Written by Kristen Baker
It’s no secret that traditional forms of marketing, which interrupt audience members, are less effective than they once were for reaching prospects and converting leads into customers. That’s why content marketing has become a popular way for businesses to reach and engage their target audience.
By providing audience members with useful content to educate them on your products and services — and show them how those products and services effectively solve their pain points and challenges — you can increase conversions, improve brand awareness, boost revenue, and more.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is the process of planning, creating, distributing, sharing, and publishing content to reach your target audience. As a business, this tactic can help you improve brand awareness, boost sales, connect with your target audience members, and engage prospects and customers.
Why is content marketing important?
Today, outbound marketing strategies (or anything that interrupts your audience members) aren’t as effective for reaching audience members and converting leads as they once were. It’s important to use storytelling to make your marketing efforts more tailored to and engaging for your audience.
Content marketing has become a popular way for businesses to combat this issue. In addition to expanding your reach, content marketing helps your business:
- Educate your leads and prospects about the products and services you offer
- Boost conversions
- Build relationships between your customers and business
- Connect with your audience to show them how your products and services solve their challenges
- Create a sense of community around your brand
Now that you understand why your business should invest in content marketing, let’s review some examples so you can decide which types of content you want to create.
Content Marketing Examples
Although content marketing is an applicable and useful tactic for almost every company, brainstorming creative and persuasive ways to reach and convert your audience is no simple task. So, how can you succeed at content marketing?
To answer that question, let’s take a look at the various types of content marketing, plus some examples of each. This section will give you a better understanding of how you can incorporate content in your business’s marketing plans.
Types of Content Marketing
There are many types of content marketing your business may decide to leverage. Below are some of the most popular options.
1. Social Media Content Marketing
With over 3.7 billion global users, it’s easy to understand why so many businesses invest in social media content marketing. There are a number of platforms (such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Snapchat) to work with and several ways you can create and share social media content on each of them (such as photos, live and pre-recorded videos, and stories).
All of these platforms and ways to share your content provide you with a plethora of opportunities to connect with your audience.
2. Infographic Content Marketing
Infographics display content, information, and data in an easy-to-understand, graphic format. With a mix of simple wording, short statements, and clear images, infographics are a great way to effectively communicate your content.
They work well if you’re trying to distill an educational and/ or complex topic down so all audience members can understand it.
IBM created an infographic when they launched their Cloud marketplace Their infographic is on-brand, well-organized, and easy to read. It clearly explains what they’re doing with their Cloud marketplace and how customers can benefit from it. It also tells audience members how they can access the marketplace and get started using it.
3. Blog Content Marketing
Blogs are a powerful type of content for inbound marketing and sharing information with your customers and target audience (whether educational, customer-related, or product-related). Blogs can be used to convert readers into customers, boost brand awareness, and/ or build relationships with your audience.
Depending on the goal of your specific blog, you may choose to promote other blog content by linking to various posts, sharing links to your social media pages, linking to your partners’ websites and products, or writing about your product line.
Expedia has a blog called “[Out There Starts Here]” that shares travel-related information. Whether about hotel recommendations, unique places to visit, or various activities you can do around the globe, their blog has all of the details.
Expedia regularly publishes their blog content to keep readers interested and engaged. It includes a wide range of topics related to any type of trip you could imagine. The blog is on-brand and all articles relate to the travel technology company’s goal and mission of gaining customers and boosting brand awareness.
They do this by linking to their services and writing about customers who have already had positive experiences with the company.
4. Podcast Content Marketing
Did you know over 6 million people currently listen to podcasts in the U.S.? Podcasts have become a popular content medium because of their convenience — you can enjoy them while relaxing or on-the-go.
That’s why so many businesses have started creating podcasts. They help improve brand awareness, build relationships with audience members, and promote their products, services, and partners.
Harvard Business Review (HBR) has a weekly podcast called HBR IdeaCast which features industry leaders in both business and management. You can either subscribe to consistently receive their hundreds of podcasts or pick and choose which ones you want to listen to.
The podcast is on-brand and complements the rest of HBRs published content. It also serves as a great way for HBR to connect with their target audience, enhance brand awareness, and gain a following of audience members through a medium that differs from their typical work (listening to a podcast vs. reading an HBR article).
5. Video Content Marketing
According to a recent HubSpot research, over 50% of consumers say they want to see videos from the brands they interact with.
Additionally, video marketing can boost conversions, improve ROI, and help you build relationships with audience members. You may choose to share your video marketing content on social media platforms, site pages, or on your partners’ websites — expanding your reach across different media.
Much of Dollar Shave Club’s video content has gone viral. Their marketing efforts are on-brand, humorous, and entertaining. In fact, one of their videos has over 26 million views on YouTube. By making a name for themselves through their online video content, Dollar Shave Club has experienced impressive growth and brand recognition.
6. Paid Ad Content Marketing
As I mentioned before, organic traffic created by content and inbound marketing is becoming increasingly popular among all types of businesses.
However, that’s not to say paid content and ads are useless or ineffective for reaching your target audience. Paid content ads can help you reach a broad audience and allow you to position yourself in all of the places you want to be seen.
There are many ways you can create and publish your paid content ads. You might share paid ads on social media or publish digital ads on websites in the form of banners or sponsored content.
Revolve — a clothing and accessories company — uses paid and sponsored ads on social media (like this one on Facebook) to reach their target audience while they browse their news feeds.
The content ads feature some of their products and details about their free shipping and return policies to pull their audience to their website and, hopefully, convert them audience into customers.
We’ve now reviewed the various types of content marketing you can add to your strategy. Now, let’s talk about your content marketing strategy. By implementing a strategy, you can ensure your content marketing efforts are impactful and effective in converting leads and reaching your audience members.
Content Marketing Strategy
1. Set SMART goals.
The first part of your content marketing strategy is to set SMART goals. These should be specific to your business — they’ll likely complement your broader marketing and company goals. Let’s review some examples of goals you set for your content marketing strategy.
You may want your content to …
- Improve brand awareness
- Boost revenue
- Increase conversions
- Improve brand loyalty
- Increase customer engagement
- Build rapport and trust among prospects and customers
- Attract strategic partners
2. Determine your KPIs.
Next, set key performance indicators (KPIs) for your SMART goals. KPIs are quantifiable data points you can use to measure your actual performance against your goal.
||Site traffic, social media followers, subscription sign-ups, mentions (by customers and partners)
||Daily sales, site traffic
||Conversion rate, shopping cart abandonment rate, associated shipping rate trends, competitive price trends
||Returning customers, promoters, product reviews, referrals
||Likes, shares, follows, mentions, backlinks
|Rapport and trust
||Returning customers, promoters, followers, mentions
||New partnerships, mentions, backlinks
3. Decide on the type of content.
Next, choose the type of content you’ll create. To do this, start by thinking about your target audience and buyer personas.
Answer the following questions about your target audience to help you narrow down the right types of content for them:
- What do they need from you?
- What challenges are they looking to overcome?
- Why do they need your product or service?
- How can you help them succeed?
Now, take a look back at the various types of content we reviewed earlier to determine which type or types of content you’ll create and share among your audience members and customers.
4. Choose your content channels.
Once you’ve decided on the type of content you’ll market with, it’s time to choose your specific content channels. For some of the content types, the channel you need to work with will be obvious. For example, if you’re creating blog content, your channel will be the blog itself.
However, some channels will be less obvious. For example, if you choose social media, you’ll need to decide which platform or platforms you’ll be marketing on (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). If you choose an infographic, you’ll need to decide which channel will you be sharing it on (social media, website, etc.).
5. Set a budget.
Now, set your budget. Think about the type of content you’re creating and which channels you’re marketing that content on.
Then, ask yourself the following questions to determine your budget:
- Do you need to purchase any software or technology to create the content (such as graphic design software like Adobe Photoshop, a subscription to Canva, a camera to take high-quality photos and videos)?
- Do you need to hire any content team members (such as artists, writers, editors, designers)?
- Do you need to pay for ad space?
- Do you need access to specific tools or resources to enhance or measure your specific type of content?
As you answer these questions, you may notice how your responses impact your expected budget — whether that’s an increase or decrease in what you may have already estimated.
6. Create and distribute the content.
Create and distribute your content so your audience members can consume it — and possibly convert. To ensure you’re consistently producing content and sharing it among your prospects and customers, use a social media calendar or an editorial content calendar.
This can help your team can stay on top of all of the content being created and even schedule it ahead of time.
7. Analyse and measure results.
Lastly, analyse and measure your results. This will allow you to make any necessary changes to enhance your content marketing efforts and reach more audience members.
Look at your SMART goals and KPIs to determine the success of your content marketing strategy. Did you achieve your goals and KPIs? Were you close to reaching them, or were you off in your estimations?
Here are some tools to help you with your content marketing strategy analytics and results:
- HubSpot marketing analytics and social media software
- Sprout Social
- Google Analytics
Engage Your Target Audience With Content Marketing
With effective content marketing, you can reach your target audience and increase conversions. There are several ways to market with content to boost revenue, grow your brand awareness and recognition, and build relationships with your prospects and customers.
And don’t forget to extract more value from every piece of content you create.
To get started, determine which type of content works best for your business and audience, and develop a content marketing strategy to begin boosting your bottom line today.