What is Content Marketing?
Good question. Luckily, we know the answer. Content marketing is when you use your insightful articles, share-worthy videos, and funny blog posts to garner interest in your business’ brand or products. Besides creating the content, it’s also up to your content marketing agency to distribute and track the effectiveness of these videos, articles, etc. This creation, distribution, and monitoring of content is what makes up a content marketing strategy. Google looks for the websites that are producing high-quality, original content to appear higher in their search results. We take on the voice of your brand and create content that your tribe will engage with and share.
What’s this nonsense about tribes?
Your tribe is made up of the people who are most likely to buy your products. Instead of spending thousands on commercials and billboards, make people so passionate about your brand that they do the advertising for you. There is sometimes overlap in tribes, so you can create partnerships with related companies to help improve the brand awareness of both groups (so long as they aren’t your direct competition, of course). For example, an indoor rock climbing facility probably has a similar tribe to Moosejaw, a company that specializes in outdoor recreational equipment and apparel. A blog post about, say, purchasing camping gear for Memorial Day weekend, would be well-received by both company’s tribes. If one website has a blog and the other doesn’t have the funds to maintain their own, consider a partnership wherein one company shares the other’s blog posts on their social media pages. That way, they’re still getting personalized content out to their tribe, and the website hosting the content is getting added traffic. People trust other people more than they trust ads. A recommendation from a dedicated brand follower (or even a social media shout-out) is always going to hold more weight than paid-for advertising.
Cool stuff…now how do I measure its success?
Certain metrics can be used to determine how effective your content marketing strategy really is. Since blogs are now required to be longer than ever before, you want to make sure that the content is really going to contribute to the success of your business. The first metric is conversion rate, which is calculated by dividing the number of conversions (purchases, sign-ups, etc.) by the number of total ad clicks that can be tracked to a conversion during the same time period. A good, average conversion rate is 3/100, meaning 3% of the people who visit your site end up completing the desired action. Google Analytics can be a great way to measure this. Subscriber growth can be a great way to get your foot in the door with potential customers. According to ClearVoice, some services will even allow you to trace the effectiveness of each piece of content through custom forms. That way, you can tell exactly what types of content result in the most growth. Another metric is sales leads. It’s easier to convince people who have already expressed an interest in your product to make a purchase than a random customer. A study in 2014 found that companies with blogs on their website garnered 70% more leads than websites without blogs. Website traffic may not be as obviously profitable as conversions, but it shows that people are interested in your business. You can determine how this traffic affects SEO by measuring new visitors, referral traffic, social media referrals, and inbound links. Finally, brand perception or brand lift can be a great tool for determining which parts of your content marketing strategy are working. A great way to check out how your brand is being perceived is through surveys, since you can ask specific questions and get specific answers. For an easier option, Social Mention aggregates user generated content to see what people are saying about your brand and products. It takes from social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Digg and Google to track how your content marketing is making a difference.
Tap into universal themes
When you’re trying to come up with a content marketing strategy, think about the stories that really make you feel something. They normally draw from scenarios that we can all relate to—the son who wants to impress his father, the outcast who gets bullied but rises above it all, the middle child who gets neglected by their parents, etc. Commercials and internet ads are tapping into these emotionally-charged story lines and producing content that they know will strike a nerve. Instead of trying to relate their product to the content, they’re trying to relate their brand to the content. By doing so, they have much more freedom to tailor their content marketing strategy to their desired public.
This online campaign by Barbarian Group resurrected Crystal Pepsi by playing off the 90’s nostalgia felt by many of the millennials active on social media. Interestingly enough, it was the Twitter users who started the push to bring back Crystal Pepsi. Even if it was the company that planted the idea in their heads, it was ‘the people’ who really got the ball rolling with hashtags. The videos and funny photos ran exclusively on Pepsi’s own social and interactive channels, so it served the dual purpose of garnering social media followers and convincing people to buy the product. The essential takeaway here is that Barbarian Group utilized 90’s nostalgia as the premise for their campaign, incorporating Furby, popular 90’s music, and fashion from the 90’s to make people say ‘hey, I remember that!’ and feel an instant familiarity with the product. Find what underlying message is going to drive your content marketing campaign and keep consistent with this message.
Produce the content that your tribe needs
Imagination did a case study on US Foods, a culinary thought leader and supplier of food-related products that gained authority through the agency’s insightful use of content marketing. By establishing themselves as a leader in the culinary world, US Foods was able to land features in well-known food magazines that multiplied their readership. They began this process by publishing articles on popular food trends, new chefs, restaurants around the country, and food-related solutions. By tapping into their niche market (tribe) of culinary experts and food gurus, they were able to develop a content marketing strategy that would bring in guaranteed followers. According to the Imagination website, “positioning the brand as a food expert, rather than a distribution company, allows US Foods to connect with what their customers care about most”. What made this campaign so successful was that it found what people wanted and produced it.
If you own a Credit Union company, for example, you might produce content on how to save money for the future, or how to navigate financial jargon that’s purposefully complicated. You might make yourself relatable by victimizing the ‘bad guy’ (the credit unions who aren’t upfront about fees) and presenting yourself as an honest, reliable source for financial advice. People love to see that your brand is passionate about the product you’re putting out there. It makes it seem as though sales are a secondary concern for you, and that your main initiative is their success.
With influencer marketing becoming bigger than ever, it only makes sense to bring up a case study that incorporates celebrity endorsement into content marketing. Mother New York produced a campaign for Target and TOMS’ partnership called Together Sweater, which went viral. Their socially shareable campaign focused on the theme of bringing people together during the holiday season. They created a sweater that connected two people and knit the Target and TOMS logo into the sweater. They then mailed this sweater to celebrities and influencers who could get the word out about their partnership. This quirky sweater intrigued big names and little names alike, and the sweater quickly spread over social media. Instead of paying millions in advertising, they only had to pay for the cost of the sweaters and shipping. The brilliance of the idea did the rest. This is the core of content marketing—letting an entertaining or informative video/photo/article spread the word about your brand.
Remember that the content you produce can be loosely related to your product or service. If you outright mention your brand several times throughout an article and only include internal links, people are going to get suspicious. Outright bias doesn’t go over well in the content marketing game, so it’s essential that you’re putting out information to help or entertain your reader. Just because they don’t make a purchase doesn’t mean they won’t share your article on social media. If they’re a real influencer, their share could generate hundreds of new website visitors for you.
Start your content marketing strategy today
Through a strategized use of social media and content development, we ensure your business gets the buzz it deserves. On top of content creation and distribution, we also monitor the progress of your campaign and adjust to exceed your goals. Whether you’re seeking brand recognition, increased sales, or a partnership with a big-name company or influencer, we have the content marketing services to get you there. Let us get started on your content marketing strategy by visiting our content marketing page, or check out our guide on content marketing for B2B.