Encouraging customers to make an impulsive purchase with just any piece of information isn’t as easy as one might think. For them to really consider a product, the content needs to be super informative, appealing and engaging, something that is quick to get the readers' attention. But do you really think this can happen overnight? Definitely not! It’s a continuous process that requires a strategic approach.
Content marketing has been fundamentally transforming businesses over decades, becoming an undisputed king of the online world. But, what exactly distinguishes content marketing from other forms of paid commercials is still a big question for marketers. Clearly, content marketing has gained a strong foothold in the digital landscape, but what are the key takeaways that marketers need to learn before disseminating any form of content?
In this post, we will walk you through everything that you must know about content marketing, right from where it started to how it should be integrated into your marketing strategy.
What is Content Marketing all about?
Content Marketing is a well-thought-out process of creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content that attracts a clearly defined audience with a clear objective of spreading more awareness, generating leads, or engaging customers to drive profitable customer action. The type of content marketing strategy and the platform you choose for your content depends on your overall marketing objectives.
However, there is one thing that should stay consistent throughout, and that is value addition. For content marketing to be most effective, marketers should focus on something that provides the most value to visitors, something that perfectly meets their search intent. The content piece should be in the best interest of your target audience and close to your products or services. This way, making a leap from a content piece to a soft sale becomes a lot easier. Even though the methods for content marketing have completely evolved over the years, the core strategy has largely stayed the same:
1. Identify your target audience, their needs, challenges, and preferences
2. Highlight their pain points
3. Create valuable and quality content that addresses their primary concerns
A Brief History of Content Marketing - Some Iconic Examples
Content marketing isn’t a new concept, although the dynamics of content for brands have entirely transformed over hundreds of years with the evolution of the internet and social media channels. Storytelling, for instance, is one of the oldest forms of communication, and quite honestly, this form of content still resonates with any target audience. Customers appreciate real connections, and anything that helps them cultivate that bond and trust makes their job easier. So, where did it all start? Let’s look at some of the iconic content marketing examples that have become an inspiration for the modern-day marketeer.
Content marketing started with Benjamin Franklin in 1732 when he published his first version of Poor Richard's Almanack. The goal was to promote his printing business and to encourage people to avail of his printing services. John Deere, the tractor company, did something similar in the year 1895 by printing 'The Furrow.’ This lifestyle magazine strengthened the brand-customer relationship with insightful content on agricultural tips for farmers. So, it wasn’t just a catalog full of product advertisements but rather a subtle blend of ads and content that customers like engaging with, even today. The creation of this magazine was marked as the birth of brand marketing.
And then came the famous Michelin Guide, a 400-page book designed explicitly by Michelin- a french tire company for motorists on the road. Besides the general travel trips, it provided valuable information on places to find auto-maintenance, hotels, and restaurants. The idea was to encourage people to travel more, and since one could only enable traveling with strong tires, it was easy to market the brand contextually. The Michelin Man’s story, the iconic brand figure, is a testament to its growing popularity and evolution over the years.
The first case of purposeful audience targeting began in the early 20th century with Jell-O Recipe Book, a publication that was designed for the brand's target audience gave suggestions on things to do with Jell-O. It eventually boosted sales, and thanks to this, the product reached every American household by the early 1900s.
Now, coming to the most advanced Digital Age which gave a new life to content marketing once again. With the evolution of computers and the internet, marketers started exploring new means to disseminate their content, i.e., via websites or emails. O-Reilly and Associates was the first business to launch a commercial website in 1993. A year later, in 1994, Justin hall of Swarthmore college created the first blog. The term "Blog" was officiated in the year 1999, shortened from the word "weblog". The phrase 'content marketing' was coined in 1996 at a discussion for journalists at the American Society of Newspaper Editors.
Top 5 Content Marketing Tips that every Marketer should follow:
Create a buyer persona
To generate relevant content, you first need to understand your target audience and their evolving needs and preferences. So before you start planning or producing content, create a buyer persona. This way, you will better understand who is reading your content and the solutions they're looking for. It also makes it easier for you to measure content performance and will help you in faster conversions. As Brian Clark, Founder of CopyBlogger said, "Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that's great for your readers."
“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance”- Coco Chanel.
There is nothing as elegant as simple content. No matter how complicated the concept is, comprehending it in a simple language with little to no use of technical jargon will definitely generate better traffic to your site. Your content should give the audience the answers they have been looking for. So if you make your content look more complex under the pretext that your audience must be looking for a more sophisticated approach, they will immediately switch tabs to find something more straightforward and informative.
To understand their problems and offer the most feasible solution, you need to communicate in a tone and language that they can easily comprehend. Building true connections isn’t easy, but once your content starts resonating with your target audience, there is no looking back. But wait, sometimes easy can be misconstrued for stupid. Do not confuse the two; the audience knows the background; they are just looking for a better-segregated approach over long and cluttered paragraphs.
For short, simple and optimized titles and social media posts, you can use GenerateAI by Scalenut that provides AI-powered quality content solutions in less than a minute.
Be Authentic & Transparent
The authenticity of content can significantly impact the success of your marketing campaign. The social media platforms were flooded with all kinds of pandemic-related information during the most challenging times; however, this only made the readers more aware than ever. The customers are now media literate, and they can differentiate between authentic and fake information. Unauthentic campaigns can tarnish the brand image, whereas honest and transparent communication is the key to customer engagement. A study reveals that 84% of customers trust online reviews as much as recommendations from friends. For them, that's authentic and honest feedback.
There is a difference between blogging consistently and sporadically. The content marketing sphere can get extremely competitive, therefore in order to stay ahead, one needs a proper strategy and most importantly, consistency. From website blogs, social media posts to press releases or other business insights, communication in any form is essential to build a connection with your target audience. The right content format and a proper content distribution strategy are also imperative. As per a Hubspot survey, 82% of marketers who blogged daily acquired at least one customer via their blog compared to 57% who were occasionally blogging.
Measure and Evolve
There is no one content marketing strategy to follow. The key is to continually measure the success of your content and make suitable modifications for the best results. Marketers should pay close attention to analytics and keep track of the trending topics and best-performing content types that are generating traffic to sites. By constantly making changes to the content, you will cut the dead weight from your strategy. Think about catchy headlines, topics, visual engagement strategies, unique content layouts, call to action, and about most successful conversion strategies. Content marketing is not about a cookie-cutter strategy that you will stick to for the next 5 years, but instead a constant effort to evolve every day.
Ready to create your own content marketing strategy? Here’s your ultimate guide!
Remember, the content that you choose for your platform will define the success of your brand. To stay at the top, you need a content strategy that represents both you and your target audience and helps you build a unique brand presence. So make sure to choose the right talent and strategy that will benefit your business in the long run. For powerful content and stunning designs, contact the Scalenut team now!