What is Content Marketing?


What is Content Marketing?

Direct advertising literally flooded the Internet. There is no longer a place where once a consumer could hide from annoying advertising. Not surprisingly, it became much more difficult to arouse the desire to “acquire something” without causing irritation.

People no longer want the product to be “steamed”, even if they need it. They want to make decisions themselves, after hearing the opinions of loved ones and independent experts. They need information that will not force, but help make a choice.

In the modern world of marketing, active advertising has faded into the background, now it is much more important to competently build communication and get feedback from the client. It is on two-way communication that the development of most modern companies is based. And content marketing is the link between the company and the consumer.

The concept of content marketing and its practical application
Content marketing is a marketing technique aimed at creating and disseminating high-quality, relevant and, above all, useful information for the consumer.

The goal is to create trusting relationships with the client, increase website traffic, increase reputation, loyalty, recognition, sales growth.

Content marketing “gently” pushes a potential buyer to a certain choice, he does not decide for the buyer and gives time to think, does not crush the time frame of stocks. The key word here is good, and the key goal is trust. From simple advertising, content differs in that it is useful in itself. It is not he who finds and pursues the consumer, the consumer himself finds him in the search engines, voluntarily gets to know him and even shares with friends.

Indisputable advantages of content marketing:
The trust.
When you start giving the user the necessary and useful content, he will have the impression of you as experts who can be trusted, because you have already helped him with advice in your articles.

Increasing positions in search results, increasing traffic.
Content marketing is close to SEO. More interesting and unique content – a higher position in the search results, and interesting articles will definitely bring you search traffic.

Try to get respect not only among customers, but also among colleagues and even competitors. A good reputation will help the company find valuable personnel, replenish your ranks with fans of the brand, who will not only recommend you to friends, but also possibly protect your company in various forums from attacks from dissatisfied customers.

Sales growth.
And this is inevitable. When your regular reader decides to purchase a certain product, he will turn to the company that shared his experience with him, give advice, do not get aggressive advertising and patiently wait for him to make a decision.

It is important to understand that content marketing is not aimed at instant results. This is a game with complex rules, which will take you a lot of time, however, in marketing, easy ways no longer lead to anything. And content marketing itself will lead you to a client, and a client who fully trusts the company. And this will win for you a leading position in the fight for consumer loyalty.

Where to start?
Formation of goals;
Determination of the target audience;
The choice of content distribution channels;
Content creation;
Distribution of content on channels;
Development of long-term plans;
Strategy analysis and refinement.
The formation of goals.
A clear statement of the goal will help to draw up the most optimal achievement strategy. Want to increase the number of subscribers to your channel on YouTube or increase the number of reposts of your informative corporate blog articles? Every goal has its own nuances.

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Determining the target audience.
Before you start your blog or write articles on social networks, you must clearly determine for whom you will write all this, that is, your target audience. It depends on what topics you will cover in order to attract the CA you need. Ideally, the reader should be hooked so that he himself wants to share your information with friends or colleagues. Therefore, all means are good here: from a serious article in which topical issues are sorted out to jokes and funny pictures from your field of activity. It is also important that sharing your content is easy enough. Usually, buttons for posting on social networks are enough.

Selection of content distribution channels.
The next important question: how to convey your content to the desired audience. The following options are possible:

Corporate website or blog;
A third-party site or blog that your target audience is reading;
Social networks (VKontakte, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Classmates, etc.)
E-mail newsletter;
Media, portals and other thematic sites;
Conferences, seminars, webinars, round tables and other educational events;
Books, magazines, catalogs and other print media;
Of course, your platform will become a platform for the client. However, this does not mean that there will be no more advertising materials on your page. Most importantly, do not forget whose page it is and do not overdo it with advertising. Most of the content should be useful or entertaining; devote about 20 percent of 100 to commercial content.

And what’s important – give the reader time to digest the material. Find a middle ground in the frequency of publications depending on the topics of your business and target audience.

Content creation.
Next, you need to answer a very important question: who will write the content? The following options are possible:

It is unlikely that anyone in the company knows their business better than its founder, that is, the director. He knows all the pitfalls and can tell a lot of really interesting things, however, it is unlikely that he has a lot of time for this and the manager does not necessarily have the writing skills and holds a diploma of graduating from the philology department.

The collective.
You can instruct employees to write notes on behalf of the company on social networks. Over time, the leader will find out who really shows writing skills among subordinates to analyze reader activity.

Third-party organizations.
A company selling content will significantly save your time and time of your employees, but this is a rather costly method. Plus, the contractor does not know your business as well as you do.

Outside expert.
Having resorted to the help of a third-party expert, you yourself will be able to learn something new about the scope of your business. But, unfortunately, not every expert will want to write in your company’s corporate blog.

Sometimes, it’s the site’s visitors that can leave a lot of useful and unique information. Therefore, such a concept as guest blogging should not be neglected. The only negative is that it is quite difficult to get a visitor to share stories or thoughts on a specific topic.

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However, do not forget that content is not only textual content. Today, there are 4 content formats:

textual (news, article, post, survey, research, etc.);
graphic (picture, photo report, drawing, infographics, etc.);
video (interview, video, movie, clip, webinar, video review, training course, etc.);
audio (music, audiobook, podcast, etc.).
Proper combination of these formats will make content more attractive to consumers.

Distribution of content on channels.
If you run a channel on Youtube, it’s logical that all information clips should be uploaded there. Your corporate blog can be positioned as a serious platform where you will publish reviews of new products, give advice from experts and share something interesting from the industry. And your VKontakte group may be entertaining in nature.

Development of long-term plans.
It is important to systematize the publication of content. You must know exactly the dates and topics of publications for the week, month, quarter and even a year in advance.

Strategy analysis and refinement.
The effectiveness of content marketing is difficult to measure by the number of sales, as it is a long-term tool. Therefore, it is necessary to proceed from specific goals. Do you want 5 thousand subscribers? Perfectly! If people subscribe – you are on the right track, if the number does not change or falls – you are clearly doing something wrong and your strategy needs to be reviewed. But do not forget that a written article can lead you to a client in six months or even a year.

What to do if your business does not work for the consumer, but for the business?
In fact, doing business in B2B is different from doing business in B2C, and content marketing is no exception. A business-to-business product is much more complex than a business-to-consumer product and needs to be examined more thoroughly.

Today, an industrial buyer does not need to meet and communicate with a company representative as before. People are much more comfortable finding all the necessary information over a cup of coffee in a calm and familiar environment where no one exerts obvious pressure on them. Therefore, it is extremely important that among the information that a potential client will pass through itself, your content also appears.

What to write about?
Explore the market, write comparative articles about goods and services, consider your cases, give recommendations to beginners, organize polls and publish the results, analyze all kinds of problems, the sources of their occurrence and be sure to tell about the solutions.

There are common mistakes in writing B2B content:

In the pursuit of information, do not forget that the article should contain a veiled call to action, for example, to further travel through your site. People should not just read and leave, they should remember your goods and your company. Try to maximize the user’s presence with you, create all the conditions for this.

Despite the complexity of your business, do not make your site complex. The visitor should spend a minimum of effort for any action on your site. For example, do not get involved in complicated registration or links to third-party resources. Comfort is above all. If you have video content, try to provide it in text format for those who prefer to read. As often as possible, put yourself in the place of the consumer who first visited your site.

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Provide the user with the most detailed and useful information, do not allow yourself to do superficial articles. Do not stop figuring out the needs of your potential customers, and as deep as possible cover the solutions to their problems.
If you are not sure about something – do not write about it at all. You must be an authority in the eyes of the reader, your articles must convince and not leave unresolved issues. If your organization does not have an employee who can write quality content, do not save, turn to third-party organizations. Try to involve as many experts as possible in the content creation process.

Your content plan should be consistent and logical, one article should cling to another. Random, rare, unrelated publications will not help you.

Do not forget that content needs to be promoted: newsletter, active position in social networks, etc. SEO also remains an essential tool to help search engines index your unique content.

Try to predict the client’s reaction to your actions and respond correctly. Between you and the client should be built interaction.
The b2b content creation strategy is similar to the strategy described above:

Start by compiling a list of goals;
You must have a clear understanding of who your customer is;

You must understand his preferences, his problems and know exactly where he is looking for answers to his questions (sites, articles, books, blogs, etc.);

Find someone who will write quality content for you. In the field of b2b, it is much more difficult to achieve quality and relevant content than in the field of b2c. Try to contact experts more often.

Find a middle ground in the frequency of publishing content.
Consider all possible channels for disseminating information and, by constantly analyzing the results, choose the most effective ones.

Pay attention to each stage of the sales funnel. Interest the potential client with tweets, warm his interest with a detailed information teaser, keep your attention with small useful posts and strengthen the credibility of informative articles.

You must be aware of the purchasing cycle your customer is in. The difference between the search for information at the initial stage and the search at the final, for example, when putting equipment into operation, is huge in B2B.

A B2B performance analysis differs from a B2C analysis in that the resulting leads have the same meaning as sales. In B2B, a potential buyer is not just one person; an entire organization can stand behind him. And often it depends on properly built relationships with one person, whether your organization will serve a company of 200 people.

So, content marketing is not a magical tool of the future, it is a necessary thing already in the present. No need to abandon the good old advertising, but in order to remain competitive in a world that is literally overloaded with a huge amount of all kinds of advertising, you need to keep up with the times and always give the consumer a little more than competitors.

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