The internet is truly a global marketplace now, and with the advent of social media, businesses can easily reach out to customers and sell their products and services. In 1996, Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft wrote an essay entitled Content is King.
In this essay, Bill Gates stressed that with the internet, everyone has equal opportunity to publish their content online without any cost. However, it also poses a challenge to the content creators as they cannot expect everyone to come and read online and see what’s on his or her screen unless it is something relevant, up to date and interesting to them.
In 2017, this is more relevant than ever as conventional marketing is becoming less effective in appealing to customers. Marketers are using content to engage their customers without the pretext of selling. They are creating content that is entertaining, provides new information and is educational to accentuate their online experience. This is what content marketing is all about.
Content marketing is defined by Content Marketing Institute as:
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
What this means is that instead of selling your products and services to your customers, you are taking a long road of sharing valuable content with them online. This allows your customers to read, comment and share the content you made, allowing you more reach and engagement compared to traditional promotional methods.
Content marketing has taken off primarily due to social media platforms. A content marketer relies heavily on these platforms to distribute their content online. Without social media, content would hardly get the exposure it gets today.
There are various ways marketers are using content marketing strategies to share their messages. Listing them all here would be impossible as they are far too many. However, we want you to understand what it is and how you can use it for your own business goals. Gathered here are some of the best ways to use content marketing:
Videos have recently gained a lot of popularity as the costs of making them are decreasing. With Facebook Live and Periscope, businesses can easily broadcast live and interact with the customers directly.
The best example of using videos as a content marketing strategy would be Gary Vaynerchuk. His social media platforms from YouTube to Instagram are all filled with videos ranging from his GaryVee show to him talking on the street with his fans and students.
Infographics, as the name suggests, are visual content pieces. They offer stats, facts and other information to your target audience in aesthetically rich manner. These graphics are shared widely as the information that they have is deemed relevant by the target audience, and they want to share it with their friends, peers and others.
You might have stumbled across many web pages where the presentation of the content is beautiful and equally enriching. One of the best examples would that be of “Prismatic” case study by Teehan+Lax. While most of the time case studies are dull, full of text and unenjoyable to read, Teehan+Lax have created amazing case studies that encourage you to scroll right to the end while taking it all in.
There are numerous other examples of content marketing that you can easily find online. However, the web and social media are now full of both user-generated and brand content. Among the clutter, it is hard for content marketing strategies to work as organically, they are not able to gain much exposure.
This is why many marketers are now using “content ads” or content advertising. So what is content advertising?
If we were to define content advertising, it would be using paid features of various platforms to promote and distribute valuable content with customers actively.
Advertising content online became a necessity because organic reach on Facebook is dead. But on other platforms, both brands and users share content for your target audience to digest. This gives you a limited opportunity for your content to get viral.
By opting for paid features on social media platforms, marketers can get more views, engagement and leads from their content.
The main benefit of using content advertising is that it doesn’t rely on what your target audience is searching online. You can directly reach out to them.
For instance, on Google, customers are searching for keywords like “Digital Marketing Agency in Toronto” and will get results based on strongest SEO. However, by using AdWords, you can easily get on top as shown in the below screenshot:
Content, as Bill Gates stated, is the king. Marketers have realized it, and that is why they are adding content marketing strategies to their online plans. With more paid promotion features available, using almost any platform to advertise content is possible.
Are you looking to add content marketing or content advertising to your digital marketing plan? Book a free consultation with Edkent Media to see how we can enhance your brand’s presence online