What is content marketing and why is it important?

A relatively new form of digital marketing, content marketing is the practice of consistently creating and distributing engaging, useful content with the aim of attracting a clearly defined audience.

The importance of content marketing has increased recently because traditional forms of marketing, such as print and television advertising or online adverts and banners, are becoming ineffective. Therefore, marketing professionals have needed to develop a new way of communicating with customers and prospects with the goal of influencing their behaviour and increasing profitable customer actions.
Content marketing focuses on owning media and becoming a source of relevant, valuable information for your target audience. The content that a business creates and shares should emphasise its expertise in the area of business and establish the firm as a thought leader.

Creating a content marketing strategy

Developing a plan

Like any other form of marketing, you should begin your content marketing efforts with a plan or strategy. Key points to consider include; the purpose of your marketing campaigns- what do you want to achieve? Identify your unique selling points of your product or service so you can promote these through your content.
Identify the core messages and values of your business and ensure that these are promoted through the content created and curated.

It is also advisable to create a content calendar so you can schedule content creation and identify particular times at which your content will be most useful to your audience. A calendar will also allow you to take advantage of specific dates and events throughout the year.

Identifying your audience

Having a clear target audience in mind when developing a content marketing strategy is crucial. Spend time developing personas and then ask yourself what each of the segments want from your business. What questions do they want you to answer, which products are most suitable for them and what types of content (ie. Blog post, video, images, inforgraphics) will appeal to them most.

Choosing the right channels

Your content strategy should dictate the channels you use to communicate with your audience, not the other way around. Whether its social media profiles such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ or a blog on your website or even a Youtube channel, there a multiple ways to communicate with your audience.

Consider the best times to post on each channel and the types of content that will work well. For example many businesses find that images attract a lot of engagement on Facebook and have built this into their content strategy.

Developing the content process

From content creation through to engaging with followers and fans, a well-planned out process with ensure that you keep on top of your content marketing strategy.

Start by creating content that is informative and engaging and optimise it so that it is easily found and appears in search results. Then find some trusted sources with valuable content that you can aggregate through your channels.

Finally, build in some time to interact and communicate with your audience. It is important to create a dialogue with your prospects and customers instead of simply talking at them. Listen to their feedback and incorporate this into your content plan.

Measure and Analyse

Like any marketing activity, it is important to measure the results of you content marketing campaign. Most channels have analytical tools allowing you to measure the impact of your efforts. Websites and blogs can be tracked using Google Analytics, Facebook has its own insights feature and other platforms can be measured by monitoring the number of followers and how they interact with your posts.

Are you using content marketing as part of your digital marketing strategy? Tweet us @evonomie or follow us on Facebook and tell us about it!  

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