Content marketing is the fuel of your marketing efforts – we believe in this statement very strongly. Here’s why:
Mint.com, a personal finance website, sold their finance tool to Intuit for an amazing $170 million, after only three years in business! How did they gain so much popularity for their brand and product? The answer is content marketing.
Mint concentrated their efforts on creating blogs that catered towards their target audience, such as how-to guides on financial topics. By doing this, they continuously drove massive traffic to their site and product. Their blogs and content built so much trust amongst their audience that they even stated they would allow Mint to handle their sensitive banking information.
Mint’s story inspires us, and is a prime example of how crucial content marketing is to any brand. Whether you are just starting up or progressively building, content should be playing a role in your growth strategy. Let us begin to break down the importance of content marketing, and why your brand should be investing in it.
What is content marketing?
So, we have seen content marketing in action above, but before we start delving into this topic, let us define the term.
Content marketing is the overall efforts of building content which is highly relevant, and sets to potentially solve your target audience’s problem, enabling you to acquire and engage your customers.
When done correctly, it will demonstrate your brand’s thought leadership, allowing your audience to view you as being trustworthy and authoritative in your industry.
Why is content marketing important?
The way Mint has used content marketing to their advantage really helps summarise the importance of content marketing. But allow us to reassure you of its importance some more.
Did you know that over 85% of brands use content marketing as part of their growth efforts?
As well as driving traffic to your site, content marketing enables you to provide educational value to your users about the products and services you offer, and how your offerings will aim to solve their problems. Doing this, you avoid coming across as purely sales focused and shows that you genuinely cater to your audience and listen to their needs.
By proving that you engage with your audience, the benefits after just simply come rolling in. Your customers will see you as trustworthy and will want to build a relationship with your brand. Due to this, you will be increasing your conversion rates, and creating sense of familiarity around your brand.
Why invest in content marketing?
Content marketing completely takes you away from the notion of outbound marketing, where the focus is away from interruption and more on engagement and nurturing. This sense of inbound marketing proves more fruitful as we are moving away from the whole buyer-centric view and towards the customer-centric view.
The main reason for investing in content marketing is organic awareness. Just over 50% of consumers are consuming content via organic search, i.e. this is where your audience finds your content on search channels such as Google.
Content marketing alone is powerful enough to drive organic traffic to your site, continuously. This means that you will not have to spend a large amount of your vital resources, such as time and money, on paid advertising. This saves you from the stress associated with all the hassle that comes with paid ads, and gives you more time to focus on building your brand through other efforts.
How to carry out content marketing properly?
One thing is key here: provide answers!
The way users search on the internet today is changing. Their queries are revolving more around questions and they expect real-time answers. Google has catered for this by adding in the features of one-box instant answers (1), and the ‘People also ask’ section (2), whereby common questions are answered instantly.
Image source: Content Marketing Institute
The rule here is to simply cater for this trend of ‘they ask, you answer’ within your content marketing strategy.
If you are not able to give the answers your customers are searching for, they will not resonate with your brand.
This means adopting an answer driven approach around the way you write your content, so that it can target your audience’s needs.
Below are 4 steps that you could use to effectively start off your content marketing strategy:
Goal setting is very crucial for content marketing (and for anything else you set out to do, for that matter!). If you don’t have goals for your strategy, you will not know what you’re working towards and will not be able to quantify your results.
Creating SMART goals are a great way to start; this means having goals which are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
Start by asking yourself what your brand is trying to achieve through content marketing, this may be different for other business’, but we have listed some common goals below:
- build brand awareness
- build rapport
- demonstrate thought leadership in your industry
- build trust through educational value
- help move customers down the sales funnel
- increase conversion rates
- drive more traffic to your site
2. Knowing your target audience
When we are social settings, it is easy to adjust our communications to who we are speaking to.
If my good colleague at work asked me how my presentation went, I’d probably reply saying “pretty much kickass”. However, if my boss were to ask me the same question, this reply would not be so fitting (unless your boss is pretty much kickass themselves).
The same principle applies to when you are crafting your content. Whilst keeping your target audience in mind, you will have to write around topics that will interest them, and which provokes their engagement.
For example, you will have to write differently for when your target audience is a small business, as compared to one that is a larger brand. Smaller business’ may be looking for topics around budgets and efficiency with limited resources, whereas larger business’ may be more interested in staff management and productivity.
A good way to keep a picture of who your target audience may look like, consider creating a buyer persona.
Having a buyer persona planned will make the writing process a lot easier, as you will have an idea of who you are targeting your audience to, instead of taking a shot in the dark.
3. Identify your audience’s search queries
Now you have your ideal target audience in mind, it is time to research what they are actually searching for.
So how do you do this? A lot of brands usually turn to keyword planners to find out potential keywords that their audience are searching for around a particular topic. This is a great way to start. There are several tools out there, below we have listed a few good ones to checkout:
- Google Search Console
- Google Keyword Planner
- Ahrefs Keywords Explorer
- Moz Keyword Explorer
- SEMrush Keyword Research Tool
This will allow you to see which keywords are ranking well, and will also give you an idea of which keywords your competitors are ranking for.
Once you get an idea of which keywords your audience are searching , optimise and double down on these, making sure you add them into your content and web pages to help enhance your SEO efforts. (Word of caution: avoid using the keywords excessively, this will not help increase your rankings of your site and will in fact do more harm than good!)
Although it is important to identify which keywords your audience are searching for, we want to stress the importance of being able to answer your user’s questions (and we do believe that consumers are slowly shifting away from keywords and onto question searches).
As mentioned earlier, people are searching the internet for answers to their questions. At IWise, we use answer strategy in our content creation services. In order to put your brand in front of your audience as the answer to their problems, the new answer driven approach must be implemented in your content.
With your target audience in mind, and a good list of what they are searching for, you will be on your way to creating amazing content in no time.
4. Use relevant topics
When writing content to target your audience, as well as using keywords, use relevant topics around the products and services you offer.
Remember, you are placing yourself as the solution to your user’s problems here.
Ahrefs have a brilliant way of doing this; they have implemented a scale on which they rank importance of a topic with a business value score.
With a scale of 0-3, where 0 means the topic has no relevance to their business’s solutions to a users problem, and 3 meaning the topic is highly relevant to addressing their product or service as the solution to their user’s needs, they are able to prioritise their topics accordingly.
Sometimes it could be difficult to figure out which topics to start off with, or what other topics you could include into your content. You also may want to make sure your topics are scoring well against your competitors so that it can get noticed.
Content gap analysis and topic scoring are good ways to check this.
You can do this with our content creation service, where we leverage tools that use artificial intelligence, allowing us to optimise your topics against other competitors within the field, and find opportunities for improvement.
We hope our rundown of content marketing has convinced you to use this powerful technique within your strategy, or has given you opportunities to improve on your existing process.
The main purpose with content marketing is to fulfil your user’s intent and prove to your target audience that your business is the potential solution to their problems.
Quality content which is highly relevant and essentially answers your audience’s questions will no doubt place you as a trustworthy brand in front of your customers.