The A-Z of Content Marketing: Everything you need to Know

With the world going online and falling in love with social media, online platforms are providing numerous opportunities for marketers to engage directly with customers and potential markets through content.

Social media usage is one of the most popular online activities. According to Statista, an estimated 2.95 billion people were using social media worldwide in 2019. The same study projects this number to increase to almost 3.43 billion by 2023. It is expected that these numbers will accelerate with this new ‘normal’ that we are now in.

The background

Social network penetration is constantly increasing worldwide standing at 49 percent of the world population as of January 2020. This figure is anticipated to grow as the lesser developed digital markets catch up with other regions when it comes to infrastructure development and the availability of cheap mobile devices.

Actually, most of the social media’s global growth is driven by the increasing usage of mobile devices. Statista shows that the current number of smartphone users in the world today is 3.5 billion, and this means 44.98% of the world’s population owns a smartphone.

Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) real-time intelligence data shows that there are now over 10.32 Billion mobile connections worldwide, which surpasses the current world population of 7.78 Billion implied by UN digital analyst estimates. Additionally, there are over 2 billion computers in the world, including servers, desktops, and laptops. Consequently, 4.7 billion people worldwide have access to the internet, representing 56.9 percent of the total population.

Further analysis and research contained in The Digital 2019 report by HootSuite and Wearesocial reveal that the average internet user spends more than a quarter of their life on the World Wide Web. The same report further shows that consumers are online an average of 6 hours and 42 minutes each. The total hours equate to more than 100 days of online time for an average internet user, more than 27 percent of each year.

The number of Google searches, Facebook posts, and WhatsApp messages sent in a minute is truly phenomenal. Smart Insights estimates that in under 60 seconds the average online activity amount to 56 million WhatsApp messages, 350 million tweets, 78 million blogs, and 500 hours of YouTube uploads, 294 billion emails, and 4.4 million google searches.

The Opportunity

The above stats show exactly how huge the content is in the current world. There is so much content on the internet that one needs to consume, both by individuals and businesses. However, this is a double-edged sword in that it opens up a wider audience for both people and brands while at the same time possess the challenge of getting one’s message to stand out among the millions.

In what is referred as Content Shock, the huge volume of content also presents an issue for marketers and individuals who are researching best practice in different areas, as often, there are so many different messages that it is hard to know where to begin. There is just too much information making it difficult for one to know which to believe or know the original source of insights.

So, what will make a brand stand out when it comes to content marketing, and can you really convert sales with content marketing?

Content marketing involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as articles/blogs, videos, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services. It is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

Therefore, a brand seeking to make use of content marketing should ensure that they do so in an effective manner in order to stand out. Impressions matter a lot in the digital market as it is a multimedia platform (majorly visual). With statistics showing that the majority of visitors to many sites never go back, the brand needs to leave a lasting effect on the first click.

It is important to understand that people don’t want to advertise when making purchasing decisions, they want valuable information – content. Therefore, it is important for brands to be careful about how they draft content. The number of people making use of ad blockers is increasing day by day with the number standing at more than 200 million people worldwide, with many others filtering the ads that reach them.

Great content marketing not only helps brands convey their expertise, but it also enables them to reach a wide range of goals such as lead generation, brand awareness, or talent acquisition. Creating high quality and consistent content can be expensive and time-consuming, however, the investment is worth it as it can grow the brand globally. When wrongly and hastily done content can prove to be more expensive, leading to a waste of valuable resources and can hurt the brand as a whole.

To stand out, it is important to position your brand as a thought leader and perfect the skill of telling a story. It is not easy or straightforward to position yourself as a thought leader, but if you’re consistent with your efforts, it’s entirely possible.

To get started, establish a consistent brand voice that stands out, observe, and interact with other brands so as to network, make original content as well as claims. Stories demand an emotional investment to hold a reader’s interest. They can bring your brand’s message to life and encourage people to take action without asking them to do so. Think about what makes your brand unique and use that special something to create a story that aligns with your audience’s needs and priorities.

The next step is to identify your audience. Your content marketing strategy is only as effective as the leads and audience it brings in for you. If you draw thousands of views every month, however, if only five among them are from your relevant audience, it is nothing but a waste of your time and effort. Narrow down on where your audience is from (demographics), their ways of thinking (psychographics), the type of content they prefer, and where they get it from and finally chip in by establishing how you can be of help to their needs.

The next step is to lay the brand’s focus on queries that the audience would prioritize, then pick the best medium to convey the content.  For example, some content will be best served through articles while other content will be better conveyed through videos. Google has begun prioritizing local recommendations, videos, quizzes, or other types of results (that aren’t articles) which give more attention to content that is addressing the audience queries.

It is important for a brand to diversify by publishing different kinds of content. Do not limit your brand to a single way of publishing content, invest in blog posts, social media posts, evergreen articles, press releases, how-to guides, infographics, photos, third party distributions, email newsletters, and videos. This will increase traffic and drive up sales.

Finally, ensure your content accurately depicts your products or services. The modern customer seeks a lot of information before deciding on what to purchase thus the need to avail as many details as possible. DO NOT be tempted to lie as it can be bad for business, it may work at first but it will soon turn against you.

The benefits;

Increase in site traffic. Great content will attract an audience to your site, while consistency and quality will keep them. When people come to your site, they’ll also find information about your company and your products/services.

Another benefit of having great content is increase in the direct customer conversions. Quality products, satisfied customers, and approvals do not go unnoticed, the customers will refer and recommend the brand to their contacts even without the involvement of the company. Statistics show that the modern customer is becoming increasingly loyal to brands, therefore good rapport with them will keep them and see them bring along a network.

Further, successful content marketing leads to improved indexing by search engine companies, especially Google. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is crucial to a brand as it is the way to get noticed above the rest.

Unique, authentic, and original content and products attract editorial links, which tell Google you’re important and authoritative. Google can also crawl your content, getting a far better idea of what your company is about, allowing it to return more relevant queries (including long-tail queries) to your site. The more people you reach, the higher you are and the higher the possibility that your site will generate sales.

In summary, each brand no matter how small should make use of the opportunities availed by content marketing. With content marketing, the possibilities for your brand growth are endless.

Do you have a content marketing strategy for your brand? Are there any brands you admire that have implemented a successful content marketing strategy?

Check out our last article on How To Automate Your Marketing Efforts During The Pandemic And The Future

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