Clients hire us and consult with us to grow their brands, pure and simple. They expect meaningful growth. Content marketing provides that avenue towards progress.
Whether finding a pain point, dealing with sales issues, or implementing an SEO strategy, having brands communicate ideas toward their audience has never been more critical.
But how do we do this effectively through content? Let's look at a few important ways to build brand awareness and master content marketing.
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is the practice of creating content to generate interest in a topic, business, product, or service. It can be pretty general, but overall, content creation is an invaluable, organic marketing strategy.
Content marketing involves media of all types: blogs, YouTube long ads, Instagram stories, video advertising, and LinkedIn posts. But in reality, content marketing is everywhere.
What Are the Basics of Content Marketing?
You can break content marketing down into a few crucial points.
- Know your target audience. Knowing your target audience is easily the most crucial aspect of marketing. Once you know your audience, everything else falls into place more easily.
- Understand pain points. Knowing your business's and audience's pain points help you and your company engage in better marketing.
- Find your lane. It could be with regular blog posts on your custom-made website, email marketing, or engaging social media posts. Either way, choosing your business's strengths via various mediums will help you develop better, more relevant content.
- Prepare and plan. Having a comprehensive marketing strategy is crucial to any content marketing success.
The Strategic Goal
With content marketing, strategy, as you can guess, is everything. Each business should have a specific goal, something to strive for in detail. It could be gaining more users to their subscription service, social media pages, or YouTube subscribers.
Your business's strategic goal should spring forth from the question, ‘How does this piece work with your strategic framework?’
Each form of content should serve a purpose, and each piece of content should have a specific goal. Don't try and lump all of your goals into one piece of content. That will just bog your existing content down.
For example, if you jam-pack a blog post about digital marketing consultations with vaguely irrelevant content, you're spreading yourself too thin. And doing your target audience a disservice.
You're ambitious, and that's great. But instead of putting all your eggs in one marketing basket, you need to diversify content and have each piece serve a purpose.
This blog serves to show you what content marketing is. It wouldn't really make sense for us to jump into an explanation about something entirely unrelated. Instead of building brand awareness, it can easily confuse any reader.
For this goal, really think about your content marketing goals and how best to accomplish them using multiple channels. For example, building blog posts with a keyword list, good anchor text, and backlinking will significantly enrich your content.
The Tactical Goal
For those content marketers out there who love a good call to action, this is your content marketing step.
After planning a few content marketing strategies, it's time to think like the reader. When your target audience reads your content, what is the next logical step for them to take?
It's time to take action.
You finally implemented that winning organic SEO strategy, attracting your customer base. Now it's time to push customers (gently) towards your product or service. This can be quite a challenge, depending on how compelling your content is. Write great calls to action, encourage readers to engage, and guide them further down the marketing funnel.
The Reader's Goal
As we've stated, knowing your audience is the bread and butter of content marketing. It's also crucial towards marketing as a whole. By understanding the audience, serving the reader and their needs, providing them with info, you build trust. This trust leads to action.
It's now time to marry that business goal of yours to the reader's goal.
What does success look like for your reader?
Is it purchasing a product or service that directly addresses and solves a pain point? To better understand your reader’s goal, here are a few tips.
- Learn about a topic. Before speaking with authority, you need to build that authority through expertise. Learn about a topic to understand common pain points.
- Understand the problem. Be empathetic. Once you understand various pain points and glaring problems, put yourself in the reader's shoes. Is the problem extremely frustrating? Attempt to understand every angle. When you genuinely appreciate the reader’s struggle, you can craft content that communicates with them more effectively.
- Identify solutions. See what works. Can you provide a comprehensive solution to a consumer’s problem?
- Compare solutions. See what different solutions are out there. Do they work? Are they popular? When researching a topic, see what gaps lie in the solutions to various problems. And, more importantly, does your solution help the customer?
The Marketing Funnel
Where is the reader in the marketing funnel?
More importantly, how can you pull them in? How can you help guide the customer further down the marketing funnel?
Tyler Hakes, the content marketer at Optimist, has a version of the funnel that’s easy to digest.
- Top: The problem. The buyer enters, looking to meet a need.
- Middle: Searching for solutions. Once they understand their problem and potential solutions, they’ll look for features and products to evaluate options.
- Bottom: The product. After narrowing everything down, they compare different products.
Mapping The Content
It’s finally time to map out the content using your marketing strategies as a blueprint.
Firstly, map the required content to the buyer’s journey. Uncover the reader’s goal based on what we know about the reader in the marketing funnel. Remember to go back and redefine a piece of content based on reader goals. Prescribe a tactical step on the funnel, reader, and strategy
Don’t be too hasty; make sure it fits in with the reader’s goal and funnel. And keep in mind, people won’t sign up at the beginning; allow them to learn more first. Remember to build trust, authority, and expertise in a specific topic.
Final Thoughts on Content Marketing Strategies
Content marketing is much more than posting a popular blog post or Instagram story. While those are great assets, good content marketing builds effectiveness from how well content can compel a reader to convert.
If you follow the guide to content marketing, keeping in mind the different goals and Tyler Hakes’s version of the marketing funnel, you’ll start converting your target audience sooner than you think.