What is Content Marketing? Do I need to worry about a Content Marketing Strategy for my business?
Content marketing is the practice of creating relevant content for your particular audience to get potential customers to engage with you. The first real example of this can be seen in 1895 when John Deere published the first customer magazine. This content marketing strategy ended up being very successful for them because they associated their brand with the information their customers wanted and used on a regular basis. Later, we see this trend begin to grow with companies like Michelin releasing guides and Hasbro teaming up with Marvel to create the first GI Joe comics. All of this is content marketing and the field continues to evolve still today!
You might think that this is rigid and set kind of marketing that wouldn’t necessarily apply to your product. But in actuality, if your product has a market, there is likely some good content marketing opportunities for you. For example, if you own a knitting supplies store, you could create online tutorials to catch new customers looking to learn the craft. If you own a antiques store, you could write antique history in a monthly newsletter to establish your expertise and solidify your brand. This kind of technique for marketing to your customers works exceptionally well because you are providing them something they already want for free. Doing this advertises your brand and solidifies you in their minds when they need to make a purchasing decision.
Interestingly enough, content marketing has grown so widely since 1895 that for many businesses content marketing has become their sole business. Take wedding magazines for example. Many are completely free to the readers, but are massively expensive to produce. These companies manage to create and distribute these for free at a profit because the market has so much demand for them that advertising and customer access can be sold at a premium!
Modern Content Marketing and Online Presence
Today, content marketing has the biggest advantage the world has ever seen: the internet. Anyone can publish just about anything and there’s never been a time that has more access to information than we do today. Publishing a blog or a newsletter is now a relatively simple process, and if done correctly in conjunction with good SEO practices, sites can net thousands of potential customers each day for a single article.
The way this works is the same as it has always worked. If you make something people want, they’ll come to you to get it. This can seem like a large boast, but it’s true. If 10,000 people are searching for home shoe repair kits everyday and you write a good article about it, you stand a good chance to get at least some of those people directed to your site. This all relies on:
- Good Content: You have to have something well-written that answers people’s questions.
- Google Indexing: Google has to have indexed and ranked your site relatively high.
- Market demand: The more people looking for a piece of information, the more likely your specific content will be seen.
It’s great that these items can be boiled down to three things, but it’s important to remember that each one of these requires time, research, and skill to pull off. The easier it is for people to publish information, the more competition there can be in the market.
How to Tackle Content Marketing
Good content marketing starts with a strategy. Your content marketing strategy is the path you will follow to ensure you are creating the right content, releasing it on a schedule, and measuring its success. If you’re not sure what to do, it’s best to consult with or hire experts to handle this with you. If there’s a high enough potential for profitability, you may even consider hiring a service to do the content writing for you. A good web development or marketing firm should be able to help you analyze the potential your desired content marketing niche would have.
If you decide you want to tackle it alone and not use a professional service, you’re going to have an uphill battle. But if you stick to it, you can do it! The steps below are a basic outline of what you will need to do to put together a basic content marketing strategy and begin producing content:
- Research: First you need to look into your field and gather information. How much competition is there? What is the demand for the information? Will your information be unique? If the competition is high or the demand is low, a significant investment of time or money may be required before you see any return on investment.
- Create a Schedule: Fresh content is highly valued by online search engines. This means that you will have to product content regularly to keep your content relevant. Weekly is often the best strategy for most article based content, but a higher publication frequency typically garners more return traffic. Remember not to bite off more than you can chew. If you can only publish once a month, don’t push yourself to do more until you start seeing some return on your investment.
- Creating Relevant Quality Content: At the end of the day your content needs to be good. Google measures the amount of time people are on your page and uses that when ranking you in search results. If your content is bad, irrelevant, or ugly, people will leave quickly and Google takes that as a hint that your content is not the most relevant result for that search. This will push you lower in the rankings. Remember to write focused, concise content that matches the relevant search demand.
- Analyze: The last step is the most important and often the most overlooked. You need to analyze the results to see if you should continue your efforts, change what you’re doing, or stop spending time and money on it altogether. It can take several months to start seeing the impacts of your content marketing. But if you track your site’s traffic and your sales conversions, you should be able to see where you should be focusing your time and effort in the future. Don’t forget how powerful your site’s data can be!
Is Content Marketing Right for You?
Content marketing is not always the right call. There are a few things you need to consider before you dive into content marketing yourself. If you cannot answer yes to the questions below, content marketing may not be a good fit or you might need additional help to make it work for you:
- Is my content useful?
- Is there a demand for my content?
- Will my content be relevant to my customers or just my peers?
- Is there already high competition for the content I would make?
- Do I have the ability to write the content I need?
- Do I have the time, knowledge, or ability to publish regularly?
If you answered “No” to the first two questions, you likely don’t have high demand for your related products or services either. If that is not the case, then maybe you need to re-frame the kind of content you would make to find a better fit. When there is demand for your product/service, there is likely also demand for related knowledge if you know what questions people are asking.
If you answered “Yes” to the first two questions, but “No” to a few or all of the rest, then you likely will need outside help to make a content marketing campaign work for you. Writing customer relevant content can be difficult, especially if you are not a writer. Even more difficult is overcoming competition in a saturated market. This can be done, but usually it takes the dedicated work of a professional team to pull it off, and then still might be countered by your competitor later on.
If you’re interested in pursuing a content marketing campaign, but have questions or don’t know where to begin, give us a call! At Torch Link we have the experience to help you analyze, plan, and maintain your content marketing campaign from beginning to end. We tailor our solutions to our customers so you only need to worry about getting the services you need without having to pay for extras you don’t. Call or Email us today!