Content marketing is the use of marketing tactics such as blogs, whitepapers, eBooks, infographics, videos, webinars and more. The primary goal of content marketing is to educate and inform your readers, who are the buyers and influencers involved in buying whatever your company sells. The secondary goal of content marketing is to establish a relationship between your brand and your prospects so that your company will attract new customers. The third benefit of content marketing is to directly generate leads for your products and services.
However, content marketing isn't always well executed. Sometimes companies get confused about how to approach content marketing. A recent study shares key insights to gather your content marketing actions:
What your customers want from content
The Demand Gen 2018 Content Preferences Survey Report reports that content consumption habits are changing rapidly. When asked in a recent study how their consumption had changed in one year:
- 78% placed a higher emphasis on the trustworthiness of the source
- 65% now prefer to read credible content from industry influencers
- 58% now prefer longer formats and more in-depth reads
And where people consume content is also changing: 84% say they frequently or occasionally access business-related content on their smartphones. Millennials, especially, are having a big impact on how content is being consumed. They are now the largest demographic in the workforce. Even if they don’t have direct buying power, they are often in the role of researcher/influencer, and they expect to be able to consume content on their phones.
How To Be Successful With Content Marketing
Tip #1 – Be Trustworthy
Trustworthy content is authentic. You wouldn't outsource your content to a writer who doesn’t know anything about your industry or who writes in a superficial manner. Or, who doesn't understand your corporate brand so their style doesn’t align with your business (Read more about brand).
Authentic content explores an issue that should be familiar to you and your prospective customer. And takes the time (and the word count) to explore it fully. There is nothing more disappointing than clicking on a link to an article that you think will be useful, only to find a 300-word blurb that doesn't provide any useful information and mainly offers a sales pitch for a particular product or service.
Your readers should feel they are in good hands. That you understand their needs. And you have a solution to their problem. Your content should share just enough that you are not giving away your intellectual property but are able to provide value (this is a fine balance).
You will know if you have made a misstep if you witness a sharp increase in your unsubscribe rate or a decrease in engagement. It can take several more pieces of content to recover from either error. You are doing really well if you see that your content is being shared, so be sure you have the ability to track that.
Tip #2 – Be An Industry Influencer (or Borrow One)
Not everyone can be an industry influencer. These are the people who are considered trustworthy and knowledgeable and have the experience or pedigree in order to support their claims. And, they monitor their brand, are trustworthy (see tip #1), and produce quality content. You may have this person in your company, even if they need assistance from a professional writer to get their ideas, knowledge and experience on paper.
But you might not have this kind of person in your company. If not, it's possible to borrow an influencer. Look at the partners or suppliers that you do business with. Consider a joint webinar or article that combines influencers. You simply need to find a topic that you can both explore and run with it.
Tip #3 – Think Big
Gone are the days of the 300-word blog. This speaks to tip #1 where you need the time and the word count to explore a topic enough that you add value. Some topics are blog-worthy and can be fully explored in 800 words. Some topics need 5000 words. And an experienced content marketer knows the difference.
Tip #4 – Think Mobile
We have been talking about the necessity to be mobile-friendly for years. Google penalizes websites that are not mobile friendly. But actioning this advice might not be as clear.
When designing your content, column formats are difficult to read in a mobile environment. Use the whole page in your design. Break up long form content (or paragraphs) with headers or images that make scrolling easier. Avoid pop-ups that ask the reader to register or, worse, sign up for your mailing list at that exact moment (however elsewhere on your website is completely recommended!). If you have a call to action (recommended), make sure the button is large enough to see on the screen.
Tip #5 – Set A Realistic Budget (And Spend It)
According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2019 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets & Trends - North America, the average percentage of total marketing budget spent on content marketing is 26%. As content marketing maturity grows and organizations see results, they tend to up their game. Companies in the:
- Young / first steps spend 19% of their budget on content marketing
- Adolescent phase spend 25% of their budget on content marketing
- Mature / sophisticated phase spend 33% of their budget on content marketing
No matter which of the above phases a business is in, 50% of companies said that they planned to increase their content marketing budget in 2019, 36% said it would remain the same and only 4% expected it to decrease.
If you want to learn more about content marketing, read our whitepaper, Drop Everything and Do Content Marketing.