If you’ve tried to read or research into anything marketing lately, you’d have come across the term “content marketing” at least once; in most cases, you’ll see it mentioned across your social networks, on your favorite blogs and in various other outlets at least once a weak.
To most people, content marketing is just another marketing buzzword, or is it?
What is Content Marketing?
“Content Marketing means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell; in other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you.” – Copyblogger
Basically, according to Copyblogger.com, one of the foremost authorities online when it comes to content marketing, content marketing is marketing based on educating your readers about the problems your product solves; giving them tips and advice with the hope of trusting and liking you and hopefully buying from you on the long run.
Content Marketing vs. Traditional Advertising
How long does it take for your business to convert a prospect into a buyer? 1 day? 1 month? 1 year? It varies for most businesses but the reality is that most of your customers won’t join you the same day they hear about you; some will only join you after a year and some would even go to a competitor when time passes and they forget about you.
Traditional marketing mostly assumes that people have just one shot at becoming buyers or that when people are bombarded with the same ad over and over again, even if they haven’t a clue what the product advertised does, they would automatically become customers. It doesn’t work that way and advertising is becoming increasingly ineffective due to the competition.
Content marketing, however, focuses on retaining users, offering them free content on different aspects of the problem(s) your product solves and gradually introducing your product till they buy.
How Powerful Can Content Marketing be
With all the buzz about content marketing lately, it’s natural to ask yourself just how powerful it can be.
To prove the effectiveness of content marketing, data from HighTable has revealed that “The average cost to generate a lead through inbound marketing ($143) is about half the average for outbound marketing ($373).” In other words, marketing with content is much more cheaper compared to traditional advertising and you also get the benefit of having raving fans who go all-out to tell their friends about you since you’ve educated them all along the way.
While it’s easier to cite studies, the power of content marketing will be effectively communicated by taking a look at actual case studies of companies that have gotten great results from it:
- Hubspot was able to grow from scratch within 5 years of its launch to over 200 employees, over $20 million in annual revenue and up to 350% growth in 2011 alone just because of its content marketing strategy; Hubspot focuses mostly on its blog, webinars and videos as a part of its content marketing strategy
- Kissmetrics was able to build a business blog that received over 1 million visitors within 10 months without paying a cent for traffic; as a result, its blog contributes the most leads to the Kissmetrics business. For content marketing, Kissmetrics’ main focus is on the blog and releasing informative infographics.
- American Express Open Forum: AMEX started the Open Forum blog to position itself as an expert in the online business field and in the process increases exposure for its services. The blog got over 1 million unique visitors in 2010 and has been growing since.
- Mint was able to position itself as an expert in the finance niche within a short period of time by focusing on publishing quality articles – tips, advice, slideshows, link roundups and infographics – on its blog. The regular content published resulted in quality traffic that led to people checking out the main product. As a result, Mint sold to Intuit for $170 million just 3 years after it launched.
The above are 4 main examples of effective content marketing in big and small organizations; if done right, content marketing can yield dividends for your company for a fraction of what it’d have cost if you were using traditional forms of marketing.
With that said, here are 10 effective ways to utilize content marketing in your business:
1. Blog: One thing all the case studies featured in this article have in common is a blog. They’re all blogging and their blog is a core part of their content marketing strategy; make sure you have a business blog where you publish regular updates, interviews, case studies and resources to help potential users of your products.
2. Presentations and Slides: With presentation sharing sites like Slideshare growing significantly year after year, there’s no better time to benefit from publishing Presentations; Slideshare is the 152nd biggest website online with over 60 million monthly unique visitors; by creating great presentations on interesting subjects in your niche, in an attempt to build your company’s brand you can get a lot of exposure and business y tapping into Slideshare and other slide networks.
3. Infographics: Recent data has shown that content with Infographic gets 832% more shares than content without infographics; start creating more quality infographics and you’ll see your business grow.
Especially if you’re a new business that needs exposure, a great way to get this is by tapping into top blogs in your industry to get traffic and links.
5. Video Marketing: Publish a regular video series or occasional videos on a major subject; let people see that you know what you’re talking about via video.
6. Podcasts: Podcasts are great and are becoming increasingly popular online and most people enjoy them since they can have podcasts with them anytime; when they’re exercising, relaxing or at work. What better marketing is there than being with your users all the time?
7. Whitepapers: Whitepapers are designed to answer readers’ questions, help them realize a major problem and its dangers, address their concerns and Present a solution to these problems; in most cases, your products will be this solution and you’ll get more sales.
8. eBooks: By writing an ebook, you’re automatically positioning yourself as a subject-matter expert in your field.
9. Newsletters: Your newsletter will be an asset; you have a list of subscribers you can repeatedly get in touch with anytime in the future with information and offers. You can also use your newsletter to fuel your marketing efforts, like generating views to your presentations and slides, getting people on your webinars or making certain posts go viral.
10. Webinars: If done right, webinars can be very powerful for providing value to potential customers and getting them to become customers as a result. Webinars are live and interactive; people can ask questions, get feedback and get involved. Webinars also convert effectively in getting people to take a desired action.