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Getting started with online marketing

Content Marketing

When a food manufacturer sells cheap recipe books, a tractor manufacturer publishes an agricultural magazine or a fast food chain publishes an infographic about healthy living on their website, there is talk about content marketing. It’s the content that is published to attract and influence an audience who might be interested in buying the products or services a company sells. It’s the most effective form of marketing available today – and the Internet is seeing an explosion in content marketing. Read on to learn more about content marketing.

Content Marketing costs around a third as much as traditional marketing and generates seven times more leads.

Interesting content is one of the main reasons why people follow brands, companies or individuals on social media.

68% of consumers regularly spend time to read content from the brands they follow on social media.

60% of consumers look more favourably on brands that publish relevant and interesting content.

What is content marketing?

While traditional marketing is about marketing a product or service through publicity (ads, events, sponsorship), content marketing is all about publishing informative content that is relevant to the audience you want to buy your product or service.

This allows you to attract new prospects to your website. Once on your site you can keep them engaged with more in-depth content or valuable and useful information that they can use in everyday life. The content creates greater loyalty and gives you more authority with the target group. This leads to greater confidence in you or your company.

The authority and trust you build converts to sales and repeat purchases – often without having to actively sell. People buy the product by themselves, because your content has convinced them.

Put simply, we can say that content marketing educates people to become your customers!

Anyone can use content marketing

The Internet has made it possible for anyone to produce and distribute content marketing content for a fraction of what it cost in the old days when everything had to be printed and physically distributed.

These days content marketing content can easily be delivered for free from a company website and personalised or adapted to different audiences through various forms of automation. At the same time, social media has made it easy to target very specific audiences with carefully tailored content marketing campaigns – and made it possible to reach much further through the social sharing of great content.

Therefore, content marketing today is the most widespread form of marketing for both large and small companies. Anyone can join – even you and your business!

Content Marketing benefits

Content marketing provides lower costs per acquisition through higher conversion rates.

Content marketing has greater impact and greater recall rates than advertising.

Content marketing provides greater opportunities to target your marketing.

Content marketing creates positive buzz about your brand or company.

Content marketing creates credibility with your target audience.

No company is too small to use content marketing in its marketing.

The thee key steps in content marketing!

042 Attract

Attract potential customers with good quality content that is not just written to support a keyword!

Attract new visitors to your website or e-commerce with content that ranks well in search results. From well written articles, infographics or posts, to guest writing on the websites your audience visits through to interesting posts on different social media channels such as detailed posts in online forums or groups.

Use your experience to attract new readers by providing answers to the most common questions people have when they take an interest in your area of expertise. But do not churn out the same thing as your competitors! Give the topic your own unique twist. Come up with your own examples and explanations that show that you’re ahead of your competition and think differently.

Wherever people find your content, it must be thoroughly prepared and articulate. It must provide readers with some new, valuable knowledge that gives them answers to what they were looking for or a solution to the problems they are and struggling with.

The currency people pay you with when they read your content online is the time they spend on it – and if they find that they’ve wasted their time with you, they will not come back. On the contrary, if they feel well served they’ll remember you and start coming back for more. Every time they click one of your links in search results or read articles and other content from you elsewhere on the Web, it’s because you gave them a good experience the first time they clicked on your search result.

04_02 Retain

Once people have had a good experience with your content, they recognise your company or brand and start following you.

After having some good experiences with the content you produce people begin to notice you or your company and the other content you publish. Perhaps they even begin to follow you on one of the social media channels or start sharing your content because they think it’s good. Your content has real sharing potential if the content can enhance the reputation of your readers in their own network.

After a while, slowly but surely you start building a community around your online presence because you never (or very rarely) disappoint people with your content. This attracts new shares and the blossoming community brings in even more interested readers who in turn share you content and soon it starts to snowball.

To retain your audience however, it’s important that you continue to create the same high quality content so you don’t let your followers down. It must continue to make help them fulfil their goals within the subject area you’re developing content around.

So give them quick wins in terms of the things that you yourself consider to be low-hanging fruit, share your “secret tools” or give them smart shortcuts to solve simple problems. Your readers will become your fans, they’ll trust you as as a source they can always rely on.

In this way you’ll be the natural first choice the next time they have a question in your subject or topic area. But do not cut corners. Let them down just once and they may be gone forever.

04_03 Convert

Content Marketing does not mean that you should not ask for the sale. Do you do it right though and the sales will come almost by themselves.

As soon as people read some of your content they’re already buying from you. They don’t pay with money, but with the time they spend on reading the article. Every time they read more great content, they’re having a good buying experience with you.

A good experience gets readers into the marketing funnel and lowers the barrier to making a first purchase. The first major purchase is not money in the till though, it happens the day people sign up for your newsletter.

The sooner you can get readers on your mailing list, the better. For the sooner you can start to work diligently to market your commercial business. If you set up your automated newsletters smarty you’ll ensure that subscribers get to know all about your products and services and go all the way to doing business with you. But it obviously requires all of your newsletters hit the mark. Of course, there’s room for the odd misfire, but too many mistakes will have them clicking the Unsubscribe button.

So first you attract readers with good content. Then retain them with more great content and eventually convert them when they are ready to buy. As they’ve already had several good experiences with your content it doesn’t take much to convince them of the need to actually transact with you – whether you sell online digital products or services or physical goods.

It happens quite naturally really, because your readers are already convinced that you are the right choice to buy from and therefore do not feel that they are being sold to. The good content has paved the way.

Strategic content developement!

The 4 basic content needs

For each of the three steps in the Content Marketing process you can choose to publish many different types of content. But no matter what content you produce, make sure it can fulfil at least one of these basic content needs.

thumb_01_60_60SEARCHABLE CONTENT

The content that your target audience demands. It answers their questions and provides solution to their problems.

thumb_01_60_60LINKABLE CONTENTS

The content that gets others to link to your pages because of your great content. It might be guides, infographics or just a fun video.

thumb_01_60_60SHAREABLE CONTENT

Content that readers will share on social networks – either because it gives prestige, is thought provoking or just fun..

thumb_01_60_60CONVERTING CONTENT

Content that converts sales of your products or services or, for example, gets readers to sign up for your newsletter.

Choose the right kind of content for the purpose

The most popular Content Marketing Content Types

ARTICLES

Articles that answers the questions people are searching for or offer the solution to their problems. The most common form of Content Marketing content.

INFOGRAPHICS

Infographics are popular as shareable content. They can provide a good overview and present complex subjects in a visual and easily understandable way.

VIDEOS

A video is much better at retaining visitors than text because people don’t have to read anything. Suitable as shareable content and very popular.

PODCASTS

Podcasting has become popular again. Their greatest strength is the fact you can do something else while listening. Good to retain your visitors.

GUIDES

Do-it-yourself and other practical guides with clever ways of solving specific problems or tasks are a popular Content Marketing content type..

CHECKLISTS

Like guides, checklists are a popular way to communicate the solution to complex tasks, or to ensure the quality of comprehensive workflows.

CASES

Cases are a good way of conveying the way you solve problems for your customers and what problems your products or services can solve.

SIMULATORS

Calculators make it possible to carry out complex calculations or to diagnose certain problems or symptoms. Popular as sharable content.

LIST ARTICLE

List type articles are always popular. 10 Tips for … 5 things you should avoid … and similar articles which list a series of tips or tricks on a topic.

WHITE PAPERS

White Papers are more in-depth pieces of content that deal with a particular issue in a serious manner. They are unlike to e-books, which are often more popular and commercial.

E-BOOKS

E-books are popular and mostly used as give-aways to boost subscribers to your e-mail list. Also used for marketing in other ways.

EVENTS

Events can be either be live or online in the form of webinars. They bring together experts or peers who give a presentation on a given topic.

Note  – There are many more Content Marketing content types than these. In principle, any type of content can be used as long as it provides visitors the content they want and the content is built to fit strategically into one of the three steps of the Content Marketing Process.

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