How To Use Content Marketing: Concept
Before diving into how to use content marketing properly, let’s start with defining what a content marketing strategy is. We are living in the age of information. Everyone has access to millions and millions of pages of different formats of information at their fingertips. If you want to learn how to do something right, or just want some general information on a topic of interest, you have many options at your disposal.
For instance, you can use Google. Or, if you want some more visual aids, then searching for a video on Youtube is a great way to go. Alternatively, if there is a topic that you are generally interested in, you might like a Facebook page, follow a social media account, or subscribe to a newsletter or channel. This way, you constantly get fed content created by whomever you follow – likely on the topic of interest.
Building a Network
Marketers use this thirst for information to their advantage. By creating valuable content that their viewers want to see, they build networks of engaged and interested users. Once such a network is built, there are many ways to monetize it and turn it into cash. If you have a lot of eyeballs on your content, you can always sprinkle in some advertisement (of your own or an affiliate’s products or services) to generate revenue. Not only can you acquire large audiences using a content marketing strategy, but you are also likely to build high-quality targeted audiences.
Think about it, if you are a dentist creating dental content, your readers will likely be people who are interested in dental services or information – likely because they have problems with their teeth. Having this information about your audience is crucial because now you’re advertising products and services that they will be specifically interested in (i.e. dental services). If a person reads articles about dental implants and then gets served a timely advertisement on a holiday special discount for implants, there’s a good chance they will call and book an appointment.
That is the general gist of how to use content marketing to grow your business.
If you’re doing content marketing on your website with blog posts, check out our full SEO guide.
Pros And Cons Of A Content Marketing Strategy
There are many advantages and also some disadvantages of implementing a content marketing strategy for your business. Here they are:
- Content marketing is cheap if not free:
A content marketing strategy is a form of organic marketing, meaning you are not directly paying for ads or traffic. It’s a matter of producing content that is desirable for your target audience and being good at spreading it across the web.
- With content marketing, you are building an asset:
As you pump out more desirable content, you will continue to grow your network of followers. This network is a continuously growing asset (companies pay a lot of money to have access to an audience). This is how to use content marketing to grow your business: build an asset and then monetize it.
- You are able to really target the right audience:
You will be able to target your exact audience very specifically, based on the type of content you produce. By being very selective about the topics that you cover, you will be able to decide what type of people you will attract with your content marketing strategy.
- You’re the expert:
Put yourself in the shoes of the reader. Imagine you are working on a marketing campaign and need help with some technical setup. So you search for it on Google, stumble upon an article, and click on it. If the article is great information and walks you through the setup process – the company that wrote the article will immediately gain credibility in your eyes. The more credibility a business builds up over time, the more likely a consumer will make a purchase.
- Enhance all other marketing efforts:
Once a reader sees your content multiple times, they’ll start building a relationship with your brand. They start understanding your identity and recognizing your company. As a result, they will react much more favorably to all your other marketing campaigns, which equals ROI!
- Cross-platform advantage:
If you build a wide-reaching network across the internet with your content marketing strategy, you’ll have the same people following you on different platforms. Someone who follows your Facebook page is more likely to also be a Youtube and newsletter subscriber. This will allow you to make multiple touchpoints in a short amount of time. In today’s marketing environment, touchpoints are fantastic for making sales.
- Takes time to see a return on investment:
While implementing a content marketing strategy can bring you incredible monetary results in the long term, you shouldn’t expect too much in the beginning. It takes some time for it to kick in. You will not be able to gain thousands of followers, likes, and content subscriptions overnight. In fact, attracting a significant amount of website traffic with great content usually takes about 6-12 months. That’s assuming it’s done well. Gaining a following on social media, emails, and platforms like Youtube might be a little quicker, depending on whether you want to jump-start your content marketing strategy with some advertising budget.
Since content marketing is organic and doesn’t necessarily require any ad budget or spend, it will require work. That’s the way of things in marketing: you can either pay for traffic (paid media), or you can work for traffic (organic marketing). To implement your content marketing strategy, you will have to spend time researching, creating, and designing amazing content to attract readers.
- You have to be the expert:
One of the pros I mentioned previously is that content marketing will give you the perception of being an expert in the eyes of your readers and followers. But for them to view you as such, you actually have to be or become an expert, and feed them content that puts your expertise on full display.
- Many platforms to manage:
A successful content marketing strategy requires you to pedal out your content through a variety of different channels. For starters, I would recommend that you consider that standard, large social media companies, such as Facebook and Instagram. Posting on Linkedin and Youtube is also a great idea, especially if you have video production capabilities. Combining this with blog posts and an email newsletter is also great. As you probably have already guessed, this is a lot of different platforms to manage. There are amazing tools like Agorapulse or Hootsuite that will allow you to quickly and easily post on multiple platforms with just clicks. To make things easier, consider reformatting and recycling content across different platforms.
- Many optimization requirements:
There are many things that need to be done right and optimized for a content marketing strategy to be successful. Each different channel requires optimization. This includes keyword research, keyword distribution in your content, backlinks, alt attributes, video lengths, and much more. To get a full picture of what these aspects to be optimized are (for website SEO), check out our full SEO guide.
How To Use Content Marketing Like A Pro
We know what a content marketing strategy is, how it works, and what the ups and downs are. Now let’s get into the exact steps of how to use content marketing for your business:
As discussed, for your content marketing to be a slam dunk, you should really be posting your content on multiple different platforms. Begin by assessing what type of content capabilities you have. How many people do you have to create content and how many hours can they commit to it? Do you have designers and video production capabilities?
Based on this, make your determination of exactly which channels you want to utilize. Some of the big platforms for content are Youtube, blogging, social media, and webinars. Then, set everything up so that you can efficiently create and post content onto your selected platforms. Again, I recommend using a tool like Agorapulse or Hootsuite to make this task much easier. These tools will allow you to pre-create content way in advance and schedule it to be posted months into the future, using a feature called the publishing calendar.
Content & Delivery
Consider the ideal post types, formats, and content lengths on different platforms. You may want to create a long and complete version on your topics that you can use for your blogs and Youtube videos, along with previews and teasers of various lengths to be used on social media and in your emails (with a link to the full version). Then, use the systems you’ve set up in the previous step to post across all of your platforms.
Remember, a successful content marketing strategy will only bring you amazing results if it is kept up consistently over an extended period of time. Make sure you are adding and posting content multiple times every single week on every platform that you’re utilizing.
For best results, your main focus should be quality. Quantity (consistency) is also important. First, your content has to be great and helpful. Each post you produce should solve a problem or answer a question. It should add tons of value to your reader. Furthermore, there are certain boxes you need to check with each platform where you post. For example, when sending content emails, you need to be sure to come up with amazing subject lines that will get your emails opened and your content read. It also helps to bold important words and phrases so that your readers can find specific sections they are searching for with a quick skim.
You’ll want to post designs on all platforms that are consistent with your brand identity and colors. Include your logo. There are certain things that you should avoid saying on social media platforms, so as to not get your posts or even accounts blocked or banned. Make sure you are familiar with the policy and guidelines for each social media platform.
Analytics & Optimization
In addition, monitor your analytics and performance metrics and learn from those. You need to learn which types of content and posts perform the best with your audience and improve your content continuously based on this. Moreover, each platform has specific engagement metrics, such as opens, clicks (CTR), bounce rates, interaction time, and lead generation.
Supplement Your Content Marketing Strategy With Paid Advertising
How to use content marketing in the most effective way? Supplement it with an advertising budget, even just a small one. This can speed the process up significantly and get you the results you want much quicker. I’d suggest doing things like running page-like campaigns, boosting your posts, and running lead generation campaigns to get subscribers for your newsletter much quicker. In essence, supplementing your content marketing strategy with some ads budget will get your content in front of more people in a shorter amount of time.
Need some inspiration on the type of content you can use? Check out our guide on ideas for your email newsletter. Good luck with implementing your content marketing strategy.