Business growth is dependent on many factors. In the beginning, an idea formed that created an inner passion to offer something to the public that you believed contained the elixir of life, the be all to end all. From that idea evolved a plan and a method of how that plan should be carried out.
And that was when things got a bit fuzzy. Because of social media, new ways of marketing emerged.
With the turning of each new year social media marketing continues to evolve at a pace faster than what most marketers are able to keep up with. We believe that may be one reason why you're reading this article.
What Is Content Marketing?
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.
Instead of pitching your products or services, you are providing truly relevant and useful content to your prospects and customers to help them solve their issues.
-Content Marketing Institute
Getting Started – Strategy versus Tactics
Sometimes the terms strategy and tactics are confused in functionality. Strategy gives birth to a marketing plan.
Tactics are the growth and implementation of that plan. Strategy is thinking while a tactic is doing. The terms are not interchangeable but there is some overlap.
The marketing strategies of a business are clearly outlined goals and objectives, with target markets identified, and competition researched.
Now, you are faced with deciding what social media platforms you will use to help spread your message, your brand, and your content.
Like the changing tide or a beautiful sunrise, marketing plans come and go. But research shows that at least 92% of all social media marketers want to know how to implement a well-planned strategy.
The Social Media Examiner conducts an annual survey asking over 5,000 social marketers how they are using social media today and what goals, plans, and expectations are in store for the future.
Please note that today's headline could read Effective Social Media Marketing Tactics, but what is effective for one marketer may not work for another.
Since Content Marketing is considered by many to be the most important tool in your digital marketing toolkit, we shall begin there.
Content Types and Ideas
How is anyone going to know who you are and what you offer if your content is bland and outdated?
Have you ever heard the mantra, Content is King that was coined from an article Bill Gates wrote 1996 essentially prophesying the age of information.
Everything online is considered content regardless of its format.
Content is the art of communicating in an easy to understand format that includes language, terminology, charts, infographics, podcasts, live video, images, etc.
Anything you see or read has some sort of content significance.
Types of Content Marketing
- Blog Posts
- Case Studies
- Social Media
You're currently viewing a blog post. Blog posts live on a website and should be published consistently in order to attract new visitors.
Your blog posts should provide valuable content for your target audience and motivates them to share posts on social media and in other places.
We recommend that blog posts be between 1,000 and 2,000 words in length, but you can experiment to see if your audience prefers longer or shorter reads.
Ebooks are lead generation resources that can be downloaded by potential customers after sharing their contact information with a lead form.
Usually, they are longer, more in-depth, and less regularly published than blog posts and written to attract visitors to a website.
Ebooks are the next step in the inbound marketing process: visitors may want more information after reading a blog post (such as this one).
This is where calls-to-action (CTAs) come into play, leading people to a landing page where they can apply their contact information or access an ebook for their company to learn more valuable information.
Case studies, also known as testimonials, are your chance to tell a customer's story that worked with you to solve a problem.
Your most flexible type of content marketing may be a case study because it can take several different forms— case studies can take the form of a blog post, ebook, podcast, etc. Even a map.
The goal in a case study is to demonstrate that the proof is in the pudding to the people who consider your service or products.
Templates make great content as they create leads for you while at the same time giving your audience tremendous value.
When you provide template resources for your audience to save them time and help them succeed, they are more likely to continue to engage with your content in the future.
Infographics can be more effective when arranging and visualizing information than words alone. If you're trying to share a lot of data in a way that's clear and easy to understand, these are great content formats.
Videos are a highly engaging medium that can be shared through social media platforms as well as websites.
Videos require a greater investment of time and energy than written content, but as the prevalence of visual advertising grows— after all, 40X is more likely to be shared on social media than other content types— it is a tool worth experimenting with.
Starting a podcast will help the public find your product or service if they are not interested in reading content every day.
The number of podcast listeners is massive— almost one-third of the U.S. population has been listening to a podcast in the past month in 2019.
Find podcasting as another content medium to play with if you have interesting people to interview or discussions to host.
Once you have consistently posted content for a while on your own website, it may be time to start thinking about spreading your content to other websites.
This could include repurposing and uploading content on your blog in new formats, creating original content specifically for external sites, such as news, or publishing content on various social networks or websites.
Nonetheless, posting on social media is key to increasing your brand's reach and taking your content to your customers where you know they're spending their time.
Also shared social networks by businesses include:
- YouTube (yep, this is technically a social network)
It is necessary to post the type of content your followers expect to see when launching a business account on any of the above social networks.
For example, on Instagram, users want images, videos, and graphics that reflect current events, show content created by users, or even go behind your organization's scenes.
You can not only share your blog posts and website content, but you can also post native Facebook videos, brand ads, and original memes that resonate with your customers.
You can also communicate with other businesses that have an audience close to your own.
While the aim on social media sites such as Instagram and Snapchat is to communicate with your audience more closely, the objective on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter is to broaden the audience, drive traffic to your website and start conversations in your industry.
Find out which channels your customers are on and mold your content to their needs with some basic market research.
When you're ready for more ideas, there are a plethora of different content types to diversify your website. Check them out below:
The social media platforms you choose are vital because that is how you are going to spread your message.
You will experience an increase in visitors some of who will share your dynamic content with others and some who will simply pass you by for one reason or another.
If your content is more than a sales pitch, less about what customers can do for you and more about what you can do for them, they may be enticed to follow you.
If you are diligent to create timely quality content, visitors will notice. No price can be paid for anything that enhances your image, credibility, and brand.
Related Reading: Content is King, Distribution is Queen
Content Writing Tips
As mentioned, everything on the internet is content and should serve to advance and complement your brand. It would be like sending you out in the rain without an umbrella if we didn’t include some helpful writing tips.
It’s one thing to make these claims that content is king and quite another to rush you into the social media marketing wilderness without providing any practical application.
- 5 Ways to Write a Damn Good Sentence – Have you ever noticed the wide chasm that exists between good and bad writing that exists on the internet? We ponder, is there no budget for editing? There may be some good reasons for that, who knows? You can write just about any ol’ damn way you please on the web, just so long as it provides more than facts, and the T's are crossed and the I's are dotted.
- Purdue Online Writing Lab – The Purdue is a comprehensive writing lab. Try not to be overwhelmed by its content. If we were to stop here, you would have far more writing tips than you could accomplish in your lifetime, but we are eager to share one more!
- Stephen King’s Top 20 Rules for Becoming a Better Writer – From the master of suspense and horror come helpful, practical suggestions no matter what type writing you do.
- Free Writing – Okay, here’s one more. Everyone gets writers block at times. To help put some freedom and fluidity in your writing, look at this short article. If you practice free writing a few times a week, we guarantee you will become a more proficient and prolific content writer. You might just decide to give up digital marketing and take up writing as the next chapter in your life.
RiseFuel is a content marketing agency and has developed effective content marketing strategies for many different businesses. Let us know if we can help you.