Content marketing is not a recent marketing concept. However, in the last 10 years, almost all the marketers understood the high potential of it in generate sales.
But what is content marketing?
It is a form of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of content intended at acquiring and maintaining customers. The purpose of content marketing is to inform the customer to generate a stable relationship with it.
The goal is to sell, however, it is not achieved directly by promoting products.
The content can be an article on the company’s blog, a video on Youtube, a webinar, an infographic on Instagram, a Facebook direct, a Q&A session in a shop, etc
To be successful content should be interesting for the target audience and should provide value. It is not a commercial or an ad.
The keyword is value.
It is easier to explain to you with a few examples:
Example 1: Car company
Example of content marketing: a car company can publish an article that explains in detail the advantage of its 4×4 system in the snow and compare it with the competitor’s 4×4.
Note: it must be a detailed comparison of 4×4 that allows customers to understand the real technical advantage of the system. Otherwise, it would be a mere classical advertising
Example 2: Producer of trekking backpack
Example of content marketing: the backpack producer can create a video in which an explorer explains what it is needed for a 7-days trip on the Alps and how to pack it in the backpack.
Note: the video must contain the real advice of a real experienced trekker, that could help to the enthusiast to set their backpack for the next adventure. Of course, it should use the company’s backpack, but it does not have to seem like a sale, but a has to be an instructive video.
Why content marketing has become so important?
There are more reasons. We will expose the most important ones.
- Customers are less responsive to the commercial ad than in the past. They have become accustomed to standard advertisements, in particular the youngest generations. It doesn’t mean that traditional marketing does not work anymore it means that it is less effective than in the past.
- Google SEO. Over time Google has given more visibility to content that offers value to the people. For example, if people spend a lot of time reading an article, commenting, sharing, and linking on other websites, Google thinks it is a good article and makes it more visible on the internet. Usually, those articles are the ones that create value.
- Youtube. Youtube became extremely popular and used and it is easier to reach customers with videos. Youtube gives more visibility to contents that user thinks are more interesting (time view, percentage of video viewed, bounce rate, like/dislike, etc).
- Influencer and blog success. Companies observed the phenomena that single users or small companies have been able to have huge visibility on the web and can consistently move purchases. They were able to create their position with a relatively low monetary budget, but investing time in creating content, to create a relationship with followers.
How to create content marketing strategy?
It is impossible to answer in a few words, creating a content marketing strategy is complex and you need to plan:
- what kind of content to produce
- what format to use
- what platform to use
- how often to post content
- what resources (incl. monetary) are available
Every point requests an in-deep analysis.
Why small-medium companies have an advantage over large companies in content marketing?
Despite big companies have the advantage that can pay editors, video creators, professional journalists, etc to create content, a large corporation has difficulty implementing this type of strategy.
The fact is that a large corporation has to think very carefully about how to communicate with the public. It is high the risk to do a gaffe and end up in all the newspapers with serious consequences on the company’s reputation. Usually, managers of big corporations prefer not to risk.
Small and medium companies have 2 main big advantages:
- They can be less formal in the creation of content
- They are not observed by the world
Due to that, they can create more genuine articles and videos, that usually are more effective in creating a loyal audience.
The role of influencers
Some companies (especially the largest one) prefer not to create content directly, but to pay influencers or blogs to create sponsored content.
We don’t have to confuse product placement and sponsored articles, with a sponsored content creation. For example, if a company pays an influencer to post the picture of a smartphone, it is pure advertising. Instead, if a company sends the smartphone to a tech reviewer, paying for it to make a review in a short time, then this is doing sponsored content marketing.
What about B2B?
It is possible to create a content strategy even if you are in the B2B sector. However, for some kind of business is more difficult (like some B2B services).
It should be borne in mind that if a company wants to implement a content marketing strategy, it is good to have a clear content marketing strategy for b2b.
Many b2b companies tend to make marketing content that may be interesting, but it is not aimed at the target real b2b buyers.
You always have to ask yourself: would my client read this article? Or would he like to watch the video we created?
Often in the b2b sector, the answer is no. The companies delegate creative and marketing management agencies to create the contents and, not being technical, the contents are often more aimed at a general public than true b2b customers.
Pay attention to this aspect, because you risk making good content, but it won’t generate sales.
The objective of this article is to show you that content marketing is a reality that could be implemented by small and medium companies.
You could find various guides and books about it. We would recommend getting informed on recent sources because the online environment changes fast.
Keep in mind that content marketing is not an easy path, it requests time, money, and competencies. But it is feasible.
To be effective, it must be planned accurately and need an accurate execution.
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