Good content marketing is a win-win. Audiences get informative, entertaining content that’s relevant, educational, or beneficial in some way, while marketers get a captive, trusting audience.
As Joe Pulizzi put it in his book “Epic Content Marketing”:
"Your customers don’t care about you, your products, or your services. They care about themselves, their wants, and their needs. Content marketing is about creating interesting information your customers are passionate about, so they actually pay attention to you."
The beauty of this definition is in how simple it is. You have customers, and they are looking for information. Providing them with the info they’re looking for is content marketing.
Are you subscribed to a newsletter that piques your curiosity? That’s content marketing. Loved an Instagram video from your favourite brand? Content marketing. This very article you’re reading is content marketing.
Good content is something you willingly give attention to. And that’s what makes it so powerful.
Why Content Marketing?
You should do content marketing because it works. It’s an effective way of growing your business, provided you are willing to invest effort into it.
Content marketing can help a business in a few ways:
● It builds trust with potential and current customers. By providing high-quality content on a regular basis, businesses show their industry expertise and care for their customers.
● It attracts new customers. By sharing relevant information and creating interesting, engaging content, businesses can attract people who are looking for information about their industry or products.
● It improves customer retention. By providing valuable content, businesses can keep customers coming back for more information and advice.
Basically, it builds a brand. And you want your business to be perceived as a trustworthy brand because it makes selling so much easier. This is true for businesses of all sizes. You don’t need to be a huge corporation like Coca-Cola to reap the benefits of having a strong brand.
Only 17% of B2B marketers have had low or no success with their content marketing efforts in 2021, as per this research paper by the Content Marketing Institute. Unsurprisingly, the same goes for B2C marketers, for which (again) only 17% of marketers found little to no success with their content activities.
The only reason content marketing fails is that companies don’t understand that it’s different from traditional forms of marketing.
Traditional marketing is also called interruption marketing. It interrupts what the user is doing to blast your marketing message. Those annoying YouTube ads (for the brave warriors out there who don’t run ad blockers), commercial breaks on TV, and print ads in magazines are examples of interruption marketing.
Interruption marketing has 2 huge weaknesses:
● It’s annoying
● It only works as long as you pour money into it
That’s where content marketing enters the field. It is the opposite of annoying, and it keeps working for you long after you’ve produced the content you paid for.
And the best part? It doesn’t require a big budget (though it certainly helps).
The Basics of Content Marketing
While most blogs online seem to try their hardest to overcomplicate content marketing, it’s quite simple.
In fact, it can be reduced to a few easy steps.
Your content has to serve your customers and be on-brand. By keeping a consistent brand voice across all your content, reinforce your brand’s image, and make yourself memorable. For example, a brand like Durex tends to be on the lighter and funnier side. Conversely, a huge tech corporation like IBM keeps it more serious.
Whichever tone you decide on, make sure it’s authentic to your company culture and the values that you stand for.
Know Your Customers
Content marketing is all about delivering the right message to the right people. So, start by figuring out who the right people are, and how to craft the right message for them.
Start by creating an ideal customer persona. This is marketing jargon for a fictional, generalized representation of your target market, based on real data you've collected about your customers.
There are a few key things you should keep in mind when creating your ideal customer personas:
● Your ideal customer personas should represent your target market as a whole, not just your best customers
● They should include demographic information like age, gender, and income level, as well as psychographic information like interests and values
● They should be based on real data that you've collected about your customers, not just assumptions or guesses
● Where your customers hang out
You don’t need all of the characteristics on this list, especially if you’re just starting out. You’ll refine the personas as your business grows.
Know the Market
Knowing what your competitors are doing lets you craft a strategy that makes you unique. Is everyone else in your industry working on their blog? Get into video production. Podcasts are the hot thing? How about you make a magazine?
If people can’t tell you from your competitors, your content strategy is falling flat.
An incredible example is BlendTec’s Will It Blend? series. While every other blender maker was busy touting their product’s excellence, BlendTec conquered the market with a masterclass in content marketing.
The thought of using a blender to blend all kinds of objects – from iPhones to…Justin Bieber gave Blendtec a lot of visibility. Don’t believe me? Compare the views they get on their Will It Blend? videos and every other video they post.
Many people got to know of BlendTec because of its content marketing efforts. And I guarantee you producing their entire blending series cost them less
One shortcut to understanding customer personas and the type of that content that interests them is by using a social analytics tool like Mandala Analytics. Mandala analyzes keyword mentions from social media platforms and websites.
Here’s how it works: you select a keyword, or a bunch of keywords, related to your brand or product and enter them into Mandala’s system. The Mandala dashboard will show thousands of mentions along with important information, such as engagement and sentiment.
The system organizes these mentions so that you can quickly and easily break down customer behaviour and tastes, and identify what content works and what doesn’t among these target groups.
Producing Content Your Audience Loves
There is an ongoing war on the internet: the war for attention. There are over 600 million blogs online, not to speak about entertainment titans like Netflix and social media.
So, how do you produce something that can compete with those established giants and get people to actually pay attention to your content?
There's no one answer to that question, but there are a few tactics you can use to help get your voice heard:
1. Start with a strong headline.
Your headline is the first thing people will see when they encounter your article or video, so it needs to be eye-catching and intriguing. You don't want to give away too much of the story in the headline, but you do want to pique people's interest so they'll want to read more.
2. Write quality content
This is key for any type of content, but it's especially important when you're trying to attract attention. If your content is shallow or poorly written, people will quickly lose interest. Make sure your content is well-researched and interesting to read.
Let your brand’s personality shine, especially if you have a brand that’s more on the fun side. You can crack jokes and write witty punchlines. Don’t restrict yourself to boring PR speak.
You’re an expert in your field. If you don’t have time to write or feel like your writing skills are lacking, get someone else to interview you and write your articles/video scripts.
3. Use images and videos.
Visuals are a great way to attract attention and help keep readers engaged. Include images and videos that are relevant to your article and help illustrate your points.
Another great advantage of images is that they’re very easy to share. If you create infographics and other custom designs, you’re well on your way to becoming a content marketing powerhouse.
4. Share your content on social media.
This is probably the most important thing you can do to get your content seen by more people. Share it on your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn pages, and use hashtags to help it reach a wider audience.
But, a word of warning here: if you’re just getting started, focus on a single social media channel. That way, you can learn its ins and outs, and really understand how it works. If the platform is not giving you the desired results, move somewhere else.
Unsure where to start from? Go back to your ideal customer persona, and research where these people hang out.
With Mandala, you can clearly identify which platforms are for reaching your customers and presenting your brand. On top of that, it can also help you determine the best times and days to post content, based on engagement rates.
5. Make it easy to share.
Make sure your content is easy to share by including social media buttons on your page. This will make it easier for people to share your content with their friends and followers. The internet is for sharing after all.
You Created Amazing Content – Now What?
Content promotes itself once you’ve created a critical mass of work. But what should you do until then? How do you get your content in front of the right people?
Here are some ideas:
• Be active on social media
Social media can be a great way to attract attention to your content, but you need to be active on it if you want to see results. Respond to comments, post interesting content, and engage with your followers.
They’ll notice you care about your audience, which will improve their perception of your brand.
• Promote your content
Once you've created great content, don't just sit back and hope people will find it. actively promote it by sending out emails, contacting bloggers and other websites, and using paid advertising.
Yes, we made fun of interruption marketing earlier in the article, but the truth is that until your content marketing is fully operational, you still need it.
It’s just like a car. You need more energy to reach your desired speed, but once you’re there, you can cruise and save fuel. Advertising money should be seen the same exact way.
• Consider Influencers
If you don’t have thousands of followers yet, one popular shortcut to reaching a wider audience with your content is to partner with an influencer. Influencer marketing has grown dramatically in recent years, and for good reason. It’s a cost-effective and surefire way to reach your audience, as long as you choose the right influencer to match with your brand. It should be someone who’s popular with your target audience.
There are influencers in every industry and niche, and the rates they charge will depend on their number of followers, engagement etc. To find the best influencers for your brand, you can use an influencer marketing platform, like Upfluence that will link you with influencers, or you can identify influencers yourself using Mandala and contact them directly to discuss a partnership!
• Monitor Performance
Keep monitoring how your content is performing. Is it driving more sales? Is it getting more people to your website?
If yes, then double down on content production, and consider expanding to different mediums. Most businesses start with mostly text content and then move onto audio/video production once they start getting some traction.
If not, it’s a sign your content isn’t as good as you thought it was. That’s fine, now you’re closer to understanding what your audience is looking for. Don’t get discouraged if your first few attempts at content creation fail.
• Be patient
Attracting attention to your content takes time and effort, so don't get discouraged if you don't see results immediately. Keep writing great content and keep promoting it, and eventually, you'll start to see some traction.
Content marketing takes time, there is no way around it. This is why we recommend doing a mix of paid advertising and organic content marketing.
Content Marketing Is a Self-Sustaining Source of Leads
The beauty of content marketing is that it creates a library of resources you can rely on for years to come. For example, someone could find an article you wrote in 2015, and contact you because it helped them.
Eventually, you reach a point where your content is doing the marketing job for you.
And it doesn’t take a huge budget to get started. You can start today, even if you are a one-man show. Your content will be rough at the start. It may fail to capture attention, but if you persevere, you’ll become proficient at it in no time. And since content marketing is here to stay, you’re going to reap its benefits for years to come.
Mandala Analytics is the ideal tool for content marketers, whether just starting out or a seasoned pro. The tool gives you the ability to gather and analyze mentions from across the social media landscape and beyond, see exactly which content gets engagement and which doesn’t, know what’s trending, know when and where to post, and much more. You can start using mandala, free for 7 days and discover all the insights you need to get started producing awesome content to engage your target audience.