What is Content Marketing and How Does it Work?

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Content marketing is a digital strategy where companies create and distribute valuable, relevant, and educational content for their audience. Content marketing is a long-term strategy that looks to build a strong relationship with your target audience. By offering honest and transparent content consistently you can drive organic traffic to your website and increase lead generation.

What is Content Marketing?

As much as you want to tell customers about the products and services you have to offer and why they should purchase from you, that’s not what content marketing is about. Rather, content marketing is about providing educational content to your target audience. It comes down to helping them learn more about the topic to make an informed purchase.

Instead of trying to sell products or services, content marketing is about building trust between your business and your customers. When you create great content consistently, it helps you become an expert and trusted source of information in your industry. Being a consistent and valuable contributor helps you become a trustworthy source people can rely on to find information on topics relevant to your business.

Be aware of creating content that’s more on the promotional side of things. You don’t always want to try to advertise your products or services you offer. But, you can always quickly mention certain products and services you offer when relevant. If you’re writing a blog on the benefits of orthopedic shoes and you sell orthopedics, you can always add a link to your products.

How Does Content Marketing Work?

When creating content, you need to personalize it so it aligns with the needs of current and potential customers. You cannot create cookie-cutter content and expect everyone to be interested in what you have to say. Your content should be targeted according to how people move through the lifecycle stage so that it resonates and feel like it was created for them.

A marketing funnel of the customer's journey from the awareness stage to consideration to decision.

You can create buyer personas that are general representations of your ideal customer. This will help you to better understand how to tailor your content to the needs and behaviours of specific customers. In addition to knowing who your customers are, it’s also important to take into account where your customers are in the buying cycle.

Awareness Stage

In the awareness stage, a person is looking to solve a problem or find an answer. In this first stage of the buyer’s journey, the customer is aware of your business. However, they aren’t necessarily read to purchase from you or sign up for your email list. But, people will be looking for highly educational content like blog posts and videos to help answer their questions.

A group of digital market blog posts on MRCK marketing's website.
Caption: We have a collection of blog articles that provides valuable information about everything to do with digital marketing.

In this stage, SEO becomes an essential part of your content marketing. People use search engines to find a lot of answers to their problems. If they can see your brand in the search results, it means more people will see it, too.

If you have optimized your website and content with best SEO practices in mind, visitors will be more inclined to stay on your website and trust you as a reliable source. Google will also see that your website is providing information useful to answering search queries and will continue to list your website high on the SERP.

Consideration Stage

At the consideration stage, prospective customers have more understanding of their problem or need and you have captured their attention. In this stage, you want to show what you offer and why it will provide them with the best solution. At this point, you are creating consistent content to establish an ongoing conversation with potential customers while building trust with your brand.

Being able to stay in contact with customers during the consideration phase will give you a better chance of converting these people. But, in this stage, potential customers are still not ready to buy and are still considering the best option. The type of content that will help in the consideration stage are newsletters and e-books. You can gauge the interest of your prospects through the number of sign-ups and downloads you get from the content you create.

An offer to download a free ebook at the bottom of an article on HubSpot's website.

After browsing through one of HubSpot’s blog posts, at the end of the article, they offer a free download for one of their e-books. To download it, they ask for your name and your email. This is how HubSpot can measure the interest of its visitors while offering an extra resource.

Decision Stage

In the decision stage, customers are ready to buy and have determined their best options. At this point, they are looking for information on why they should choose your brand. Between the consideration stage and decision stage, a person’s search intent changes.

For example, if someone searches for “nike shoes” they could be trying to find information about the types of Nike shoes. But, if they search “buy nike shoes” they’re most likely looking to make a purchase.

This means you need to create content that caters to buyer intent keywords while including engaging calls to action within the content. With CTAs, you’re looking to push people toward the purchase line. Case studies are perfect in showing how you’ve helped others meet their needs while proving you can be trusted.

Case study of our work to improve lead generation and revenue for Avenue Road Roofing

What are the Benefits of Content Marketing?

Content marketing can provide many benefits for your business, whether it’s a small to medium-size business or ecommerce site. From boosting your visibility to building stronger relationships with your leads and customers, content marketing can help establish yourself as a reliable and trusting business.

Build Brand Awareness and Visibility

You can build brand awareness with the type of content you are creating. With useful content, you are providing value to your target audience and are working to engage with these leads to help increase your awareness of your brand.

Consistently creating quality content is also beneficial in improving your SEO. If you have content optimized to answer a search query, you can gain online visibility through organic rankings. When the rest of your site provides quality and is optimized, the more visibility you will get from search engines like Google.

If you can build your brand awareness and online visibility, over time this should increase in site traffic. Providing valuable content to your audience will help to drive traffic to your site.

Build Credibility and Authority

When you create quality content that provides your target audience value, you start to build credibility and authority with them. Creating content that is relevant to your audience that addresses common problems they may have faced or issues within your industry helps to show you are an expert in your field.

This is also beneficial for your SEO as search engines determine the most relevant results based on expertise, authority, and trust.

Build Trust with Consumers

With more valuable and credible content you provide for your target audience, the more trust you can build over time. By consistently offering highly educational and valuable content to your target audience through blog posts and other types of content, you start to establish a relationship with customers and work to build trust based on the value your content provides.

Content Marketing Ideas

Blog Posts

Blog posts are one of the most common forms and are what most people think of when they think of content marketing. Blogs are one of the best ways to improve your SEO by writing about topics that answer questions your audience is asking.

When you write about topics your audience cares to learn more about, you will start to become their prime resource and they’ll want to learn more about you. Being a reliable resource will help to drive more organic traffic to your site from the SERP. If you’re limited in your marketing budget, this can help to make the most of your organic marketing.

Video

It’s no secret that video content is in high demand. YouTube has over 1.9 billion users on the video platform each month and close to 250 million hours of watch time per day. Video is an easy-to-consume format that can deliver a lot of information faster than reading a blog post.

People are more frequently using videos as a way to research products before buying. Videos are a great way to address people’s problems with how-to videos and question and answer videos.

Podcasts

Podcasts are another great way to publish content with. It adds more value to users with less advertising while requiring less effort to engage with. Podcasts are great tools because they are mobile-friendly and consumers can listen to them on-the-go while performing other tasks. As we increasingly choose mobile devices over traditional technology, being able to adapt content that is also mobile-friendly is important.

Social Media

Your customers are active on social media and you want to be able to communicate with them and understand what they find most important. Social media is a powerful tool to reach new audiences and build relationships with customers, strengthen loyalty and increase traffic to your site and store. 

Social media posts can be used to help new leads discover your business, promote sales, and provide additional information about your products. On social media, it’s important to have a mix of promotional and informational content to show you care about your customers, not just your bottom line.

Final Thoughts

Content marketing is an effective way to reach your audience with content that they are interested in learning about. It offers many different ways in reaching your audience throughout the buyer’s journey. It is important to work to develop a content marketing strategy that has your target buyers at the center while providing value to your content. No matter what type of marketing strategy you decide to use, content marketing is a crucial part of your marketing efforts because quality content is part of all forms of marketing.

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