The Content Marketing Institute describes content marketing as having three important characteristics, which are, value, relevance, and consistency.
Content marketing is not a hard-sell sales pitch. Content marketing is softer and based on attraction rather than manipulation. The idea is to create and distribute a compelling message that is interesting to a clearly defined target audience. When done well, the content attracts and retains target audience attention and results in profitable customer responses.
The best practices for success in content marketing include having a comprehensive written content marketing plan that has an allocation of budget for creating the content, identifies the target group(s), the methods used to reach them, and has metrics for evaluation of the effectiveness of the campaigns.
Documented Content Marketing Strategy
Marketingprofs recently conducted a survey of marketing specialists asking them how to market a small business. They found that about half had a content marketing strategy, and budgets for content marketing during 2015 were increasing, but only one-third of those with a content marketing strategy had a written plan. Of those with a written strategy, 60% said they were effective. Only 7% of those without a written strategy said they were effective. For a content marketing strategy to be effective, it is essential to have a formal written plan. The Content Marketing Institute offers a free 16-page guide on how to create a formal written content strategy plan.
Quality Content is King
Consumers have become very adept at ignoring advertisements in all forms. In spite of this, they still need information about products and services that they wish to buy. The Content Marketing Institute quotes from the Roper Public Affairs report that says 80% of business decision makers prefer to receive information from articles instead of advertisements. Content marketing helps 70% feel connected to the company or brand and 60% say that rich content improves the decision-making process. With visionary content marketing, buyers become believers and customers become fans of the company’s products or services.
Forbes gives a list of tips to improve content marketing, which are:
- Tell interesting stories with great writing.
- Answer common questions of customers.
- Be consistent and have a continual campaign that leads to more customer involvement.
- Deliver content on a regular schedule at an appointed time.
- Decide about how to promote content before creating it.
- Use participatory marketing efforts with symbiotic marketing partners.
- Generate employee-developed content from company experts.
- Collect information for content creation efforts.
- Create dynamic titles as headlines for the content.
Tracking Content Marketing Effectiveness
There is little point in creating great content, making the effort to distribute it, and then having no idea whether or not it is effective. The establishment of metrics to determine success of content marketing campaigns is part of the comprehensive written content marketing strategy. Some of the metrics, suggested by content marketing expert Jeff Bullas as useful to track, include these:
- Time visitors spend on a website
- Number of unique visitors
- Visitors who return
- Leads generated
- Links to content from other websites
- Cost effectiveness of sales made from leads
- Click-through rates for calls to action
- Sharing rates on social media
- Ranking from the use of keywords
- Number of landing page views
- Comments made by visitors
In summary, for success in content marketing, make a written content marketing strategy plan, create outstanding content, and then track its effectiveness.
William V has worked on more than 750 writing projects for WriterAccess clients and produced over 400,000 words of quality content. William has industry experience in film, television, information technology, advertising, publishing, and entertainment. His education background consists of earning a B.A. in Business Economics from U.C.L.A., an M.B.A. from Boston University, and a Master of Arts in Broadcast Communication from San Francisco State University.