If you’re a digital entrepreneur and still don’t know what content marketing is, don’t worry: there’s still time to understand and apply it to value your target audience in your business’ marketing strategies. It’s critical to know this concept, know how to use keywords and improve your content to increase sales and capture more customers.
In 1895, the content marketing approach first emerged with John Deere, founder of one of the world’s leading tractor companies, Deere & Company. The entrepreneur created The Furrow magazine which, unlike the material at that time, was not intended simply to close sales, but to teach about innovative technologies that would help farmers (target audience) in their routines.
In essence, content marketing has remained the same over these 126 years. After The Furrow magazine, another success case was the Michelin guides, which promoted tourism to favor the automobile market in 1900. After that, content marketing became increasingly popular and specialized.
This is largely due to the high demand for content that we currently have. According to a statistic done in 2015 by DemandGen, a content marketing research source, 75% of B2B shoppers rely on these materials as a research medium when they are studying to make a buying decision.
So, if you want to improve your relationship with your target audience, increase your traffic, make new customers advance in the purchase journey and, consequently, increase your sales, come and understand what content marketing is. Thus, you will be able to implement this strategy in your company and have effective marketing.
What is content marketing?
Basically, content marketing is a marketing strategy based on publishing informative and relevant materials for your target audience. “Traditional marketing and advertising tell the world you’re a rock star. Content marketing shows the world that you are one,” says Robert Rose, one of the directors of the famous Content Marketing Institute.
But, of course, there is a more formal definition, by the same institute, to explain what content marketing is. To make it easier, we’ll display it in topics:
This type of marketing can produce a variety of materials. Some examples of types of content marketing are social media, infographics (very common on Pinterest), blog articles, podcasts, e-books, videos and paid media. We’ll look at some of these formats specifically later.
The varied number of types of content marketing is explained by the fact that each format of content produced can retain visitors and eventually generate conversions and sales, making new customers more likely to complete the purchase journey, in addition to helping to build loyalty former buyers.
In recent years, it is believed that the new content marketing formats will be: live broadcasts, content optimized for voice search, augmented reality experiences (as you can already see in Instagram filters) and tailored content based on collected data such as location, online behavior or demographics.
Channels for content marketing
To know what content marketing is, you also need to understand its many ramifications. It is essential to understand that it goes far beyond writing a text or posting to social media. For the results to arrive, the content produced needs to be well architected. Thus, it is necessary to have the publication dates, format, channel, goals and avatar well defined. So, check out the main channels for this marketing strategy:
An effective content marketing strategy involves creating a blog. This happens because this channel has its own domain and you can have full control over all content marketing actions related to it.
Blogging is one of the most common ways to attract the target audience and also new customers. From relevant content and optimized for search engines, your blog will have at least reasonable traffic. Publications also need to be regular. To do this, make a posting calendar and agenda planning.
The e-book is great content marketing for those who are almost at the end of their buying journey, as it fits better with longer content. Generally, at this point, people want more information, as they are interested in the product and about to complete the purchase.
Not to mention that e-books convey authority and reliability to the target audience.
With good publicity on social networks, your e-book will hardly be shared. This is an inexpensive form of content marketing that doesn’t require a lot of infrastructures. On the other hand, it requires greater research and organization effort.
Interested in e-books? So, here are the 6 steps to creating an ebook for free:
Among the advantages of the webinar, it is worth mentioning:
The webinar doesn’t need expensive resources for its realization, it can be done only with the cell phone’s camera and microphone and an application or program to edit the video.
Clearly, the better your infrastructure, the higher the quality of that content marketing. Consequently, you will give more credibility to your target audience. Webinars can be recorded or live. In addition, some tools make it possible and help in its realization.
The infographic is content marketing that brings together visual and written information and facilitates the reader’s understanding through graphics, images and data. They work very well when it comes to attracting leads, as they require less time to read than an e-book or viewing than a webinar, for example. There are image creation and editing software, as well as free tools, to help you make your infographic.
Videos can be applied within content marketing strategies to amplify your results. They can be used in blog posts or on social media in mini videos that stimulate the target audience, explaining or demonstrating the product. Another option, which will require more effort, is to create a channel on YouTube, or other video platforms, and frequently supply it with content.
6. Social networks
After blogging, they are the most popular content marketing channels. Social networks have gained a lot of strength to digital marketing, as they can perform various functions, for example, attract new customers, strengthen the relationship with your target audience and even increase sales.
Furthermore, they are, for many people, the main channel used to consume content, information, and entertainment. The content produced is cheap, has a high dissemination power and is a powerful generator of leads and traffic to your website.
Thus, social networks are not just a means of dissemination, but an active channel for content marketing. As they are multimedia, the content produced must vary between texts, infographics, montages, videos, live broadcasts, contests, photographs, gifs and much more. But, it is necessary to be aware of some behaviors.
They’re not places for you to approach customers through corporate posts and salespeople, they’re to build a relationship with your target audience and then offer discreet, contrived offers. Don’t anticipate the stages of the buying journey.
However, it’s no use having a social network and no interaction. To engage your audience, there’s nothing better than content marketing. Make relevant and regular posts, as offers must be made on time. Likewise, remember to measure your results so you know what’s working in your marketing strategy.
7. Email Marketing
E-mail marketing is often underestimated by people. However, it is another opportunity to put content marketing into practice, attracting new visitors and deepening relationships with your contact base. It is a mistake to think that e-mail is just a tool for notifications and messages.
It’s cheap, fast, and can significantly increase your conversion rates. Bet on sending content according to the consumer’s purchase journey and also send newsletters and promotions of new materials and promotions. So you invest in lead nurturing.
This is a tool that, if used correctly, will educate and motivate potential, old and new customers to consume. However, if you buy email lists, it won’t work. This is because these people will not know your brand, much less will show interest in your company, which will also be frowned upon.
In addition, you run the risk of users marking the post as spam, damaging the company’s reputation with their own email services, which will likely consider all of their submissions to be spam. Thus, in email marketing, you should spend effort on targeting your target audience and define a good regularity in sendings.
To write good emails, check out the 77 email marketing headline templates we’ve prepared.
Content marketing and the market
It is important to emphasize that content marketing has grown a lot in the Brazilian market in recent years. Despite this, the number of companies that use it is still not that high, and the percentage of them that take this type of marketing deeper is even smaller. Therefore, betting on this strategy is a differential.
According to Content Trends 2019, a survey conducted by Rock Content with 4,769 participants from different industries and areas of activity in Brazil, 67.3% of companies adopt content marketing. 36% indicated not knowing the strategy and, therefore, do not use it. However, of those who do not use it, 56.9% intend to use it.
See now the results of companies using content marketing, according to the same survey: these companies got 1.3 more visits to the site and 1.4 times more leads. These are amazing numbers.
Why is this type of marketing important?
1. Help connecting with customers
Now that you understand what content marketing is, it’s time to understand the advantages of this marketing strategy. The first is that it is essential for connecting with the target audience and, especially, with new customers, which is essential for them to advance in their purchase journeys.
There are projections that, by the year 2023, more than 7 billion people around the world will have a smartphone (today, this number is around 5.1 billion). Taking into account that the world population is already 8 billion, almost everyone on the planet will be able to access a mobile device in the future.
This means that your business has never had more chances to reach a truly global audience. So it seems that this is the best (and perhaps only) way to truly connect with a large and diverse audience.
If you only invest in paid traffic, be aware that summarizing communication between your business and consumers in advertisements is not a good idea. Therefore, every message must be thought of, and that’s what the content marketing strategy does.
2. It is a strategy that differs from superficial
Regardless of the size of your business, consumers want relevant and reliable information. This is impossible when using only shallow communication with little preparation.
The public is not content only with memes and deep fakes, in fact, these contents only reinforce the need for genuine and sincere content on the part of brands. The perception of value is different when a brand invests in content marketing.
What’s more: making a commitment to the customer, making the company’s reputation and character clear, and giving visibility to product reviews are also premises of this approach, which prove how it is possible to demonstrate commitment to consumers.
3. Content marketing is cheap
Cutting costs is a practice that, 100% of the time, is welcome for any type of company. Saving up improves the margin for growth and content marketing makes that possible too.
In addition to costing 62% less than traditional marketing, it is able to generate higher quality leads and more sales in the long term. These are data from Demand Metric, which states that 78% of marketing directors believe that personalized content is the future of marketing.
Having the goal of creating a relationship with consumers, being empathetic and considering their needs is a positive aspect for any brand. So, content marketing directed to the needs and desires of potential customers provides more involvement of people with the company.
In some cases, when you see a negative comment, there are leads that even defend the company. In addition, relationship marketing can be exercised through multiple channels, from social media to email marketing and customer success.
4. Educate the market
Your product might even be good. In fact, excellent. But if people don’t know what it is and how it works, they won’t buy it. That way, content marketing comes into play again.
It instructs you about your solution and that, in itself, increases the chances of sales. This strategy is also responsible for helping visitors gain insight into what they need. Through the sales funnel , it is possible to make them aware until they understand whether or not they need the product or service in question, and often they do, but they just weren’t aware of it.
With the sales process completed, your customer may have questions about how to use or how to leverage the product or service. Then, the content can also assume this goal of instruction and clarification of doubts in the post-sales.
How to apply content marketing?
1. Define your goals
The main objective linked to content marketing is to build brand awareness and authority on the topic. But with it, you can also:
So each of these purposes implies different performance indicators (KPIs), which are quantifiable data that you can use to measure your actual performance against your goal.
2. Determine your KPIs
Let’s assume your goal is to increase conversion. Some KPI suggestions are: conversion rate, shopping cart abandon rate, and competitive pricing trends. But if with content marketing you seek to generate audience engagement with your brand, the KPIs are likes, shares, new followers and mentions, for example.
3. Choose channels
As you read in this text, there are several content delivery formats, from the good old blog posts to the latest social media. To choose the best marketing channels, try to guide yourself with questions like these:
4. Establish the budget
To understand what part of your budget will be devoted to content marketing, it’s also worth being guided by questions:
If you have difficulties with this, remember the big cases involved with content marketing, such as Onix Security: Onix is a closed-circuit TV company. His goal with this type of marketing was to position himself as an authority in his industry and generate more revenue. With just an optimized website and a blog, she achieved a 153% increase in organic traffic and an average of 8000 monthly visits to the page without paying any advertising.
5. Create and distribute content
In this penultimate step, you must create the content, but in a smart way. The best way to do this is using an editorial calendar, which proposes directions that help to maintain consistency in production. But, there are those who do it more freely: it works too.
The empathy map is another cool feature for this phase. It offers the possibility of getting to know your customers better and, thus, being more assertive in content marketing. The six questions that make up the map are to answer:
6. Analyze the results
Anyway, it’s time to appreciate your work and assess what worked and what didn’t. Start with analyzing your objectives and the performance indicators used. Did you achieve what you expected? If not, what prevented it? Some strategic planning tools also help, such as the SWOT matrix.
What’s in content marketing
Now that you know what content marketing is, what it can do for your business and its main aspects, it’s time to also understand what the content produced needs to have for this marketing strategy to work.
To work, it is essential that content marketing is combined with the use of keywords. That’s because they improve your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) . Good SEO means that the content produced will rank well on search engines like Google, the platform most people search for everything these days. Furthermore, keywords also help drive social media posts.
What are keywords?
Keywords, or keywords, are terms composed of one or more words that are the main research tool. Through keywords, people write their doubts, hoping in return for a response from search engines. All searches originate on one or more terms.
Importance of keywords
In marketing, keywords play a very important role: they provide guidance when creating websites, pages, blogs and posts. In other words, by defining and using the main terms present in that text, that is, the keywords, you are telling the search engines that your content is about a subject related to those specific terms.
If the keywords defined by you are chosen correctly, when searching these terms the user will find your content at the top of searches, increasing the chances of him accessing the contents produced by your brand and also these materials reaching the target audience. In this way, keywords drive content marketing.
How to use keywords?
To know which keywords will bring more results to your company’s marketing, you need to take into account some factors before defining them:
The keywords must respond to doubts and questions or, at the very least, be related to your avatar’s needs. A tip for doing this is to ask yourself how your target audience would search the search engines for that topic.
2. Know the purpose of your marketing strategy
Knowing the objective of the marketing strategy will help define your keywords. Once you’ve figured out what your content marketing goals are, it’s critical that they act as a guide for you.
All marketing actions that have been taken must be to try to achieve these goals. For example, if your company is looking to complete the purchase journey of new customers in order to increase the number of sales, the content should drive the purchase. For this reason, bet on keywords or terms such as “review”, “buy”, “benefits” and “advantages”.
3. Use practical tools that help in content marketing
Some keyword-specific tools can help you with content marketing. The purpose of these mechanisms is to define which keywords are relevant. Some examples of practical tools are:
4. Research your competitors
If you have competitors already working in content marketing, a tip is to take a look at what they are doing there. In particular, pay attention to what keywords they are using and how they are addressing product issues with the target audience. This will serve to find out what is not done for them.
So your company can attack these weaknesses. Also, analyze and identify your competition’s strengths in order to overcome it. But how do I keep an eye on my competitor’s content marketing strategy?
You can use specific tools for this analysis or monitor its organic results in the search engine, follow your social networks and newsletters. To confirm that the content produced is on the right track, you can also do a research on major players in the market, even if they are not directly your competitors.
These companies are likely to have innovative, aggregating keyword and content marketing approaches to address audience queries.
5. Consider the shopping journey
Considering the buying journey is critical not only for correctly defining keywords but also for good content marketing. You must consider the stage at which new customers are in the sales funnel. The content produced for them needs to be different from those made for those who have already bought your product, do you agree?
The stages of the buying journey must shape marketing. For example, for those who are about to buy your product, you can write texts with success cases or comparisons between market solutions. Thus, an incentive is offered for these new customers to complete their purchase journey and purchase the product or service.
6. Don’t force the use of keywords
It won’t do any good to use keywords in the content produced if the target audience’s expectations are not met and their problems are solved. If the keywords throughout the text do not maintain their naturalness and meaning, the audience’s issues will likely not be resolved, which puts your entire content marketing at risk.
Remember that content produced must meet people first, not Google’s SEO criteria. The principle of content marketing is relevance.
How to optimize content with keywords?
The time has come to understand how to adapt, through keywords, your content to SEO. It is not enough that the chosen terms appear only in the content produced, they must also appear in some other places.
1. Meta description
For your content marketing to be effective, your keywords must also be present in the meta-description, a small descriptive text that appears on Google. Also, the meta-description should be direct and stimulating.
It is essential to make friendly URLs, aiming at a better experience for the user and an optimization of the content produced. The URL is the website address itself, which in turn must be simple and objective. To do this, include keywords in it.
3. SEO Title
Unlike the page title, the SEO title is the one that will appear when your content is displayed in search engine searches and social media sharing. Therefore, the keywords must appear in the SEO title.
4. Title tag
Finally, keywords must appear in the internal titles of articles, also known as subtitles or intertitles. The title tag aims to ensure that the reader stays on your page and continues to read your article. Keywords can appear anywhere in the internal titles, but they must necessarily be present somewhere.
To build a good strategy, in addition to knowing what content marketing is, you must understand the types of keywords and define which one is best for what your company is looking for at any given time.
1. Head tail keywords
This type of keyword aims to make your company’s target audience summarize in some terms your company and the products or services provided. Therefore, they are generic. Generally, the head-tail keywords represent a whole business segment and can be part of several contents.
Thus, they end up with an immense search volume and, consequently, a lot of competition. This type of keyword attracts a lot of people from your target audience. However, for this to happen, you need more intense and longer marketing work that uses other SEO techniques as well.
2. Long tail keywords
The focus of long-tail keywords is to capture the target audience with more specific terms. They are able to generate as much, if not more, traffic for the content produced than generic and famous terms. Despite having a lower search volume, this type of keyword gets a good ranking in less time.
Keywords and social networks
As said before, keywords can help in the dissemination of content produced for social networks. But not only that! You can search for your target audience on the most important social networks for your business. From then on, do research on the ways in which they communicate and seek to clarify doubts about the issues, thus defining important questions about languages.
These apps still act as an opportunity to get content ideas. That’s because by analyzing your target audience, you discover what are the possible doubts regarding your brand. So just supply your content marketing with solutions to those questions.
Don’t forget about hashtags: they are important as they allow content from social networks to be indexed by Google. They still work as hyperlinks that bring together all posts in a single search. Posts on social media, such as attachments, images and captions, are not indexed by Google robots.
However, one caveat must be made: hashtags must be related to the subject of the content. If you use several of them for no reason, your audience will think that your brand only wants views, not solve the consumer’s problems.
In addition, search for the most used hashtags and create others that strengthen the institutional part of your business, that is, that reflect the company’s customs and values. In this way, you create a community and a relationship around the use of a particular hashtag, driving its use by your target audience.
Content marketing is an increasingly necessary method in the digital medium. Whatever your goal, it will likely help through target audience connection, market education, better keyword usage, and customer relationships.