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.

Hiring Out: When and Why to Delegate Your Marketing to an Independent Contractor

In this time of technology and online social chatter, it’s important to get your name out there. But more often than not we find ourselves so busy and wrapped up in our work for clients that we forget about our own marketing efforts. So what do you do if you don’t want your business lost in the endless sea of media clutter but don’t have the time or resources to do it in-house? In many cases, it’s better to hire a freelancer to assist you with your marketing needs…

No full time marketing staff person?

If you don’t have staff dedicated specifically to marketing, this is an instance to consider an independent contractor. Depending on the size of your business and your budget, an independent contractor can accomplish the work you need done without having a set number of hours that you’re obligated to pay them for. This can be easier on your budget when you’re not sure exactly what you want or need in terms of marketing. Marketing consultants are available to help you, and are flexible.

Don’t have time for marketing yourself?

When you simply don’t have the time or the energy to spend thinking about marketing strategies and projects, having a freelancer with marketing experience can relieve much of your business-related stress. A flexible marketing consultant can be a lot of help to growing your business, freeing up your time to focus on what you do best.

Why should you hire out?

Great candidates for independent contract hires are experienced contractors. Those with many years of experience understand multiple industries and can quickly apply their knowledge to your specific business needs. Seasoned marketers have the know-how to accomplish what you need to grow, with efficiency and gusto!

So when hiring a freelance marketing consultant, you will want to start with two or three marketing initiatives to make their work realistic and achievable. If you’re struggling to come up with a couple initiatives for your freelancer, you can always consult them for ideas. Remember that these are generally creative people who want to help you grow your business!

CommCore Marketing is here to help with your marketing needs – from brand management to online and offline campaigns to graphic design and much more. Contact CommCore Marketing today to get your business noticed and growing!