Content marketing has grown exponentially in the past few years, this infographic reveals.
How fast is it growing? In 2012, business-to-business marketers spent 33 percent of their marketing budgets on content marketing, a marked increase from 26 percent the year before.
So why are companies so eager to succeed in content marketing? The answer lies in what content marketing really is.
“Content marketing,” the infographic from Adobe’s CMO.com defines, “is producing multimedia material that can easily be shared to simultaneously inform, entertain and promote your brand to potential customers.”
What we are talking about here, too, is contemporary content marketing not to be confused with traditional content marketing.
In the traditional sense, content marketing involved publications one can touch. An example of this is The Michelin Guide.
Contemporary content marketing deals with assets which can be accessed over the Internet. These include content on blogs, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook pages and websites.
In order to succeed in content marketing, your content should be relevant to your brand and interesting to potential customers.
As we have said before here on Social Barrel, your content needs to have value to your customers and potential customers.
The infographic goes further by saying that content does not only need to be of value, it also needs to be packaged well.
“Through a combination of creative storytelling, technical and promotional skill, content marketing can enhance your brand and deliver outstanding results, not just in SEO but from many other channels too,” it says.
It also notes that content marketing is a long-term strategy as you not only build an audience and brand but also because once you create content, it will be yours forever and it will live on unlike traditional advertising which normally has a short shelf life.
So why would you use content marketing?
For one, “Creating great content that can be shared across multiple channels improves SEO results whilst also safeguarding against reliance on natural search,” the infographic notes.
Furthermore, it notes that this is one way to “diversify the ways you can reach customers” which is becoming particularly important as personalized search is on the rise.
“Engaging customers with content also creates an emotional connection,” the infographic notes. “Content marketing develops a linear business-to-customer relationship into a positive circle of investment and feedback.”
In short, not only does content marketing help with rankings in SEO, it also gives organizations a way to reach customers and have customers themselves reach out to these organizations.
The next question posted by the infographic is How do I create great content?
Another way to ask this question is How do I create content with real value to me and my audience?
Great content does not just come out of the blue: it takes work. However, it may not be as hard to make as one thinks it is.
The first step, the infographic notes, is to know your customers. Or, as it puts it, this step is called “Targeting and Research”.
“Look at who your customers are, what they are reading, what they are sharing and who they listen to. Look at what content already exists and see if you can find a way to do it better, or with an original angle,” it says.
The next step is to “Use Internal Resources”.
Ask yourself: What are you passionate about? What are your employees passionate about? What specific expertise or projects do you have that could be leveraged for interesting content?
The third step in creating great content is to “Feedback Throughout”.
“Engage with your target audience as early as possible,” the infographic says. “Once you have an idea, reach out to target bloggers.”
The feedback you would get early on from this step will make tweaking content possible for maximum impact. Use the insights you gain from your interactions to polish your content.
The last tip the infographic shares about creating great content is to think of “Content Platforms”.
As digital marketing is really versatile, your content can take on any form as long as it can live on the Internet. However, it would benefit you much if you integrate ways to make it possible for people to easily share this content.
Furthermore, make sure the content is available and accessible to most people. This means that it should work on most browsers and devices, whether they live on a desktop or inside a pocket.
Also make sure to keep considering aesthetics. People favor nice-looking things and this is also one way to catch their attention.
The next section of the infographic deals with Making sure your content gets shared.
The first tip in this sections says to “Maximize SEO”.
“Research which keywords your target audience are searching for and which of those search terms do not already bring up great content,” the infographic notes.
What you need to do next is to concentrate on these keywords.
The next tip is to “Build Social Media Accounts”.
Creating a following on social media ensures that there are people who will read and share your content.
This is not an easy task, the infographic notes, but it can be done. That is why you should develop content with value in the first place because people naturally react to content that has something for them and they think will also be of interest to people they know.
Furthermore, search engines are now also looking at social engagement so the more people who engage with your content, the better your ranking will be.
The third tip is about “Influencers”.
These are the people who can sway public opinion or drive a ton of attention to your content.
How do you find these influencers? One way, the infographic notes, is to look at blog directories or at who has linked to content that are similar to the content you are producing or are planning to produce.
Engage with influencers with the hope that they take up your content. However, make sure your content is worthy of their attention.
The last tip on ensuring your content gets shared is to “Hustle”.
“Always be on the lookout for new places or opportunities to promote your great content. Use personal contacts or networks to help share it,” CMO.com notes.
Now that we have shared tips on how to create great content and ensure it gets shared, it’s time to know what indicators to look for to gauge whether content marketing is working for your organization.
The first indicator is “Sharing and Engagement”.
It’s easy to look at like, retweet, repin, and share statistics. Look at what content is most shared by your audience.
Furthermore, look at comments made by people to learn what to do and what not to do in the future as you continue to create content.
The second indicator is “Traffic and Rankings”.
Simply put, look at how content marketing is raising this indicator. If there’s minimal increase, keep at it and improve. If you see a massive spike, well and great but strive to keep improving just the same.
The third indicator is “Conversion and Revenue”.
“Use feedback forms, surveys and tracking to discover which content has led directly to new business,” CMO.com advises. “Use email sign-up to capture and measure newly engaged visitors who may become customers in the future.”
Re-read the CMO.com infographic below but most importantly, learn and implement.