Today, many of the traditional ways of marketing are ceding ground to content marketing. Once upon a time, companies poured millions of dollars into magazines, newspapers and broadcast advertising, but many of those methods are being reconsidered. It is estimated that 30 seconds of airtime at the most recent Super Bowl cost $4 million.
For large brands, a captive audience of 100 million are worth the expense and the advertising hype before, during and after the Super Bowl is unmatched by any televised event imaginable, but what is a small or mid-size business to do?
Content marketing is a phrase coined by experts to describe the newer methods of breaking through the media with newer communication channels – blogs, social media, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and other forms of social promotion. According to the Content Marketing Institute, “…content marketing is a technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood audience with the objective if driving profitable customer action.”
Content marketing is not just about filling white space on a blog or a post on social media sites; it is about being smart, innovative and strategic in all stages of your selling cycle. For instance, Search Engine Watch advises that content could be a compelling infographic or video, as images can be more powerful sometimes than words.
Content marketing assumes two things: that the content is relevant/useful and that it is focused on engaging a specific target demographic. So instead of advertising in national print media – you might buy pay-per-click advertising on search engines that reaches the age, gender, geography of your desired audience. The result is a campaign that can be more effective and affordable. In addition, in order to reach your target, you might also choose platforms that are more directly related to your industry. So while using Google AdWords can be an effective method of search engine marketing, you might also choose additional forums that are more industry-specific.
Content marketing also means that your “content” is thought provoking in order to engage your customers. For instance, Sprout.com says that even large companies like Coca Cola and Volkswagen, with millions of dollars in their annual marketing budget, are choosing a promotional strategy that includes content marketing.
While blogging is a form of content marketing – it is essential to ensure your blog posts are optimized with the right keywords as well as contain relevant copy related to the issues in your industry. A blog must also have timely copy so updating it once every quarter is hardly effective. Updating a blog (at least) once a week can ensure that “crawlers” will be more inclined to use your copy in searches.
Here are some examples of content marketing:
- PPC advertising – make sure your copy is optimized with keywords and phrases and directly related to your target demographic
- SEO or search engine optimization – optimizing online content takes to include keywords and phrases so that any form of communication you put out there can show up in online searches.
- Online chats and groups on social media sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn and other forums to share advice and answer questions so that you can be thought of as a subject matter expert.
- A blog — in addition to your business website – with posts that are up-dated on a timely basis, are easy to understand, shorter rather than longer, and are optimized with keywords and relevant copy so that the blog shows up in online searches.