Content Marketing. In recent years, this term has been overly used, abused, and confused with other forms of marketing. What exactly is content marketing and why should businesses pay closer attention to it?
This article breaks down the definition of content marketing, showcases examples of content marketing, and highlights the importance of having a content marketing strategy in place. By the end of this article, you will have a clearer picture of what content marketing is and how to start doing content marketing.
Defining Content Marketing
Content marketing is the process of planning, creating, distributing, sharing, and publishing content to reach your target audience. It can boost factors like brand awareness, sales, reach, interactions, and loyalty.
The truth is, content marketing “tactics” and “principles” have been applied since 1867. In recent years, the term content marketing has been splashed on almost every single online marketing activity imaginable by marketers across various industry sectors. Speaking of “term abuse”, there have even been cases of unimaginably bold statements made by digital marketing agencies that “content marketing is digital marketing”.
Why is Content Marketing Important For Brands?
In Singapore, a poll conducted by The Straits Times revealed that Singapore consumers spent an average of 12 hours and 42 minutes a day on their smartphones. While the top online activities engaged by them at least once a day are ranked as follows:
- Reading personal e-mails
- Online messaging and calling
- Social media and networks
- Work and business purposes
- News and sports updates
- Game apps on smartphones and tablets
People are consuming content on their digital devices at an unprecedented rate. Yet, the average click-through rates across all display ad formats and placements are just 0.05%. In fact, you are 475 times more likely to survive a plane crash than to click on an ad according to Solve Media.
Content marketing can also help your business with the following:
- Educate your leads and prospects about the products and services you offer
- Boost conversions
- Build relationships between your customers and business that results in increased loyalty
- Show your audience how your products and services solve their challenges
- Create a sense of community around your brand
Content marketing as a marketing strategy can be valuable to educate your target audience and help them get excited about your business. It’s also a good way to stay in touch with and re-engage existing customers.
To understand why content marketing can work as a strategy, think about the buyer’s journey. For many companies, it may look something like this:
- Awareness phase: This is where the potential customer is seeking information on a topic. They may be looking for a solution to a problem they experience or are simply looking for information on a topic they’re researching.
- Consideration phase: The potential customer is learning more about the options available that solve their problem, including your product or service.
- Purchase phase: The potential customer is looking for information on how to make a purchase.
Content marketing is a scalable way to bring in customers and potential customers to your site via each of these stages. You can create content that targets those in the awareness, consideration, or purchase phase. As long as the content is optimised and provides what the audience is looking for, it has the potential to continue to bring in potential customers long after it’s been created.
Benefits of Content Marketing
There are many content marketing benefits regardless of whether you are marketing to businesses (B2B) or consumers (B2C).
1) Increases your brand visibility
Having quality content promoted across the appropriate social media channels gets your brand in front of those who may be looking for a solution to their problem.
2) Develops lasting relationships with your audience
If you continually provide your audience with actionable content, they will turn to your business when they need more than what they can do themselves.
3) Improves brand awareness and recognition
Creating content that continually gets found when someone is looking for an answer can influence your brand reputation.
4) Creates loyalty and trust
Offering content that provides advice, education and useful solutions freely and without a sales pitch builds trust with your prospects and customers. Relationships built on trust are more likely to move beyond free advice into a profitable relationship for your business.
5) Builds authority and credibility
Demonstrate your expertise with content that provides insight into what your strengths as a business provide and what you can do for your clients.
6) Positions your business as an expert in your industry
Once you have demonstrated your expertise, people will naturally turn to your content first for the answers they are looking for.
7) Generates traffic to your site to improve lead generation
One of the most important content marketing benefits is generating inbound leads. Adding more quality content to your website helps to create a larger digital footprint. This provides more opportunities for your business to be found in the search results. When you create well-optimised content that answers a question or solves a problem, you are more likely to gain a higher ranking in the search engines. This helps to increase organic traffic, creating more opportunities for visitors to become leads.
8) Opens a channel of communication through social shares and comments
As your content gets promoted and shared, you can begin connecting with people who have shared your content or commented on your post. This gives you an opportunity to answer other questions and become a trusted source for helpful information. When the need arises, you become the go-to business to help solve their biggest problem.
9) Helps your customer move through the purchase decision quicker
Purchase decisions begin with a search. If your content leads them in the direction of a solution, they will join your list. If done right, content marketing can move prospects through the buyer’s journey at their pace. When they are ready to buy, your business will most likely be positioned as an expert. This makes the decision to buy from you is much easier.
10) Provides value with no strings attached
Giver’s gain is the concept of helping people grow their business without an ulterior motive. Content marketing takes the giver’s gain concept of networking to a higher level. You help people freely without expecting anything in return. This makes your business approachable and the one most people will feel more comfortable with when they do decide to choose a vendor.
Types & Examples of Content Marketing
What are some marketing activities that constitute content marketing? First, it is important to differentiate pure advertising from content marketing. The focus of content marketing is not to push for the consumer to buy a product, at least not directly. Rather, it takes on a more indirect approach of providing valuable information to consumers throughout their buying journey.
There are many types of content marketing that you can choose from. Here are some of the most common types of content marketing.
1) Social Media Content Marketing
With over 3.6 billion global social media users, it’s easy to understand why so many businesses invest in social media marketing. There are a number of platforms (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat) to work with and several ways you can create and share content on each of them (e.g. photos, live videos, pre-recorded videos, stories).
Lush Cosmetics’ Instagram account is on-brand and complements the rest of their marketing content. If the page didn’t say “Lush Cosmetics” anywhere on the profile, customers would likely still know the profile belongs to Lush. The Instagram page shares the Lush product line displays different colour and scent options for the products and shows the various ways each product can be used. The profile feels and looks colourful and uniquely Lush, and depicts members of their wide customer base.
2) Infographic Content Marketing
Infographics display content, information, and data in an easy-to-understand, graphic format. With a mix of simple wording, short statements, and clear images, infographics are a great way to effectively communicate your content. They work well if you’re trying to distill an educational and/ or complex topic down so all audience members can understand it.
IBM created an infographic when they launched their Cloud marketplace. Their infographic is on-brand, well-organised, and easy to read. It clearly explains what they’re doing with their Cloud marketplace and how customers can benefit from it. It also tells audience members how they can access the marketplace and get started using it.
3) Blog Content Marketing
Blogs are a powerful type of inbound content and allow for a lot of creativity in terms of their purpose and topic. With a blog, you can do things like promote other internal and external content and blog articles via links, add social share buttons, and incorporate product information.
This is your platform to discuss popular industry subjects, position yourself as a thought leader, explain how your products can address common challenges and draw potential customers to your website. Once you have blog content, you can repurpose it to create social media posts, long-form content on the same topic, eBooks using the same text but adding visuals and more.
Expedia has a blog called Out There Starts Here that shares travel-related information including hotel recommendations, great places to visit, and travel-related activities you can take part in around the globe. Expedia regularly publishes their blog content to keep readers interested and engaged. It includes a wide range of topics related to any type of trip you could imagine. The blog is on-brand and all articles relate to the travel technology company’s goal and mission of gaining customers and boosting brand awareness. They do this by linking to their services and writing about customers who have already had positive experiences with the company.
4) Podcast Content Marketing
Podcasts allow for a lot of creativity as they can be about any topic of choice. Additionally, you determine other factors related to the podcast such as cadence of episodes, who’s on the podcast, where you advertise the podcast, and how long episodes are.
Harvard Business Review (HBR) has a weekly podcast called HBR IdeaCast which features industry leaders in both business and management. You can either subscribe to consistently receive their hundreds of podcasts or pick and choose which ones you want to listen to. The podcast is on-brand and complements the rest of HBRs published content. It also serves as a great way for HBR to connect with their target audience, enhance brand awareness, and gain a following of audience members through a medium that differs from their typical work (e.g. podcast versus HBR article).
5) Video Content Marketing
According to HubSpot research, over 50% of consumers say they want to see videos from the brands they interact with. Additionally, video marketing can boost conversions, improve ROI, and help you build relationships with audience members. You may choose to share your video content on social media platforms, landing pages, or on a co-marketer’s website.
Much of Dollar Shave Club’s video content has gone viral. Their marketing efforts are on-brand, humorous, and entertaining. In fact, one of their videos has over 26 million views on YouTube. By establishing a name for themselves via online video content, Dollar Shave Club has experienced impressive growth and brand recognition.
6) Paid Ad Content Marketing
Paid ads can help you reach a broad audience and allow you to position yourself in all of the places you want to be seen. They are especially beneficial when paired with inbound marketing. There are many places you can share paid ads including on social media, landing pages, banners, and sponsored content.
Revolve, a clothing and accessories company uses paid and sponsored ads on social media (like this one on Facebook) to reach their target audience while they browse their news feeds. The content ads feature some of their products as well as details about their free shipping and return policy to drive target audience members to their site (and, hopefully, convert them into paying customers).
How Will Content Marketing Change in 2021?
We hope this article has helped you to gain a clearer understanding of what content marketing is all about. We’ll be sharing more examples and tips to build a comprehensive content marketing strategy next week.
But, in the meantime, you can master content marketing with our 2-day professional certification course – Professional Certification in Content Marketing & Copywriting.
In this 2-day course, you will master content marketing and copywriting for your social media platforms. You will learn how copywriting plays an intricate part in creating content for your social media and the art of content creation. You will also be introduced to the best practices of content marketing and copywriting to ensure that your content is impactful and engaging.
What more? You will learn from one of the top content marketers in Singapore.
Content Marketing Expert – Walter Lim
Walter is the Director and Chief Content Strategist at Cooler Insights and has over 22 years of senior management experience in online and offline marketing, public relations, campaign and events marketing, and strategic planning. As a practising digital marketing consultant, he specialises in brand storytelling, content marketing, social media, PR, and online campaign management.
Walter’s clientele includes government agencies, MNCs, public listed companies, and SMEs. They include Pan Pacific Hotel, PARKROYAL Hotel, Singapore Press Holdings, NTUC First Campus, Bosch, Coca-Cola, Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, Ministry of Communications and Information, People’s Association, Kaplan, Best Electricity and more.
A prolific blogger, Walter has written for Social Media Today, Startup Nation, Spin Sucks, Tweak Your Biz, Tech In Asia, Marketing Insiders, Yahoo! News and featured on The Straits Times, TODAY, Power 98 and 938 LIVE, Young Upstart, Ikiguide and so much more. He was a Juror for the Mumbrella Asia Awards 2017 and has been a judge for the Singapore Blog Awards for the past 5 years. Walter is also a council member of the Media Literacy Council (led by IMDA Singapore) and has spoken at various conferences on topics such as branding, public relations, and social media marketing.