What’s the big deal about content marketing anyway?
Well, figures provided by Chang, S. (2013) detail that 86% of B2C companies in 2013 were planning to keep or increase their content marketing budget with 54% of B2B companies planning to do the same (see the graphs below). This demand is ever-increasing and surely this increasing figure should be accompanied by research and learning about the opportunities that content marketing can bring to you. Luckily you can fast-forward, I have done some research and have compiled two useful frameworks together and some tips I have found centred around the topic. Don’t say I don’t spoil you!
The Guardian (2015) details content marketing as ‘all about creation of good content that attracts and engages with a target group’ – in other words, it is about communicating with target consumers without the actual sales pitch. All digital marketers (who, of course, are used to social media channels and so forth), this blog post is directed heavily to you with all of the content you work with on a daily basis. Content, content, content. Now let’s delve into this, hand in virtual hand.
First things first..
Before you can even contemplate creating content, you have to know what kind of content it is that you wish to create. I mean, you don’t want to blindly dive into the online sphere spurting random content left, right and centre, do you? Think about it. Hard. Of course me just saying that isn’t going to aid you at all so I have seperated the thought processes up and found some useful tools to further aid you.
1. Consumers. Your target audience.
This is probably a good place to start as no doubt the content which you edit will be targeted towards the beautiful, beautiful beings known to you and I as; The Consumer.
Patel, N. (2014) provided a framework for buyer personas. This framework can be used to efficiently specify exactly what you aim to target towards consumers. They are fictionalized representations of your ideal customers so fantasize away! This will of course need to be enhanced by market research and insight gathered from a consumer base. As the template states (consumer surveys are a good starting point!). See below for the framework that will guide this.
Furthermore, The Guardian (2015) provided some simple but key questions to help aid your brainstorming around content. See below.
1. Who do I want to target?
2. Is there a specific topic or niche where we want to excel?
3. What do I want those I target to associate with our brand?
4. What information are my customers looking for?
5. What type of content do my customers look at?
6. How can I keep existing customers happy?
7. How can I attract new customers?
8. What do we like/dislike about competitors content strategy?
9. Is there anything I do not want to highlight about our brand?
10. What overall business objective do I want to achieve from my content marketing? What are our KPIs?
These are relatively similar in terms of targeting consumers however these questions add some depth and flavour (in the form of attracting new customers, competitors content strategy and KPI’s with objectives). This will enable a more forumlated structure and plan for the pinultimate content strategy to be implemented. Furthermore, which channels do you aim to attract these consumers through? Rowley, J. (2008) details how the optimum business model for many providers of digital content is likely to depend on achieving a balance between their portfolios delivered through different channels. Although deciding which channel can be quite difficult, especially nowadays with so many social media channels available. click here for a social media comparison tool.
Once these questions have been answered significantly and thoroughly enough to meet the business aims of your organisation and you have a firm idea of the message and group to be targeted, you’re slowly but surely (hopefully) onto a winner!
2. Data Collection (make sure you’re prepared for this stage cos’ there’s lots of it).
Following the idea of the message to be targeted and who specifically you wish to target, it’s time to gather some data and see if this is synonymous with your proposed ideas. Of course you probably know what data collection entails but just incase your mind went a little blank. Here are some examples of what to begin researching (in depth and in line with your business objectives!!)
- Competitor analysis
- Keyword research
- Market research
- Customer Surveys
3. Analyzing and Assessment
Once we have thorough data collected, what will come next? Ah, yes! Analyze. It’s now time to create benchmarks and put together a content audit to display how the site is performing and how you intend to enhance this. How the site is performing will be measured through vital metrics such as Analytics metrics and SEO metrics and following this, the content funnel can be used (see below).
Where exactly does the company sit withn this for each different section of the funnel? The content funnel aims to assess the distribution of content on the channel and if this needs improving i.e. if there are any gaps. Once this has been completed it is officially time to clarify your goals (potentially based on the gaps of the funnel that you are not fulfilling) based upon this assessment/analysis and come to a conclusion with very clear, specific goals. Metrics for each of these goals are to be conducted and on you begin!
Hopefully these tips have made it easier for you to implement and structure the beginning of your content cos’ I mean we’ve all got to start somewhere, right? I’d like to end on a positive note, a great example of content marketing provided by Buzzfeed (a media company) who posted tis heartwarming content that is easily shareable. N’awwwwwww, cute.
For some more examples of good content marketing, click here.
Oh, and how could I forget, GOOD LUCK!!
Chang, S. (2013). How to Build a Content Marketing Strategy. [online] Moz. Available at: http://moz.com/blog/how-to-build-a-content-marketing-strategy [Accessed 20 Apr. 2015].
Rowley, J., 2008. Understanding digital content marketing. Journal of Marketing Management. 24(5-6), pp. 517 – 540
Patel, N. (2014). How to Create a Content Strategy That Actually Drives Organic Traffic. [online] Blog.hubspot.com. Available at: http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/create-content-strategy-drive-organic-traffic [Accessed 20 Apr. 2015].
The Guardian, (2015). Developing a coherent content strategy. [online] Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/media-network-outbrain-partner-zone/developing-a-coherent-content-strategy [Accessed 20 Apr. 2015].