The figures show the strong case for content marketing. According to the Content Marketing Institute’s recent study, 35% of companies adopt some form of content marketing for their business. Over 40% of them publish content every week and over 50% plan in increase their efforts in the coming year. Yet 70% of them don’t have a consistent or integrated content strategy.
Despite the rush to get involved with content marketing, there seems to be some confusion about how it really works. Businesses know they need it but according to a London based marketing agency, Agency Inc. not all of them have a strategic approach. Of those who do, 83% say their content strategy is extremely effective.
Evolving face of content marketing
Content marketing isn’t new, and it isn’t even an internet phenomenon. Newspapers and magazines have been engaged in content marketing for generations. But the modern definition of it was first used in 1996 when John F Oppedahl spoke of it to a roundtable of American Society of Newspaper Editors. Two years later, Microsoft launched the first major company blog.
So content marketing works – but how can it work for your business? The key to success is understanding the five elements of content marketing.
The five elements
- Understand your buyer persona or avatar
There are lots of different names for the concept, but the basic idea of a buyer persona is a fictional person designed to help you understand your target audience. You can create content that the buyer wants to read, answer the questions they have and even tailor products or services to their needs.
- Understand customer needs
Another term that you will hear a lot is pain points. This is a way to describe the motivation behind the person’s activity. Maybe they want to find out how to make a lemon drizzle cake for their next child’s birthday party. Or maybe they want to find a local garage who can sort the suspension on their car. These are pain points and the aim of content is to answer these pain points.
- Make interesting, engaging and shareworthy content
The days of quantity content are long gone – today it is all about quality. One engaging piece of content with lots of useful information that is written in an engaging style and prompts people to share it with their friends is worth twenty short, uninformative pieces. There are two main areas of content – evergreen and trending. A good mixture of both will serve the business well.
- Embrace growth hacking
This is just a category of online marketing that uses a variety of tools with creativity and the ability to utilise technology, not actual hacking. It is a bit like the idea of hustling – again in a positive way. It is taking advantage of every tool at your disposal.
- Analyse everything
How do you know what works? You analyse everything, and you keep analysing it from different perspectives to get every piece of data. Without this analysis, you will never know what works. Google Analytics is a good example of a free tool and there are also paid versions to provide this information.
Content marketing can be a success and if you learn these five elements or work with experts who can utilise them for you, you can become one of those 83% of companies who have a successful content marketing strategy.