What is Content Marketing? A Detailed Step By Step Guide
What is content marketing? Content marketing is one of the most widely known marketing strategies which are still not used or practiced by many. Many have wrong notions about content marketing while others start it without being aware of the outcomes.
HOW TO DEFINE CONTENT MARKETING
Content marketing is one of the many effective digital marketing strategies which are categorically used for brand growth.
While the other digital marketing strategies are to make the content reach more people, content marketing aims to increase the brand value and awareness amongst the audience.
It is a method to get people converted into actual customers through a convenient process.
Content marketing has been one of the most underrated marketing strategies which are gaining momentum fast these days.
It is certainly effective because the content doesn’t showcase the company values and growth rather it simply feeds content that relates to the theme of the organization. This is the reason content marketing appears much of a selfless attempt of the brand to feed its audience with relatable content.
For people who come across the brand for the first time, content plays a major role as a medium of interaction amongst them.
Everyone makes a decision based on brands content over the sales of the brand.
Brands and businesses focus too much on sales without realizing what exactly brand content could get them. The marketing industry changes every second and, strategizing marketing over sales is quite old now.
How content marketing is done is basically, content that speaks on behalf of a brand or product makes the audience aware of it. The sole purpose of being able to provide a perception, brands want to be looked at.
Informative interactive content is highly essential for content marketing. Engaging people with content that feeds the audience with value could prove to be effective.
Companies spend thousands of dollars on digital marketing strategies when they could easily get 100s of people engaged with a single social media post.
Free Digital Marketing E-BookLearn Basics of Digital Marketing For Free
Content marketing is a really intelligent strategy that demands lots and lots of patience.
What makes content marketing even more effective is, how it appears to be a more selfless and valuable kind of thing offered by brands which makes people trust them even more.
While people are tired of traditional commercials and advertisements, they expect more realistic and relatable content to choose what products or services they purchase.
MAJOR MISTAKES IN CONTENT MARKETING THAT BRANDS OFTEN COMMIT
While trying to maintain a brand formality, brands often put someone on the internet that represents the activities of the brand on behalf of it. But what brands do not understand is, people, demand more transparency these days.
The advertisement industry has grown to some other level. People are covered with ads and hoardings everywhere.
Posting the regular ad-like content is not effective anymore because the people will skip but the reverse is possible.
The reverse content marketing strategy is instead of posting ad-like content, it’s better to post content like as.
Promoting content just as ads were promoted is reported to be way more effective than the regular content.
One can find ads almost in every corner and therefore the perception of looking at ads has changed. The way ads were looked at decades ago is not the case these days at all.
Now whenever someone comes across an ad, 70% chances are that they will skip to the main content.
Content turns interactive when brands put up things that their consumers need to know, more transparently.
The view of the audience towards a video justifying their product over any infographic post is very different.
At this point, people relate more to raw content rather than the type of content which is organized but provides relatively less value.
As mentioned earlier, content marketing is effective for brand awareness. Millions of people a majority of buyers around the world make decisions based on brands. This is the reason for the stability and consistency of luxury brands that have maintained their brand image for years.
Understanding the brand value and acting upon it with strategies is very important. Every business, no matter how bound it is to the type of structure it has, needs a brand.
A brand is something that makes it possible for a business to interact with consumers and clients.
Brands are extremely essential components of a business and it is, therefore, it is suggested by top business analysts to have a brand that either speaks and interacts on behalf of the business or works on separate principles as a subpart of the company.
Brands could also work as a separate business under the domain of the parent business. The brand interactions with the clients and consumers are reported to be highly effective for businesses and parent brands.
Even the organizations without any business model have earned as much as any business, just by developing their community or group structure into a brand.
Content marketing is, therefore, a very effective strategy because business models cannot convey enough content as much as brands can.
Therefore to do proper content marketing, it is necessary to have a brand.
Popular brands, therefore, find it easy to gain stable sales when they launch a new product. This is certainly because of the brand value.
For example- a popular restaurant sells French fries worth hundreds of dollars every day, but the fact is they don’t make the best French fries every day. They have managed to build and sell the idea that they make the best French fries while there may be outlets that are as good or bad as this restaurant.
This is how the brand image works. People find it more authentic and easy to trust when they make their next purchases from them.
For any business, building a brand is the single most important thing.
Now that we have the idea of how the brand works and we have also learned the fact that content marketing is effective for brand awareness, it would be easier from now to learn how content marketing affects the brand establishment and its stability.
CONTENT MARKETING FOR BRANDS
Content marketing will be the most effective digital marketing strategy so long as the internet continues to commoditize everything.
Internet is wrapping up other industries at a very fast pace because of which content marketing will be a necessity in the coming few years for brands to sustain.
What is more important is about building a brand these days is, one can do it by providing value to the ecosystem that they are trying to reach.
The intent of the content is imperative, which means just putting up content is not enough. What is even important is putting up relevant content that relates to the brand theme and interacts with people.
We live in a world where there is so much supply of everything we do and it will continue to grow. The only thing that will not be commoditized is a brand.
Therefore content through the internet can be used as a medium to grow a brand.
CONTENT STRATEGIES NEED TO BE REDEFINED
Content marketing strategies depending upon the kind of brand structure one has are of many types. Different strategies act effectively on different types of content and the way, it is put up online.
Content marketing is as diverse as the content industry itself and so are content marketing strategies and tactics. With the marketing industry developing at a very fast pace, it is important to keep up with the changing norms of content marketing.
Therefore to be in the game, companies need to keep experimenting with their existing strategies. This helps them find new ways to market their content and also find what was lacking in their previous strategies.
Many brands and companies keep statistically studying and experimenting consistently with all their past and existing content marketing strategies.
This has become regular paraphernalia for companies to maintain growth through content marketing.
Companies and brands need to figure out their theme and, what is kind of content they should generate to interact with the audience?
Brands have always interacted with content to make the audience aware of their products and services, but now the terms of marketing especially digital marketing have changed a lot.
Now content has to interact with the audience to bring awareness for the brand amongst the audience.
The content strategy structure many brands have these days for content marketing needs to be redefined.
There are many content marketing strategies, depending upon the results or targets, a particular brand wants to achieve. One such strategy is consistent content.
Consistent content is highly effective than occasionally posted content. Generating content regularly and feeding the audience, allows one to understand how big the audience they have as a brand.
Consistent content helps to keep a hold on the audience who are interested in the theme and therefore it is much more likely to get a few of those audiences getting converted into actual customers.
Consistency also helps content to rank better on search engines like google.
With the help of such a consistent content generation strategy in content marketing, both B2B and B2C type businesses develop a common structure for their clients.
This content marketing strategy holds for businesses communicating with other businesses because the prime purpose of content marketing is to provide value to the client.
Therefore, providing value to either businesses or customers based on the kind of business structure would help one gain massive interaction with their clients.
This is a very widely used strategy used by many big businesses to find effective results and it is called “microcontent over macro content”.
Business and marketing analysts have suggested, posting more frequently is more effective than posting highly polished content on large time gaps.
SALES VS ATTENTION
This is a very important part of any brand. Investing in marketing that would get those sales can never match investing in content that would get them attention in the long run.
If a graph is made to visualize the sale vs attention, the value is on the attention graph.
Therefore content marketing is all about providing value to the client. Providing value to the consumer helps in building trust and framing their perspective of how they see an organization as a brand.
GREATEST MISCONCEPTION ABOUT CONTENT MARKETING
The idea of content marketing has been taken very wrongly by a lot of people which is why most of them miss out on the actual point of content marketing.
The basic idea about content marketing that people have in their mind is putting up content can get them, customers.
As mentioned above content marketing is a strategy that is highly effective in long-term plans, and this works as a system.
Content marketing itself comprises a lot many other marketing strategies.
It gains momentum after reaching the audience but before that, the process of distribution and the content reaching people requires a few other content marketing strategies.
In a way, it is true! But the way this process is executed is not correct. It’s not some magical way of converting leads into actual customers.
How can a blog post convert customers? Why will people purchase a product after reading any blog post?
These are some of the much confusion that comes to mind if content marketing is fairly analyzed.
How exactly content marketing works is, creating the kind of content and optimized in such a way that it resonates with the audience can help one progress a step ahead in content marketing.
Content marketing impacts people’s thought process about a certain topic and conveys the idea that a brand wants to portray. Content about a certain topic is either influencing or engaging people around the theme it revolves.
People grow a memory about brands. They develop an impression about the experience and touch with your brand from blog posts, social media content, and other mediums of content distribution.
HOW CONTENT MARKETING WORKS
There is a much-defined structure of how content marketing works and what are the different phases through which it advances to reach the consumers.
While it still holds the prime purpose of converting the audience into customers, this idea shouldn’t reflect on the content. Therefore the content should be presented smartly.
Usually instead of smart organization and arrangement of content, just generating content to get leads converted into actual customers works, and therefore putting up content at the necessary time and places can turn into good results.
Here are some of the points about how these content marketing strategies work:
- People become aware:
It is the very basic level of content marketing where the generated content is distributed through blog posts, social media, articles, journals, and a lot more.
As soon as content in the form of a social media post, or a blog post shows up on the internet and reaches its audience, the first thing that happens is people become aware of that content and the theme around it.
Usually, people who visit these content addresses are those who find the theme of content interesting or are curious to know about it.
As the content carries value for them, they find it interesting to go through the content and seek what’s important for them.
This is the very primary state of content marketing and in other words, could be termed as advertising.
Advertising then in its further stage advances to reach the consumer, providing them value about how the subject in the content could be useful for them.
- People consider
Content marketing if analyzed properly is very simple at the same time complicated as well.
How it works is as simple as human behavior, it reaches the audience and then a bigger part of the audience either considers it as something important or discards it if unnecessary.
Usually, people who choose to go through the content are much more likely to be interested in the topic.
Though being this simple it is tough to make it reach other people, and for that other marketing strategies are used during the distribution of the content.
Content marketing is therefore called such a diverse process that it requires other marketing strategies at some point.
The prime goal of content marketing is to influence a bigger part of the content and turn them into an actual customer.
Even though some or many may not convert, sticking to the audience demands and feeding them with the help of content increases the chances of them turning into actual consumers, clients, or customers in the future.
It is a long-term strategy and therefore requires a lot of patience.
Now that we have already learned that awareness carries a value with it as well. The content marketing advances to the second phase.
In the second stage of content marketing, people consider the content. Even though it is something of their interest, there are a few things people don’t consider as important and therefore they do not pay much emphasis on them.
Therefore in the second stage, the content is either is discarded or accepted.
If people consider it as something useful it means that the reader has gone through the content and is now able to decide. If a consumer goes through the entire content, they are more likely to end up purchasing the product.
- People Compare
As the content marketing strategy advances through phases wherein each phase a lot of people are filtered and the final group of audience the content manages to reach are the people who are most likely to be converted.
Now that content marketing lands to a phase where it is judged by the consumer. It is the point in content marketing when people compare the subject of the content to similar products in the market.
The comparison is usually very precise and therefore the quality of the content should be taken care of.
This is exclusively for brands that sell any service or product. In other kinds of brands, the content is consumed and value is provided to the consumer.
Providing value to the consumer, as mentioned above is one of the core reasons for building a brand. The only thing in both cases whether or not, companies sell products or services, what remains constant is providing value to the consumer.
Either through content and products or just content, providing value to the consumer is the most important thing in content marketing.
In B2B type business, to make a deal with an organization, the bigger company has to be provided value by the smaller one.
Even business analysts have many times stated that providing value without expecting anything in return is the most effective content marketing strategy.
It would help miraculously in long-term plans while many organizations want quick results; this content marketing strategy could turn the initial growth exponentially high.
As soon as people consider any product, the first thing they do is compare it with similar products.
It is basic human psychology that tries to find and gather as much value it can. Therefore the first thing after considering any content as useful is comparing it with similar entities.
The comparison has to be precise.
- People convert
After awareness, consideration, comparison, people finally convert into actual customers if they find it highly relevant to their requirements.
The leads’ converting into actual customers is not a smooth process. It requires way lot of research and strategies to put out content that could influence the audience to some extent to make them do a targeted action.
For this audience, reach is also important. This is done based on various calculations. These calculations comprise ratios of total audience reach to the number of leads that got converted into actual clients and customers.
Based on these calculations the further decisions are made whether or not to reach more people or influence the targeted audience to take targeted actions.
HOW TO MAKE CONTENT GOOD ENOUGH FOR CONTENT MARKETING
Just marketing isn’t enough at all, unless and until one has fairly unique and effective content, the content marketing couldn’t bring good results at all.
Expecting results from just content marketing is a waste of time, as the name suggests that the marketing strategy comprises content and marketing.
Now that we know content is a very important parameter and plays a vital role in the entire marketing procedure. The content has to be fit and ready for marketing so that all the marketing practices hold good and lead to expected results.
To make content according to the kind of marketing practices to be implemented on it there are specific things that are needed to be taken care of.
Depending upon what kind of content marketing strategy is going to be used, the content will vary but there are a few principles that remain constant no matter what kind of content one generates.
The use of these principles should reflect on the content positively. So here are the things that should be taken care of while generating content relevant for content marketing strategies.
- RESPECT YOUR AUDIENCE
Respecting the audience is the first and most important thing that helps keep the audience engaged. It’s their demands, queries, and curiosity that should be respected. Their views and opinions are the foremost important thing.
Any organization generating content should prioritize audience demands over personal thoughts. Not everyone is demanded by the audience.
The audience demands specific content or their queries to be addressed because they find potential in an organization that can address their needs.
The audience queries and needs are informed either through feedbacks or through the response. The engagement time shows how much time on average people stay on the website.
If it is something that addresses their needs, people will spend more time reading and consuming that content.
Whereas if the content is not up to the mark, and doesn’t qualify to meet the needs of the audience, then people definitely will spend less time as they find the content irrelevant.
So prioritizing audience feedback, demands and queries must be the foremost important thing that should be kept in mind while generating content relevant to content marketing.
The attention and appreciation for the content are directly proportional to brand growth. This equation has always worked and will continue to work until and unless the internet continues to commoditize everything.
So respecting the audience is the first necessary point for generating content.
- APPROPRIATE CONTENT FOR APPROPRIATE AUDIENCE
As mentioned above, a variety of content has a variety of audiences. Depending upon the niche content receives an audience with a different mindset.
This is especially for those who work on multiple niche based blogs or sites. While the tech-related niche has an audience whose actions are more researching and geeky, on another hand the travel and light niche-based blogs and websites receive an audience that likes humorous and vibrant content.
This should be fairly taken care of because as normal human beings behaviour, organised people also like organised things. Similarly, most tech geeks and technical people will always expect to find detailed content over fancy.
People who find content expressed in a way that is different from what is expected, do not take the content seriously and therefore are more likely to switch to other websites and blogs.
This is a very important point to be taken care of. Usually, bloggers miss out on this and prioritize their format of presenting content.
Attempting to present content uniquely is appreciated, but it should be well experimented and analyzed from the perception of the audience to learn about what they feel while they consume content on such websites or blogs.
- EDUCATE AUDIENCE ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION
As mentioned above any attempt to present the content uniquely is appreciated. People find it interesting to explore new types of presentations.
Presenting content according to the standards of the organization may take some time for people to understand. So instead of switching to an entirely new format of presentation, the content creators should add context to their content and theme.
This will help the audience to understand the motive of the company and many times the audience seems to share the same motive as the website or the blog. So this makes it even more convenient for the audience to understand the representation no matter how unique it is.
Educating the audience about your motive can help one build a stronger audience base.
It is a very important tactic as well as a necessity to grow the brand. Until people understand the aim of a particular brand or theme, they cannot understand what one wants to convey.
So it is therefore suggested to educate the audience with the motive of the blog, website, or organization that could help one understand the content.
Therefore from the above-mentioned points, one can conclude that for generating effective content which is fit for content marketing practices one needs to respect the audience, generate appropriate content and educate their audience.
So far we have learnt about content marketing and its strategies. Also how these strategies are used in different forms of content.
MEDIUMS FOR GENERATING CONTENT
There are primarily 3 mediums for content generation. They are basically
These are further divided into more categories of content.
The most common form of content generation through audio is podcasting. Usually, podcasting is the streaming of audio content on platforms.
Many people don’t have enough time to watch videos whereas they can just plug in earphones and listen to as many episodes of their kind of podcasts.
Podcasting doesn’t need much investment. One can start is with as low as $0. Yes, that is right! One can use their cell phone to start podcasting. There is no need for a live audience nor is it required to have any guests.
A single person with our without a script having something to say can easily start recording podcasts. It’s really interesting how people find the podcast as one of the best media forms of content.
People get to learn a lot through normal discussions which are recorded as podcast episodes. This is the reason why people on podcasting platforms are increasing rapidly.
Podcasting has a very different set of audiences. These people prefer listening to audio over any other form of content. It is usually comfortable to listen to audio where the only focus has to be given on just listening.
HOW TO USE PODCASTING FOR CONTENT MARKETING
Podcasting could be used for content marketing as it has a very diverse yet well-defined audience. What makes it more interesting is; one can record videos episodes of podcasting where they do not have to perform rather just continue to do podcasting.
Podcasting is one of the major forms of content distribution. Making podcast episodes based on a niche that relates more towards the theme of the brand and then promoting the brand through that content could result in achieving better audience reach.
Earlier to publish a podcast one had to use the RSS feed from the original episode and use it on different platforms. These days the platforms do it all, by publishing them across the web on various other platforms.
Overall podcasting is a very nice platform that could be used for content marketing through audio content. Podcasting over the years has reached a lot of people, and now a lot of people prefer it over videos and text content.
One can use podcasts and make weekly episodes addressing the queries of the people. This is a very effective way of content marketing. Many business analysts also suggest having a podcast as a very smart content marketing strategy.
It is quite an informal way and as mentioned above a very transparent way of interaction which is much appreciated by the people.
Above were some of the many reasons to choose the podcast as a content marketing strategy.
After audio, another popular medium for content marketing is video format. The video format has earlier been used to shoot documentaries, short and long films. But these days’ videos are the major source of traffic gained for content marketing.
Video format content is highly demanded. A majority of online audiences prefer watching videos over texts. It is a convenient form of content transmission.
It conveys a lot more information in a very less period compared to what texts do. Video platforms are crowded with creators these days and new platforms are evolving.
The internet expects a more than 4million audience for video content in the coming 3 years.
The investment required for video content is quite less. One can start it without any props. Simply recording with a phone camera and putting it up on social media could help one grow an audience.
This is exactly how viral marketing also works. A raw clip or video of something that may create a buzz amongst the audience is used by creators, for the content to go viral.
HOW TO USE VIDEO FOR CONTENT MARKETING
It is the most used form of marketing content and is very evident from the day-to-day experiences we come across.
Popular platforms like youtube and Vimeo have played a major role in content marketing through video.
As mentioned above, these videos hold way more potential information than any other form and this is because of the visual presentation.
The visual presentation carries more than 25% information of what texts and audio could convey.
It is important to understand how video content marketing works. It is content that revolves around the base idea of the brand. It is a very effective method of involving the audience in interactive content.
“Microcontent over macro content”, this strategy fits best for video content. This is because regular content reaching the audience has a better impact.
The video audience is more likely to be converted into actual consumers as compared to other forms of content distribution and marketing.
It is the most underrated form of content marketing after the internet evolved and many other forms of content marketing evolved.
It was the most widely used format for content marketing and is still used at an extreme level.
The fact that daily 2 million blog posts are uploaded on the internet easily gives the idea about how diverse and large is the format.
While millions of blogs are uploaded every day, it is said that the number of readers has reduced.
This conclusion is contradicted easily from the daily experiences we come across. To find anything, the first attempt is through search engines like Google. As soon as the results appear we visit the first link.
It is very obvious that readers aren’t less; just that competition has become tougher.
There are blogs and websites which have managed to maintain their image and impression on the audience for years through content only.
There are many bloggers and content creators, whose whole career is based on, content and they have developed into brands that earn as good or bad as any other business.
CONTENT MARKETING THROUGH TEXT
Texts have been the oldest yet very effective format of content marketing. Over the years texts have taken forms and shapes but initially, the content marketing strategies were carried out through blogs and articles only.
It is very important to understand how texts play a vital role in content marketing. These are not only used online but are widely used offline also.
The hoardings, billboards, paper advertisements, business cards, and a lot more easily show how texts impact us on a day-to-day basis.
While the text has such an impact on us every single day, the texts have evolved a lot and so have the content marketing strategies.
Text is just a medium for content, while that content could potentially travel to the audience of millions of people through an email, social media post, blog post, or maybe even a WhatsApp message.
The tests take less than any other media format to travel, making it more effective as a content marketing medium.
Some people consider text marketing as an outdated form of content marketing. Well, any of the forms mentioned above were never outdated and can never be, unless and until there is an internet that continues to commoditize everything.
The formats have evolved and the medium through which content is distributed has evolved over some time. The only thing that remains constant is the purpose of content marketing. Holding on to the purpose, one can easily figure out to manipulate the content in ways that are best for practicing marketing strategies.
The value doesn’t always mean providing money or opportunities to the audience rather value can be anything that the audience can take with them.
It could be something to learn, it could be opportunities, it could be motivation, it could be money, it could be anything.
Making content that is worth the time the audience watches is also providing value to the consumer. The fashion influencers’ content is basically through pictures. People find value in them when they come across the idea of dressing, in the same way, could make them look good.
This is how the value system works. The more the value, the better are the results. The equation is really simple. There are many benefits of content marketing.
The brands and businesses with less or almost no content marketing are reported to have a very inconsistent flow of consumers, clients, or customers.
Whereas the brands that use content marketing, have an audience that sticks to their brand and remains consistent throughout the graph.
People when to find a transparent system providing them with values, it is easier for them to choose that particular brand over any other.
OTHER FORMS OF CONTENT MARKETING
Infographics are also a form of content marketing that is demanded on a decent scale these days. This is because they also convey a lot of information and they are less time consuming and convenient to understand.
These are usually considered as bar graphs and pie charts, but these are way more than just the statistical representation of data. Conveying information graphically, that is easy to understand can be called an infographic.
While infographics are not the primary things to be considered in content marketing, still these days the infographic culture is highly effective and gaining momentum at a very fast rate.
CONTENT MARKETING WITH INFOGRAPHIC CONTENT
Infographic content is widely being demanded these days. It is solely for informative content distribution purposes. When a vast amount of content is to be conveyed in a very compact format, infographics are a good choice.
Infographics for content marketing are usually performed by businesses and brands with a quite formal structure. Infographics are therefore a good medium to propagate the content efficiently.
It is neither too formal nor very informal; rather a lot of normal information could be conveyed with the help of content marketing. This is one of the developing forms of content marketing which hasn’t been recognized by many.
But soon, infographics will be seen to gain momentum as more people come to know about it. It is a kind of underrated form of content marketing, that people come across every day but never experiment with.
Infographics were first used in the traditional commercial and paper ads and later took over the online media.
Overall the content marketing strategy is something that works on long term plans and is effective if carried out with patience and knowledge.
One should know how content impacts the decisions. The influence of content to market something is called content marketing. One of the major elements of content marketing is the brand. It is possibly the most important thing in content marketing.
As mentioned earlier, a brand is something responsible for the interaction with the audience. Millions of people a majority of buyers around the world make decisions based on brands
A brand is something that makes it possible for a business to interact with consumers and clients.
We also learn that the only thing to sustain the continued commoditization of everything by internet brands and therefore they can be used to operate each other making benefits.
One can easily set up a brand and the structure for content marketing by providing value to the ecosystem that they are trying to reach.
From all the required context, content, and analysis we conclude that content marketing is a highly effective strategy to increase brand awareness. Even if this strategy is widely known to everyone, not many practices it, and many of the people who do, fail to continue as they don’t prepare themselves for the outcomes.
The outcomes are that this strategy may or may not show results real quick. It requires a lot of patience and research based on what kind of content impacts the most.
Now that we know not many people are into these, it concludes the fact that there is enough space for newcomers to experiment and practice content marketing.
Even small businesses can start using content marketing as an effective option for their marketing purpose and brand awareness.
This kind of marketing strategy doesn’t demand a lot of investment, but people find it hard to manage when they don’t see results soon.
Expecting results very early might not work for content marketing practices because the content takes time to resonate amongst the audience out of which a lot may or may not like. As per the sales funnel mentioned above, it takes content many phases to turn a lead into an actual sale which is turning the potential audience into an active consumer.
This was a detailed analysis of content marketing and its structure. Also, it is mentioned the basic principles of content marketing. One can learn the very details of content marketing and act accordingly to increase brand awareness and in further stages converts a potential lead from the audience into an actual consumer. If you are interested in Learn Content Marketing start by taking up the Content Writing Course.
More Courses at IIM SKILLS