How does content marketing support digital marketing?
With over half the world’s population having access to the internet, you’d be wise not to underestimate the power of digital marketing - if you’re not online, your customers can’t find you and your sales will suffer. One of the most compelling arguments for any business to adopt digital marketing is that “being online” offers a platform on which all businesses are equal – essentially, just by “being online”, your business has the same audience and the same opportunities as your competitors, it’s just a case of capturing that audience’s attention.
So, how do you capture their attention? With a killer digital marketing strategy, that’s how. And a killer digital marketing strategy is one that’s comprised of many different elements that work together harmoniously (read: strategically) to win the attention of your ideal audience. That’s a lot to cover in one blog post, so right now we’re going to look at content marketing and how it supports your overall strategy.
Where does content marketing come in?
In a decade dominated by smartphones, people now spend such a large portion of their daily lives reading and absorbing things online – in fact, almost a fifth of young people aged 16 to 24 dedicate up to seven hours a day browsing the internet. This means you have the perfect opportunity to (at the risk of sounding creepy) lure them in with helpful, informative and entertaining content that builds trust and forges a long-lasting relationship with the customer.
If you can get your customers to visit your social media or your blog purely because they enjoy your content, then you’re winning. You’ve got an engaged and captivated audience that actively listens to you, not passively absorbs adverts they most likely want to skip. So, by investing time in creating an effective content marketing strategy, you’re actually investing in an engaged readership that trusts you enough to hand over its money.
Where do you begin?
Many people think the only goal of content marketing is purely to drive traffic to your site, whether that’s organic traffic (where someone finds you through a search engine, not through paid ads); direct traffic (when someone already knows you exist and types your URL into their browser); paid traffic (when someone clicks on an ad) or from social media. The end result, of course, being sales.
Of course, driving sales is a key goal, but try not to look at things so linearly: by building a library of content that answers customer questions, provides them with education and entertains them, you’re creating a web of content that reaches beyond the simple “clickthrough, buy” model. To put it simply, if you want to truly excel at content marketing, you should start trying to establish yourself as an expert and a thought-leader in a specific area.
Let’s remind ourselves of the purchase making cycle:
Awareness, where customer might have a specific need, but they are not aware of a solution.
Research, when the customer is aware there is a solution, and will start educating themselves through research.
Consideration, where the customer compares products from different suppliers.
Purchase, when the customer has made the decision to buy.
Content marketing addresses the research and consideration stages here: you’re aiming to satisfy any research needs of the customer and establish yourself as a strong contender for them to purchase from.
So, for example, if you sell protein shakes, you want to be the go-to website for advice on all things protein shake-related. This means that if a customer has a question about protein shakes, you want to make sure you’ve pre-empted it and already answered it somewhere on your site – the point being, people who are searching for these questions about a product are probably consumers (certainly potential consumers) of that product. By answering their question and establishing yourself as the go-to place for that information, you are building trust within the consumer and (hopefully) they will remember you whenever they need more information or are looking to buy that product.
But you must start somewhere. Begin with putting yourself in the customer’s shoes and creating a list of content ideas based around the questions they will most likely be asking when buying your product, then build your content around them. This both helps customers develop a sense of trust towards your brand and helps improve the likelihood of you being found in search engine results by contributing to SEO.
Of course, it’s good to have a variety of different types of content on offer for users to consume as everyone has different needs and preferences. Let’s look at a few different examples of content:
1. Web pages – this is perhaps the most obvious type of content. Web page content is any copy that you find on product, about us, features pages and so on.
2. Blogs and eBooks – this is where most people start with a serious content marketing strategy. Informative blog posts, articles, and longer ebooks all support digital marketing through SEO, building brand loyalty, and lead gen (mostly by encouraging users to sign up for newsletters and updates, or offering content that is exclusively available to those who share their email addresses). Blog posts can also tie in with email marketing as a strategy to get users to click through ta website.
3. Graphics – including those used alongside blog posts/eBooks and shared on social media. Infographics are a popular visual form of content as they often present users with industry statistics, indestructible and more via an easily digestible format.
4. Video content – this can often be the most costly and time consuming content to produce, but also the most rewarding as video is increasingly becoming the online media form of choice for many people – consider that 78% of people watch online videos every week and you’ll want to think about incorporating video into your digital marketing strategy.
5. Social media – of course, all of the above is usually shared through social media, but many businesses choose to create content specifically for their social media channels too. Sharing via social media helps increase brand awareness and encourages engagement from existing and potential customers.
This is just a handful of examples of content marketing, but you can already see how wide-reaching content marketing is, and therefore why it is such an integral element of a digital marketing strategy. Many businesses think they don’t need to bother with, say, social media or blogging, but in doing so they miss the huge potential for connecting with consumers on a higher level than simply flashing them an ad on Google. Start investing in a solid content marketing strategy and you’ll see the benefits for yourself. Get in touch to see how we can help support you.