Content marketing is the type of business activity that collects dust on the to do list shelves until business owners look back six months later, in regret over lost leads and forgotten potential. We often hear that productivity gets lost with the push and pull of marketers vs those that know the business internally. Whereas a content marketing company is held accountable for the monthly deliverables and knows how to get it done.
Marketers have thrown around the phrase “content is king” for years now. The Content Marketing Institute defines it as thus:
“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
In 2019, you may have put content marketing at the bottom of your list of priorities, but 2020 is the year you should utilize these brand leads. We dive into the different types of content available, how to measure its effectiveness and determine whether or not it’s right for your business.
Here are the main things developing content can do for your business:
1. Builds trust and credibility
2. Funnels in targeted customers
3. Allows your business to stay top of mind
4. Reach people on multiple platforms
5. Raise website authority
Types of Content
Content is not just your typical images and blogs, it’s really anything with the intention of driving traffic. It’s crumbs you leave on the face of the internet to give indexing bots from Google and Facebook data on the validity of what you have to offer and whether to boost it or ignore it to deliver what their users are looking for.
Videos give you the opportunity to tell a visual and audio story, differentiating a brand through authenticity. They can be deployed on your own website, explainers or in-depth reviews to further engage education on a new product or concept. They can be posted on social media, which opens up the potential of sharing and organic boosts. And finally, they can be boosted through Facebook or Youtube, allowing new targeted demographics to view.
“85% of all internet users in the United States watched online video content monthly on any of their devices (Statista, 2018)”, and this number is only increasing – “54% of consumers want to see more video content from a brand or business they support” (HubSpot, 2018). Research is finding that people prefer videos as a form of content more and more, but they need to be engaging enough as there is increasing competition for gaining a share of customer’s attention spans.
Another shift is that Facebook is matching if not beating out Google in terms of how people discover their content. This means that more videos will move onto Facebook and people are becoming accustomed to auto-playing content as they scroll through their feed.
Videos provide an opportunity for emotions. People watching videos all react differently – do they realize how they need your product? Are they inspired to buy from your company? Will they talk about your video to friends and family? Videos have become natural to consumers when web browsing, so it makes sense that digital video advertising will dominate the next decade. A high quality video will capture the attention of customers, allow them to empathize with your message, visualize exactly what you are conveying, and spur excitement.
Videos build the trust of current and potential clients and Google loves videos. As we’ve reached 2020, trends show that consumers prefer video content to reading. Thought leaders keep on top of trends, mindful of the kinds of content customers want. Videos bring about this brand affinity – starting conversations and giving customers a reason to be loyal.
Your video will have a clear call to action near the end most likely directly linking your website or services page. Measuring your video ROI is attainable to see the success of your call to action and tracking absolute metrics such as clicks, signups, calls, and sales. In other words, if your video is effective, it will have a high conversion and click-through rate.
Blogs are rich with keywords that Google can crawl to help their users find exactly what they’re looking for. They generate specific, local and niche long tailed keywords that Google can increase your ranking for. Forbes reported that “blogs typically have 434% more indexed pages than those that don’t.” They also give you content to post on social channels, establishing your company to be active as well as a strong thought leader in the industry. It’s reported that 77% of internet users read blogs regularly (99Firms, 2019). They are an integral part of a comprehensive strategy purely for that reason.
For the customer side of blogs, they help establish your business’s authority. If done correctly, customers reading your blogs will have all of their questions answered. With all of the niche markets in 2020, there is a business for almost every customer desire. Brand authority is the reason why customers will choose your business over all of the other companies similar to yours.
Blogs are the perfect foundation to grab ahold of the opportunity to build organic SEO link authority. Link building is one of the many tactics used for SEO to climb your website higher up the ranks. Google’s algorithms have evolved to expect quality content from businesses for them to rank high. The main reason behind blogging, yet backlinks contribute to the success of this content marketing strategy. Links send a message to Google that your website is a quality resource worthy of citation. If you want to receive a higher rank with Google, you will always have to earn it and cannot buy links to gain a top spot. Like blogging, natural link building is a time consuming process. As with your website, Google will rank you to have a different level of quality from the most popular thought leader blogs like Forbes. Building on the authority and trust of the links you’ve embedded in your own blog, your blog will grow to mirror these rankings.
Written blogs are not hard sells, but soft sells offering your customers additional education. Blogs are an aspect of content marketing that help create a consistent experience. Mov finds that the average relationship to reach customer conversion through content marketing has seven to eight customer touchpoints. Due to this, content marketing is a long term plan, and you shouldn’t be expecting immediate ROI. As business evolves, customers want quality. Converting your business strategy to content marketing is the first step to reach this quality, achieving and maintaining it comes with diversifying your content and staying committed.
The aspect of blogging being a long term plan to achieve ROI is not appealing to some businesses. They’ll either scrap their ideas, post a few blogs or attempt gaining leads another way. Building brand recognition and customer trust takes time to achieve these pure leads. My advice to you? Persist. Blogs allow businesses to gain 67% more leads than those who don’t utilize them. For what it’s worth, hire a marketing agency to write blogs regularly for your business. Professional bloggers write with the skill of knowing how to make these long term strategies worthwhile. Good writing takes time. If you don’t already possess a love to write, professional blog writers gather authentic information, free up your time, and create effective pieces.
Calculating ROI for blogs can be a bit arbitrary, but done correctly, a direct result should be increased search ranking. Google Search Console is a set of tools offered by Google that allows you to see your website’s ranking improvement through search results, click-through rate, impressions, keyword positions, and more.
Social posts act as an umbrella term to blanket the different kinds of social media businesses effectively use to build their company’s social platform. With an account that displays your brand’s message, posts including videos, pictures, and captions are made to increase brand awareness and boost leads through connecting to your target customers. The most popular social media sites are Facebook and Instagram. Owned by Facebook, Instagram has more than one billion active monthly users of which 80% follow at least one business (Hubspot, 2019). Instagram is home to the younger generation, while people aged 25 – 34 make up the larger user base on Facebook. Facebook boasts the world’s largest social media platform, it’s targeted digital advertising platform is a dream for any content marketing strategy. Customers nowadays spend the most time on their phones, home to browsing websites and scrolling through social media.
Business accounts on Instagram have the opportunity to receive feedback on their posts which is a dynamic feature to help shape improvement. Users on Instagram want to be given a reason to shop, they are constantly looking for new accounts that they want to love. Creating a profile allows businesses to show the inventory of their content marketing. With a bio explaining who you are as a company and a feed of limitless opportunities, Instagram users truly see all of who and what your business is. Instagram is a great option for your business if you want to actively see how many people you are reaching. If you love creativity in the form of creative captions, picturesque photos, modern videos, contests, and want to content market through stories, Instagram is the platform for you.
Like Instagram, Facebook is a free marketing tool that businesses can use for self-promotion. Facebook has 1.56 billion daily active users (Hubspot). When you think about content marketing – it’s worth it. On Facebook, you can upload blog posts, post videos, and photos, and take advantage of Facebook ads. Facebook allows businesses to advertise to people by age, interests, behaviour, and location, being the most targeted form of marketing.
When we think about social media posts for content marketing, an opportunity is created to connect to customers on the accounts they spend most of their time on. As you begin to post on social media, your business creates an online community for its product or service. Customers follow your company’s journey in real time, and it is this authenticity that creates conversions. Should customers not wish to make a purchase currently with your business, Instagram and Facebook allow them to follow you, keeping you top of mind as the sales potential is not yet lost.
With social media posts, you connect to your audience in a way that builds relationships. Social media platforms take time and the patience of generating followers over the expanse of months. Most competitors will give up before growth can happen on social media – stick with it and the content you create will grow your platform and your sales.
Measuring the ROI of your social media platforms is easier with the help of setting up Google Analytics to track conversions. Google Analytics allows you to set goals and see how often these actions are carried out. Social media ROI changes according to the money spent on ads, creating content and paid promotions. As with measuring the ROI of previous content, website clicks, sales, audience engagement, and follower conversions will indicate how effective these platforms are.
Content marketing needs content… and this is where photos become important. As a business, you’ll need photos for anything – campaigns, social media posts, website material, newsletters, blogs, etc. Photography is different when it comes to content marketing, it’s not just what looks pretty, but how photos are created to display products to how they’re used, how they tell your company’s story, enhance your brand, educate customers, and humanize your business.
In a 2019 survey of business to consumer marketers by the Content Marketing Institute, 63 percent said they increased their use of images over the past year. Photography in content marketing needs to be a blend of original photographs with stock photos. Original photographs connect you to customers and create credibility. Photographs have become increasingly popular as they invoke action and increase engagement. Hiring a full-time photographer can be expensive and images that aren’t high quality won’t make an impact. Content marketing companies present low upfront costs and are great to consider for creating photographs and implementing stock photos.
There is no set way to calculate ROI for photographs, the best method is to see what the photo is connected to. Whether it’s a blog, your website or a post on your social media, calculating a photo’s ROI can be linked to the ROI of whichever platform it is posted to.
Shared three times more than any other visual content on social media (Hubspot, 2018), infographics are powerful in answering questions and delivering branded expertise for those that enjoy more visual experiences. Think about pictures merged with the main message of your website or a blog, the artfully woven together images with words are infographics.
Infographics are visually appealing, quick and easy to scan through, and are great pieces of SEO. Infographics provide your content marketing the opportunity to include facts and statistics. People can get bored reading line after line of statistics, infographics are the modern amenity to your content marketing strategy. With the limitation of words you can include in infographics, it makes sense that what you do include will naturally have SEO words within. The design of infographics welcomes SEO, the nature of it does not make keywords stick out like a badly put together collage.
If you’re keen on educating consumers, infographics provide a refreshing look for content. Measuring the value of infographics is found in a customer’s average time spent on the page, social sharing, and how it inspires a customer to take action by following, commenting, or finding your website.
A lot can be said for content marketing. The great depth of content marketing ensures that there is a strategy that aligns with any businesses’ goals. Content marketing is right for your business. It is more than sparking leads, but shapes a well-rounded business with customers that are loyal and who’s name is one that is known to be a thought leader. The more you diversify your content marketing, the increased likelihood of generating new prospects through search. In 2020, customers want to know who you are as a brand and content marketing is just the way to achieve it.