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Inbound Marketing Blog

    Defining Content Marketing—You Think You Know. But You Have No Idea.

    Posted by Brittney Ervin

    Content Marketing Uncovered


    You’ve probably heard the phrase tossed around: “Content Marketing.” Maybe you’re familiar with it, maybe you aren’t. Maybe your company has been churning out relevant content for years. Maybe your company doesn’t have the slightest clue how to produce a blog post. Whatever your unique relationship to the idea of content marketing might be, one thing is certain: successful companies and brands use content marketing smartly, to the great advantage of both their clients and their brand’s reputation.

    So the question remains: How well is your company doing content marketing?

    Why is Content Marketing So Important?

    The concept of content marketing—and the effort to effectively capture its tenets—is nothing new. In a new study, the Content Marketing Institute reports that 93% of marketers use some kind of content marketing in their efforts. The evolution of content marketing is detailed enough to make heads spin, but at the end of the day its benefits are clear:

    What gives content marketing this special edge, making it more cost effective and profitable for business owners and more attractive to customers? Content marketing keeps the interests and needs of customers at the center.

    Customer-Centric Content

    The effectiveness of customer-centric content is a huge part of why business owners, both B2B and B2C, are increasing the amount of funds they allot towards content marketing strategies.

    content marketing

    photo credit: Intersection Consulting via photopin cc

    So how do you devise a strategy for producing the content that your customers will find useful? You get to know them, of course.

    ...unfortunately, saying you know your customers is much different from actually knowing them, and the success of your inbound marketing strategies will reflect that lack of knowledge.

    Getting to know your customers means a few things:

    • Conduct industry or market research. This means first talking to you current customers, getting information on what they like about your product or service and why they continue to do business with your company. Secondary research can include gathering statistics, study reports and other types of mandated research.  
    • Get to know other industry professionals, especially those with more experience.
    • Get statistics and reports from useful websites like eMarketer, Plunkett Research, Ltd., Valuation Resources, and Forrester.
    • Get involved on social media. Track industry terms, pay attention to the types of content your target audience engages with the most, and take note of what they’d like to see more of.

    Getting to know your target audience requires a concerted effort, careful research and collection of data. Once you feel you’ve got a strong handle on their preferences, interests and pain points, you can begin fleshing out the types of content that will appeal to them most.

    Producing Dynamic Content

    No matter how well you know your audience, if you don’t produce a variety of content in a variety of mediums, they’re going to get bored. Content marketing encompasses far more than churning out blogs; visual content is a vital aspect of shareability and engagement on your brand’s social platforms. Here’s a rundown of the types of content that you should strive to incorporate into your brand’s content marketing efforts:

    1. Guest blogs from fellow industry professionals. Connect with other industry professionals, and showcase their content on your page. Blogs from your fellow business owners can help strengthen your reputation in the industry and cast a wider net for potential customers and followers.
    2. Videos and Images. Visual content is vital to your brand’s visibility and success.
    3. Branded content. This medium mixes the notions of pitching a brand and entertaining an audience. Branded content, when done correctly, can help you establish a strong, personal connection with your audience and create the types of brand ambassadors that you need.

    Track Your Content Marketing Successes (and Failures)

    Another important aspect of successful content marketing is monitoring your efforts. Being able to see how well your website is performing, which pages are getting the most attention, and whether or not your content is resonating can help you improve your future efforts.

    Services like Google Analytics can help you monitor and analyze visitor traffic, show you what your visitors are looking for, and give you a visual assessment of how your visitors interact with your website’s pages.

    Software platforms like Hubspot can help you drastically improve your acquisition and pursuit of qualified leads, monitor the success of your content efforts, and create a far more efficient website.

    Social media monitoring might also be helpful in the evolution of your content marketing strategies.

    With tools like Hootsuite, you can monitor numerous social media accounts, monitor any audience conversation about your brand and schedule social media posts in one location.

    Other social media monitoring tools include:

    -Sprout Social

    -Tweet Deck

    -Trackur

    Making Sense of A Lot of Information

    Content marketing encompasses a ton of information, much of which is confusing or seemingly convoluted. Like any worthwhile pursuit, however, your personal research and careful study of trends and successes can help you adopt a successful content marketing strategy that appeals to your target audience and helps build your brand. 

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    Topics: Inbound Marketing