The competition across different industries is getting tougher and more cutthroat by the day. If you want to successfully get your name out in the market and build your reputation, you should start incorporating digital marketing practices in your overall marketing strategy. One effective way you can reach and attract prospective customers is through creating and posting relevant content.
So what exactly is the role of content marketing in the greater scheme of your digital strategy? Content isn’t just a marketing trend or fad that’ll go away after a period of time, but it’s here to stay. Behind every successful digital marketing plan is a well-thought-out content strategy that can help your business increase awareness, generate leads, get more conversions, and foster customer loyalty.
By definition, marketing refers to the activity or process that a business or corporation takes to sell its products or services to a target audience. Traditional marketing tactics involve the use of print and broadcast media and outdoor advertising to get people interested in their business. But modern marketing is different and it encompasses more than just television ads, brochures, and billboards.
One thing that has pushed businesses to step out of their comfort zone and explore new ways of doing marketing is the fact that consumers today have become more empowered and connected. Over the years, advancements in technology have allowed people to discover and access more information about brands by simply visiting a search engine or browsing social media channels.
This is where having a comprehensive digital and content marketing strategy comes in place. But don’t be confused; although both terms are used to refer to a component of your overall marketing plan, they aren’t exactly the same. Here’s an overview of the differences between content and digital marketing:
Digital or online marketing is a type of marketing where companies use the internet and other technologies to promote their products and services. It basically refers to all initiatives shared and accessible in the web and other digital marketing channels, like social media, email, and search engine platforms, to reach as many new customers as possible.
On the other hand, content marketing is a strategy that includes the creation, distribution, and promotion of quality content to potential and existing customers. It’s a marketing technique where you use various forms of online content, such as videos, blog posts, images, white papers, and audio, to communicate relevant information and create a deeper engagement with your target audience in the digital space.
Digital marketing has some similarities with traditional advertising since it can be more direct and upfront in communicating with a target audience. It’s more hardworking in terms of converting prospective consumers or generating sales.
For example, pay-per-click or PPC campaigns encourage customers to take action upon seeing your ad. With PPC marketing, you want to attract visitors to your website, bring them to your landing pages, or even make a purchasing action.
Meanwhile, content marketing is subtle and indirect in its effort to generate leads and conversions. Businesses share content to educate potential customers, provide useful information, and earn their trust and confidence. Great online content rarely comes off as a sales pitch, but more as an important resource where people can find what they’re looking for.
The majority of digital marketing tactics, such as PPC campaigns, social media ads, and paid ads, are considered short-term investments. These methods are commonly used if you want to see immediate results, such as an increase in conversions or sales. They’re also a great way to get more website visitors.
Alternatively, content marketing is more of a long-term investment that supports your broader marketing strategy. It doesn’t provide instant results nor is it a quick solution to the issues that hinder your business growth.
It takes a slow and steady approach to engage your prospective consumers and build your brand. It’s an inbound marketing strategy that attracts audiences with valuable and relevant content that helps address their needs and problems. You can see significant results from your content strategy within months or years.
The people today aren’t your regular consumers. In this digital age, they have more power than ever in choosing brands they want to support and connect with. They’re also more discerning in terms of the branded content and ads that they consume.
For this reason, it’s important for businesses to level up their digital marketing efforts by meeting what the consumers are looking for with tailored content. It’s also crucial to have a strong presence in the digital channels where consumers are spending more of their time.
Here are some insights as to why content is an integral part of your digital marketing strategy:
You can’t just develop and publish any generic material on your website or social media channels. The great thing about creating content is that it utilizes specific insights and data about your prospective consumers. Personalized content is indeed more meaningful and useful to your target audience which, in turn, drives more engagement and helps them remember your business.
Organic traffic refers to the site visitors that come from unpaid sources such as search engine results and guest posts. Sharing consistent quality content is another way to grow your website traffic and keep users engaged on your business webpage. Content marketers typically use search engine optimization practices to make sure that their posts land high on the search results.
If your business belongs to a highly competitive industry, digital content marketing is one strategy that can help you stand out and have a unique voice in the market. It’s no secret that having a good reputation can make or break your business and great content can help you enhance your brand image. You can also demonstrate your credibility and expertise by sharing thought leadership content and relevant articles.
Nowadays, consumers like to engage with a brand that makes them feel valued and talks about issues and topics that matter to them. If you want to start two-way communication with your target audience, creating digital content is the way to go.
For example, when a reader leaves a comment on your blog post, you can reply to them to show that you value their insights. This will make them feel acknowledged and make them more likely to turn into a paying customer. Additionally, these conversations can give you more insights into what they’re looking for from your brand which can help you improve your overall digital marketing strategy.
Content doesn’t only refer to online blog posts and articles. You can share your brand messaging online in different forms such as videos, infographics, podcasts, e-books, testimonials, and more. You can also tailor your content depending on where you’ll be publishing them and who your intended audience is.
Whether you’re a business startup or a large conglomerate, digital marketing isn’t an easy feat. Your marketing team will always encounter challenges in identifying the right mix of digital tools and channels that will drive more people to your business. Fortunately, content marketing is one of the best and valuable strategies that can help address your issues and improve your online presence.
Here are some of the statistics that show the value of online content for digital marketing:
According to a report by Demand Metric, marketers who create content are able to generate thrice as many leads compared to other strategies. It’s also more cost-effective by up to 62% so it’s a great tool to use if your business is tight on budget but you don’t want to compromise the quality of your marketing efforts. Additionally, it’s a sustainable marketing method that can continue to drive business results in the long run.
BrightEdge shares that about 53.3% of trackable site traffic comes from organic search results. They also report that about 68% of consumers’ online experiences with a brand start with a search engine. That said, you can use content marketing to help your website become more discoverable in search engines and draw more prospects to check out your business.
Quality content is a great tool for nurturing your leads throughout the sales cycle by providing them with essential information about your products and services. According to a DemandGen report, marketers who share targeted content can see an average of 20% increase in sales opportunities from their leads. There’s also an estimated 47% of consumers who are likely to get in touch with a sales representative after reading at least 3 to 5 pieces of your content.
Content Marketing Institute shares that at least 72% of marketers recognize the impact of content in determining how a potential customer feels toward their organization. Among the different types of content, online blogs and social media posts are the most successful formats that can help companies improve their digital branding and connection with their consumers.
Blogging is one of the most common and cheapest ways to do online content marketing. There’s about 71% of consumers who are likely to view blog posts before proceeding with the next step in their purchase journey. If you manage a blog and regularly post engaging content, HubSpot reports that you can achieve more positive ROI for your business.
Content supports your digital marketing campaign and drives business growth in several ways. In fact, some of your online marketing tactics won’t be as effective and impactful if you don’t have a solid content strategy to go along with them. Here’s how content marketing can complement your overall digital strategy:
A potential customer needs all the information they can have before deciding on what to do next. Let’s say you’re a financial institution offering different kinds of savings accounts and loans. Before a new client reaches out to your bank, they’ll do their research first to know more about your services and credibility in the industry.
It’s crucial that you have well-written pieces of online content that don’t only promote your financial products but also provide insights about the different solutions and financial experiences they can expect from your company. This will help them make an informed purchasing decision.
The combination of digital and content marketing is also a powerful lead-generation strategy. But the key to getting as many new leads as possible is sharing your content and increasing its reach on multiple online platforms.
For example, you have new blog content but it’s not getting as many readers as you expected. The problem could be that you’re not promoting it enough on your other digital and social media channels. It’s not only your responsibility to create high-quality content but also to make sure that it has high exposure in relevant online channels. This way, you can increase your leads and generate successful conversions.
Marketers can also drive more audience engagement on their social media posts and stories by using content marketing tactics. For example, you can make it easier for your consumers to interact with your content by encouraging them to share their insights and starting a dialogue with them.
You can also run polls and surveys that can engage your existing online community. You can also repurpose your old content and turn them into other digital forms such as an image or video to increase its engagement.
If you want to appear on the top results on search engines, you need to create digital content that is well-researched and optimized. One of the common practices to develop content that ranks is including relevant keyword phrases within your posts.
You should also write about the popular topics that your target audience is searching for. The more quality content that you have on your site, the better your chances of showing up on search engine rankings and driving organic traffic.
Digital content can also help establish your authority in the industry. But this doesn’t happen overnight. You need to consistently post relevant and engaging content that focuses on your target audience and their needs. It should also contain fact-checked or data-driven information to demonstrate your credibility and knowledge about the industry. This way, you can build your image as one of the most trustworthy brands among your competitors.
Content marketers are responsible for guiding prospective customers throughout the different stages of the marketing funnel or sales cycle. The marketing funnel describes the process your customers go through before making a purchase, while the sales cycle refers to the steps that your salespeople take to transform a lead into a paying customer.
Here’s an overview of the roles of digital content in the marketing funnel and sales cycle:
|Marketing funnel||Sales cycle|
|The top of the marketing funnel is the stage where brand awareness and lead generation are the primary goals. Here, you need relevant content to help your audience better understand the value that your products and services bring.||In the lead generation or awareness stage, your content helps you reach out to your target audience and inform them about your products and services.|
|In the middle of the funnel, marketers use digital content to increase engagement and create a relationship with prospects and leads.||In the conversion stage, your content is designed to address the specific needs and interests of your prospective customers. This is especially helpful in engaging people who are already familiar with your brand and need one last push to become a customer.|
|At the bottom of the marketing funnel, you can use content to influence your leads’ purchasing decisions. It also includes after-sales content that can provide value to your customers’ needs after purchasing.||The last phase is the nurturing stage which refers to the process of following up with a lead and convincing them to make a purchase. You can use online content to strengthen your connection and keep them engaged so they can turn into paying customers.|
There’s no definitive template for a successful digital content marketing strategy. Each content strategy has to be unique to a business and its needs. However, there are several steps that can help develop your online content marketing plan. Here’s a rundown of the important steps that can help you get started in creating your content strategy:
First, you have to identify the reasons why you’re creating online content. Determine your business goals and make sure to stick with them throughout the whole content creation and distribution process.
The next step is to describe your ideal buyer personas. A persona is a more detailed description of the buyer segment that you want to target with your content. From their demographics to their specific needs and purchasing behavior, you need to research everything about them so you can tailor your digital content.
A brand story is the narrative that you share in your content to make it more appealing to your consumers, while a brand positioning describes how you’re different from your competitors. You should identify your brand story and positioning so you can differentiate the value that you bring to your customers and stand out in the industry.
A content map is an outline of the actions you’ll take to deliver your content to your buyer personas throughout the different stages of the buyer’s journey. It includes identifying which topics you’re creating content for and the channels you’ll use to connect with your prospective customers. It also involves organizing your content with the different needs of your audience and scheduling when you’ll be posting your content.
You also need to think about which kinds of content you’ll be creating on your digital channels. Blogs are an essential component of your content strategy, but you can also experiment with other formats like videos, infographics, white papers, e-books, webinars, emails, and social media posts.
Finally, you should also determine the key metrics that you’ll use to measure the success of your digital content initiatives. Some of the common KPIs that marketers use to track the performance of their content are website traffic, user engagement, bounce rate, social shares, page views, and the number of leads and conversions.
To inspire you to create your own content marketing strategy, here are some of the best cases of digital content marketing campaigns and how they brought significant results:
College Raptor is a tech-driven company that aims to help students in their college search and application process. As a startup, they wanted to increase their website visitors and get more new users. The team that handled their content marketing adopted the Skyscraper Technique which is a link-building technique that involves researching top-performing content in the related industry and using them as a guide to creating your content strategy.
The company then came up with a content strategy trifecta which includes the creation of evergreen, viral, and link-building pieces of content. It’s the perfect mix of content that has helped College Raptor grow its site traffic from 0 to more than 100,000 organic visitors in a month.
Fanatics is an online retail company offering licensed sports merchandise, sportswear, and collectibles. In an effort to increase their audience and build brand awareness, they worked with a marketing team to develop a strategy for on-site content.
The team eventually came up with a plan to relaunch their blog and make it a go-to resource for sports fans by creating and sharing evergreen content. Their posts centered on relevant information about current sporting events and feature stories about different sports teams and athletes. Throughout a 6-month period, they were able to generate a 1,100% increase in organic search traffic and a 230% increase in keyword rankings.
InsideOut Development is a company focused on providing coaching and leadership training services. Up until 2013, they’d been doing outbound marketing but they later realized that there were more opportunities for business growth with content marketing.
From a sales-oriented approach, the company made a pivotal shift to creating online content to capture more leads. With each new piece of content that they shared, they made sure to also distribute it via emails to their social network. Using content-based emails, the company saw about a 20% higher clickthrough rate and a 388% increase in leads.
Content marketing is an invaluable tool that can support your overall digital strategy and propel your business to success. The right pieces of content can help you meet your objectives whether it’s to generate leads, engage your audience, improve brand awareness, or convert prospects into paying customers. All you need to get started with content creation is to have a trusted team who can handle everything from planning to writing and publication.