The purpose of content marketing is to build an audience through the creation of relevant and valuable information. This is an ongoing process that should form part of your overall marketing communications plan.
Content marketing is not about pushing out content about your products, services or brand messages – it’s about publishing information that consistently informs, educates, inspires and engages people with brand ‘related’ information that ultimately wins trust. This trust helps to makes any future ‘sell’ easier as there is already emotional engagement and belief in the brand.
Many larger brands now have dedicated publishing departments that produce quality content. In some cases brands have developed entirely new business divisions that have their own audiences, which in turn builds brand trust for the ‘mother’ brand.
Johnson and Johnson manufacture healthcare and pharmaceutical products, however they established babycentre.co.uk (BabyCenter.com in the US) a completely separate online company that promotes all things for parents and babies. They promote all kinds of products and generate revenue through on-site advertising, including their own products. The site reaches over 40 million parents worldwide which enables them to analyse behaviour, data and produce new products.
Content marketing must start with a strategy. What are you trying to achieve? What is your specialist area? What does your audience want?
Your content strategy will keep you focused and help you to write your content media plan which ideally should be a medium to long term plan. From this you can decide how often you want your content to go out and through which channels. Start with a 6 month plan and then analyse which content worked best at the end of the period and adjust the next plan accordingly. You can then move on to a 12 month plan.
Building an audience is the sole purpose of content marketing, regardless of your strategy – what is the point of producing content if no-one reads it or shares it? Ensure that you have sign-up CTA’s on all content including any relevant social links. People may start to see your posts through social media and then sign up to receive emails straight to their desktops.
Keep it fresh!
Original content is essential, along with good headlines and carefully checked copy. If you are going to use external data, ensure that you acknowledge the sources. Use your media plan to outline the topics as well as the format of content itself. Constantly ask yourself – will my audience value this information? General types of content include:
- General blogs on relevant topics
- Educational pieces
- Research data
- Recommendations for related products or services
- Top tips and helpful guides
- Specialist subject articles
- Unbiased opinion pieces
- Market analysis
- White papers
- Videos – where they can support a story
- Reports and findings
- Current facts and figures
- Case studies that demonstrate positive outcomes
- AND MUCH MORE!
Content writing tips
Whatever you produce as content needs to have a purpose and needs to be written to be found online too. Here are a few tips to guide you:
- Write content that’s in line with your strategy
- Research your facts and acknowledge external sources
- Include keywords or related keywords throughout
- Use headlines that people might search for
- Think carefully about your headline in terms of effectiveness and search terms
- Make the content easy to read – bullet point where possible
- Keep online content fairly short – 200 – 400 words
- Use internal links wherever you can (links to other blogs or web pages)
- Check your spelling! It may sound obvious but mistakes happen!
- Create original, engaging images to make your content stand out
Content marketing will:
- Show that you are specialists in your target markets
- Drive traffic to your website
- Help you grow and audience and increase your data
- Improve search engine optimisation
- Improve your chances of being found through online search
- Build trust and improve brand credibility
- Increase sales!
Another benefit of content marketing is its ability to integrate with your other public relations and marketing channels. Social media is a great way to promote your content on and if you stay relevant and targeted, prospects will find your content and be driven to your brand website.