Content marketing is a marketing strategy focused on producing useful and relevant content for prospects, with the aim of attracting and converting them. Content marketing also aims to improve brand image through content that is no longer focused on products or services sold.
Content marketing has different aspects depending on whether the target is an individual or a professional.
B2B content marketing
A professional target is motivated by the value of what you offer. Indeed, in BtoB, the main goal is generally the ROI (Return On Investment). Statistics and quantified objectives are tangible data that are used in BtoB content marketing. Therefore, informative and promotional content revolves around "what, why, how much and how". In BtoB content marketing, you do not try to arouse emotion, but appeal to reason and pragmatism.
In B2B, content marketing does not lead prospects to buy immediately. Indeed, the decision-making process is longer because it often involves several people or several business departments. It is therefore necessary to nurture your relationship with prospects to build long-lasting trust right through to decision-making, and even beyond.
BtoC content marketing
The matter of BtoC content marketing is very different. Unlike BtoB, BtoC content marketing appeals directly to emotions. Individuals need to be entertained and guided in their purchase. The BtoC client can also seek a solution to a specific problem, then content marketing comes into play to show how the brand can answer it. However, in some sectors such as high-tech, emotions need to be combined with hard data to inspire confidence in prospects. So, here it is a matter of finding the right balance.
In BtoC, targets can also be different while the product remains the same. Content marketing must therefore meet the needs of several types of personas (for example beginners and experienced people), which makes the task more difficult for marketers. Indeed, just because a product can meet different needs does not mean that the message will appeal to everyone.
Finally, unlike BtoB, decision-making is much faster here, since it does not involve any intermediary. Here, content marketing arouses an immediate desire that must be filled as quickly as possible.
There are many advantages to content marketing that many businesses enjoy. Indeed, it helps to:
- Acquire more notoriety, and improve confidence in the brand. Quality and well-researched content will give credibility to the brand. It will then inspire confidence and, once converted, prospects will be more inclined to stay loyal to the brand
- Reach an ad-tight audience: nowadays many Internet users use AdBlock and systematically skip ads. Content marketing makes it possible to by-pass these behaviors by being less intrusive and less commercial
- Reduce communication costs: content marketing can be broadcast outside the mainstream media (TV, radio, etc.), so it can be much more profitable
- Improve a website’s audience, in particular through organic traffic.
While content marketing seems like a great development strategy for a brand, setting it up is not always easy. It’s common to come across poorly executed strategies which, at best, create widespread indifference and, at worst, generate uncontrolled bad buzz.
Identify your audience thanks to buyer personas
The first step is to know your audience well so that you can deliver the right message at the right time. Two actions can then be taken simultaneously:
- Demographic data collection (age, gender, education level, income)
- Habits and interests’ identification. For this part, you can take inspiration from Google Analytics (Audience > Interests > Overview).
Use different formats to deliver the content depending on the purchase process
Depending on your business objectives, several broadcast channels can be considered simultaneously or in succession (one after the other). For example, these channels can be:
- Social networks
- Video platforms
- Streaming platforms
- Affiliated sites
- Guest blogging
The choice of broadcast channel depends on the different targets, their buying habits, and your goals. These can indeed relate to a simple gain of notoriety.
Set up a publication schedule
To be successful, a content marketing strategy must be delivered to the right place, and especially at the right time. Indeed, a lack of anticipation in the publication schedule can cause the campaign to miss out completely. To do so in the right time, you can use a very simple planning system, such as Google Calendar, or a GANTT chart type planning associated with project management software, such as Jira or Trello.
Content curation in content marketing
Content curation involves collecting relevant content related to a specific niche, and then improving it, adding personal opinions and expertise.
- Find popular images and videos
With Pinterest and Instagram, video & image content curation has become popular. These social networks help you use media that do not belong to you, to tell a business story, and thus develop a brand image. In other words, content curation gives you the ability to put your brand into a story, and communicate visually, which is usually much more impactful. You can also create content yourself that relates to the brand’s history and position. To give yourself the best possible odds, post content that is “fresh” and easy to share (= likely to please as many people as possible).
Content curation on different blogs is the most used technique on the web. Many blogs select content found on another blog, and rely on it to demonstrate their expertise. Each article includes additional commentary or expert analysis to add value to the original content. Some blogs only live and rely on content curation. They summarize all the articles gleaned from the web, but do not produce new content themselves. To curate content related to your business, you can use tools like SocialMention or Google Alerts.
- Content curation on a webzine or white paper
By creating an online magazine or a white paper, you are demonstrating your expertise to your target audience. You can use this broadcast channel to publish studies, an audit on a case study, a practical guide, infographics... Get inspired by competitors’ content in your sector by adding your own expertise.
- Content curation by e-mail
Content curation can also use this ancestral channel. Newsletters are indeed the perfect opportunity to create and share useful content with the targets. You can create your own content or share that of a third party. There are many tools that make it easier to create and spread content by email.
- Regularly distribute quality content
The best way to attract targets and keep them is to deliver quality content that demonstrates your expertise. Of course, source verification is essential before sharing any content, otherwise you could upset Internet users. When the process is well established on your side, you can then consider becoming your own thought leader by being the source and creator of your own messages.
Nowadays, SEO, or organic rankingis the crux of success on Google. It ensures long-lasting visibility and stimulates Internet users’ engagement. However, it remains the most complex channel to master, as it involves many areas of expertise, and in particular editorial content. In other words, the content must meet a need and/or a problem, and it is the basis of content marketing! Therefore, today SEO and content marketing are closely linked. That’s why, when developing content marketing, it is necessary to integrate the SEO dimension, in particular through semantic analysis, which makes the link between words and ideas. Prefer long tail keywords!
To be well positioned on the search engine results pages, a website must offer relevant quality content, and meet the Internet user's intent, and thus be well referenced on the specific keyword. You will need to integrate this keyword in many strategic spots: the title, the H1, in the subtitles (from H2 to H6), and also in your images’ ALT attributes.
In addition, content marketing is a very good way to get links (backlinks) in an organic way, which is well appreciated by Google. Indeed, netlinking is one of the pillars of SEO. That’s why the better the content is, the more likely it is to be shared (link baiting), in other words, taken up by bloggers or influencers who will link to your domain. These links will be a pledge of trust for Google, the domain will gain in authority, and therefore potentially position itself better.
What KPIs to monitor in a content marketing strategy?
Depending on the broadcast platforms you have selected, several KPIs can be monitored in order to calculate its ROI:
- The various communities’ engagement on social media: it enables you to measure Internet users’ interest in your brand
- The traffic evolution on the various devices
- The time spent on the page
- The traffic generated on each channel (organic, paid, affiliation, etc.)
- Your keywords’ position
- Your newsletter’s open rate and click-through rate
Since the dawn of social media, content marketing has experienced a huge growth. This less intrusive marketing technique is extremely effective, and indirectly helps develop other acquisition channels, such as SEO. Therefore, it’s to be considered by all, VSBs, SMBs, as well as large multinationals.