We all have heard the famous idiom “content is king”, and how content marketing is the most important marketing tactic in the past half decade or so.
However, content marketing as a concept is actually a fairly new type of marketing. The idea is fairly simple: we publish relevant content for free to attract the customer’s attention.
So, why is content marketing so prevalent? Here we will discuss everything about content marketing, and most importantly, how you can implement it for success.
Content Marketing as an Inbound Marketing
The concept of content marketing was first conceived because people are getting more resistant to advertising and other promotions. With this type of marketing activities, we “push” our message outwards to as many people as possible, a concept we call “outbound marketing”.
On the other hand, content marketing does not interrupts customers and force to “push” a message. Instead, we publish a relevant information out there, and the customers are the ones coming to it when looking for that information.
So, content marketing is not about promoting your product/service in the form of a content. But rather, we provide an informative content related to our niche, so we can help our ideal audience. In this process we gain trust, and we will also propose that our product/service might help with their specific problem (which is often discussed within the content).
The Concept Of Content Marketing
Above, we have mentioned that content marketing is often not about promoting our product and service. So, how can content marketing help us in actually generating revenue? Here is the basic idea:
With content marketing, our aim is to provide value in the form of information, entertainment or a solution for a specific problem in the form of a content. We should remember that nowadays, there can be many different types of content media, including but not limited to:
- Blog posts (textual, often accompanied by audio and video content)
- Video content (via YouTube or on-site)
- Ebook, white papers, and other downloadable textual content
So, how can content marketing contribute in actually selling your product/service and generate revenue? Content marketing especially excels in the lead generation stage of the marketing funnel. By providing value to your audience, you establish trust, and now the audience is aware of your brand and product/service.
While we have mentioned that the content shouldn’t aim to hard-sell your product/service, it’s also important to cover topics where you can introduce your product/service to provide additional value. For example, if you are a SaaS (Software as a Service) business with a marketing automation software product, you can cover digital marketing topics (i.e. a content about SEO strategy), and you can show in the content that your product can help in implementing the strategies you’ve shared.
Content marketing can also be effective in the lead nurturing stage, where we can provide educational content about our product/service to convince them for a purchase.
The Benefits of Content Marketing
Content marketing (as an inbound marketing strategy) offers various benefits offer the traditional advertising tactics, such as:
1. Provides value and establish trust
Advertising doesn’t provide actual value to the customers, just information and persuasion. A content, on the other hand, provides actual value so the customers can relate with your brand.
Another thing to consider is the fact that people only purchase products from brands they can trust. Consistently publishing high-quality content is simply one of the most effective ways to establish your position as the expert or thought leader of your niche.
2. Effective education and nurturing media
Content marketing is an effective medium to nurture prospects until they are ready (or convinced) to buy. Many people delay the purchase because they don’t actually understand the value they get from the product/service, and this is where content marketing can help.
3. Content marketing is very affordable
Compared to investing on advertising, content marketing is significantly more affordable. Technically, you can even do content marketing for free if you do everything by yourself. This isn’t possible with advertising, where you will always need to spend money to buy the advertising space.
4. Sustainable, long-term source of leads
If your content is good, people will simply share it, and so you will get even more traffic to the content. A single piece of content can provide value for a long time, years even, and remember that publishing content is far more valuable than publishing an ad.
The Two Different Aspects of Content Marketing
A common misconception is that content marketing is solely about producing high-quality content and hope for the best.
However, no matter how good your content is, it won’t bring value until someone (and preferably, a lot of people) consumed the product and convert into a qualified prospect.
So, promoting your content is just as, if not even more important than the content production itself, and we can promote our content through various channels:
- SEO: when you content ranked higher on Google, you will get more traffic. A huge aspect of SEO is getting more backlinks, and the other promotional channels will generate backlinks when done right.
- Social media: promoting your content on social media. The more people share it, the more backlinks and traffic you’ll get.
- Influencer: working with influencers so they can share your content around. They also often provide high-quality backlinks.
- Guest posting: still very effective when done right, basically here you are publishing content on other sites where you can get exposure and backlinks.
It’s also important to optimize each content page so that it’s indexable by Google (and other search engines).
Content marketing is simply one of the most affordable, and yet effective marketing channels available today. One thing to remember, however, is that content marketing is a long-term strategy and not a get-rich-quick scheme. While it will require some time before you get any results from content marketing, in return you will also get a sustainable, long-term source of prospects.