Practicals For Beginners

Introduction To Content Marketing

Practical Understandings Of Content Marketing – 1

Practical Understandings Of Content Marketing – 2

Review Of Content Marketing

1. Content Marketing Introduction

Content Marketing is all about creating and distributing content that engages and attracts a targeted audience, while encouraging them to take action which is profitable to a business. This is a brief tutorial that explains how you can use content marketing to your advantage and promote your business.

2. Content Marketing Overview

Content Marketing is known by many names such as inbound marketing, corporate journalism, branded media, native advertising, and customer publishing to name a few. However, the basic idea behind the strategy remains the same, i.e., to create and distribute content that engages and attract a targeted audience, while encouraging them to take action which is profitable to a business.

  • What is the Use of Content Marketing?

The growth of the World Wide Web, social network, and mobile technologies has changed the relationship between consumers and businesses. Average Consumers today don’t buy a product just by passively watching its advertisement on a billboard. They research on Google to compare similar products, read the product’s review online by experts, and even ask their Friends on social networks, before spending their money. As a result, businesses need to rethink their traditional marketing strategies and channels if they want to earn the trust of their customers and influence their buying decision. This is where content marketing plays an important role. It helps businesses to attract potential consumer’s attention towards their products by highlighting and promoting their key features.

  • Content Marketing Strategy

Before you create a content marketing strategy for your business, you need to define the goals first. What are you trying to achieve with your content? Is it more subscribers to your blog? Or is it traffic acquisition? Or maybe, you want certain sales pages to your website to convert? Whatever they are, you need to clearly list the goals before you even begin laying down the strategy. That being said, there are certain overarching elements to a content marketing strategy which are the same, regardless of your goals. They are listed in brief below, as we will look into them in detail later in this tutorial:

• Understanding your customers
• Building your brand message or story
• Defining the content, you want to create
• Measuring the success of your content marketing efforts

3. Content Marketing-Target

Identifying your target audience is the easy part. What is more challenging for a business is to understand the pain points of its customers. Once you grasp the problem of your customers and understand their requirements, you would be able to come up with perfect solutions to cater to those particular requirements.

When you want to create a content marketing strategy, finding out about your audience and their needs is the most important task. But how do you make sure that you have penned down the real problem of your customers and not just imagined them? You can do this by following the four steps mentioned below:

  • List Your Primary Customers

To accurately list your primary customers, give them specific names and identifies. For instance, if you run a travel company, your audience might fall under: experienced travelers, occasional travelers, tourists visiting a city, local residents touring the city, etc.

  • Collect Information about Your Customers

You can collect information about your major customers in a Number of ways such as:
Conduct a survey of customers visiting your site
Ask your customer service for the question’s customers are asking
Read the emails and feedback of customers on your contact or help page

  • Identify the Characteristics of Your Primary Customers

Identifying the characteristics of your primary customers mean learning about your customers experiences. For example, experienced travelers might know about airport codes and e-ticket but occasional travelers might not. Such well-rounded information helps you to build content that caters to each and every customer’s needs.

  • Create Personas

The best way to visualize and understand a customer’s needs is to create personas. While creating persons, give specific details to a customer, for instance:
Assign a name – John
Age – 45 years old
Profession – Senior IT Manger
Web tasks – Reads technology news daily, books Travel tickets, buys things on weekends, etc.

4. Content Marketing-Content

Marketing gurus and pundits have often repeated the line that it’s the company that’s tells a better story wins and not the company which is bigger in size. This truism is even more relevant today with the growth of new forms of online media, which have empowered consumers like never before.

However, the question still remains largely unanswered. How do you tell a better story? Do you create a 10*10 feet poster, listing out the features of your product, and stick it on every billboard in town or do you create a swanky television advertisement? Which is the option that will give you more business and more revenue? Well, to be honest, building a good story and creating great content requires much more than that. It requires you to answer the 3Ws: Who, What, and Why.

To create a great story around your business, you need to clearly answer the following:

  • Why are You Creating the Content?

Defining your content goals is the first step.

Why do you want to create a specific type of content?

What is that you want to accomplish?

Does the content strategy match your overall business goals?

  • Who are Your Customers?

It goes without Saying that identifying your customers is the most important step of content marketing. You can refer to part 2 of this tutorial to learn how to identify your customers. The bottom line is to list out the problem and preferences of your audience and figure out what kinds of content will they like best. Also, you need to answer the important question-What is the Unique thing that you have to offer to you customers?

  • What do You Want Your Content to Achieve?

You must ask yourself- how will my content help my customers? Will it help them to arrange a travel, buy a house, or train for an examination? You need to clearly define and understand how your content will affect the lives of your customers?

5. Content Marketing-Media

By media channels, we mean the platform you decided to use in order to market your content. This is an important step of your overall content marketing strategy because the channel also determines what content you must create. For instance, if the channel is a blog, then the content you create are features stories, product announcements, etc. Similarly, if it’s your Website Facebook page, then the content can be images, status message, Weblinks, etc.

There are the major strategies that you must consider while defining your media channels:

  • Analysis of your situation

The first thing to do is to understand what existing channel do you have and which new ones you need or want.

◽ Do you already have a Facebook page for your website?

◽ Do you need to develop a separate block?

◽ Will it help telling your story effectively to your customers?

The information about the customers and the story you want to tell about crucial in deciding what media channels you want. It
also depends on your budget and bandwidth.

  • Your Channel Objective

Now that you have a Fair idea of your situation, you need to map the objectives of your channels. For instance, depending on the story you want to tell and your content marketing goal, you might decide that a block would be the best channel so your channels primary objective would be to get more subscribers to your blog, which will generate leads for your sales.

  • Content Plan for Your Channel

This is the part where you bring together your channel objective and your content plan. Taking the above example, the primary objective of your blog is to get more subscriber, which brings in more leads. To achieve this, you might decide to write a couple of articles and club them together has an eBook, which you can then provide for free to new subscriber. However, before you decide the right content for your channel, you also need to consider the different personas of your customers.

6. Content Marketing – Editorial

Content marketing is a long-term strategy and an editorial calendar helps you plan your strategy in an organized fashion. The calendar will contain details such as-

◽ List of the kinds of contain you have or need to create, including the dates when they will be created and published.

◽ The names of the contain editors /producers and other stakeholders were responsible for the project.

◽ The media channel that you will use to Market your content.

◽ Metadata such as primary target audience, SEO keywords, call to action, etc.

  • How to Build an Editorial Calendar

While you can use a simple tool such as an Excel or Google sheet to create an editorial calendar, you can also use Web-based software offered by companies such as HubSpot, Skyward etc.

7. Content Marketing

A contain marketing style guide is a document which standardized your content creation guidelines. From the colors of your brand, the key phrases you use for call to action buttons to the spelling and punctuation usages, everything is documented and standardized by a style guide.

• A style guide is a necessary document for the success of your content marketing strategy as well as to maintain quality of the content across your website. A style guide can list step-by-step rules for:
• A designer’s checklist-This will remind designer of your brand colors, correct image properties and copyright issue, icon selection, etc.
• A writer’s checklist-This will remind writers of the use of voice, spelling, punctuation, unique words, and phrases approved by the company. It will also advice writes on legal fact checking and
proofreading methods.

8. Content Marketing – Basic Tools

Contain marketing tools comes in different shapes and sizes. What will work for you is totally dependent on your business requirement and the scope of your content marketing strategy listed below covers the three Central aspects of content creation, management, and optimization.

  • Content Creation and Publishing Tools

These tools will help you create a website from scratch, build your blog, and send email to your subscribers and publish almost any kinds of content. Known as content management tools, this range from the simple and a free one such as WordPress and Drupal to the paid ones such as site core and trading.

  • Conversion and Data Capture Tools

What these tools do is allow you to build online registration forms and survey of your key Landing pages. They capture data of customers visiting these Landing pages, which can be integrated with sales tools like Salesforce. Com. examples include Wufoo, Equal, Manticore, etc.

  • Content Optimization Tools

These are tools that help you to deliver specific content to Target customer. Once users come to your website and identify themselves, these tools push content which are relevant to these users.

For instance, let’s see you own a travel website and a user comes and identify himself as a tourist looking for cars in the city, now these tools will filter you contain and provide the user only the relevant information, while hiding the Irrelevant ones. Example of such tools include Google website optimizer, Adobe Omniture, Autonomy Optimist, etc.

  • Social Media Management and Listing Tools

These tools are excellent for managing and tracking the content for your social channel such as Facebook ad Twitter. One of the most frequently used tools is Hootsuite, which allow you to centrally schedule your social media posts. For Twitter, you can grab tools like Radian6 and Simooms.

  • Content Marketing – Challenges

Developing the perfect content marketing strategy for your business is not easy. You have to accurately identify your target customers and understand their problems. You have to define your media channels and build editorial style guide. You have made sure that your story will resonate with your audience without misleading them.

However, even after you’ve managed to bring all the piece of your strategy together, three crucial challenges still remain-

⚪ Creating engaging content

⚪ Creating enough content

⚪ finding the budget to create the content

Let’s look at some of the ways in which you can solve these problems:

  • Research, Research and Research

The first rule of creating engaging content that’s right for your audience is by way of research.

⚪ Don’t assume that you know exactly what kind of content your customers will like or need.

⚪ Do some market research to find out what your competitors are doing.

⚪ Gather feedback from your customers.

⚪ look at data and analytics of your websites traffic.

⚪ Test your Web page and email campaigns.

The bottom line is to not regard yourself as an expert but a Learner of the art of content marketing.

  • Resist Content Overkill

Has in life, where you will not always make the correct decision, not every content piece you create will do well either. Your Web page might see fantastic traffic but your blog might not be getting subscriber as you hoped it would.

⚪ Don’t panic and start spamming your blog with one article after another.

⚪ Instead, spend time on producing quality content that is clear reflection of your brand message and story.

The trick is not to produce a ton of random content but well researched content that will offer lasting value to your customers.

  • Define Your Content Budget

Once you understand what kinds of content you will create, find out how much of it is one-time content such as webpage and how much of it is ongoing content such as blog articles.

This will give you a fair idea of how much you need to spend on creating content. Then you can decide whether you want to build an in-house content team or want to rope in freelancers. However, make sure you hire the right persons. For instance, someone with a journalistic background will be able to write you the best blog post, while a copywriter will pen down the perfect call to action content on your Web pages.

9. Content Marketing – Tracking

Whether you’re creating a content marketing strategy for your own business or a client, the primary question still remains- What’s the Return on Investment (ROI)? for all the efforts you have put in your content marketing strategy, the (ROI) needs to be positive.

What constitutes (ROI) from business to business. However, every successful content marketing strategy needs to answer at least one of the three crucial questions listed below:

• Has it driven sales for the business?

• Has it saved costs for the company?

• Has it helped in making customers lives easier, thus increasing retention?

Do sum it up, a growth in sales, decrease in cost and customer retention are the three key areas which determine the success of a content marketing strategy. Let’s look at each of those points in mode details:

  • Measuring and Tracking Sales

Measuring and tracking sales is the part which answer whether your business actually made any money. The result of your content marketing strategy must need to answer questions such as:

Did you make any sales through your e-commerce section?

How many visitors came through organic or inorganic search and bought your product or service?

You can measure all of this by looking at your sales metric in your CRM and Google analytics.

  • Measuring and tracking cost Savings

Cost Savings is basically your actual profit :( Converted lead – total cost per lead). While calculating the total cost per lead, you need to factor in the money you spent paying employees or freelancer in creating the content for you. This also includes all the overheads such as the rent, insurance, utilities, design cost, hosting fees, subscriptions, and software cost.

  • Measuring and Tracking Customers Retention

By customer’s retention, we not only mean the new leads coming in but also the average life of the existing customers. Your goals must be to keep all customers long and happier. You can measure this via your CRM to track what kinds of content are been consumed by your customers and Measures that content has helped in retention and renewal of subscription.

10. Content Marketing – Example

While there could be a thousand best examples of content marketing, we’ll discuss here three brands, who are creating the most compelling content, ideas, and strategies.

–Ford —

This has to be one of the smartest community building campaign by any company so far. It is a platform for the Ford customers to share their ideas and stories with ford. Ford uses all kinds of content – articles, photos, videos- to tell their story, while never failing to make it all about the customer.

–Lauren Lake —

Lauren Luke was a make-up artist who struck gold with her video tutorials on YouTube- which collectively have over 135million views and 500,000+subscriber .She has built a bigger brand out of a YouTube than many top cosmetic companies on YouTube, all because of her DIY makeup videos tutorial.

–Baby Center —

Baby centers is hand down the most educational website ever. It has a ton of information based article, all of which are every well written and relevant to people who are planning for a baby or learning to become parents. This website is a stellar example of how to create highly informational article to address the problem of your audience.

Content Marketing – Discussion

Content marketing is all about creating and Distributing content that engage and attracts targeted audience, while encouraging them to take action which is profitable to a business. This is a brief tutorial that explain how you can use content marketing to your advantage and promote your business.

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