As a company, we’re all about content marketing. We don’t exactly shy away from stating that it’s the present and the future of marketing. Perhaps understandably, though, we still come across people (and not too rarely) who respond with looks of confusion when we utter the two-word phrase “Content Marketing“.
Before we get to explaining what content marketing is exactly, though, we think the most essential thing to address is ‘what happened to regular old marketing?’. Why the need for a ‘new’ kind of marketing?
You might have expected this answer: the digital age has hardwired us to respond to content in a different way.
Traditional marketing is slowly becoming less effective.
Don’t you believe us? Think about it this way – how many hours per day do you spend scrolling through social media feeds?
Well, when you do that, you’re not just scrolling – you’re automatically filtering through content which you might find irrelevant. It’s the same with television and magazine advertising. If we’re not hooked from the first second, we filter it out.
Enter the need for content marketing, which is the new age marketer’s best bet at combating this problem.
Content marketing isn’t just about creating a barrage of content – it’s about creating regular content that is noticeable, that sticks, and that works. Content marketing is about creating and retaining audiences who, by following your content and striking a chord with it, then become consumers of your products and/or services.
Content marketing comes with a bunch of considerations, such as your audience (which we’ll talk about in more depth later on). This kind of marketing is about mass reach, sure, but the intended reach is a bit more selective than might be the case with more traditional methods.
What we mean by this is that because there’s so much content out there already, your content needs to grab the attention of not just anyone, but the demographic that will actually be interested in your brand. So, content marketing operates on the fine dynamic of what to do as well as what not to do.
In other words, content marketing isn’t too dissimilar from traditional marketing, but it does have a very specific function, which is that of being even more communicative in nature with the target audience.
The best content out there isn’t just colourful and engaging – but it’s content that your audience actually looks forward to receiving on the regular. Rather than being solely informational, the enjoyment derived from engaging with that content will direct them to seek direct consumption from your brand.
Let’s put it another way – with proper content marketing, you’re not making direct sales – you’re not even necessarily making really overt advertisements – but you are eliciting the desire for sales, and the sales that will be made will be from people who feel some level of connection to your brand.
Types of Content Marketing
With the right strategy, most mediums can be used to create content. In fact, while content marketing is mostly associated with the digital sphere and digital marketing in general, content doesn’t just need to refer to online content. Indeed, content marketing has roots in pre-internet times, with some early examples including magazine, cookbook, and automobile guide circulations.
However, let’s shift this discussion into 2016. What are common types of content marketing you’ll find today?
Websites and webpages, of course! Here’s the kicker, though. As our title states, chucking a logo and tagline on content isn’t content marketing. So seeing a webpage doesn’t automatically mean that’s proper content marketing, either.
There are techniques that go into turning web pages into fully-fledged content that works.
For example, good web pages are optimised for search engines (a trick known as SEO) – meaning that they are more likely to be noticed and ranked by Google. This one is too, but you’d never know it if you’re not savvy about online marketing.
In a nutshell, that’s the whole spirit of content marketing – subtle, effective techniques that are designed to receive as much traffic as possible without compromising the human level of engagement with that content.
There are various kinds of web pages, of course. Blog posts, for example, have become a popular and effective means of creating brand identity while also providing more cohesive content for readers to engage with.
It’s impossible to go into every single kind of content that can be created, of course, but it’s a fair bet to say that anything that has to do with audio or visual elements can qualify. Videos, podcasts, and infographics are just a few of the available tools to add a whole new dynamic to your content marketing regime.
Essential Factors of Content Marketing
What makes content marketing such an interesting field is that it’s ever-changing. You don’t need us to tell you that technology changes really quickly.
Now imagine this: every time there are changing trends in technological behaviour, there are also changing trends in consumer behaviour, that we need to address in our content marketing strategy.
That means always analysing statistics and data to understand what next steps need to be taken in our ventures as content marketers.
The Platforms Used
Because of this malleability, there’s an ongoing debate of which vessels to make use of. Podcasts could be the in-thing one day, and blogs could take over in the blink of an eye.
That’s not to mention the whole debate of which social media platforms need to be used to create online presence.
Of course, though, the more mediums you manage to utilise to deliver your content, the better (usually), although you do need to be selective about which mediums you’re channelling most of your efforts into.
Different mediums require different levels of frequency of use, too. A blog will need to be updated much more frequently than series of infographics, for example.
Audience and Relevancy
This means that even more important than this issue is really understanding your audience on the whole and using that knowledge to deliver content that is truly relevant to their interests.
Content creation is dependent on tone, and tone needs to change with different audiences. To give the tritest example imaginable, you wouldn’t talk to an elderly man in the same way you’d talk to a teenager. It just comes off as patronising – which good content should never be.
Which means that your content needs to be moulded accordingly. If your target demographic consists of teenagers, your whole strategy is going to revolve around what is relevant to teenage culture. You want your target audience to identify with your brand.
There are, however, approaches that work universally and that can make your content seem valuable no matter who you’re targeting. If you can make people laugh, or if you can make people remember that life’s worth living, your content will likely be successful. Similarly, motivational content and content that helps people feel mattered works. The list goes on.
Timing can mean many things in the world of content marketing. Knowing how to pop up at the right moments is vital to effective content marketing.
Even posting at the right hour can make a significant difference – our (and others’) analysis has found that different social platforms have different peak days and times in which posting is ideal. And boy, do our clients love us when we tell them something like, “Don’t post at 0900. Post at 0800, when people are on their way to work, and you’ll get double the eyeballs.”
Content marketers need to be prepared to have content ready for publication on the regular, and the way they handle this is by preparing a content plan with a complete schedule of content to be produced.
However, flexibility and adaptability are central to the content marketing code – you always have ready to adapt content in light of trending events which unexpectedly crop up with the potential to add a whole new dynamic to your delivery.
Contact Us for a Content Marketing Solution Today
You might have come to the end of this article feeling slightly overwhelmed – but that’s kind of the point. Sowwy!
We reiterate – content marketing is not easy, not with online trends that are always in flux, affecting consumer behaviours in the process as well as how content gets ranked online.
So unless your company really has the resources available, your best bet to take your ventures onto the internet and beyond would be to make use of a third party content marketing company that will guarantee a significant increase in audience response.
Systemato has met this guarantee without fail countless times. Have a look at our extensive client list – the names speak for themselves, and their success can be your success too. Contact us to see how we can help you today!