Content marketing is a hard thing to get right. It’s among several tactics you can use to attract potential buyers and grow your business. However, it’s not as simple as putting a billboard up on the side of the highway. In fact, showing may be better than telling in this case. Having some real examples of content marketing can help make the concept less nebulous. Before I get to those examples though, it will be helpful to have some foreknowledge on what content marketing is supposed to do and how to do it.
What it is:
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach aimed at making and delivering valuable and relevant content to your target audience. In fact, according to a LinkedIn poll of more than 600 marketers that ranked what makes content effective, audience relevance and engaging storytelling ranked the highest at 58% and 57% respectively. Triggering an action or response came in behind them at 54%. It should be clear then that the goal of any piece of content is to inform potential buyers and not sell to them.
“Content” can really be anything from videos, infographics, newsletters, case studies or social media. The most popular format is blogging though. 65% of those aforementioned marketers are include blogging routinely in their content marketing strategy.
No matter how your content is packaged, you need to be able to market it to your target audience via a variety of channels in order to draw buyers to your business. We have a blog that explains which social media channels will be best for your business here.
How it’s done:
You might think you can just jump ahead to the examples of content marketing, but you need to map out a strategy first. 80% of B2B marketers have one, documented or not, so not having one puts you at a disadvantage with your competitors. When you are forming your strategy, here are some things to keep in mind.
Know your audience: You have to make your content with an idea of who’s going to be consuming it. With this in mind, buyer personas are extremely important. How old are they? Will they get your Star Wars references? What social media platforms do they tend to be on?
Know your competitors: If you want to be the best, you have to know who the best is first. Learn from their successes and their mistakes. Being the best doesn’t necessarily mean your content is the most novel and innovative. It can be as simple as having the cleanest UI or posting consistently on social media.
Focus on the entire sales funnel: Buyers can happen upon you at any point during the conversion process. Have content ready for every occasion.
Consistency: This may not seem too important, but your audience needs to know what they will be getting from keeping up with you. If you say you are going to post a blog every Thursday and then don’t, they’ll find more reliable sources of information. It doesn’t matter what your schedule is – whether it’s twice a week or once a month – just don’t be flaky.
Experiment: In order to figure out what your audience wants from you, you need to test and collect data. What types of your content get shared the most? What channels are the most fruitful? Once you’ve analyzed the feedback and learned what works, deliver more of the same.
Quality over quantity: Remember what I said earlier about sticking to a schedule? Make sure that schedule is manageable. Potential buyers will take one well-constructed, engaging article over three articles you grind out at the eleventh hour. Give yourself the time to put in the effort needed to make great content.
Have an editorial calendar: This might be the most important out of everything. Plan your content creation for the next month. Plan your content promotion on social media. Plan, plan, plan. Document everything. Focus on optimizing your strategy for the best ROI instead of what to make the blog post for tomorrow about. I planned to write this blog a month ago, for instance.
Examples of Content Marketing:
Community-Driven Content Marketing: Convert and Grow proves the benefits of knowing your target audience and community engagement. It’s one thing to drive traffic to your site with great content, but if they aren’t potential buyers, then it’s wasted effort.
The target audience you select affects everything from what you make your content about to where you distribute it online. Finding your audience online requires genuine research, but once you locate them, they will be crucial to disseminating your content – both in core and secondary channels.
Central to the success of their marketing strategy is community engagement. You should offer your own expertise and be a contributive member of the group before you start posting your own content there. When they used this strategy, they accumulated 32,977 users in about five months.
Email-Driven Content Marketing: MarketDoc lays out a strategy complete with data, analytics and prices. Content marketing isn’t free, after all. They begin by researching other highly shared content for a good topic. Then they recommend hiring a guest blogger or someone to upgrade content. This costs money, of course, so you may or may not want to do that.
Email outreach is the crux of the strategy. You can generate email addresses using whichever online tool you prefer, and begin cold emailing. This can be a cost effective way to grow your email list and establish yourself in the community of your target audience.
Using this thorough breakdown of steps for content creation and content promotion, MarketDoc generated 167 email subscribers and 1,300 shares from just one blog post.
Game of Thrones: By far the coolest of the examples of content marketing, SEO Travel used content marketing to promote an awesome piece of content for any GOT fan – a map of all the filming locations used throughout the series. Their strategy shows the value of being in the right place at the right time, and that can only happen with research and planning. They do a good job of breaking down the preparation, production and promotion stages. None of these stages is more important than the others.
Relevance cannot be overstated in a successful content marketing campaign. The season finale of GOT was coming up when they published their map. At other times in the year, this would probably still be something fans would love to see, but at this time particularly, GOT was on the mind, and the timing couldn’t have been better.
SEO Travel’s uncomplicated strategy of prep, produce, promote and follow-up resulted in a 245% increase in referral traffic over the previous year and 111 linking domains acquired.
How can these examples of content marketing help you?
At the center of all of these examples of content marketing is a good idea. While it’s true that just having good content is not enough, having a good marketing strategy without the content to back it up is also not enough. Invest the time and brainpower needed to create something awesome.
A successful content marketing strategy requires a formula that’s right for you. Brandcave can help you find your business’s formula. Give us a call.