Content is at the heart of marketing. Marketers have been leaving the clutches of traditional forms of marketing and incorporating the contemporary forms for their businesses. Inbound marketing tactics which involve pulling people towards a brand is at a rise with content marketing.
What exactly is content marketing? It is when businesses plan, create, distribute and publish relevant and valuable content for clearly defined audiences to be attracted towards it. It helps accomplish goals like:
- raise brand awareness
- generate leads
- get referrals
- increased relevant traffic to the website
- increase followers on social media channels
- prompt customers to click on Call-To-Action
- build customer loyalty
- foster long term relationships with customers
With so many benefits being served by content marketing, it is a must for businesses. But many businesses are yet to understand the salience of content marketing. There have been many myths around it and you need to steer clear of them for your business to run successfully and utilise content marketing in the most effective way. Let’s take a look at these misconceptions:
Content involves only blogging. Content today is not just limited to blog posts or infographics but it encompasses DIY and How-To articles, videos, podcasts, email, e-books, newsletters, memes, whitepapers, case studies, influencers/paid ads. Cranking out a blog a week isn’t what will generate revenue for you. Considering trending topics, working on SEO, deciding on distribution strategy and mapping customer journey are equally important. The content should also be informative or educational or entertaining, anything that keeps your audience hooked to it and adds value.
Anyone can create content. Some businesses still believe that content creation doesn’t require dedicated employees or a separate team. This misconception isn’t letting businesses leverage the advantages of content marketing since the kind of content which should be out there to be received by audiences is missing! Just like you have a dedicated team for, say, conducting research for your new line of products or deciding on the ad spend or website development, why not for content marketing too? Good content creators have more than having a flair for writing or skill of shooting impressive videos. Dedicated content creators understand the value proposition of your brand, they know your business goals and your target audience and curate content in accordance with your strategies. They have the required creativity and knowledge to put forth engaging content in front of the right audience.
Content creation is a one-time activity. The first and foremost step of your content marketing should be to recognise your goals: whether you want to raise brand awareness, build customer loyalty or draw traffic to your website. These goals might change over the years with new trends and technologies entering the landscape. You might have to reassess your strategies, update your existing content, publish new content about how your business is bringing about innovation in the new times and how your business will evolve and bring value to customers. The kind of content audiences would love to consume at that time will also have to be taken care of. Thus, content marketing is a continuous and consistent process.
Content Marketing Will Generate Quick ROI. Content marketing is a long term process. It takes time to know your audience, analyse the trends, build strategies, and execute them. The process requires consistent efforts and continuous evaluation. Not that you cannot generate leads or gain followers or increase brand awareness within a few months of execution of your content marketing, but to generate quality leads, followers who are active and engage with your content in terms of likes, shares, comments etc. or buyers who become loyalists, may take time. You must keep analysing the results and plan accordingly for future content. It may take time for the audience to discover your content but if it serves its purpose well, the revenue will be generated eventually.
You can find your TG on Social Media for free. Though it is true that social media will provide you with an audience without any cost on whom you can target, how much is it likely that that audience belongs to your target group? Is it happening to your business that even after producing killer content, and even spending money on social media advertising, you are not able to realise your goals? This may be because either the social media channel you have chosen is wrong and your defined audience may be on some other platform, or that your ads are not targeted towards your defined audience. So the audience you are targeting your content at may not be interested at all in it. This is where you have to realise the importance of analytics for your business. You have to know the customer touchpoints, and where they are most likely to consume your content.
Traffic, likes and shares means success. While it is possible for your content to go viral with a thrilling video you just posted, at the end of the day it all boils down to whether it got relevant traffic to your website, increased sales, or generated leads. It is important to measure your Key Performance Indicators. Is your content delivering what you want to achieve with your business? If not, then you should consider revamping your strategies, your ideas and create content that resonates with your brand.
My business won’t benefit from content marketing. If you have a product or service to sell, then no matter what business you are in, content marketing has the power to transform your business. Displaying top-notch content that your audience finds worth spending time on is bound to foster relationships and build customer loyalty. Customers nowadays prefer that ads not be forced upon them. The ways audiences can learn about your business are constantly evolving and you will be at a great loss if you don’t create valuable content for them. A DIY blog of yours can make their life easier or a newsletter from you can be insightful for them.
I should be promoting my business through every content. If businesses have become smarter, so have consumers. You don’t want to alienate your customers by sounding salesy in every content you publish. Rather give them some interesting, educational and informative content which leaves food for thought and doesn’t just bombard them with communication revolving around your products and services. Content marketing is for cultivating relationships so that your brand gains credibility in the eyes of the customer and they can depend on you.
Content marketing is just advertising. While advertising aims to push your product towards audiences, content marketing aims to pull your target audience towards your brand. Both of them are entirely different. Advertising clearly talks about your product through different mediums such as TV commercials, newspapers, radio, social media, search engines, etc., while content marketing focuses on delivering valuable content to a defined TG. Content marketing is an enabler for your business that allows your audience to experience your brand more pleasantly, without sounding overly promotional.
The more the content, the better. Some marketers believe that you should post at least once a day on all the platforms where your business is active. While this may be possible for some businesses, it may not be for others. Thus, this is where you have to understand that providing quality over quantity is better. If you keep flooding your audience every day with posts that do not serve any purpose and are just there as fillers, then your audience may lose interest in you. The content team must take time for idea generation, plan how to put that idea in what type of content, test it regularly and see what’s working, what is the best time to post a specific content and thus, optimise on the time and cost at the same time.
As a business, you would not want to fall prey to these myths. The right content marketing strategies can help you accomplish your business goals. Start dedicating some of your resources for this band-building tool and keep analysing the results once you start publishing content. Remember that in a competitive landscape, only the right message to the right audience at the right time can make a difference for you. No doubt that your product or service should be the perfect solution for the pain points of your clients, but how you convey it to them is also a key factor in their choosing your product over somebody else’s.
And don’t forget that content is the king. So though it may take time for your business to grow, keep publishing quality content and measuring the results with the right tools. There are no shortcuts in content marketing for your business to grow overnight. Just make your strategies right and conquer the market with your content.