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Jen Williams

Content What? A Beginner’s Guide To Content Marketing

24th Feb 2015 Content Marketing 9 minutes to read


Content What? A Beginner’s Guide To Content Marketing

I recently experienced a surprise encounter that saw me educating a 50-something-year-old sporting acquaintance about what I do for a living. After five minutes into the discussion, it dawned on me, the misconception that everyone out there knows the ins and outs of Content Marketing simply isn’t true.

I soon came to the very real discovery that from an outsider looking in, the Digital Marketing industry could be considered by some as pretty alien and an obscure industry that needs explaining to those not familiar with how Content Marketing works and what we do. So here it goes.

Keeping a mental log of the experience, it prompted me to compile a list of the top queries encountered in between matches and answer these in an FAQ-style format:

What Is Content Marketing?

In a nutshell, Content Marketing is defined as:

What is content marketing

Source: Content Marketing Institute

But what does that actually mean in the real world?

Without stating the obvious, Content Marketing is all about the creation and promotion of good quality, erm, content, which drives a specific action or activity (e.g. increases conversions, acquires links, encourages email sign ups, social sharing etc).

Everyone who produces content wants it to have the desired effect, to reach the right people, be of high quality and enjoyed; Content Marketers work with the same ethos in mind.

What Does Content Marketing Do?

Content is designed, researched and created with a business’ marketing goals in mind. Examples of objectives that can be addressed through a successful Content Marketing campaign can include:

  • Increased conversions – whether picking up the telephone, submitting a contact form or signing up to an e-newsletter, whatever the end goal, successful Content Marketing has the power to drive activity and impact upon on-site conversions.
  • Acquire Links – the creation of high quality content has an increased chance of attracting links from reputable websites, who regard a business as an authority within that particular niche or industry.
  • Social Shares – interesting, shareable content organically increases engagement on social media platforms and encourages shares, mentions and comments.
  • Increased Traffic – compelling content targeted to the right audience types can drive traffic and increase relevant site visitors.
  • Increased Brand Awareness – Shouting your brand from the top of a mountain won’t work, reaching the right people with the correct brand messaging through content will increase brand awareness and get heads turning for the right reason.

More information on short and long-term Content Marketing goals can be found in our blog post or below:

How Does It Work?

The one thing that drives all good Content Marketing campaigns is an established end goal. A solid strategy cannot exist without goal identification present right from the get-go. After all, how can you produce something without knowing your reason for creating it, right?

Once the end goal(s) is established, it’s then a case of performing an in-depth audit. This looks at many elements including a competitor analysis to see what techniques your closest online rivals are using, influencer identification within your specific industry and a close look at any existing marketing strategies already being used by the customer.

The information compiled by the audit will then be used to create a comprehensive Content Marketing plan- mapped out over a course of 3, 6 or 12 months or whatever your marketing preferences are.

Ideally a Content Marketing plan will tell you:

  • What the content is
  • What the goal is for that specific type of content
  • Who the content is for (audience)
  • How it will be produced and promoted
  • Where it will be marketed
  • When it will be published

What Types Of Content Can Be Produced?

The content that can be produced is varied and extensive. Ultimately it comes down to the goals, objectives and budget of the client and campaign. For example, some of the types of content produced can include:

Blog Posts

If you have a website, one of the fundamentals is to have a business blog. This not only adds value, builds brand awareness and allows you to shout about what you do, but can generate traffic, a link profile and increased activity on social media (shares, comments etc.).

A blog can cover all manner of topics relating to your industry and can generate lots of engagement when they’re teamed up with eye-catching images.

Koozai blog

PR Mentions And Citations

Being quoted in relevant industry publications, websites and resources is a great way to build authority from third parties, increase brand awareness, drive referral traffic and achieve link acquisition from credible sources.

Whitepapers And User Guides

Whitepapers and user guides enable audiences to gain an in-depth insight and understanding into a specific topic, service or product.

A downloadable resource like a whitepaper or user guide enables users to easily access informative content, adding value to their experience and increasing the chance of repeat site visits.

Koozai whitepapers

Infographics and Visualisations

Infographics are all about presenting data, statistics or snippets of key information in an engaging way that is very visual and exciting. They offer a completely unique and shareable opportunity and are user-friendly. They should never be too text-heavy and be as visual and informative as possible.

Infographics have undergone a change in recent times, with a shift from simply presenting information on a given topic, to becoming an interactive visual showcase that audiences find even more engaging and stimulating. This is a good example of infographic, Which Business Book Should You Read Next?:

Which Business Book Should You Read?

Presentations

Publishing platforms such as SlideShare allow users to share presentations with each other in an engaging and visual way.

Presentations can also be embedded within business blog posts to add value, increase engagement and create a visually stimulating piece of valuable content.

Microsites and Technical Content

Microsites are an ideal way to add relevant and compelling content to a site which explores a certain topic.

Adding individual pages to a website adds value and enhances a user’s experience, increasing relevancy and fulfilling user intent.

Many many more

The list of content types is pretty endless. To give you an idea, here are some other types to whet your appetite:

  • Videos
  • Reviews
  • Guest features and interviews
  • Press releases
  • Images
  • Webinars
  • Twitter Chats
  • Podcasts

What Topics Can You Actually Write About?

The scope for creating content is vast. With the opportunity for your brand to become its very own unique publisher, the sky is the limit for imaginative content creation:

  • Industry events e.g. conferences and festivals applicable to that industry
  • News and current affairs pieces relating to that industry
  • Product reviews
  • How-to guides
  • FAQs relevant to your industry or niche

How Do You Promote Content?

In order to successfully promote the content produced, it is advocated to channel this through a selection of owned, earned and paid media channels:

  • Owned Media– This is media you already own. For example, an existing website/company blog, social media profiles such as LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter or Facebook, as well as content publishing platforms like SlideShare, Visual.ly and Tumblr. It’s important to build up your community following on these platforms. For more information on this, check out  Is Community Building More Important Than SEO? Want to see examples of owned media? Check out What We Have Loved From Content Marketing During 2014 to find out more.
  • Earned Media– This type of media requires further activity to develop, such as joining social groups and communities and engaging with industry specific groups. Proactively sourcing relevant PR opportunities, relationship building and outreaching to key influencers within the specific industry also fall under earned media.Whilst more challenging to achieve, earned media offers valuable exposure due to its potential reach and unquestioned credibility. From social sharing within targeted communities, to citations and link acquisition in media publications (industry magazines, national and regional newspapers), earned media is all about gaining trust and acquiring endorsement from reputable and relevant third parties.

How Do SEO And Content Marketing Work Together?

Content Marketing facilitates the SEO process, in which a website’s visibility in the organic search engine results pages (SERPs) is improved.

The aim is to not only improve the visibility of your website within the search engines, but to drive convertible traffic to your site (visitors who are more likely to arrive on your website and do something /action a task that is useful to that site). This is achieved with a host of different techniques and methods, which rely on the constant analysis of Google’s algorithm.

A good Content Marketing strategy not only works in tandem with the SEO goals, but will be committed to producing good quality, shareable and linkable content with a specific audience and end user in mind.

Find out more about how SEO and Content Marketing work together:

How Do You Measure The Success Of Content Marketing Campaigns?

A number of tools can be used to measure the success and effectiveness of a Content Marketing campaign, these include:

Google Analytics

Forming the backbone of how content success is measured is website analytics. Statistics from Google Analytics offer a powerful insight into how content performs and conversions are generated. Success measures include page views (organic, referral, direct), time on site, bounce rate, goal completions, transactions.

Specific goals can also be set up in Google Analytics which measure the impact that individual pieces of content have had on driving a specific conversion i.e. how many contact form submissions have been completed as a result of a piece of content.

E-commerce tracking identifies best-selling products and demonstrates how effective content has been in translating into generated leads, sales and increased revenue.

Marketo

This tool can measure the success of various activities, such as a targeted email campaign, form submissions and how content is shared. Marketo also offers a marketing sales insight with a set of actionable leads based on activity, offering further insight into the effectiveness of return on investment (ROI).

Facebook and Twitter Insights

Social media metrics such as reach, engagement (number of likes, shares and re-tweets), comments, participation and followers measures the success of how content performs on social media platforms.

The Misconception

So after my unexpected conversation, you cannot automatically assume that everyone knows about Content Marketing and what a blog post or infographic is. It also hit me during my chat that the world of Digital Marketing is always developing and constantly evolving. The opportunity to create, innovate and experiment within a Content Marketing capacity is evident.

There are no limits as to what can be achieved and the creation of compelling and rich content is gold dust in our ever-evolving Digital Marketing world.

Want To Find Out More?

Like what you hear and what to find out more? Koozai have created a number of whitepapers which explore different aspects of the Digital Marketing industry.

Get your hands on your free whitepaper: The Complete Guide To Content Marketing Strategy, Planning and Creation.

Got any questions? Feel free to leave a comment, tweet me @Koozai_Jenny or Contact Us today.

Images by Bigstockphoto.com

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Jen Williams
About the author

Jen Williams

Jen is our token shorty. She’s a sucker for an old movie but she’s young at heart, so young in fact she got asked for ID when buying crimping scissors. She’s a table tennis fanatic and even used to play for her county. Trust us, we didn’t realise there were table tennis leagues either but now we want to set one up over our desks to test how good she is.

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