Online CONTENT MARKETING in 2020: A Complete Guide [Overview, Best Strategies, and Cushioning the Effects of the Pandemic]
You have a business, and it’s doing okay, but not as good as it should? Or maybe your business is grounded due to the current global lockdown? It could be the excess competition you have to contend with daily, or maybe you just can’t connect with your consumers. Deep in your guts, you know you can do better – better sales, better recognition, better growth, but you just don’t know how to make this dream a reality.
Well, what if I told you that with a simple strategy, you could do better, and you may not have to break the bank to achieve that?
Well, that strategy is Content Marketing, and by the end of this article, you will know everything there is to know about it in 2020. You will also see brief examples of how content marketing can help you stay afloat during/after the lockdown.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing, having been around for ages, is not entirely new. If you have a good marketing strategy, you may be applying a technique or two already without exactly knowing its content marketing. But what exactly is content marketing?
Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as the strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience and, finally, to drive profitable consumer action.
Simply put, content marketing encompasses all the processes through which we (can) deliver value to the public, in the form of information (content). This information value increases your brand authority, makes your audience trust you, converts them to prospective clients, and eventually lead to sales.
The keywords here are value, information or content, brand authority, trust, inbound lead generation, and sales.
It may be a little confusing– but that’s okay, we are just getting started.
Let’s use an example at this point…
Kopykart is a content marketing agency that provides complete content solutions to businesses within Africa. We are just starting; we need to gain traction and also generate leads. We do not want to spend heavily on paid advertising because our budget is not so flexible. What do we do?
We begin by defining our buyer persona. We figure out ways on how to reach our prospective clients. We select certain platforms that place us before our chosen audience. Then we develop a content marketing strategy to help us achieve our desired results.
We are branding experts, and we know a lot about content marketing. So, we decide to share our knowledge, albeit a little bit of it, to our audience. We pick elements of branding and help our select audience understand how it affects their business. We share content marketing tips and hands-on approaches to help them grow. We help them grow better business relationships.
With time and if done right, our clients come to believe we know what we are doing. They follow us religiously, expecting more tips to help them grow their businesses. We make sure they know of our services and how we can scale up the results they have gotten so far. Guess who they will come to if they need professional branding, copywriting, or content marketing services?
I will leave you to answer that, but while you are it, let’s delve into the benefits of content marketing for your business.
What Can Content Marketing Do for You?
Remember how traditional marketing works? You either pay a TV or radio station for a few minutes to advertise your product or place an advert in a newspaper or magazine. This method works quite alright, but hardly makes a big difference in sales in 2020.
It interrupts your audience from whatever program they were watching, listening to, or reading, and instead of convincing them to buy your product, it may just annoy the heck out of them. Have you ever enjoyed watching YouTube ads? Most of us do not hesitate to skip them. This is why content marketing is more important than ever!
Here’s what a good content marketing campaign can do for you:
- Brand awareness.
- Audience engagement.
- Generation of leads.
- Customer loyalty.
- Increase in sales.
Brand awareness is all about getting discovered by the right consumer for your product. Content marketing does this perfectly. It places you before millions of people on various platforms. Maybe it does not give you that much reach instantly, but it provides you with a better opportunity to scale up your numbers at little cost.
One way for you to generate better leads is to engage with your audience. You may find it hard to meet them one on one, but through content marketing, you can foster better communication. By interacting with casual readers, viewers, listeners – millions of them – and providing value to them, you get to nurture them to customers. Content marketing not only converts readers to prospective clients, it further makes them loyal to you.
Business leads are active business interactions with clients that eventually lead to sales. With content marketing, you can generate better leads (geometrically) in the long run. If you are good at what you do, and you have better consumer relations, you can easily convert these leads to sales.
Who would you rather do business with? A brand you have been following for some time, and you have benefited from the free tips they give out regularly or a new brand that is yet to prove their authority in the field? You see, content marketing makes loyal clients out of us.
Increase in Sales
The whole idea of content marketing is to bring about increased sales and profit. When your audience becomes aware of your products, and you offer them value, they eventually become prospective customers and, finally, loyal customers. This can potentially push you from an underdog position in the industry to a global player.
Why Does Your Business Need Content Marketing?
Here’s why your business needs proper content marketing…
1. It gives you an edge over your competition
It doesn’t matter how small your business is, with content marketing, you are already a step ahead of the competition. With the millions of possible customers at your fingertip, you are on the right path to increasing your sales and growing your business.
2. It influences your consumer’s decisions
Consumers now make purchases based on emotions and the reviews or opinions of people on various digital platforms. So, if you aren’t active on that platform and you are not creating content to bring about awareness, then you are losing a lot of leads.
3. You get to grow your business faster
With or without content marketing, your business will eventually expand. But this may take some time and also require a lot in paid advertising. You will find it hard to compete with established businesses or brands that engage with their customers daily. Content marketing does exactly the opposite – giving your brand a heavy boost.
4. You will find your targeted audience quickly
If you have a business that is, let’s say, gender or age-specific, it would be easier to get across to your target audience through content marketing. By creating good content around what your desired demographic is talking about, or tackling the problems they face, you will quickly attract your desired audience.
Ways Through Which You Can Carry Out Content Marketing
While you may find a lot of resources on content marketing online, most of these rarely proffer actual ways through which businesses can carry out content marketing. In this section, we will discuss five ways through which you can carry out proper content marketing and generate better leads.
- Content marketing Through Blogs/Social Media
- Content Marketing Using Lead Magnets
- Video Marketing
- Content marketing through Paid Advertising
Content Marketing Through Social Media and Blogs
More than half of the world’s population actively use social media (about 3.8 million). This number increases by 11 every second! But the one major takeaway from social media statistics is that you can reach at least half of your clientele on social media, and you can sell to a good percentage of these with the right marketing strategy.
About 40% of Africans are active internet users. This means you could also reach a good number of prospective clients through your website and blog. But this depends on your use of SEO, the content you dish out, and your digital marketing strategy.
How can you use social media for content marketing?
For us in Africa, social media means Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, and YouTube. So when we talk about content marketing through social media, we talk of how to sell your business on these platforms through content marketing.
But before you delve into that, you need to understand which of these platforms have more of your clientele, and which is also more influential in your industry. WhatsApp is generally the most active platform, with about 80% of users, followed by Facebook at about 75%, and Instagram at 57%. The question is, what do these numbers mean for your business, and how can you leverage the knowledge?
Now, if you can work out a good marketing model for WhatsApp, you may be able to hit closer home. But outside WhatsApp, your chances of breaking even (considering your digital marketing efforts) lies in your use of Facebook and Instagram.
If you are in the fashion industry (clothes, skincare, hair), you need to put more effort into your use of Instagram than Facebook. Churn out content that offers value to your prospective clients using pictures and videos.
Facebook works best for businesses that do not need much visual proof to sell. You need more written content backed by awesome visuals to sell. However, you stand a better chance of hitting optimum ROI if you utilize both platforms.
Blog content marketing
A business blog is another great way to create awareness for your business, engage with your audience, and generate leads. This works well if you offer professional consultancy services, or you are in the B2B industry. But if you want to succeed with blogging, you need to stand out.
You need to provide high-quality content that adds value or entertains your readers. Make use of proper search engine optimization (SEO) techniques and aim for better publicity. You can also link your blog to your LinkedIn profile and draw in clients through the platform.
Content Marketing Using Lead Magnets
Have you ever come across articles, adverts, or social media posts offering free PDFs, video content, or even products? In most of these cases, you are required to drop your email address before you can receive the freebie. That’s exactly how content marketing using lead magnets works.
These freebies are not exactly as free as they seem, because you are dropping your email address in exchange for the “free gift”. You are then added to the giver’s email subscriber list from where they can further push their content marketing efforts, all in a bid to get you to subscribe for the actual paid content.
This content marketing strategy not only works well for email marketing, but it can also be applied in some other situations. For example, you can use lead markets to build your WhatsApp contact list and then further push your content marketing efforts through that potent platform. You can also use it to increase your social media followers.
How to improve your content marketing efforts using lead magnets?
- Pick a good lead magnet that your prospective clients are comfortable with. If you believe they like reading, then a PDF is great. But they might prefer an audiobook or detailed video content depending on the industry.
- Make sure you are giving out value. You won’t able to hit your target if the value your lead magnet is offering is not what your client desires. Address their pain or pleasure point. What do you think they need or desire? Aim to solve their problem or meet their desires.
- Write a good copy for the lead magnet. Well, it should be obvious that you can’t get people to desire your lead magnet if you do not sell it to them. This means you need to make use of a really convincing copy to attract people. Hire a professional copywriter for the best results.
- Make use of paid advertising. This is to increase your audience and reach. If more people see your well-written copy and the lead magnet you are offering, you can optimize your ROI and sell more.
- Follow up the subscribers using a well-planned content marketing strategy for your chosen platform.
Video marketing is perhaps the best of the different marketing strategies. People are more likely to watch a video about the uses of baking soda than read an article about it. Statistics show people retain 95% of the message in video content, which is far bigger than when they read the message in a text (10%). Video content also gets 12 times more social shares than text/picture content combined.
But video marketing is not just limited to making videos and sharing on YouTube. You stand a better chance of reaching a wider audience if you make use of videos in your content marketing strategy for social media. Social video marketing is a big concept that requires a standalone, dedicated blog post.
How can you use videos for content marketing?
- Make videos that are fun and entertaining to watch and also informative. While we want to focus on creating informative value, we do not want to bore the audience.
- Apply video SEO techniques to increase the number of people that will actually watch the vide
- Your first three slides are very important. You have the first three seconds to capture attention and the next four to convince the average social media user that your video is important.
- Use animated infographics. 85% of social videos are watched without turning on the audio. Bold video texts and animated infographics will help you get around that.
- Always aim to solve a problem. If you own a small clinic, make videos focused on general health tips. If you are a nutritionist, you could create content that will help people eat healthily.
- Branded videos work much better
- Utilize all possible platforms to publicize the content.
Content Marketing Through Paid Advertising
You might say that paid advertising as a content marketing strategy defeats the purpose of content marketing. Well, the truth is, you are much more likely to get more engagements and generate good leads from advertising a video content focused on showing how to get rid of acne and blackheads than one outrightly selling a blackhead removal cream.
Additionally, paid advertising reaches out to more people by default and complements your organic content marketing efforts. So, you will get better results if you sponsor your content marketing posts on social media or search platforms.
How to use paid advertising for content marketing?
You can publish digital ads on social media, blogs, podcasts, and even websites. There are various types of digital ads you can use for this – Banner ads, text ads, google ads, and even social media ads. Since you are paying for the reach, you might as well add a proper call-to-action and link it to your desired landing page.
You need to customize your landing page with your target audience in mind so that your incoming visitors can be pushed to carry out specific actions. But remember, you must still aim to provide value. Outrightly telling your visitors to buy from you on the landing page will most likely chase them away. The goal is to turn visitors to leads, and probably, loyal customers.
Tips for Better Content Marketing Results
- Before you commence your content marketing campaign, identify the problems your business can solve for your target audience, then create content to address that problem.
- Research on and utilize the platforms that work best for your industry. You could be creating great content but dispersing it on the wrong platform.
- Always consider your audience in every decision you make. Content marketing is all about the audience, so they should come first. When you create the right content for your target audience, the right people will pay attention to you.
- Work with a plan and stick to it. While the result of any content marketing strategy depends on the plan and the execution, you can never get the execution right if you fail to get the plan right. Hire a content marketing strategist to help you develop a plan.
- Be consistent with your effort. Don’t start today, stop next week, and resume the week after. Pick a content marketing strategy that suits your time. Plan your schedule as far as a month or two ahead and stick to it religiously.
- SEO and SMO are your friends. You may want to read up on how to utilize them to gain better traction.
- Repurpose your content when the situation calls for it. An article on a website can be turned to a simple infographic, a slide presentation, a video, or even a series of tweets.
- Finally, always follow up on all leads. Content marketing aims to generate better leads and drive consumer action. You have gotten the more email subscribers…what next? How do you make the most of the content marketing campaign results?
The Way Forward
I promised you that at the end of this article that you would know all there is to know about content marketing in 2020, I hope I fulfilled that promise.
You see, content marketing can help you reach that business height that you dreamed of if you can put in the required effort. With this guide, you now have an idea of how to begin your content marketing journey, what platforms to use, and how best to go about it. You will make mistakes along the way, just like most of us do when starting something new. That’s okay; just learn from them and get better.
If you need help to develop a concrete content marketing plan for your business, or you just need personalized growth tips for your brand, especially as regards beating the effects of the pandemic, do send us an email via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t forget to share and follow us on social media!
Written for Kopykart by Ikebudu Vivian
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