By Laia Cardona, on 27 July 2022
By now, you’ve surely heard the phrase “Content is King”. But why is content marketing important for marketers? In this post, we'll answer this question by defining what it is, its benefits and formats, and how you can create a content marketing strategy to attract clients to your business.
- 1. What Content Marketing Is
- 2. The Benefits of Content Marketing
- 3. Content Marketing Fundamentals
- 4. The World of Content Marketing
- 5. Inspiring Ideas for Your Content Marketing
- 6. How to Implement Content Marketing
- 7. Strategies to Attract Clients With Content Marketing
- 8. Content Marketing Trends for 2022
- 9. Content Marketing Statistics
What Is and Isn’t Content Marketing?
Content is to the digital marketer as black is to fashion: a classic that never fails. 12 years ago, Joe Pulizzi gave a definition that continues to ring true: “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Simple enough, right? Just to make sure you really have it down pat, let’s take a look at what this kind of marketing is, and what it isn’t.
What Content Marketing Is
- Offering value, free of charge. “Give and you shall receive” is one of the big mottos of content creation.
- A long-term investment. Some companies start writing a blog with all the enthusiasm in the world, and then give up when they can’t quantify results after a couple of months. Wrong! Before jumping in, you need to fully understand that to get the best results, you have to be consistent, and think in the long term.
- A whole-team effort. If you think about all the different people who work in your company, you’ll be sure to find that everyone can offer new and fresh perspectives on your content. Although the bulk of the responsibility belongs to the marketing department, getting your whole team involved will make your content much more interesting.
What Content Marketing Is Not
- It is not just writing articles. When we think about this kind of marketing, we often only think of the first step: creating content related to your brand. In reality, it is an entire content strategy that consists of four phases: generating traffic, generating leads, lead nurturing, and generating clients.
- It is not native advertising. Although they do share some common characteristics, native advertising differs from content marketing in two major aspects: first of all, it is based on paying for other people’s spaces (as opposed to publishing on our own channels) and uses a pre-existing audience (rather than creating our own from scratch).
- It is not inbound marketing. Well, content marketing is inbound marketing, but the opposite is not necessarily true. The concept of inbound marketing encompasses all actions to attract clients to your business, including more traditional tools such as advertising.
- It is not copywriting. Do not give in to the temptation of using your blog as an excuse to sell! Content marketing revolves around helping and supporting the user. Slogans and excessively sales-y monologues will not yield successful results for your brand.
The Benefits of Content Marketing
Content marketing is a long-term investment, that requires time and resources. So why even bother? Here are some of the benefits of a good content strategy:
- You win your users’ trust. Regularly publishing quality content lets users know they can trust your brand. After all, if you are willing to help them for free, what won’t you be willing to do when they’re paying you?
- You position yourself as an expert in your industry. If you can “be there” when a newspaper writes an article about your industry, or when someone wants some information on a specific topic, you will gain recognition and authority, turning yourself into an industry expert.
- It improves your long-term strategy. With a well-developed content plan, you can take comfort in knowing what direction your marketing is going in and what you will be doing, and when.
- It improves your search engine positioning (SEO). Regularly publishing content is a sure-fire way to get Google to love you. If you are able to get your content positioned among the first search engine results, you will have access to an incredible source of free traffic.
- It generates clients and sales. As a consequence of all of the above, your sales will grow, with more users visiting your website, and who trust you more. Nevertheless, if you want your strategy to actually work and be effective, do not forget about the next steps in the content marketing conversion funnel we mentioned earlier (lead generation, lead nurturing, client generation).
Content Marketing Fundamentals
In case the concept of content marketing still seems vague, here are a few points that will help you sharpen your understanding of content marketing:
- It’s a way of adding value for free. In other words, you give to gain.
- It’s a long-term investment. When choosing between the various options in your marketing toolkit, you need to understand what tools will bring a quick fix, and which provide a long-term solution. In the case of content marketing, you’re thinking long-term by placing a bet on the future of your brand. Keep in mind that you will most probably not see profitable results within the first months, but keep your eyes on the prize, and don’t lose motivation just yet.
- It’s a lot more than just writing articles. Content comes in various shapes and sizes; it’s certainly not limited to your blog posts. In reality, a complete content marketing strategy has four phases: traffic generation, lead generation, lead nurturing, and client conversion. We’ll be looking further into the world of content marketing in the next section.
- It’s not publicity. As opposed to focusing on selling something directly, your content should focus on adding value. There’s nothing worse than a poorly timed sales pitch. Be a helping hand, support your usersm and sound authentic. Don’t speak with slogans.
The World of Content Marketing
Normally when we talk about content marketing here at Cyberclick, we refer to a very concrete strategy based on publishing to our own channels. If we take on a more holistic perspective, we see how various techniques and different strategies come into the scope of content marketing. Let me show you a few examples:
- Brand sponsorships. When a brand sponsors an event, it is associating itself with particular content (the themes and messages addressed at the event) that reflects its values and spirit. Sponsorships are an indirect form of producing relevant content.
- Native Advertising. Native advertising is a form of paid advertising in which you publish content on a medium external to the firm. This content reflects the type of medium in which it is published, and adds value to an audience. An example of this type of advertising includes a campaign for the series "Orange is the New Black". The show is about the lives of female convicts in a prison in the United States. On the release date of its new season, The New York Times published a long report on the challenges facing women in prison with interactive elements. It was sponsored by Netflix.
- Social Media. Social networks can be used to spread existing branded content, as well as create content directly for specific channels.
Each social network presents unique characteristics regarding the format of the contents, so the best creative solutions will adapt to them. Recent examples are Instagram and Snapchat stories, which have changed the way we understand and consume content.
- Guest Blogging. Guest blogging consists of publishing content created by brand representatives to important blogs in the sector. This way, you get to expose yourself to a new audience and improve SEO by generating backlinks to your site. It can also help position you as a specialist on a specific topic and connect with others.
The Most Popular Branded Content Formats
- Blogs. Although they have been around for decades, they are still one of our favorite ways to consume content. The key to a successful blog is to publish regularly and consistently, have well-organized categories and tags and invest in high-quality articles. “Filler” content may be cheaper to produce but will cost you in the long run.
- Reports, white papers, and other downloadable PDFs. This kind of content offers a lot of value to people who are looking to learn more about a certain topic and is a big help in positioning you as an industry expert. They are also a very efficient way to get your potential clients' emails and basic contact details.
- Newsletters. Once you have been able to gather a database of people who are potentially interested in your brand, newsletters are a great way to keep in touch. You can use them to promote your blog’s best content.
- Videos. Video continues to be a trend and is only becoming more and more popular among users. Formats such as video tutorials are very effective in positioning your brand, while livestreams are a great, innovative way to reach out to your audience and show off your spontaneity.
- Infographics. The perfect addition to your blog to make it easily shareable on social media.
Inspiring Ideas for Your Content Marketing
Use the FAQ to create content on your blog. Think of the 20 most frequently asked questions about your product or service and how you could answer them in a didactic way. You have ideas for 20 posts! Besides being a great source of useful content, this will help you save time in customer service: the next time you receive one of these questions, you only have to send the link.
Include GIFs in your emails to show special offers. GIFs are a simple way to communicate with and speak to consumers in their own language.
Partner with influencers to create video content. Video content is attractive, but it is difficult to produce. To make it easier, you can partner with influencers on YouTube.
Harnesses the power of memes on Facebook. A meme is, by definition, a viral phenomenon. Is there a picture or a video circulating on the wall of all your friends? How could you use it in a humorous way for your brand? Be creative and remember that the goal here is not to sell, but to get likes.
Do not forget hashtags. Hashtags are used to classify posts and increase your visibility. You should use them to connect with your audience. Be careful not to refer to political or potentially offensive topics.
Write about your mistakes and failures. Failures and errors usually teach more than successes. Often brands and companies are determined to give off an ideal image of themselves, but the fact is that everyone makes mistakes and being perfect isn’t credible. So talk about your mistakes on your blog! Your readers will appreciate your honesty.
Organize a webinar. Training is one of the most valuable forms of content that you can give to your followers. What is your company an expert in? Think about how you can express this expertise through a 30-60 minute webinar. This way you can interact directly with attendees and answer their questions in real-time and for free. It is a great way to position yourself as an expert.
How to Implement Content Marketing
There are many keys to success for your content, but if you were to force my hand to give you one sole piece of advice, it would be, “tell a story”.
As we touched on earlier, direct sales pitches don’t work with content marketing. They simply don’t achieve the goal of truly connecting with an audience and adding value. To reach your consumers, you need to be authentic and sincere. Show them you are there for their benefit alone with no hidden agenda. Do this by avoiding intrusive ads, and instead contributing to the user experience.
- Make use of titles and intros to attract users. Stand out in the sea of content. Your intro and title are your buoys in the ocean. The title and intro must achieve a good balance between two factors: attractiveness and describing what is yet to come. Briefly outline in an engaging and appropriate way what type of content the reader can look forward to.
- Prioritize clarity. Journalism seeks to inform a large segment of the population. Best practices include picking out the facts that are most relevant and communicating these in a clear and simple way. When we talk about reading on the internet, expressing oneself in a simple way is more important than ever. Try using short paragraphs and add in elements to break things up; like bullet points!
- Have a clear focus. How you tell your content is just as important as the actual content itself. In many cases, the difference between one medium or another is not the news or facts themselves, but the distinctive perspective the medium has. Reflect on what your brand voice is and why.
- Be concise. There’s beauty in brevity.
- Images. They say a picture is worth more than a thousand words. Photo galleries, infographics, and videos make the content more valuable and attractive than just plain text.
Strategies to Attract Clients With Content Marketing
When planning your content marketing strategy, you can focus on many things. My main advice is to start off simple, always keeping the four steps we mentioned above in mind. Here are some ideas:
- Create the best content possible. If you are going to make the long-term investment this kind of marketing requires, do it well! You need your content to impress your users, so much so that they recommend it to their friends and view you as a reference.
- Don’t focus only traffic but on conversions, too. Traffic and visitors, on their own, won’t benefit you all that much. Leads, on the other hand, are very beneficial to you. This is why you need to make sure you have a strategy to get visitors to leave you their contact details and offer them something of value in exchange.
- Invest in SEO. For your content to be easy to find and relevant, it should be well tagged and follow some sort of positioning guideline. Avoid tactics like keyword stuffing and Black Had SEO. If you are careful with this from the very beginning, you will start seeing the effects of your content much sooner.
- Think long-term. Planning is half the battle. In order for your posting to be consistent and reliable, you need to organize your editorial calendar in advance.
Content Marketing Trends for 2023
Sales: The Most Important Metric in Content Marketing
In content marketing, there are many metrics to choose from, but knowing which ones to analyze can be difficult. Don't worry, you just need to know which one is the most important for marketing experts: sales. According to Hubspot's 2021 Not Another State of Marketing Report, content is mainly generated to sell.
Cognitive Automation for Workflows (AI and Machine Learning)
Automating processes is difficult because many workflows require human intervention. To overcome this obstacle, incorporate machine learning into unstructured processes to add a cognitive element that helps make sense of information.
Depending on your company's situation, there are different solutions for incorporating cognitive automation to interpret unstructured data. There is no need to rethink your entire company structure from top to bottom, but you can find the tool that suits you.
Content Marketing Statistics
According to HubSpot's Report "The State of Content Marketing in 2022," here are some statistics regarding the future of content marketing.
- "Over 60% of marketers measure the success of their content marketing strategy through sales."
- "The top three goals marketers achieve through successful content marketing are generating brand awareness, building credibility and trust, and educating audiences."
- "The top technologies B2B organizations use to supplement content marketing are analytics tools, social media publishing, and email marketing software."