53% of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority. –HubSpot, 2017
47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. –Demand Gen Report, 2016
On average, B2B marketers allocate 28% of their total marketing budget to content marketing. –Content Marketing Institute, 2015
What is Content Marketing?
Content Marketing is something that has been around for a very long time, probably since the times marketing has been around. Yet, the term “Content Marketing” has become popular only recently, along with the popularity of Digital Marketing. We all have experienced Content Marketing many times, whether we realize it or not.
Come to think of it, can there even be any marketing activity, without content? Doesn’t content sit right at the heart of any marketing communication? After all, it is about the right message and the compelling story even before it becomes about how to tell that story.
To make things simpler, let’s look at some straightforward definitions:
Definition: Content marketing is a form of marketing focused on creating, publishing and distributing content for a targeted audience, online.
- “Content Marketing Strategy: A Comprehensive Guide for Modern Marketers”. Wainwright, Corey.
Definition: Content marketing means attracting and transforming prospects into customers by creating and sharing valuable free content.
- “How Content Marketing Builds Your Business”, Copyblogger.
If we focus on key pointers from these definitions, we would get something like the following:
“Content Marketing is a form of marketing that focuses on attracting and transforming targeted audience into customers by creating, publishing, distributing and sharing valuable and relevant free content on a variety of channels.”
You saw this? We’ve just created our own original and wholesome, yet easy to understand definition of Content Marketing.
Content Marketing in Digital Marketing
Growth of Digital Marketing has provided marketers with so many and quite effective channels to expand their Content Marketing strategy beyond imagination. When the core functions like publishing, sharing and distributing (let’s count curating content too in this list!) content became so vast and easy to access, it’s quite natural that Content Marketing got a life-form of its own.
To add to this, Digital Marketing has also made identifying and reaching out, to the right target audience, not only extremely simple and affordable but also virtually limitless.
When so much is going on in favor of Content Marketing within the world of Digital Marketing, it’s no wonder that content sits right at the center of any Digital Marketing Strategy worth its salt.
Content has always ruled marketing, it’s just that we’ve awaken to and acknowledged its power with full realization only after Digital Marketing brought it to the fore with full force.
Most Engaging Content Marketing Techniques in Digital Marketing
It is a bit debatable between marketers, whether to include Social Media into Content Marketing or to keep Social Media Marketing separate, on its own. This article is not about that debate!
For the sake of this article, let’s agree on one thing – Social Media, functions and thrives on creative content, specifically created, curated and shared for its audience.
For that reason alone, we’ve included Social Media in our list of the most engaging Content Marketing techniques. We, as audience consume a lot of content via Social Media on a regular basis.
Certainly, what is not debatable is that Social Media presents an immense opportunity to brands and businesses to engage with their targeted audience by using strategic content.
We don’t even need to dig into some statistics to know and believe that we’re a video-addicted generation. Engaging content in Video format is everywhere, be it on our Social Media timeline feeds, in our WhatsApp forwards, on websites, in events, in brand pitches and what not!
There is a good reasons for this video craze. It works, every single freaking time.
As an audience, we want to be entertained, informed and educated. The best bet for the brands to reach out to, and to impress their target audience is to create useful and engaging content that their audience finds entertaining, informative and educational.
Branded Content is a hugely successful revenue generation strategy for many companies, sometimes the only revenue generation strategy for some content creation outfits.
The name says it all – information in graphics format. Infographics became hugely popular recently and refuse to slow down anytime soon. We have lapped up to any infographic that we came across.
One of the biggest reasons for Infographics to catch up in such a big way, is its innate ability to present complex information and data in byte-sized and easily consumable way, using attractive graphics.
Brands have used Infographics for almost everything and they’ll continue to do so till the time their audience is happy to consume content in this engaging format.
The world is blogging like never before.
There are personal blogs for any topic and niche that you can think of. There are blog businesses, blog websites and forums to serve information, news, stories, articles for almost everything.
Then, there are company blogs or brand blogs, to serve various marketing purposes such as building a brand identity as thought leader in any chosen field, using blog as an inbound marketing tool, to improve SEO and to also engage with the end-consumers and potential customers in a meaningful and consistent way.
eBooks have emerged as one of the key Content Marketing techniques, specially for relevant database building and for quality lead generation.
One of the reasons that audience respond to eBooks is because this is arguably the purest form of Content Marketing. eBooks are loaded with useful information, in an entertaining way and available for free to use. The way Content Marketing should be.
eBooks work as a way to introduce the audience to the brand, its features and benefits, in detail. eBooks also pave the way to other promotional strategies to keep the audiences engaged and give them multiple effective reasons to keep coming back.
Podcast and Webinar
As an active Digital Marketing animal, you must have come across these two words – Podcast and Webinar – quite frequently. And while many a times people confuse between the two and end up using them interchangeably, these two are not exactly the same.
Let’s first get, what is what, out of our way. For the ease, with which New Media Europe defines and differentiates between Podcast and Webinar, I’m reproducing it here for your reference:
Webinars (also known as webcasts or web seminars) are online audio/visual events whereas with actual meetings or seminars, information is presented in real time. During the webinar, people watching the presentation―no matter where they are located― can actively participate by asking questions or making comments. Most webinars occur in real time and must be purchased in order to be viewed while the subject matter is actually being presented.
Podcasts (shortened for broadcast over iPods) are never live, so the listener cannot interact with the presenter by asking questions or making comments.
To further differentiate between the two formats, webinars can become podcasts, but podcasts can never become webinars.
Both Podcasts and Webinars present an interesting way of producing and distributing engaging and useful content to a brand’s audience. The audience not only receives meaningful information, in case of Webinars, they can also actively participate in the discussion. Hence it’s not only an effective method of sharing content, it’s quite effective in engaging the audience.
Using Podcasts and Webinars as Content Marketing tools, helps create a sense of trust and build customer loyalty.
Workbook and Template
Question: How could a brand implement a really functional and useful Content Marketing technique, to keep itself in front of its audience while also helping them systematically, in doing so?
Answer: Workbooks and Templates
Marketers should focus on making workbooks and templates a resource that their audience would seek out, by also making them print-ready, practical, easy-to-use and as interactive as possible.
If a brand is spending budgets on running advertisements on various digital platforms to drive traffic, it’s a good idea to create specific landing pages for specific ad campaigns.
Landing page presents an opportunity to provide crisp and useful content to the right audience, at the right time and in the right way.
Many marketers don’t consider Landing Page as a Content Marketing technique and miss out on a great opportunity to interact with an engaged and interested audience. Don’t be that marketer!
Email is one of the oldest and still one of the most effective ways of Digital Marketing. Since it is also one of the leading Direct Marketing method, it provides a beautiful opportunity to engage your audience with useful content via interesting emails.
Content plays a central role in the success of your Email Marketing campaigns.
Right from writing the catchy subject lines to interesting titles to engaging email content, everything counts into making your emails a success and for your Call-to-Action to work.
It would be quite useful to invest in your future by enrolling for a professional content marketing training and start practicing it in your digital marketing career.
I would like to leave you with what James O’Brien, of Contently, wrote on Mashable –
“The idea central to content marketing is that a brand must give something valuable to get something valuable in return. Instead of the commercial, be the show. Instead of the banner ad, be the feature story.”
-“How Red Bull Takes Content Marketing to the Extreme”, Mashable.
Mr. O’Brien is bang on, in making this statement about Content Marketing and couldn’t have been more right in explaining, what is Content Marketing. This statement is the crux of Content Marketing.
Image Courtesy: valueablecontent.co.uk, AgencyInc, Moz