Is Content Marketing Replacing Traditional Advertising?
Content is King. Well, we can go a step ahead and safely say that content is Google’s best friend. With Panda and Penguin’s algorithms striking webmasters across the globe, content marketing promises to be a safe bet if executed correctly. However, very few people know what content marketing exactly is and how to use content marketing to improve bottom-line results. Content marketing is about creating value, providing information, and inspiring trust among your target audience. It is not completely focused on selling, but aims at creating brand recognition, authority, and loyalty by delivering consistent, relevant, and valuable information. These factors help customers make an informed decision while purchasing. Content marketing is about converting passive prospects to customers and obtaining renewals and referrals from existing clients.
How to Create an Effective Content Marketing Strategy
In today’s era, content marketing is used to augment traditional forms of advertising and in some cases replace traditional advertising. What makes content marketing a runaway success is that it reduces overwhelming costs and logistics issues associated with the more traditional format of advertising while reaching out to a larger audience across the globe at an instant click of mouse. In order to maximize results, successful content marketing should not be limited to the online medium and should make optimum utilization of several offline methods such as conferences, seminars, workshops, articles in industry journals, and business reports.
Content Marketing Strategy: How it Works
Many content marketing strategies fall flat on their face. Reason? Companies fail to know what their customers want and are unable to strike chord with their target audience. It is a cardinal rule of content marketing to know “customers first”. You need to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Just informing customers about your product and services won’t help. Start thinking about customer’s problems and how you can solve them. Ultimately, it is about customers and wining their trust.
Here are some client questions/issues you need to address in your content marketing strategy:
- Do customers find price to be more important than the quality?
- Do customers find your products/services overpriced? If yes, why?
- Is sales support/maintenance deciding factor? Do you provide it?
- Does customer need help in product installation?
- What problems customers face while using your products/services?
- What is customer feedback regarding your products/services?
Search Engine Optimization is equally important. Customers search for information in a particular way and developing your content according to search habits is a crucial factor in the success of your content marketing strategy. Since Google’s algorithms penalize keywords stuffing, one needs to be cautious and should not go overboard.
Which Media Tool is Right for Me?
Just like knowing your customer psychology is important, selecting effective media tools is imperative. Content media tools put the content at the right place for the prospective or existing client at different stages of the buying cycle.
Here are some factors to consider that will help you narrow your technology and zero in on the tools that will work best for your organization:
- Can you sustain using this tool in the long term? Are you thinking short-term?
- Does it allow a majority of your target audience access the content?
- Is it scalable?
- Technical Manuals
- Printable Items
- Blog posts
- Email newsletters
- Mobile/tablet apps
- Micro sites
- Landing pages
Top Content Marketing Mistakes Busted
Quality matters not quantity: Content marketing is about providing high-quality and impactful content to your target audience. It is not about bombarding audience with tons of information that is outdated. Key factors that determine effectiveness of your content is relevance, purpose, and context. The “more” philosophy just does not work.
Multiple Personality Disorder: Are you telling different stories to the same client in different mediums? Does customer get conflicting information from different departments? Instead, a paradigm shift is needed across the company departments to give your brand a voice. Consistency is the biggest way to influence decision-making.
Outdated: Remember customers like navigating through updated sites, blogs, and Social Media pages. Don’t just create pages on such powerful mediums and abandon them. It will harm your brand in long-run.
Art of delegating: Content marketing is not as easy as it sounds. You need to delegate work to specialists for optimum results. After all content marketing is art of storytelling. So don’t shy away from hiring freelance journalists, designers, and professional bloggers. Do whatever it takes to reach out to your audience.
Over obsession: This is one of the biggest mistakes in the content marketing strategy. If you are heavily relying on any one media tool there are chances of missing out on potential clients. Remember, customers need to find you at every imaginable media tool. After all inspiring trust and authority does not come easily.
Passive approach kills: You are following all tricks of the trade and updating content regularly on all mediums. But are you proactive? Do you respond to client queries on Linkedin, post messages on blog discussion threads, or reply to emails? You need to reach out to customer and leave no stone unturned in replying to potential business leads.
No soul: You have jumped on the bandwagon and launched the content marketing strategy. However, you are not clear about its objectives or purpose? You need to define deliverables from the word go.
Call to action: You have got visitors flocking to your site, reading your blogs, and showing interest in your services. Here is your chance to convert them into customers. But where is the call to action button? Make it easy for the user to buy your services, download an e-book, or subscribe to your newsletter. However, don’t overuse this button. It might just annoy prospects.
SEO: Google algorithms are changing at a rapid pace. However, there is no point in having tons of content and not utilizing basic SEO tactics that will help Google track you.
Duplication: Are you using same content on all media tools. If yes, this might be a put off to your prospects. You need to apply thought while using different media tools. What works for one medium does not necessarily work in other. Content marketing is all about innovation and one-size-fits all approach fails miserably. Google also hates duplicate content and might penalize you.
Content marketing provides your brand a ground-breaking way to connect and interact with your target audience. The main philosophy behind content marketing is to pull your customers towards your brand and not push them to buy. It aims at utilizing content to grab your audience’s attention in hopes of developing a relationship that transcends a single transaction or purchase. Research reports indicate that companies are increasing their investments in content marketing. There are chances that your competitor is already using this strategy. Do you have a strategy in place?