Content Marketing – Why it is Important and How to be Successful

Isn’t it amazing just how much content is out there on the internet these days?? Here are some stats that may make you really consider the popularity of the internet. The fact that there are over 2 million blog posts each day is amazing and is showing the growth of the internet and how marketing is changing because of it.

So lets start with the basics, what is content marketing and why is it important?

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach of creating and distributing valuable content to attract and retain a clearly defined target audience. The goal, ultimately, is to drive profitable customer action. Content marketing is very important because it can lead to a lot more website traffic which can, in turn, lead to a lot more profit. Here are five big brands where content marketing has led to marketing success. In all the cases, the businesses launched some sort of campaign where they are just providing content, not actually trying to sell tangible items. American Express definitely had a great idea with their successful American Express Unstaged program. The idea consists of live streaming of concerts by some of the biggest names in music. Walter Frye , the director of entertainment marketing at American Express claimed that “extending our messaging through content is a great way for us to continue to convert our customers from simply seeing a message to considering our brand.” Another successful campaign in the same article was Virgin Mobile. Their idea was a lot simpler but also achieved success. They launched Virgin Mobile Live, which was a social newsroom that published content several times a day that included new music, apps, and web memes. They were able to average over 1 million views per month at the time.

Like my previous blogs, this concept sounds easy enough, right?

Well it’s not and in fact, most content marketing efforts fail. Here are 13 reasons why your content marketing may not work.  Besides these reasons, it is also important to think about getting past the first post actually published. Naturally, most content strategies start out with generating ideas to write about. But then, after going out and writing that content and publishing it, moving on to the next piece of content could be a challenge to keep improving on that first post. You definitely don’t want to make the same mistakes as these six companies which could actually lead to less customer satisfaction. In all the cases, it is extremely important to make sure you actually know what content you are publishing and all the possible consequences, before you do it. New York Times mistakenly sent an email to current subscribers that was supposed to go to the ex-subscribers. The email offered a discount to the ex-subscribers to see if they would be interested in signing up again. Since it was sent to the current users, many were concerned it was spam and many were angry because they weren’t offered the discount. This case proves how careful you need to be and how one little mistake can turn your content marketing campaign all wrong.

You don’t want your report to look like this graph six months after your first post, do you?

poor-performing-content image 2

Luckily, there are blogs like this one here to make you think about these challenges before you start with your content marketing campaign. There are also articles like this one which provided that graph right above and below and also gives you their five pillars to successful content marketing in order for your report to look like this after six months:

web-visits-to-great-content image 3

Let’s quickly go through each pillar:

  1. Understand your audience – the key to your content to help your customers help themselves and this can only be done by understanding your audience.
  2. Map the content to the sales cycle – Creating content that will increase brand awareness, the number of qualified leads, and converting the leads into purchasing customers is all important in designing your content.
  3. Create the content – Making sure your content is long enough is important with ranking better in SEO purposes, getting more social shares, and more inbound links. The article claims that content that is more than 3,000 words is shared two to three times more than content less than 1,000 words.
  4. Promote content – Obviously an important part of success, a few ways to promote your content is through:
    1. Google AdWords campaigns
    2. Social media campaigns
    3. Email marketing campaigns
  5. Measure and analyze – Measuring your results is vital for any business in seeing how well your content performs and being able to analyze it’s progress.

For more information on each step, check out the article. He does a great job describing each step as well as throwing out stats to back them up. By having a successful, thought-out content marketing campaign, you can end up like these 11 companies. A few examples from this list are HubSpot, which grew revenue by 81% and gained 2,000 new customers. Another is KISSmetrics, a blogging site which received more than 1 million unique visitors a month after their campaign.

Speaking of HubSpot, they also offer great tools in order for you to learn more about why you should do content marketing and even how to write better blog posts. Their fundamentals of blogging videos offer great advice on how blogging can help you become an industry leader. Did you know that 43% of companies have acquired a customer through their blog? They also offer their videos on creating content with a purpose. These videos can be extremely helpful for your success considering 93% of B2B marketers using content marketing, but only 42% say they are effective at it. Let’s take a look at HubSpot’s plan for successful content marketing.

HubSpot’s content process for success includes five steps:

  1. Plan – Making sure you know what you are going to create and why. This is determined through your personas, the buyer’s journey, and your business goals.
  2. Produce – Making sure to follow your plan on what you’ll produce, who will produce it, and by when it’ll be done.
  3. Distribute – Next step is to make sure you have an idea for which tool you use to distribute and also making sure it is being seen by the right people.
  4. Analyze – This definitely needs to be done before the repeating stage because making sure that what your doing is working or not working can give you a good insight for creating better content in the future.
  5. Repeat – Whether your campaign was good or not, take what you have analyzed and improve!

For more information, check out the videos. They are definitely very useful in understanding how to be more successful with your content marketing.

We have now gone through a couple different takes on what it takes to run a successful content marketing campaign. But, what is it going to look like in the future? Kane Jamison offers a perspective on what content marketing could look like through 2015. It’s interesting to see what trends he think will continue and what will die off.

Overall, a good mix of outbound marketing, inbound marketing, use of analytics and A/B testing, as well as correctly running a successful content marketing campaign can all help a business reach better success and higher conversion rates.

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