show your customer’s entire journey, much like the body transformation videos you might have witnessed on social media – before, during, and after stages of the customer journey.
- Include real numbers as much as possible; it helps readers quantify the benefits your services offer.
- Get as specific as you can while talking about strategies used for the client’s growth.
- Create different kinds of case study content – podcast, video, blog, etc. to appeal to all kinds of audiences.
Neil Patel (a digital marketer) was able to increase his deal closing ratio by 70% after including case studies in his pitch email. He was able to grow his sales by 185% by testing out 3 case studies.
Here’s an example of case studies done by Google Ads.
6. Testimonials and Customer Reviews
93% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase decision. 91% of the young generation trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations made by family and friends. Customer reviews can make or break your brand. Your brand is as good as your customers say it to be. Along with increasing brand identity, customer reviews have also been found to increase click-through rates by as much as 35%. It was also found that 97% of the time, websites with star reviews are more likely to be click-through than websites without them. Given the strong influence of customer reviews on your brand image, it’s important you concentrate on gathering customer reviews for your brand online.
Things to Keep in Mind for Using Customer Reviews as A Marketing Strategy
- Add Your customer reviews on your website’s key pages.
- Use customer reviews in google search ads.
- Show review snippets on your social media pages.
- Make sure you have a presence on all the notable review websites.
- Be transparent while gathering reviews; customers can spot fake reviews easily.
- Be proactive when it comes to replying to your reviews.
Uber is a great example of using customer reviews to your advantage. Not only can you rate the app and the services, but they have also created an in-app review process where customers can review each driver after completing the ride. This is a great strategy to create trust in the mind of their customers.
7. White Papers
White papers are created to help readers either solve a problem, understand an issue or make a decision. It is a report or guide that explains complex problems in a precise manner. What sets them apart from other editorial content is that they involve doing in-depth research on the said topic lending the paper an authoritative tone.
They highly influence B2B buying decisions, as 79% of b2b buyers share white papers with their colleagues. Including white papers in your content marketing mix can help you build your mailing list, establish the brand as a thought leader in your industry; it is also very beneficial in generating leads.
Things to Keep in Mind While Writing a White Paper
- It is important you are qualified enough to write on the topic.
- Keep it interesting with concise but value-packed content.
- Make sure you don’t make it sound like a sales pitch.
- While written content is the key, make sure your design is on point to match your content.
Tableau’s white paper strategy involves combining material from many sources. Their own white paper published in the resource section also includes papers from Forrester, Gartner, The Economist. It also offers publications about common tools that its client would be using, like Salesforce. This approach is a more honest reflection of how their clients do business.
Here Are Few White Paper Examples from Tableau
8. Influencer Marketing
Ever noticed your favorite celebrity promote a brand? Or a beauty content creator on Youtube vouch for a certain foundation brand? That’s influencer marketing 101 for you.
Influencer marketing involves partnering with influential voices from your industry to market the product/service. A good influencer marketing campaign can increase brand awareness and boost your brand image. Influencer marketing has said to have an ROI of $5.78 for every dollar invested. Sponsored blog posts have been said to have yield 11X more returns than standard banner ads.
Things to Keep in Mind While Crafting an Influencer Marketing Campaign
- Along with their follower count, also make sure how many active followers does the influencer has.
- Make sure their followers are indeed your target audience; a huge number of followers won’t make a difference if the audience is irrelevant to your product/service.
- Go for micro-influencers as most of the time they are more connected to their audience have a better understanding of what their audience likes.
Here’s an example of a vegan youtube content creator partnering with other vegan brands to promote their product. Notice how the vegan brand chose to partner with a vegan food content creator as it’s their target audience. They might have gotten more eyeballs if they went with someone with more follower count- but over here, they capture the attention of their target audience.
9. Email/ Newsletter
Email marketing allows you to deliver targeted messages to an audience who is already interested in your products/service. It is one of the best platforms to take advantage of impulse buying; customers can go from looking at an offer to buying the product at the click of a button – according to marketing week, email generates £29bn retail sales annually. It allows you to have a one-on-one conversation with your target audience.
Things to Keep in Mind While Writing an Email
- Create a catchy headline – make sure the subject line of your email is enticing enough for your readers to feel compelled to open the email.
- Keep the email copy short and crisp for your users to actually read the entire email and understand what you are trying to convey.
- Don’t spam your customer’s inbox with unwanted emails – make sure each of your emails has a purpose and offers value to your customers. Sending a maximum of 2-3 emails a week is considered ideal.
Charity Water, an NGO, took a unique approach to email marketing and was able to increase its donation by $800,000. Instead of just thanking their customers for the donation, they chose to involve their donors in the entire process. The donors can see where their fund is being used and how it impacts people’s lives, which let them gather $30 million in the 2013 campaign. The takeaway here is to create relationships with your customers to turn them into repeat customers. Make your email marketing efforts more than just selling your products or services; concentrate on building relations, and it will yield amazing results.
Now that we are clear on different forms of content marketing. Let’s understand two different types of content that can be used for content marketing.
1. Paid/Editorial Content
This involves you creating your own content for your customers. This involves you creating your youtube videos or social media posts or writing a blog or a guest blog. It is basically content created by you for your customers. Some brands to look forward to for content marketing inspiration would be – Orbit Media, Jay Shetty, Nike, Coco-Cola, HubSpot, Nykaa, Amazon, etc.
2. User-Genrated Content
This involves content created by your customers using your product or service. It is basically free content for you which also creates social proof of your products and services being used. Go pro is one of the best examples of brands that thrive on user-generated content; another would be legos. Their content involves showing what their customers created from their product.
Let’s hop on to understand the benefits of content marketing for your business.
4 Benefits of Content Marketing
1. Increases Search Engine Visibility
Every new post you add to your website is another page that Google will index. This will help you rank higher on Google leading to more organic traffic to your website. Creating user-friendly quality content can increase your domain authority in Google. Blogging and guest blogging is some of the best ways for SEO. Almost 60% of markets say they have gained customers specifically through blogging; b2b marketers with blogs receive 67% more leads than marketers without.
2. Will Make Customers Stick Around for a Longer Time
The more content you have on your website, the more likely your customers will stick around, and the more they stick around, the more likely it is that your content can influence their purchase decision.
3. Higher Traffic from Referrals
Influencer marketing campaigns and guest blogging efforts can drive referral traffic your way. Referral traffic is generally easier to convert as they already have a positive image of your brand as it is suggested to them by someone they trust.
One of the most offbeat examples of using influencers for marketing would be GE.
The line of business is not exactly something that would catch eyeballs or generate interest – but GE managed to pull off an amazing influencer marketing campaign that fetched them amazing results. They invited 6 Instagram influencers to tour their manufacturing facilities and upload videos and pictures from their visit using #GEInstaWalk. This campaign gained them 8 million views of GE’s Instagram account, 3 million reachers per tour, and a solid 3000 new followers on their account.
4. Increase in Engagement
Social media marketing lets you have a two-way conversation with your customers. This increases customer engagement with your brand, which leads to customer loyalty. Few small homegrown Indian brands that are killing it with their social media game are- FAE (Beauty brand), Hibiscus Monkey (skincare brand), Monsoon Harvest (Food and Beverage), PropShop24 (gifting). Their social media content is a mix of creating high-quality educational and entertaining content and using user-generated content and customer reviews.
Now that you are clear on the different types of content you can use for your business and the benefits it offers, take a look at these tips to keep in mind while figuring out your content plan.
- Make sure you have a clear, measurable business goal while creating content.
- Understand your audience and their buyer journey.
- Make sure your readers find either information or entertainment in your content.
- Adopt the pillar-cluster model to sort out your content creation process.
- Use analytics to understand what’s working and what’s not.
- Repurpose your content and tweak it to make it platform appropriate.
- Concentrate your efforts on creating an engaging and flawless user expirience.