1) What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a well-established marketing system that advocates the use of relevant, informative, and catchy content for customer acquisition and retention. It adds an extra dynamic to advertising by adding value for the target customers. The content is ultimately used to shape customer opinion and influence action. The content used be of any type, including articles, podcasts, and videos. Short format videos are an example of an emerging and impactful mode of content marketing.
Content marketing is a long-term strategy that needs thorough planning and excellent execution. The returns from content marketing tends to increase exponentially over time, with barely perceptible returns in the beginning. With proper planning and execution, these returns can skyrocket before long.
2) Why is content marketing a necessity for modern businesses?
The first banner ad on the internet was placed in 1994, with about 44 percent of the visitors clicking on it. The average clickthrough rates (CTR) of traditional advertising approaches have been decreasing ever since, ultimately settling at a lowly 0.43% in 2022.
This has made traditional advertising a footnote in the marketing strategies of modern brands. To get a respectable return on ad spend (ROAS), it has become necessary to explore new avenues. It is interesting to note that content marketing has been around since the pre-internet days, and is being rediscovered by modern ecommerce businesses.
Content marketing allows you to create a sustained impression on the mind of your customers. Compared to traditional marketing practices, the customer is less likely to become skeptical of your marketing tactics as the primary focus remains on the useful content being provided. The key to a successful content marketing strategy lies in the proper balance of quality content and product placement.
3) How can you use content marketing to influence your target audience?
If you are new to the world of content marketing, you might have difficulty understanding how exactly you can drive consumer decisions through high-quality content. While you need to formulate a customized strategy for your business, the framework largely depends on the type of your business. We have created a quick guide to help you understand how you can impact your customers through content marketing.
3.1) For B2C businesses
Historically, content marketing has been a viable marketing strategy for B2C brands. Perhaps the most well known example of this is the Sears Catalogue, which helped create a highly successful mail-order business. For modern online businesses, the priority should be to reach the target audience successfully.
While B2C businesses have multiple channels to reach customers, it is important to identify the most effective ones. For fast fashion and cost conscious brands, short videos can be a good sales driver among their target audience. High end and boutique brands still rely on old fashioned articles to increase visibility, albeit now in digital format.
To make the most out of your marketing budget, you will need to thoroughly understand your market and customers. It is important for online businesses to stay ahead of trends and popular opinions to avoid potential PR disasters. This necessitates proper vetting before partnering with influencers and publications. But do not let caution slow you down, constant evolution is the name of the game in content marketing.
3.2) For B2B businesses
For B2B businesses, content is a great way to gain traction and better brand recognition. With a proper strategy, content marketing can seriously boost your B2B business. Maintaining the accuracy and quality of your content when operating in the B2B space is of utmost importance. Due to the nature of the target audience here, inaccurate content and content riddled with grammatical errors can quickly drive away potential clients. Your content should be properly structured, have a professional tone, and should provide the information the reader is looking for.
3.3) For D2C businesses
Direct to consumer businesses generally do not need a fundamentally different approach from B2C businesses. As their marketing channels are limited compared to B2C businesses, it is always a good idea to maintain their own blogs. D2c businesses will also need to curate their content better to make sure that their brand ethos are being properly represented. Having a well-written and high ranking blog can change the fortunes of D2C online businesses.
4) 6 ways to step up your content marketing game
4.1) Create high-quality content
To gain proper ranking and visibility, your business should be producing high quality content. High quality content refers to informative and easily readable content with proper information, accuracy, tone, and structure. The tone of the content should be in sync with the market you are targeting and will greatly vary depending on your industry. Low quality and controversial content can quickly erode trust in your business and drive away customers. Creating content on social issues may be acceptable if they resonate with your customer base and brand ethos. In general, we recommend that you stay away from marketing campaigns that can potentially alienate a part of your customer base .
4.2) Make sure your content is tailored to the target audience
The best measure of the success of your content marketing strategy is the conversion rates, and page views mean next to nothing unless your content is reaching the target audience. This makes it essential for your online business to target and reach the proper audience. If the content you are producing is irrelevant to your products or does not appeal to your customers, it will ultimately have zero effect. This applies equally to selecting the mode of your content marketing.
4.3) Avoid plagiarized, AI generated, and repetitive content
While it largely simplifies and brings down the cost of creating content, using plagiarized, AI generated, and repetitive content ultimately hurts your brand. This kind of content will generally not show up in search engines, wasting your entire marketing budget. On the off chance that this content reaches your costumes, it will only erode trust in your brand.
4.4) Have a top notch SEO team
SEO plays an end-to-end role in content marketing and ensures that your content is reaching the target audience. They can point you towards trending topics by narrowing down keywords after sifting through search engine data. SEO also helps you understand the right format for your content and acts as a quality control layer. As SEO deals with actual actionables - numbers and data, looking at your SEO results is an excellent way of quantifying the performance of your content.
4.5) Have a proper content marketing strategy
A proper content marketing strategy tailored to your target customer base can work wonders for your brand. After identifying your target audience, the next step is to find a viable way of distributing the content. For segments like fashion where impulse purchases drive sales, Instagram popups can provide great results at low cost. In some segments such as consumer durables like household appliances and furniture, deep research is the norm among customers. If you are operating in these segments, you will need to step up your game by disseminating informative articles, blog posts, and case studies. A well-strategized social media presence is an absolute necessity for modern brands. It ensures brand loyalty by increasing visibility, and also helps you acquire new customers.
4.6) Collect and analyze performance data
Collecting and analyzing performance data will enable you to quantify the results of your marketing campaigns. Looking at the results is one of the most efficient ways of finetuning your content marketing strategy. The caveat here is that understanding raw data is often a challenge. You should ideally opt for a SaaS platform that allows you to collect and visualize your marketing data.
5) 5 common mistakes brands make in content marketing
5.1) Having low-quality and error-prone content
Your customers are likely to be knowledgeable about the topics you are producing content on, and inaccuracies will quickly turn them away. The same is true for low-quality and hard-to-follow content. Factual errors can erode the credibility of your products and even make your long-term customers look for alternatives and competitors.
5.2) Not paying enough attention to SEO
Even if a business is producing quality content, SEO ensures that the content reaches the right audience. Not paying enough attention to SEO will substantially decrease the effectiveness of your marketing spending. SEO also plays an important role in formulating and finetuning your content strategy.
5.3) Treating content strategy as an afterthought
Treating content marketing strategy as an afterthought often proves costly for online businesses. Due to fierce competition in the marketing space, a proper marketing strategy has become a necessity to acquire and retain customers. Pushing content marketing strategy in the background, even for a short period of time can have adverse effects on your customer churn rate.
5.4) Having a poor website layout
Even if you are doing everything else right, a poor website layout makes your content unreadable. A well designed and responsive website is a must have in this day and age. It can also skyrocket your conversion rates through proper product placements.
5.5) Not adapting to changes
Content marketing and SEO is a fast-moving sector where large changes can happen in a matter of weeks. It is necessary for your content marketing strategy to account for this and provide enough flexibility. It is also necessary for your entire marketing and SEO team to adapt to these changes. A fast enough response to the evolving needs of content marketing can catapult you ahead of your competitors.
Modern consumers have grown tired of traditional marketing methods, which are often being seen as predatory and misleading. This makes it necessary to put a different spin on your marketing strategy - to provide immense value alongside your advertisements. Content marketing provides the perfect solution by enabling your brand to circulate quality content while driving conversion. To achieve success in this space, your business needs to have a well thought out strategy with proper implementation.
7.1) What are some examples of brands properly leveraging content marketing?
Several brands in different market segments have leveraged content marketing to great success. In the mass market, one such example is GoPro, which used captivating POV videos to take the market by storm, ultimately creating an entirely new segment of products. In the high-end market, brands have taken this to a new height where their content is more well-known than their retail business. An example of this is the New York based watch retailer Hodinkee.
7.2) What are some challenges faced by brands using content marketing?
Some common challenges faced by online brands while using content marketing are lack of experienced content creators, lack of content strategists, and relatively higher costs with minuscule returns in the initial period. The intense competition in this space is another challenge, which makes it necessary to hire top talent and to constantly evolve.