Content Marketing – Is it the Highest Paid Skill?
What is Content Marketing?
It is the method of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined target audience. The content could be White Papers, Articles / Blog Posts, how to Guides, Tips, Industry reports, Insights, Infographics etc.
It involves making content that is palatable for your potential audience who want to engage with you because of the value that you are providing
It combines all the elements of a proper marketing and sales cycle starting from engaging your customer from a brand awareness stage to become a customer,
Through this mechanism, you are able to provide quality content and hence move your customers through the buying cycle into the lower end of the marketing funnel
Hence, this will not only mean just buying into product / service directly as the content provided will be of a proper value
A proper marketing strategy will always involve an integrated content around it so that the direction is always fruitful. Any digital marketing strategy needs to have a proper content preceding it
- SMM (Social Media Marketing): Content marketing strategy comes before your social media strategy.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization): Search engines like Google or Bing look for sites that publish quality, consistent content.
- PR (Public Relations): Successful PR strategies looks at engagements that businesses have done with external agencies in their field
- PPC (Pay Per Click): For PPC to work, you need some good info on Ad Copies and Landing Pages.
- Inbound marketing: Content is key to driving inbound traffic and leads.
- Content strategy: Content strategy is part of most content marketing strategies.
For businesses that interact directly with other businesses for their requirement and profitability i.e. a B2B (Business to Business) model, needs a proper content strategy
It gives a great positioning chance as you can show yourself as the leader in the industry when you start publishing content
In some unique cases, where the content is really good and seen as an industry benchmark, it is possible that It can be promoted by your competitors as well
Content Creation & Ideas
Your Editorial calendar and goals are very critical components that tie into the way the content that you have planned can be created.
There has to be a proper strategy for making the content encompass the requirements of the brand or the organization
The best way to create content is to break each project down into little tasks. For example, writing a blog post usually involves these steps: Research, Outline, fill in outline, Rewrite and finish post, Developmental edit or peer review, write headline, SEO check, Final edit, Select hero image (optional)
Engage with your tools so that you know which are the top performing content and enhance their marketing or rehash the details. Include 3rd party credibility by asking for reference from people who are engaged on your social profile
Take ideas from posts that are doing well in your peer’s websites. These could seem like plagiarism, but if you don’t cross the threshold, then you are safe
You could also use generic tools like SEM Rush / Buzz Sumo. These products can aid you in developing content that your customers might be interested in
There are other tools that do a similar work like Buzz Sumo that can aid you in developing good content around trending keywords
Another tool that aid you in developing you content strategy is your Target Group’s (TG) CUSTOMER AVATAR. This is more than identifying the right persona
A customer Avatar is the starting point for developing pertinent content that can address the needs of your TG so that there is congruence between you, both
Latest happenings in your area of business is another important content idea that can aid you in making the right decision – ‘Think With Google’ is a good tool in this regard
Competitive Research. Search for your competitors on Similar Web to see what keywords they’re pulling traffic for and what their top referring sites are. Or go straight to Ahrefs/SEM Rush to see what their top performing content is.
Competition Brand Mentions. A tool like Fresh Web Explorer or Google Alerts or Mention helps you find brand mentions on the web, which in turn helps you see what kind of content is earning attention for your competitors.
- TOFU (Top of the Funnel): This is the 1st interaction point, where your potential customer is trying to understand you / your firm and it is critical that you provide right kind of information that is typically an overview so that your TG understands the over-arching position
- MOFU (Middle of the Funnel): In this stage, your TG is checking you out to find out how best you /your products / services fit into his /her requirements. This is also a critical transition point where you can expect brand loyalties to shift from one to another
- BOFU (Bottom of the Funnel): This is typically the last stage where your potential customers become purchasers of your products or invests their time and money into your services
Some pointers that can aid you in developing your marketing strategies across the three funnels are some important strategies
- Have a schedule and keep the content fresh by updating it regularly – Have a team for it
- Cross promote your previous content
- Have separate creatives when trying to sell your product /service through your posts
- Your content should dovetail with your SEO plan that you have made for the keywords
- Perfect for long tail keywords
- Your content should revolve around keywords that are ever-green so that its optimized
- You need to publish your content across various social media channels
- Have a FORWARD / SHARE button in your posts so that it’s easy for your viewers to share it with others
- Have proper LEAD MAGNETS like Free E books
A CONTENT FRAMEWORK will document, centralize and coordinate all your content marketing efforts. It will also aid in
- Improving the focus through proper strategies that can establish clear goals and priorities
- Increases the production capacity (for a product-based firm) by making more efficient use of resources that are needed
- Create a regular stream of good content that can engage prospects and drive directions for marketing or sales requirements
A Customer Avatar a fictional character that represents your ideal prospect. When complete, it will help you understand the motivating beliefs, fears and secret desires that influence your customer’s buying decisions.
This strategy will aid you in understanding the pros and cons of your potential customer will react to your product / service
This also aids in making you understand that there could be some major gaps in your marketing messages and the Avatar can aid you in identifying that.
Technology and other pointers
Typically, the pieces of tech necessary to support your content marketing strategy will include:
- Content Management System (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla… etc.)
- Webinar Software (E.g. GoToMeeting)
- Email Service Provider (E.g. Mail chimp)
- Image Editing Software (E.g. Canva, Photoshop)
- Screencast Software (E.g. Camtasia)
- Video Camera
Articles: Any business model that has a higher impact due to changing regulations from government or related bodies choose the option of writing Articles
It also does not require anybody with great writing skills, but the team that is handling should be skilled in tracking changes in the business environment
Law Firms, Banks or Financial Institutions are some business models that need the content in the form of articles, which are typically a short snippet.
Blogs: When the information to be shared is generic or ever-green, then blogging is the route that businesses adopt. This note is and example of a blog
It is also a seen that when generally, it’s a long-form content blogs are seen as the solution as the information can be shared properly
There are various tools in the CMS (Content Management System) platform that can aid your potential TG (Target Group) to interact with you through your posts and it is business agnostic
Steps for writing a blog
Step 1: Know your audience. Step 2: Start with a theme and label. Step 3: Write a good summary that engages the audience. Step 4: Organize your information so that its readable. Step 5: Write. Step 6: Edit/proofread your blog, and review your fonts and style. Step 7: Insert a call-to-action (CTA) at the end. Step 8: Optimize for on-page SEO. Step 9: Pick an appealing title
Posting on Social Media – Some pointers
- Have different social updates and communication strategy for each channel
- Quickly test and identify which post format works on which social media: Images + Links on Facebook, Links on Twitter, Images + Videos on G+, Articles on LinkedIn
- Create publishing policies for each of your properties: Dos and Don’ts, Timing and Schedule for each
Benefits of Content Marketing
- A good content is the starting point a proper BRAND AWARENESS campaign so that you are known in the market
- When a 3rd party endorses you, the chances of conversion increases manifold
- This provides a great positive impact on all your optimization strategies – primarily for SEs (Search Engines)
- This aids in better SERP (Search Engine Results Page) ranking
- One more key benefit is that Google sees your site as one with authority in your business directions
- It improves the quality and quantity of the traffic to your site
- More social traffic (and followers)
- It has a good impact on CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization)
- It enhances your position – individually or as a firm
- Tighter customer/reader relationships
- Decreased marketing costs and compounding value
Content Marketing and Influencer Marketing
It has been sometime that content marketing has started making its presence felt in the world of Digital Marketing and has been quite effective
The additional off-shot of this strategy has been that it has led to the emergence of a different brand of marketing which is Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing, also called influence marketing, is a type of online marketing focused on working with individuals who have a certain influence in a particular sector.
It means that they are your PAID BRAND AMBASSADORS. You typically have access to their large database through their social handles or email subscribers
The biggest advantage is that the people who are part of the Influencer community tend to be at the last stage of the marketing funnel – BOFU
The influence is built slowly over a course of time and it represents a cumulative effort of an individual to establish a name and an authority for themselves in a particular sector.
This is typically a longer cycle strategy as the closure might take time – so if you into a B2B (Business to Business) model, it might suit you better
There are several B2C (Business to Consumer) structures that have used Influencer Marketing effectively. So, any business model can look at this option
Some key traits of any influencer are these
- Being a professional in the business that you are involved in
- Knowing the marketplace and emerging trends and directions
- Having a group of admirers and engagers (purchasers)
- Earning their confidence and support
- Knowing the people properly and being able to solve their problems
Since, its clear that Influencer Marketing can provide new avenues for growth and works akin to Affiliate Marketing, its critical that you have this as part of your marketing strategy
Since this is a planned campaign, there is a set of steps you should follow to help you when starting out with influencer marketing.
- Identify the influencers
- Rank the influencers
- Determine the goal of the campaign
- Think about content
Identify the influencers
You will first need to identify the influencers you want to work with. To make sure you pick only those worthy of working with, and to make sure your campaign really is effective, choose the influencers whose target group matches yours.
The matching of your business requirements to that of the influencer’s data is very important as the combination is what is important when it comes to identifying the right Influencer
This will ensure that the conversion potential is much higher. Another aspect you should have in mind when choosing the influencers, you want to work with, is whether your business is global or local.
Using Google to find the right Influencers is a good starting point. Use the word – Influencer Marketing’ and you should be able to find a good set that is pertinent to your business
Platforms like FB / LinkedIn / Instagram / Twitter are some leading social media places through which you can reach some top players in this space
Besides this manual searching method, there are tools that help you identify and rank influencers based on different criteria, such as the number of followers, blog authority, etc.
Rank the influencers
The reason why you should rank the influencers is the fact that you will probably identify a couple of influencers in the sector of your interest.
Since, its not possible to work with all, its always a better idea to rank the Influencers based on some specific criteria that are related to your industry
Generally, businesses use two methods to rank influencers viz. tools or your own method. In the former case, these could be some software that rank while the latter could be a customized model
Some key data points that can aid in this decision can be
- Number of social followers (separately for each network)
- Number of subscribers
- Average monthly blog visits
- Have they worked with your competitors?
- Reach of similar collaborations organized in the past (social media shares, comments, blog visits, etc.)
It might not be possible to generate this data – every time, but whenever you can it would be beneficial
Determine the goal of the campaign
Once you know who you are working with, it is time to think about the campaign and how you are going to organize everything.
Goals can aid you reach your targets effectively as that is the starting point for a successful campaign so that the right set of influencers can aid this
Think about content
This is the point where you focus on the content you want to create in collaboration with an influencer. Firstly, there is a possibility to have your own content where you will use influencer marketing campaign to promote it.
Content creation with an Influencer is the final goal that every business should have
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