In this article we explore what content marketing is, how to use it for business, what the major features are, and whether it actually works. So let’s get right into it!
So, what is content marketing?
Essentially, content marketing is a set of online resources created by a company (or individual) that raise brand awareness and interest without directly selling their products or services. This content is then distributed via social media posts, videos and blogs.
How can I use content marketing for my business?
Well, the best place to invest your content marketing efforts is in a content marketing strategy. The creation process can be as large or small a task as you want, and can afford it to be. But to be successful in content creation means clearly defining the reasons why you are doing it, the target audience you want to reach and then the best channels through which to reach them. Hubspot have produced The Ultimate Guide to Content Creation which explores the process step-by-step, and is a great starting point.
Once you have your strategy in place, you can focus your effort into creating an engaging piece of content that reflects what your audience are searching for. Defining your audience will mean that you will be able to research their interests effectively.
What are the major features of B2B content marketing?
In essence, we can think about content marketing as having three major features:
Search content: Researching and then using the keywords and phrases used by your target audience.
Social content: Visually engaging posts along with interesting questions and information about the product, service or industry. We have a free download available for anyone asking which social media platform should I use?
PR content: Which stream of your audience is your content aimed at? Many posts will be aimed at buyers, but understanding all of the stakeholders around your brand means you can separate your messages so that they target engagement and responses from particular sectors.
The key to content marketing is to make it relevant and interesting without selling to your audience. Ideally, it should add some value to their user experience; sharing helpful facts and information which support a purchasing decision, or a tip followers can take away and use in their own business for example. It isn’t always about educating your audience in what you do or how you help solve the pain points in their businesses.
Does content marketing actually work?
Well that depends on what you are hoping to achieve with your content marketing. Successful content marketing rests on how well you have prepared your campaigns and how you intend to monitor their performance.
The first question to ask yourself is whether you will be creating your own content or working with someone who can support you in creating and producing a campaign. If you will be investing your own time and resources into the content, what results would you like to see as a return on investment? Are you hoping to generate more leads and enquiries for your business?Or maybe, increased sales for your e-commerce website?
Think carefully about the outcomes you would like to achieve and then you can set the indicators to measure it. The return on investment you are hoping to create will then influence who your target audience is, what they are looking for and the type of content you need to produce in order to get their attention.
How to use content marketing for your business
Producing engaging content is just the beginning of the process. To really make the most of the resources you have, there needs to be a clear distribution plan in place.
How often will you post your content and via which channels?
How will you respond when your audience engages with that content?
Will you dedicate a certain amount of time to that each day?
These are just some of the questions it is helpful to consider when planning how to use content marketing for your business. Once you begin to distribute your content, you will be opening up conversations or opportunities to comment on your material, so planning how you will manage that and ultimately how that will benefit your business is an important consideration in planning how your marketing efforts will provide a return on investment.
If you are building your own digital marketing campaigns, we have a community just for you! You can join our private Digital Marketing Incubator Facebook group for free hints and tips.