A Crash Course in Content Marketing

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 (Content Marketing Institute).

 

 

 

 

Content can mean:

  • Blog articles
  • Web pages
  • Landing pages
  • Books
  • Photos
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Social media posts
  • Ads
  • Flyers and other print material

Content in any of the above formats can provide value to an audience. And if it is both relevant and consistent enough, it will drive profitable action from your audience.

 

Content Marketing Actually Offers Something Your Customers Want

Traditional marketing is becoming far less effective while content marketing is on the rise. Why?

Because content marketing provides what traditional marketing doesn’t: value and relevance.

When you understand how the buying cycle works, you can start to see where content marketing succeeds and traditional marketing falls short:

 

  • Awareness: The customer becomes aware there is a solution to a need they may have
  • Research: Upon becoming aware of a solution, the customer will educate themselves on offerings of solution
  • Consideration: After deciding they have obtained enough information about the solution, the customer will compare and evaluate the tangible solution offered by different vendors
  • Purchase: Once the customer has selected a vendor to fulfill their need, they will move forward with the transaction

Traditional marketing is good for the last two steps— offering an option, a sales pitch, and a call to action for how to buy the product or service.

Traditional marketing is also known as push marketing which is all about pushing the ad message out in front of anybody.

Push Marketing vs. Pull Marketing

In push marketing, there’s no room for the first two steps of the buying cycle.

But with content marketing, the first two steps are the most important. The aim is to raise awareness and then educate an audience on a solution they may not have previously considered.

By tapping into the first two steps of the buying cycle, content marketing does a great service to consumers by offering them honest, valuable, and relevant information. There are no strings attached. There is no luring and no shady sales tactics in content marketing. It is honest and upfront.

This is why this type of marketing is otherwise known as pull marketing. Because it is designed to attract customers through search engine optimization, which allows the consumer to find brands through relevant searches.

The consumer is pulling marketing to themselves that they find relevant and of value.

When the first two steps of the buying cycle are accomplished by you, the marketer, you have established ethos with the consumer. With that trust, you can establish customer loyalty far more effectively than any form of traditional marketing can.

So How Do You Get Started?

First, you need a plan. Like with any marketing, it’s not wise to just throw money at something and trust that it will work simply because someone told you it would.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I trying to achieve with content marketing?
  • What media make the most sense for my target audience?
  • Which social platforms do my target audience spend the most time on?
  • What kind of content schedule can I commit to?
  • What kind of content should I create?

When you have answers to these questions, you have the skeleton of a marketing plan in place, which is all you really need. You shouldn’t wait and dither around until the cows come home. Having some content out there is better than having none.

So then, it comes down to execution.

You have a few options when it comes to executing your content marketing.

  1. Do it yourself
  2. Assign the role to someone in-house
  3. Hire a professional content marketer to do it for you

Pros & Cons of DIY

Pros:

  • Saves you money
  • You have full control of your brand voice
  • You have full control over your content distribution

Cons:

  • Huge time commitment
  • Takes a lot of energy away from your business
  • You have to stay up to date on the best content marketing practice like SEO and the best times to post

Pros & Cons of Doing it In-House

Pros:

  • Might save you money
  • Takes the job off your plate so you can focus on building your business
  • Might be more reliable than doing it yourself

Cons:

  • Takes away some control of your brand voice
  • Your in-house staff person may or may not be a good writer, and they may or may not have the aforementioned skills required to be a good content marketer

Pros & Cons of Hiring a Professional

Pros:

  • You get high-quality professional work
  • You get someone who’s highly considerate of your brand voice and your target audience
  • You work with someone who understands the context of a larger content strategy with your goals in mind

Cons:

  • You relinquish a lot of control of your brand voice
  • A good writer might not quite fit your budget if you’re not fully invested in content marketing

Some freelancers will charge you per hour, some will charge you per word,

  • but many professionals with marketing experience will charge per project

Interested in learning more? Email us at LauraD@CommCoreMarketing.com or call 314.308.0799.

What Are Cookies and How Can they Help your Business?

Mmm, cookies. Delicious, right? But I’m not talking about the kind the Girl Scouts sell. I mean the Internet kind. But what are Internet cookies? We hear them referred to often, especially when browsing.

 

An internet cookie is actually just a tracking device that stores information. When you visit a website, a small text file with an unique ID tag is saved to your computer and the website saves its own copy. This file can store various information — like which pages you visited on a site or how long you spent on a certain page. When you revisit the site, it can recognize you by matching up your ID tag in the database.

 

As long as a computer user’s cookies are enabled (there’s an option to turn them off), and the computer user fills out a form when they visit your site, a cookie will be created. Cookies are only created when a visitor fills out a form on the site — not if they just visit the site. Many people opt to disable their cookies so that sites cannot track them.

 

Now that you know what a cookie is, you can begin to understand why they are an enormous asset to businesses. They are able to pull useful marketing data in an unprecedented fashion.

 

First of all, they can tell you how a visitor found you — a digital “How did you hear about us?” Survey that’s completely automatic. As any good marketer knows, lead tracking is imperative in effectively growing your business. So a cookie will tell you how a visitor arrived to your site — whether it was organic, a paid search, or a referral from another website. Once you know how your visitors find you, you can find more of them.

 

Cookies can also tell you how many pages, and what pages, a visitor has viewed. This is important because by observing visitor patterns, you can determine who’s a serious lead. The more pages a customer visits, the hotter of a lead they are. Even better if the customer visits the site numerous times, which a cookie can also track.

 

Perhaps one of the best uses of cookies is that they can notify you when a visitor is on your site. How cool is that? They can let you know a potential customer is thinking of you right then! You can use this information to reach out to the person, since your business is already on your mind in that very moment.

 

There are many analytic tools you can use to track cookies: Google Analytics, Hubspot, Facebook Insights, Twitalyzer, ClickTale, Compete. No matter the analytic tool you decide to use, you should definitely take advantage of what cookies have to offer! When used to their fullest extent, they can work wonders for your business on the web.