The What, Why and How of Content Marketing

According to Google Trends, the search and news reference volume for the term “content marketing” has only recently become significant, especially within the past year.

Content Marketing Trends
Search and News Reference Volume for Content Marketing
Source: Google Trends

Yet, according to Google AdWords and a simple web search “content marketing” is a highly competitive keyword targeted by businesses offering content marketing services. They hope that by investing in this keyword, their content marketing skills can be easily found by other businesses looking for such services.

Content Marketing Keyword
Content Marketing Keyword Competition
Source: Google AdWords

But why should anyone invest in content marketing services?  Is it an important and lucrative endeavor and does it boost ecommerce revenue?

What Is Content Marketing?

Content is another word for information and marketing is the act of presenting useful information to potential buyers. Put the two together and you get something that looks strangely like traditional marketing: Companies presenting information about their brand in order to influence an audience’s purchasing decisions.

Generally, all buyers follow a similar process: They have a problem. They gather relevant information from a variety of sources that point them to several possible solutions. Then they choose the option that provides the best functionality at the best price.

Today’s online buyers are concerned with trust. Marketing has evolved from an interruptive activity to one that requires an audience’s permission and goodwill. By integrating traditional marketing techniques with new ones, companies are able to build a content marketing portfolio that can assist any type of buyer at any point in the sales cycle.

Content Marketing Is Pervasive Throughout The Buy Cycle

Forrester Research defines the customer buy cycle as five stages that lead from awareness to customer retention. Content marketing should occur throughout these five stages. It is therefore crucial for marketers to have appropriate content for the entire process: from curious internet searchers to paying customers whose subscription is about to expire.

Customer Life Cycle
Source: Forrester Research
“The State Of Lead To Revenue Management”

For example, customers in the awareness and lead origination stage of the buy cycle are exploring a variety of solutions. For these people, content marketing efforts should focus on advertising through review sites or search engines.

For B2B buyers in the nurturing stage who are in the process of narrowing their selections, it is important to make sure that they have access to case-studies and whitepapers that highlight the proven capabilities of a company and their thought leadership.

For B2C consumers in the nurturing stage, engaging emails, reviews on your website and interactive videos can differentiate your company from the competition.

Don’t forget that content marketing is required for those who have already submitted payment. This stage is the time for customer retention. In order to ensure customer loyalty and a reduced churn rate, marketers should consult with customer service departments and make sure that the content of confirmation pages provides useful information to the recently converted.

Another way to provide content marketing to your customers is to become active on social media platforms. For example, Adobe uses content marketing on Twitter to provide reliable, up-to-date information to inquirers.

Adobe Customer Care
Social Content Marketing From @adobe_care

Content Marketing Is Multimedia

Content marketing encompasses a multitude of formats. The following is a list of 15 different types of content that make up a comprehensive content marketing strategy that you can use to jump-start ideas for a thorough content marketing strategy:

    • Emails
    • Social media
    • Blog posts
    • Case studies
    • Webinars
    • Podcasts
    • White papers
    • E-books
    • Peer reviews
    • Consumer reviews
    • Videos
    • Photos
    • FAQs
    • PPC landing pages
    • Confirmation pages

Keystone 

An effective content marketing strategy is a pervasive, multimedia affair that combines traditional marketing techniques with social, web 2.0 content. It is a comprehensive effort that can help every company in their quest to not only acquire and retain customers, but to showcase leadership and authenticity.