SEO, SEM, and now Content Marketing!
The Digital Marketing space is a fast-moving space with new trends entering the market regularly.
To progress in a Digital Marketing career is no more an easy task. You have to be on top of things to understand why and where the market is heading.
Content Marketing is the latest kid on the block. Every good digital marketing consultant today understands the importance of content marketing because of the impact the content has on digital marketing.
As per the latest statistics:
- 93% of marketers today use content marketing for promotion.
- 50% of companies have content marketing strategies.
- More than 80% of bloggers who blog daily have seen an increase in their ROI.
- 80% of Brands have Brand Awareness as a goal for their Content Marketing campaign.
- More than 70% of Marketers plan to increase their investment in content marketing
The bottom line is, “Companies are investing in Digital Marketing. They understand that today’s consumer wants to be educated before going to Sales”.
(source: http://resources.salespanda.com/showcase/10-Content-Marketing-Statistics-for-2014 | http://www.curata.com/blog/content-marketing-statistics-2014-4-significant-facts-infographic/ | http://www.jeffbullas.com/7-step-content-creation-strategy-for-epic-content-marketing/)
How does Content Marketing work?
Let me tell you a story (an interesting one) on how I learned content marketing.
A few years back, I started a blog (lessons at startup), which was about sharing my entrepreneurial journey with the startup community across the world.
Like every blogger, I started writing numerous blogs without realizing the essence of readership.
We, the bloggers, are a passionate lot.
We, at times, do not worry about the readership – We write to fulfill our insatiable desire to write and share our views.
In between, we forget that readers only come to read our blog, when we promote it to them — something, which rarely happens as we are too busy to notice the value of readership.
Coming back to my blog. Within a month, I had written three blogs with little or no readership.
And then the predictable happened (I know it happens to a lot of bloggers. Thereby, I call it “predicable? “)
Without any readership, the enthusiasm fizzled out.
Since I was oblivious to the power of digital marketing (i will go as far, so to say – I didn’t even know the meaning of digital marketing), I gave up on my blog. Despite all my love for writing, I was not interested in running a blog for myself.
In addition to the above, it had become quite annoying for me to mention my blog in every family meeting we had. I was desperate to get some readership and was blatantly promoting my blog everywhere possible 🙂
Rather than writing more blogs on my website, I started participating in discussions on platforms like Quora and LinkedIn.
It did not take me long to realize that there was a broader reach on these platforms than speaking or discussing stuff with my family and friends.
And then, something unexpected happened. The content I wrote on these social media platforms started getting me a fan following.
Within a month, I was one of the top writers in multiple categories on Quora (something I still love to boast about).
Oh Boy! I could write, and everyone loved it.
Since my profile had my blog’s link, the users on these websites started visiting my profile after reading my answers to questions.
The fan following started subscribing to my blog. Within a few months, I had around 350+ subscribers to my blog.
I still was clueless about digital marketing. But as they say, “ignorance is bliss.”
My ignorance of digital marketing worked here to my advantage.
Since I did not know anything about digital marketing, I just focussed on writing good content (at least that’s what everyone thought). The content, in turn, drove traffic to my blog.
With time, the traffic flow to my blog reached a decent number. A number that encouraged me to write more blogs.
I had tasted blood.
The trick to getting the ever-elusive readership to my blog was now with me, and the method was minus all the heavy lifting, which comes with knowing Digital Marketing.
Soon I was trying different styles of writing on these platforms. For example, I would use my blog’s link in my profile, or at times, I would use my blog’s link as a reference inside my discussions.
The traffic invariably changed over time based on my experiments, but there was always something new to learn with every content experiment.
I had learned to write engaging, simulating content without worrying about Digital Marketing.
My methodology involved something they refer to now as Content Marketing.
From writing on these platforms to writing on my blog, I was trying everything in the book of Digital content marketing without knowing what Digital content marketing is.
In between, I came across a term called as Guest Blogging.
I sent a few of the articles I had written to a few reputable websites, and guess what, they accepted the articles and published them on their websites.
As soon as the articles were published, the traffic flow to the website spiked. Again, the content did the magic. My journey as a digital marketer had started.
Within the next few months, I learned the finer details of digital marketing — especially SEO. Although learning SEO involved learning a few technical things, it was interesting.
Within no time, from planning how to find keywords to getting backlinks, I was trying everything in SEO.
Do you know what was shared in everything I learned?
I was slowly and gradually learning – how content marketing worked. Digital Content marketing, also referred to as only “content marketing,” is an indispensable part of every single module of digital marketing.
For example, if I plan to start an SEO campaign, the steps would be:
- Keyword research
- Article/blog as per the keyword
- On-page SEO
- Good backlinks
Two out of the four steps listed above require – good engaging content. i.e., you should write good content to engage readers to the website, and you also need an excellent article to get decent backlinks to your website.
Content Marketing and Social Media Marketing
Content marketing’s relevance can also be seen in Social Media Marketing.
When I started learning social media marketing, every blog I read about social media marketing only spoke about good engaging content.
The famous social media marketers expected you to add value addition to discussions.
Wasn’t I already doing that?
It looks like I was already unknowingly a part of social media marketing.
Since we are already discussing Social Media Marketing and Content Marketing, here is what you must understand – Content Marketing is around the content you prepare and Social Media Marketing is your marketing method to promote content on social media channels.
Remember to personalise content for different channels as audiences are different on all channels with different target and purpose and schedule content as per time when audience is online.
The content marketing strategy mentioned below can be tweaked to meet your content marketing goals with social media marketing.
Everything I learned about digital marketing involved in Content Marketing – even SEO.
Content Marketing and SEO
Digital marketers forget that even when they rank high in google with lousy content, they are not providing any value addition to their readers.
Sooner or later, the bounce rate on their pages will be high, and Google will notice that the traffic coming to the website is just bouncing off.
Eventually, Google will push the website down the rankings.
My digital marketing journey started only with content and is only moving forward because I give a lot of effort to write good content.
I learned the other finer details of digital marketing on the way, and they have all helped me, but my love for writing simulating content is what has helped me be a better digital marketer.
For me, Content came first -> Technicalities came in much later.
I am not saying; you do not need to learn how SEO works, etc.
Steps like keyword research, backlink building are crucial to SEO. Still, they cannot work in isolation without good content.
On the contrary, you can have an article without keyword research and can promote it using social media promotion by participating in discussions, etc., but you cannot run an SEO campaign without relevant content.
The other day, I was discussing the evolution of digital marketing with fellow digital marketers, and we all agreed unanimously on one point “Despite Google’s algorithms changing over years, content written with ingenuity has survived every single google update.”
The websites, which have provided content with no intention of cheating google have done well in SEO.
They were and still are the darlings of google.
How to create a Content Marketing Strategy?
- Start by defining Content Goals: I usually set clear-cut goals with the Content that we generate.
- Identify the platform for which Content must be generated: Once you have the goals aligned, time for you to look at places or platforms for which you plan to create the content. This step will help you understand the type of content you require. i.e., you will come to know whether you need infographics, Blogs, gif, or just an image.
- Brainstorm Idea: Time to start bouncing off some ideas off your head. Think of out of box ideas which provide value addition to the platform you plan to post your content to — also, ideas that should engage users on different platforms.
- Research: Once you have the idea with you, start researching the concept. You can look for similar content and think of the value addition you can provide to the topic. Please do not get overwhelmed by all the content on the Internet. Trust in your content creation abilities, and you should be able to carve out a niche for yourself.
- Define Content Structure: Time to define a structure for your content. This is very useful when you are writing a blog with a lot of content in it. I suggest one of my blog art of blogging to help you learn – how to write a structured blog.
- Create Content: Once you have the structure ready, create the content, keeping in mind all the steps of content marketing listed above.
- Test and Proofread: Double-check the content for mistakes, errors, etc. Proofread everything in the content before promoting it.
- Post and Analyze: You are all set to launch! (just kidding). Post the content on the platform identified and then wait for the stats to flow. You must analyze the social media shares, the traffic to your website, and other parameters to make sense of your content strategy.
Future of Content Marketing
With companies understanding the importance of Content Marketing in Digital Marketing, the future of Content Marketing looks good.
As per the latest market study:
- A video will be the preferred choice of content in Content Marketing. In 2017, more than 65% of consumer traffic was video content (source: http://unitedlandmark.com/luxury-brand-content-marketing/)
- Social Media will play a more significant role in Content Marketing.
- Personalized Content will play an essential role in Content Marketing, as it has shown to provide more engagement in the past.
- Informative Content will shape the way how a brand represents itself.
- Mobile Content will be the preferred choice of Content.
Content Marketing is the future of digital marketing, and companies are investing heavily in content marketing to build a brand value for them on the internet.