Content Marketing: What It Is And How To Use It Successfully (2022)
Surely you’ve already heard that saying that “content is king”. And it is that far from going out of style, content marketing is still essential for marketers. In fact, 78% of marketers believe it is the future.
If you have not yet launched into content marketing for your brand today, I want to encourage you to start now! With this definitive guide. To do this, I am going to explain what content marketing is and what it is not, its benefits, the most common formats, strategies to attract customers, and my favorite success stories.
What is and what is not content marketing
The contents are digital marketing like the color black to the world of fashion: a classic that never fails. Already 12 years ago, Joe Pulizzi defined content marketing that is still fully valid: “a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and attract the attention of a well-defined target audience, with the aim of encouraging them to be future customers “.
Simple, right? So that you have it even clearer, we are going to see some clues about what this type of marketing is and what it is not.
What is content marketing?
- A way to add free value. “Give, you will receive” is one of the great maxims of content creation.
- A long-term investment. Some companies start blogging with great enthusiasm and quit when they don’t see results for a few months. Error! Before jumping into the pool, you have to be clear that to obtain the best results, and you will have to be constant and think in the long term.
- A bet of the whole team. If you think about the different people who work in your company, surely they can bring refreshing points of view to your content. Although the main effort corresponds to the marketing department, involving your entire team will make your content much more interesting.
What is not content marketing
- It is not just writing articles. When we think about this type of marketing, we are often left with the first step: creating content around your brand. In reality, a complete content strategy consists of four phases: generating traffic, generating leads, lead nurturing, and generating customers.
- It is not native advertising. Although they have things in common, native advertising has two major differences with content marketing: it is based on paying space in other media (instead of publishing on our own channels) and uses an existing audience (instead of creating ours from scratch).
- It is not inbound marketing. but not necessarily the other way around. It is not inbound marketing. And this term implies all actions to attract customers to your business, including more traditional tools, such as advertising.
- It is not copywriting. Don’t be tempted to use your blog as an excuse to sell! Content marketing is based on helping and supporting the user. Overly promotional slogans and speeches are out of place.
Benefits of content marketing
Content marketing is a long-term investment, which requires dedicating time and resources. Why should you get into this “mess”? These are some of the benefits of a good content strategy:
- Earn the trust of your users. Posting quality content on a regular basis will let users know that they can trust your brand. After all, if you help them for free, what won’t you do when they get paid?
- Position yourself as an authority in your sector. If you manage to “be there” when a newspaper writes an article about your sector or when someone wants to consult information on a certain topic, you will gain authority and become the benchmark in your industry.
- Improve your long-term planning. With a well-executed content plan, you will have the peace of mind of knowing where your marketing is going and what you are going to do at all times.
- Improve your web positioning (SEO). Publishing content regularly is a winning technique to get Google to adore you. If you can get your content to rank high in search, you’ve got yourself an incredible source of free traffic.
- Win customers and sales. As a consequence of all the above, you will see how your sales grow, since you will bring more users to your website and they will trust you more. Of course, if you want your strategy to take effect, don’t forget the following steps of the content marketing conversion funnel from the previous section (lead generation, lead nurturing, and customer generation).
The most common branded content formats
Before starting to think about formats, my recommendation is that you have a clear focus: what value can you bring to your potential clients, and how are you going to communicate it? Based on this, you will lean more towards some formats or others. In any case, remember that it is always good to create different types of content, to see which ones work best, and to maintain some variety.
That said, these are the most common and proven formats in content marketing:
- Blogs. They have been with us for decades, but they are still one of our favorite ways of consuming content. The key to having a successful blog is to post regularly, have your categories and tags well organized, and invest in quality articles. Filler content may be cheaper to produce, but it is expensive in the long run.
- Reports, white papers, and other downloadable formats in PDF. This type of content adds a lot of value to people who seek to learn about a specific topic while positioning you as an expert on that topic. In addition, they are a very effective way to get hold of the email and basic contact details of your potential customers. All are advantages!
- Newsletters. When you have already managed to get a database of people potentially interested in your brand, newsletters are a great way to keep in touch. You can use them to promote the best content on your blog.
- Videos. Videos continue to be a trend and gaining acceptance from users. Formats such as video tutorials are very effective when it comes to positioning your brand, while live videos are a novel way to contact your audience and demonstrate freshness and spontaneity.
- Infographics. The perfect complement for your blog and to share on social networks.
Strategies to attract customers with content marketing
When it comes to planning your content strategy, there are many possible approaches. My star tip to start is that you opt for the simplest and consider the four steps that we have already discussed. Here are some ideas to further your planning:
- Create the best possible content. If you’re going to make the long-term investment that content marketing requires, do it right! You need your content to impress your users, recommend it to their friends, and take you as a reference.
- Don’t just focus on traffic, but on conversion. Visits, by themselves, will not generate benefits for you. Instead, leads do have value. Therefore, you need to have a strategy at hand so that visitors leave you their contact information. And for this, you will have to offer them added value.
- Invest in SEO. Creating content on a regular basis makes search engines very happy … but it is not the only aspect of your SEO that you should consider. For your content to be discoverable, it must be well labeled and classified and be developed following some positioning guidelines (not repeating nonsense keywords). If you take care of this aspect from the beginning, you will make your investment in content profitable much sooner.
- Think long-term. I won’t tire of repeating it: planning is half the battle! If you want your content publishing pace to be sustainable, you will need to organize your editorial calendar in advance.