With more and more brands relying on content marketing, companies of all shapes and sizes are contacting us in a panic because they’ve suddenly had to become a publisher without any training or know-how.
Publishing is a thriving industry in its own right, with a number of rules and regulations.
Companies embarking on content marketing need to understand the mechanics behind this sector in order to have any kind of success, according to Business2Community contributor Anna Rodriguez.
It all starts with research
For example, a number of companies believe that content marketing begins with the content –it may seem the obvious answer, but this is in fact incorrect. Producing a piece of content but then having no idea what to do with it isn’t the smartest marketing strategy; as with so many other things, content marketing starts with research.
Knowing your market is a must for every business and content marketing is no different, Rodriguez says. You should first find out who your potential customers are, what online platforms they use and how they look for solutions to their problems and needs. Internet traffic tends to come from search engines (93%, according to Forrester). Google is the main search engine used by consumers – a staggering 92% of users prefer Google, according to Startcounter.com. Bing comes a very, very distant second, accounting for only 3.7% of search engine traffic.
The importance of SEO
To gain traffic from search engines, however, content has to appear as a top result. A study by Optify shows that the top search result receives 37% of clicks and the top three get 60%, while a different study by MarketShareHitsLink.com reveals that 75% of people don’t bother with links found beyond the first page of results. What this means is that search engine optimisation (SEO) should become a top priority for those looking into content marketing, as creating content that no-one will see is, again, a far from ideal marketing strategy.
To interest customers who aren’t actively searching for specific products on Google, an impressive social media presence is recommended. According to a study by Vision Critical, Facebook is the network most likely to attract more purchasing customers – 40% of users first liked or shared a product before buying it. Needless to say, developing a social media profile and gaining followers is also of critical importance.
Content should only be created after these recommendations have been followed. A team of dedicated professionals will be able to run a content strategy with SEO in mind, ensuring that the content is original, interesting and relevant – the key elements both readers and search engines look out for.
A continual process
Once this stage has been reached, it should be noted that content marketing is a continual process, Rodriguez points out. This runs in repetitive cycles of first creating the content, then optimising it for different channels, publishing it through said channels and then analysing the results and learning from the cycle for the next time. By managing the process at every stage, a business will be able to turn customers into brand advocates, creating a snowball effect that makes the content more efficient with every new step.