Content marketing has been in existence for ages. However, social media and the internet made it possible to add more content types. Most marketers already know that traditional marketing is failing numerous small business mainly because of cost implications. This is where content marketing comes in.
What is content marketing?
According to Impact
Content marketing is a digital marketing strategy in which companies create honest, transparent, and educational content on a consistent basis for an ideal buyer profile. Typically, the goal is to use the publication and promotion of content to drive organic website traffic. Also to increase qualified lead generation, and (ultimately) empower the sales team to close more deals faster.
This definition is exemplified by HubSpot which has taken a serious content approach to their marketing.
The idea is to create the content of various forms around the key consumer decision journey (CDJ) stages. This allows the brand to be the digital guide to each and every potential throughout the process until they make the purchasing decision.
Content marketing at its core is simply the ability to tell stories.
A little history behind content marketing
Content marketing has been around for long. As far as when businesses started using stories to gain customers and to market their products. Reports indicate that the earliest form of content marketing came from Benjamin Franklin in 1732 when he issued the Poor Richard’s Almanack to promote his printing business.
In 1888, the “Modern Methods of Antiseptic wound treatment” was launched by Johnson & Johnson.
John Deere followed the trend by launching The Furrow to provide farmers with information regarding their activities. This wasn’t just to promote their products but focused on providing value to farmers.
More examples continued to pop up and eventually becoming what we know as content marketing today which goes just beyond print. You find and infographic by the content marketing institute on the history here. There are different renditions of the timeline of history but what remains is that content marketing has been in existence since humans learned to communicate through various means like cave paintings, etc.
The important takeaway here is that content marketing has evolved since the first content marketing.
Content Marketing Vs. Inbound Marketing
Marketing has become a field full of confusion. And these two terms are one of those marketing terms that are often interchanged and perceived as synonyms. Truth be told, they are two different terms. However, the degree of overlap between the two is very high. This is true of most new marketing tactics. They have the same goals or endpoints and have close implementation tactics.
Content marketing as already defined is centered on content, its creation, and distribution. The end goal is the generate leads and drive sales by generating traffic by providing consumers what they require to make the purchase decision.
Inbound marketing carries most of what content marketing is about. Inbound marketing also aims to drive traffic, generate leads and drive sales through call to actions, SEO, and other tactics.
The main difference here is that inbound marketing has a wider scope than content marketing. Content marketing uses only content as a tactic for achieving the end goal of sales. Inbound makes use of more than just content, it comprises SEO, Optimized landing pages, SEM, appropriate CTAs, etc.
Content marketing is a subset of inbound marketing.
Types of Content marketing
- Blogging/Informative Articles
- Case studies
- White papers
There are more forms of content marketing takes. Comment your own ideas.
Importance of content marketing?
Attract attention and generate leads
Attention is the currency of marketers. Marketers are constantly looking for ways to buy attention through adverts, etc. Most of these are interruptive and often do not flow with what the customer is currently doing. This makes it difficult to create ads that work because you need to be very creative to make it fun enough to reduce the degree at which it interrupts the current flow for the customer. Content marketing makes it easier and more natural to market to customers. This makes customers more willing to go through on your sales process by providing you information that makes them a prospect and fills up your funnels.
Who doesn’t love PR?
All companies are suckers for good PR and awareness. For someone to make the decision to buy your product r service, they must first know about it. Consumers are very sensitive and informed in the present age. Instead of allowing them to seek information elsewhere, why not provide it? This ensures that they obtain accurate information and are fully aware of your offerings and their advantages.
Help facilitate consumer Research efforts
Just as the previous post made clear, consumers do research before making certain purchase decisions. Providing more information in the house will ensure that they are well informed and facilitate their research courtesy by you.
Build brand and trust creating loyalty
Consumers buy over and over again from brands that they are loyal to. Loyalty is created through a strong brand name and trust. No one will buy from a strong brand that they do not trust. Also, no one can buy from a brand that they do not know exists. Content marketing allows you to kill these two birds with just one stone. Being at the forefront of your industry providing useful and relevant information establishes you as a leader building a good brand and creating loyalty.
Industry leader status
Establishing an industry leader status provides leverage over your competitors. Consumers see industry leaders as more trustworthy than underground and upcoming brands. Rigorously using white papers, case studies, and other content marketing forms allows you to create the notion of an industry leader in the mind of consumers.
Improves SEO massively
Google and other search engines are built to provide users with the most accurate ad relevant results. Focusing your content in doing these will be a booster for your ranking. Forget the tricks and gimmicks. If your content isn’t relevant, you would get more ounces and end up down the rankings. Content marketing focuses on providing value to readers and consumers and doing it well will give you that ranking.
Highly cost-effective PR and marketing solution
Consumers would readily share your content if they find it useful, relevant and from a trusted source. Content marketing works in several ways to make sure that these are achieved since the content creation process is based on what consumers would need.
Information hence content is critical at each stage of the CDJ
It takes several questions for a consumer to arrive at a decision. Even more complex products require checklists and information to help consumers make the decision. Providing every possible information answering all possible questions consumers may encounter in their decision process will make them feel understood since you were able to figure out the questions they are having. They would buy from you because they believe you understand them and your solution is the best for them.
Expand their customer base
Building a community is made possible in a way through content that they can consume and share their suggestions, concerns, and comments.
Engage an online community of users
Sharing is a key thing when it comes to the internet. Blogs need a community who share their content in order to succeed. Providing constant periodic content helps in this regard. Content marketing which centers on content marketing provides the avenue to make this happen.
Content marketing channels
- Social media
- User-generated content
The consumer decision journey and Content marketing
Even though the consumer funnel is still useful in marketing McKinsey’s consumer decision journey (CDJ) has become relevant especially with how marketing has become diverse with the rise of the internet and multiple channels.
McKinsey Consumer decision journey
McKinsey’s research showed that the CDJ consists of 4 stages that occur following the trigger.
- Initial consideration
- Active evaluation
- Moment of Purchase
- Post-purchase experience
Google also developed the zero moment of truth. 88% of consumers research before they buy, consulting an average of 10.4 sources being consulted before the moment of purchase. The zero moment of truth is experienced when the consumer first comes into contact with the brand through their research. This first moment of truth is very important for the second moment of truth to occur.
Google Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT)
Including the concept of zero moment of truth, we have a new consumer decision journey consisting of;
- Initial consideration
- Zero moment of truth
- First moment of truth
- Purchase decision/Moment of purchase
- Second moment of truth/Post-purchase experience
According to the McKinsey model, there is a royalty loop between the trigger and the moment of purchase. There is a link also between the second moment of truth and the zero moment of truth where experiences from the second moment of truth is shared with others who are in the zero moment of truth through word of mouth, reviews, etc.
This process or progression from the trigger from a need or want can tell you as a content marketer about the kind of content you should create and the stage you are targeting. Content should be created for all stages if you want maximum benefits. You cannot afford to lose a consumer who is almost made the purchase decision and nether can you underperform by providing faulty solutions that create a bad feedback loop through word of mouth, reviews, etc.
Is content marketing ideal for your organization?
Content is King – Bill Gates
Bill Gates, One of the world’s richest men once wrote that content is where the money would be made. Just like when newspapers first got published. He predicted that providing information and contributing to the democratization of knowledge would be very lucrative. His prediction was not very far-fetched, in fact, it was more than true.
The present-day brand and company are not just a business but also a publishing house. By this, I’m sure you know what that means for your brand and company. Creating content is now a core aspect of marketing teams. And for good reason, content pays well when done well.
Content marketing has been used by diverse companies in different industries. This has convinced me that content marketing can truly work for any company or brand. So, is it ideal for your company? Yeah, sure!
Content marketing success examples
Creators of Serve Pot and other brands are good when it comes to polls, quizzes, video, and blogging. I’d say they’re doing well in that space in Ghana.
I have followed Sheldon for almost 4 years now and his progression has been amazing. He has moved from jokes to video and is loved by many through his social media posts. He has a history with OMGVoice and recently started his content creation company.
Creo Concepts is a creative company that is good at creating free concepts. This is done based on characters in Ghanaian culture creating social media sensations. They use social media to obtain massive sharing and following to capture clients.
Avance Media is greatly admired for its passion with creating rankings relevant to present-day marketing success.
This media house like many in the Ghanaian space blog creates opinion polls through videos, etc.
My friend suggested Telande and I was amazed after going through their YouTube channel.
HubSpot is a leading practitioner of content marketing. They coined and popularized the term “Inbound marketing”. HubSpot is a typical example of a company that fully practices this form of marketing. They totally exhaust the channels and types of content strategy.
Finally, Content marketing boils down to a disciplined content approach to building brand, maintaining relationship and creating value for both the brand and the consumer.