What is content marketing?
What is content marketing? According to the Content Marketing Institute, Content Marketing is “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
While this definition can seem a bit broad, that is because content marketing can sometimes be difficult to define. Content is needed for many channels, to support a wide range of audiences, and complete various goals.
To put it simply, content marketing efforts should create value for your desired audience. That means that your content must fulfill your audiences’ search intent, adding value so they keep coming back to you for more. Many times, however, brands view content marketing as creating branded content about products or services. This approach will not always satisfy your audiences’ search intent, causing them to turn away.
Why Content Marketing is Important for Your Business
Content marketing is essential to your business – as a strategy, it drives results simply by showing up when your audience needs an answer. HubSpot states that “consistent, high-quality, and engaging content impacts audience decision-making more than any other technique.”
By understanding your audience’s intent in every stage of their journey your business can use content marketing to help impact their purchase decision.
So why is content marketing such an important strategy for any business?
Builds audience retention. Great content is hard to come by. Once you’ve captured your audiences’ attention and answered a question they’ve been dying to know, they’ll stick around. Those people are more likely to come back to you as a source. If/when they purchase a product or service from you, your content will continue to introduce them to new products, provide information and entertain them, keeping them a loyal customer.
Improves lead quality and conversion rate. As opposed to outbound marketing efforts, any person using search is quite literally looking for what you are selling. Providing this audience the right content, at the right time in their journey, will not only allow you to improve lead quality, as you are giving them exactly what they need, but these leads are more likely to convert, increasing conversion rate.
- See positive return on investment. Not only does content marketing improve conversion rate, but it also provides a positive ROI. Content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less.
Starting Your Content Marketing Efforts
Now that you understand all the incredible benefits of content marketing, you’re likely ready to get started. So, what’s the first step? Content, of course.
Creating a content marketing strategy is a great place to start, making a comprehensive roadmap of everything you want to create. But it can take an ample amount of time, resources, and planning to have a content strategy that aligns with all audience segments, all parts of the funnel, and is applicable to all channels. Before diving into a full strategy, here are a few things you can do to get started with website content development.
Identify content topics. Knowing where to start means knowing where your biggest opportunities are. Start by identifying areas where you need content, and research a few keywords that can be targeted by your content, and their subtopics. At Red Door, we like to start with a content gap analysis.
Identify a goal of your content. Now that you’ve identified the content subject, you need to determine what the goal of that content is. Are you trying to sell a product/service, provide education to your consumer, or provide resources for your consumer to make a decision?
Identify the page type needed. Determine what type of page this will be on your website. Is this a blog post, a product category page, or an informational resource to help consumers make decisions? Knowing the page type will help you identify where your page should live within your website.
Identify content type. If you’ve determined page type, you still need to know what the contents of that page will be. One tip we have is to perform a SERP analysis by typing some keywords you would like to rank for into Google and see what content types are used by pages that rank well. Some key content for websites include:
- Whitepaper/downloadable content
- Case Study
- How-to Guide
Content Marketing: 6 Benefits of Building Content
We’ve already explained why content marketing is a great strategy to reach your business goals – it increases audience trust, helping improve the quality of your leads and lead volume overall. As you might have guessed, the foundation of content marketing is building content, but what you may not realize is the simple act of building content for your website will lead to a few benefits of its own (outside of the full content marketing strategy).
So, even if developing a full strategy doesn’t seem achievable here are 6 ways building content alone can impact your business:
1. Provide Value to Your Consumer and Become an Authority in Your Industry.
As we mentioned above, content marketing is a tactic that can be used across the consumer sales funnel. We know that consumers rarely make a decision before educating themselves. Educating your consumer using content provides value to them by answering a question that they’ve been searching for. Not only that, it helps position you as a source of authority on a certain topic or industry.
2. Fuel Organic Search Traffic
Another way to highlight the benefits of content marketing is to think of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Content Marketing as BFFs. SEO is fueled by great content. The more your content is optimized towards search intent, the better your content will rank on the search engine results page (SERP). Through keyword research, linking strategies, and more, SEO research fuels the optimization and creation of content, ensuring that your content marketing efforts are focused on showing up when your consumers are looking for answers. This continuous cycle of SEO-fueled content marketing allows increased quantity and quality traffic to your website from search.
As you continue to create SEO-fueled content, you may also begin to earn valuable backlinks to your content. Not only does this help to increase inbound traffic, but also makes you more credible to search engines, likely increasing your content’s visibility in the SERP.
3. Create a Journey for Your Audience
According to Content Marketing Institute, content marketing gets three times the leads per dollar spent compared to paid search. By creating content for every stage of the funnel, you show up for consumers in any step they might take, effortlessly moving them towards taking action. Awareness content will capture new audiences, consideration content will help those contemplating various options, and low funnel content will help consumers convert. Remember, 47% of consumers view 3-5 pieces of content before engaging in the sales process. Without educational, awareness-based content, you’re missing sales! Not every piece of content needs to be about, or even mention, your product or service.
We always recommend using a full funnel approach to SEO to help outline various keyword queries that occur in different funnel stages. Using social listening to develop a content strategy can also help you understand what your audience needs at different points of their journey, or how they feel about a specific topic.
4. Build Customer Trust
Along with providing value to readers, strong content builds consumer trust. When consumers continually get content from you that supports their journey, without sales gimmicks or pushing product, it gains their trust. This leads to consumers staying around for a long time, coming back to you for additional information and resources.
5. Boost Brand Awareness
Having strong content fueled by SEO allows you to show up when consumers are trying to educate themselves about a certain topic, product, or service. This is why it is extremely advantageous to have ample non-brand content--content that answers a consumer question. The consumer searching for that information likely has never heard of your brand. Even though they aren’t ready to buy, they will be introduced to your brand when ingesting your content. This is the first step in new customer acquisition.
For example, let’s pretend that you manage a skin care company that focuses on anti-aging. While someone searching might not have heard of you, they likely are searching for things such as “what are the signs of aging skin”, or “best ingredients to combat wrinkles”. While they might not be looking to buy right away, they are seeking information, and likely aren’t using a skincare solution for anti-aging yet. If they weren’t aware of your company before, they will be after reading your educational content.
6. Content Provides a Foundation for All Other Marketing Strategies
As we mentioned above, content marketing can sometimes be hard to define. That’s because content touches all channels. Having a strong content marketing strategy can identify the key points in the consumer journey, and what key information needs to be conveyed through content. However, once that is developed, this information can fuel content creation for all channels, like social, PPC, email, PR, landing page development, and any other area where marketing content are needed. We call this content repurposing--using one content idea to create multiple content pieces, expanding its reach. Not only does this help with content generation, but it also helps to increase inbound traffic to your website. Distributing your content through social media, paid ads, or email can drive additional visits to your website outside of search.
Let’s stick with our skin care company example to explain the benefits of content repurposing. Say in our content strategy we identify a major sticking point for consumers to make a purchase of an anti-aging serum is to better understand the difference between hyaluronic and glycolic acids. Not only can we create a content piece about this for our blog, but we can also take the information from the blog and create a shareable graphic for social, add a module linking to the blog in our email drip campaigns, and use the article for native advertising. One content idea quickly became four different content pieces effortlessly. Once we publish this content across various marketing channels, we will start to see inbound traffic from search, social, PPC, and email.
For one of our clients, we knew that content marketing could help improve rankings, fuel organic traffic, while also building consumer trust to drive new users through the funnel to ultimately purchase a product. Our client, a southern California credit union, was looking to expand their mortgage loan services. While we have impressive local visibility for home mortgage transactional searches, users who search for these types of keywords already know what they want. We needed to target searches higher up in the funnel through informational searches to reach users who were still considering their options when buying a home.
Based on our SEO research, we discovered a demand for informational content around buying a home in San Diego. As a local authoritative expert in the San Diego financial market, they had an opportunity to be an ultimate resource for localized informational searches around the home buying process. From this research, Red Door was able to create an in-depth piece targeting the queries “how to buy a house in San Diego.” And then the magic began to happen.
From this piece alone, our client has seen impressive wins, with an increase of 1,000% in total non-brand keywords ranked year to date and is the most visited blog on the site, making up ~37% of traffic in one month. These wins allowed for increased visibility to an audience looking for education, and increased likelihood that when they look for a home loan, they will trust our client as their source.
Need Help Getting Started?
If you are struggling to find a content marketing solution for your brand, or still wondering where to start, our content marketing team is experienced in developing strategic content marketing initiatives to meet your goals. Check out our content marketing services or contact us directly!