The Basics of Content Marketing

Content marketing is a facet of marketing that is different from, but beneficial for, many other types of marketing. Many businesses know they should have a content marketing strategy, but do not know what it is or how to do it. It can be a confusing topic to learn about, especially if marketing is not your specialty. If you’re new to content marketing or have no idea what you’re getting yourself into, keep reading to learn the basics and how to get started.

What is content marketing and why is it important?

Content marketing is an approach that produces and delivers valuable information to a target audience. By creating consistent and relevant information for your target audience, your company will build awareness and customer loyalty. A content marketing strategy is not meant to promote your product or service, but to attract customers to your company by providing the information they are looking for on a specific topic. 

Like any business strategy, the goal of these marketing efforts is to increase sales, revenue, and brand awareness. A content strategy allows businesses to easily differentiate themselves from their competitors. Two products may be nearly the same, but the company that goes above and beyond to truly understand and connect with their audience to enhance the user experience will come out on top.

What are the different types of content marketing?

Content marketing has been around forever and continues to evolve with new trends, techniques, and research. Essentially, anything that provides educational information or answers the questions of consumers would be considered content marketing. 

Some frequently used methods include blogs, videos, case studies, e-books, podcasts, infographics, and webinars. Video content, blog posts, and infographics tend to be the most common as they are easy for consumers to understand and access. Content marketing is everywhere and we consume it every day, even unknowingly. This article you are reading is content marketing. 

Who needs content marketing?

One of the best ways to take your business to the next level is through content marketing. Every business needs content marketing to remain competitive in their industry. If all of your competitors are creating good content, you also need to create good content to stay relevant. If no one in your industry is doing content marketing, your business can gain serious traction by filling that gap.

Great content will allow your business to become a credible resource on topics your audience is interested in which will help you gain trust and loyalty. When you think about the decision making process consumers perform before going through with a transaction, it is simple to see where content marketing can make a huge impact.

Is content marketing effective?

Consumers start their purchase process by recognizing a need for something and then venturing out to find a solution to satisfy the need. Next, they research to learn about the solutions that are available and will meet their needs. Then, to narrow down their options, consumers will compare the different products or services they found through their research. Finally, a decision will be made of what to buy and where from. 

While traditional marketing and advertisements work well for the second half of the buying cycle, content marketing can have a huge impact on the first half. By having content readily available, consumers will be able to find solutions and information on a product or service they might not have ever considered. 

Likewise, your company will be of higher consideration if potential customers are aware of your company and find value in your content during the beginning stages of their purchase decision. By creating good, accessible content, you will help educate consumers while building credibility and relationships. 

Creating content is useful for several other areas of marketing as well. During the need recognition and research process, potential customers turn to search engines to find answers and information. Your company can be at the forefront of search results by developing educational content that consumers are looking for. Successful content marketing helps companies to be found by the right people, influence purchase decisions, build an engaged audience, and differentiate themselves from competitors. 

What are the best tools to use for content marketing?

For content marketing to be successful for a business, it has to be done well. It is a tedious task that takes a lot of work and patience. One of the best ways to get your content marketing up and running is through a content marketing agency. These agencies provide expert-level content marketing services and can produce great results because they stay on top of the changes and trends in the industry. Many businesses turn to agencies for their content marketing because it is convenient, cost-effective, and has limitless potential.

If you think you are ready to take on this job alone, there is a variety of tools available to help you produce content that ranges in price as well as functionality. Whether you are looking for help coming up with ideas, writing, distributing, or optimizing, there is a tool or 50 to help. Here are some of the best-rated tools to help get your business’ content marketing started: 

WordPress

WordPress is the most popular content management system. It is widely used because it is highly customizable, has a plugin architecture, and can host both small and large websites. 

Grammarly

Everyone should use Grammarly, not just content marketers. This grammar application can save your content from embarrassing mistakes and errors. It is user-friendly and has an internet extension that will help anything you write – social media posts, comments, emails. 

Yoast

If your business is going to do SEO focused content (which it should), Yoast is a great tool. It has a WordPress plugin that will help you optimize your body copy, meta descriptions, URL slugs, internal linking, and more. 

Google Analytics

Measurement is one of the most important aspects of content marketing. Google Analytics will track all sorts of metrics to show how your content is performing. This tool can take a while to get the hang of, but a simple Google search will provide guides on how to get started. 

Canva

You do not have to be a graphic designer to create great images. Canva has thousands of templates to choose from including social media images, flyers, blog banners, and infographics. It is incredibly easy to use and will make you feel like a creative genius.  

Hootsuite

Once you have made great content, it is time to share it. Hootsuite is one of the most widely used social media management platforms. It allows you to schedule posts, engage with followers, and track your content on the most popular platforms. 

Elyse Motte

Elyse joined Netvantage Marketing as a Junior Search Analyst in December 2018. She is a senior at Grand Valley State University and assists the team with search engine optimization and social media.

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