Why Content Marketing Is Still King
If you’ve followed recent trends around digital marketing, you’ve heard about 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”.
We’re now in 2016, and some believe this trend will come to an end. It’s true that the amount of content created every day is growing exponentially, making it harder to compete. Check out the infographic below to realize how much data is created on the web every minute!
Despite these impressive numbers, many business owners and marketers, including me, believe content marketing is here to stay, and should be a must-have item on your marketing checklist. But why? In several of my projects, I’ve used content marketing as a way to differentiate one company from its competition.
Creating original content on specific topics is a great way to improve your rankings on Google and other search engines. That strategy allows you to bring value to your audience on a regular basis. It’s one of the best way to generate leads and nurture them. I’ve seen it work… now it’s time for you to get in on the action! Here are some benefits of content marketing and some examples of how I’ve been using it.
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes.
Content marketing is a long-term strategy
A lot of businesses, large and small, still heavily rely on paid advertising like Google Adwords or Facebook ads. These media are great to increase your brand awareness, but they won’t have a lasting impact on revenue due to the bid management system and high competition. On the other hand, content marketing is a great way to capitalize on the only platform you truly own: your website. Don’t get it wrong, I’m not telling you to forget about social media, but to use them in a smarter way.
Your website should be the hub of your strategy, and everything that creates value, including your content such as blog, infographics, and eBooks should be hosted on it. By doing so, you will increase the authority of your domain while avoiding one of the biggest marketing mistakes: creating value on platforms you do not own. What would do if Twitter shuts down tomorrow? You get my point.
Let me show you the power of a well-written blog post and how easy it is to replicate.
When I was working for Greenway Health, one of my main missions was to improve SEO (Search Engine Optimization). A lot of people still think about SEO as keyword stuffing. Most of you probably know this tactic is long gone since Google’s algorithm is getting smarter every day.
Greenway Health is a relatively new company in the healthcare industry, and one of the most innovative software vendors on the market. They target mainly doctors, and other healthcare providers.
The healthcare industry has been evolving a lot the past few years. Obamacare and other reforms such as value-based reimbursements have been affecting healthcare providers financially. For all of the doctors who have been providing care for decades, modernizing their practice to face those challenges is hard!
As a marketer, it was my role to educate them on why change is good for their finances, and the care of their patients. The best way to do so was to utilize our blog and create fresh content on a regular basis. On top of educating our audience, writing and publishing content weekly was the best way to rank higher on Google for specific keywords doctors would search for.
But which keywords to choose? Creating content around Obamacare seemed obvious but after some research, I realized that keyword was too broad and too mainstream. The broader the keyword, the bigger the competition.
We had to find our niche: a topic relevant enough for doctors, but too specific for the rest of the population.
Health care providers were facing another major challenge: ICD-10, the 10th revision of the medical classification list by the World Health Organization. ICD-10 has been used by the majority of the World, but for some reason, the USA was still using ICD-9. Switching from ICD-9 to ICD-10 could have major financial consequences, if not handled properly. Thankfully, software like the ones offered by Greenway Health can help.
Based on keyword research, I decided to create a massive blog series around the keyword ICD-10. By publishing blogs like How to ensure your staff is ready for ICD-10, and How to prepare your finances for ICD-10 every week, Greenway Health has been able to increase their web traffic considerably. By creating multiple pieces of content around that keyword, that campaign was the most successful of that year.
If you get to the point where you have created a full series of blog posts that generates good traffic and leads, why stop here? After content creation, think content repurposing!
Branding is often disregarded. For small business owners, it seems like a lack of focus. Generating sales is the main concern as it is the only way to survive. For larger organizations, it’s often perceived as a way to justify poor ROI on dollar spent.
I was one of those people until recently. I realized that for some of my projects, the selling machine was well-oiled, but something was preventing those campaigns from being successful: a larger audience.
Being too “salesly” right off the back is a common mistake. Nobody will engage with your content until you can answer that one question for them: Why should I care?
Educate your audience. Prove you can be trusted. Become a reliable source of information. Create that relationship first, and that relationship will become part of your brand.
So how do you that? First, you should focus on bringing value, and position yourself as an expert in your industry.
What do you know that no one else does? What have you learned during all those years of experience? Share that with your audience and they will see you as an expert. This will allow you to increase trust between your company and your potential customers.
The more you create content, the more chances you have to reach potential customers.
Make sure to focus on educational content first, and promotional content second. Don’t have/make enough time to write? Content curation is always a good alternative.
Eventually, implementing a content marketing strategy should help you with driving people down the funnel to generate more sales.
Lead Generation Opportunities
The best way to use content marketing is to assist potential customers on their buying journey.
The goal is to collect their information in order to nurture them, and reach back when they are ready to buy.
Remember, most people in your target audience aren’t looking to buy anything. However, they’re facing a problem, and they’re looking for solutions online.
Depending on where they are in their buying journey, potential customers won’t have the same needs, the same questions, nor the same knowledge. For those reasons, they won’t all use the same keywords. Make sure you start by doing some research.
One of my favorite tools to use is Google Trends. Google Trends will help you identify the right keywords to include in your content based on related search terms. Once you determine those keywords for the different steps of the buying journey, you’ll be able to create content for every one of them.
In the posts created for Greenway Health mentioned earlier, I also made sure call to actions were included at the bottom of each piece of content.
For example, you can redirect to a long-form content such as a white paper. Another example would be what I’m doing at the bottom of this post by linking to my free marketing consultation.
For you, this could be an invitation to subscribe to a newsletter, or filling a quick form so they can receive a free eBook with detailed information and solutions to resolve that challenge.
BONUS: Quick Tips for a Successful Content Marketing Strategy in 2016
- Write about niche topics: Do not write about topics that have tons of existing posts. If you have t to, find a new angle. Do not write for everybody. Find a specific topic for your specific target audience.
- Make it easy to scan through: To help with SEO, use sub headers. Keep the paragraph short with only one idea per paragraph. Use bullet points and lists. Use bold and italic to emphasize key points.
- Make it “snackable”: Long blog posts are great for search rankings and in-depth analysis. Not so much for sharing on social media. To prevent that, make sure to repurpose the content into bite-sized pieces such as graphics or quotes that are easy to share.
- Focus on quality, not quantity: It’s true that delivering fresh content on a regular basis is a huge factor in Google’s search rankings. However, quality should be the main focus, otherwise your content won’t stand out. There was 2 million blog posts created every day… in 2012! Can you imagine what it is now?
Are you planning on using content marketing techniques in 2016? If you already do, what are some other benefits you’ve noticed? Looking forward to reading your comments!