What is Content Marketing? How Do I Formulate a Content Marketing Strategy?

7 October 2014

Content marketing has been a bit of a buzz term from 2014. This can put off some marketers who feel like trends come and go, having little impact on a business’s bottom line.

However, in reality, content marketing is simply putting information out into the world that informs and entertains. It’s what we in the marketing world have been doing for many years, mixed with a little bit of publishing. It’s your social media posts, your blogs, your letters and emails. It’s infographics, podcasts and videos, created for your target audience.

Why should you be thinking about content marketing?

In today’s cut-throat world, a good content marketing strategy is essential.  The rise of social media and digital technology means that many consumers have already taken themselves down the sales funnel by the time they reach a store. Businesses need to have already put some information in front of their potential customers, because if they don’t, their competitors will.

Good quality content is good for attracting customers in real life, but it’s also good for Google’s spiders who are checking out web pages to see if they’re getting attention, being linked to, being read. If you consistently put out high quality content on a number of channels; if you have written something that people are sharing and commenting on, it will also improve SEO ranking.

How can you formulate a good content marketing strategy?

There are three main factors to consider when creating a content marketing strategy.

Who?
You need to be thinking about your target audience before you start creating your strategy. Amateur content writers often write for their peers instead of the intended audience, which can be an instant turn-off for someone reading.

If you are an SEO agency and produce content full of technical jargon and high-brow terminology, your audience, who are looking for articles titled ‘how to get to the top of Google’, will probably turn back and go and find another business to help them. Technical posts have their place, sure, but that place is on specialised blogs and not in front of clients with little to no understanding of the SEO process.

What?
Once you have an understanding of the customer, you should also be able to figure out what sort of content will get to them. If you’re trying to target older people, Facebook probably isn’t the way to go. Likewise, a series of direct marketing letters delivered through the post won’t stand out to a young digital media or technology company whose attention you are trying to attract. Analyse your potential delivery channels and figure out which ones will get you the highest return of investment.

How?
Remember when creating content that the number one priority is to consider is how you are making customers lives easier, and then communicate that. You could be saving them time, money, hassle. Whatever it is, you need to get this across in your content. Create engaging content that is focused on the client and their needs and wants.

Think about what it is your audience wants to know.  Answer their questions, and then you will appear to be an expert in their minds before they even speak to you. Provide a compelling call to action to ensure that your content engages the customer fully, directing them to where you want them to go next.

Show me a good content strategy

Good content is everywhere. It’s a great time to be working in marketing, with some much creativity and fantastic ideas around. One of our favourite content ideas of the past year has been British Airways #lookup campaign.

As a plane flies overhead, the digital displays placed in Piccadilly and Chiswick were interrupted by a video of a child following the plane with their finger, with the flight information displayed on another board opposite.

This great campaign also utilised a hashtag, allowing it to be shared and explored more easily online, tying together the on and offline campaigns for British Airways.

Abigail Comber, Head of Marketing at British Airways, said: ‘This is a first, not just for British Airways but for UK advertising. We all know from conversations with friends and family that we wonder where the planes are going and dream of an amazing holiday or warm destination. The clever technology allows this advert to engage people there and then and answer that question for them.’

‘We hope it will create a real ‘wow’ and people will be reminded how amazing flying is and how accessible the world can be.’

A good content marketing strategy can start a conversation between a brand and its customers. Through good planning and understanding your audience, a content marketing strategy can help a business to achieve more and really get to where it wants to go. If you need help with your content marketing strategy and you want to improve the amount of visitors to your website, talk to a member of our team today