This week, we have guest blogger Jessica discussing content marketing.
Like many people, including business owners and managers, you may have heard of content marketing but are not completely certain what content marketing is all about. Content marketing generally is defined as a form of marketing that focuses on creating, publishing, and distributing content for targeted audiences on the internet.
Content marketing has a number of general goals that include:
- attract attention
- generate ideas
- expand customer base
- generate online sales
- increase online sales
- establish brand awareness
- increase brand awareness
- establish credibiity
- enhance credibility
- establilsh online community
- enlarge online community
Forbes Magazine and Content Marketing
Forbes magazine was the first business publication to begin closely examining content marketing in the digital age. On some level, Forbes presents a more esoteric definition of content marketing when the magazine writes “content marketing is the mercantile version of thought leadership. As such, it is increasingly becoming one of the most powerful ways to drive and support new business development.”
Forbes goes on to explain that content marketing is the creation and distribution of:
- meaningful insights
- best practices
These concepts are all developed and distributed to a specific audience or market niche. More on identifying a target audience or market niche is discussed in a moment.
The Real History of Content Marketing
Many marketing industry experts argue that content marketing is not merely a creature of digital age. They content that the roots of content marketing can be traced back to 1732. In that year, Benjamin Franklin issued Poor Richard’s Almanack. He published and released Poor Richard’s Almanack as a means to promote his printing business.
Another historical example of pre-internet content marketing is found in 1888. In that year, Johnson & Johnson published Modern Methods of Antiseptic Wound Treatment. This publication was targeted to physicians that used bandages.
John Deere got into the content marketing game in 1895 with the launch of In 1895, The Furrow. This is a magazine that provides information for farmers, specifically about enhancing profitability. providing information to farmers on how to become more profitable. It is still in business today, with a circulation of over a million readers. he magazine, considered the first custom publication, is still in circulation, reaching 1.5 million readers in 40 countries in 12 different languages.
At the turn of the 20th century, Jell-O salesmen, going door-to-door, distributed a cookbook at no cost. During the Depression, Procter & Gamble began to broadcast a radio serial drama sponsored by the company’s product Oxydol, a soap powder.
Content Marketing Trends
In order to fully understand content marketing at this juncture in the 21st century, you need to consider content marketing trends. One of the most significant, important content marketing trends is the rise of what commonly is called long-form content. This is lengthy, complex content that provides more than just a direct, to-the-point answer to questions.
With the rise of digital assistants like Siri and Cortana people no longer have to go to websites to get concise answers to questions. Thus, in order for content marketing to attract or snare people it needs to be more comprehensive and concise. In other words, it needs to be longer.
Another content marketing trend is that the ever-expanding role social media platforms play in regard to this form of marketing will continue to enlarge into the future. Research reveals that articles glean more attention when published on a social media platform like Facebook than they do when published on websites.
An additional note on social media and content marketing warrants a mention. When a business utilizes multiple social media platforms, as many do, an effort must be made to coordinate content marketing across all social media platforms. While there may be some differences in what is presented on one social media platform as opposed to another, there needs to be appropriate consistence in themes, data, and objectives between different social media platforms.
Defining a Target Audience
At the heart of a successful content marketing effort is defining your target audience or market niche. In some instances defining a target audience is not all that difficult. On the other hands, there are businesses and brands as well as products or services that present a bit of a challenge in really focusing on a suitable target audience.
There are content marketing professionals that can assist a business in appropriately identifying a suitable market niche for a content marketing effort. With that said, there are many instances in which a business needs to target more than one market segment separately for different content marketing efforts. For example, a business may have a product that is used by disparate market segments. What is suitable for one audience, what is effective in one market niche, may not be appropriate let alone effective somewhere else. This is a reality despite disparate market segments naturally having a use or interest in the same product.
Metrics of Determining Success of Content Marketing Campaign
As with any marketing endeavor, the success of content marketing needs to be assessed. As a consequence, a set of metrics commonly is utilized to ascertain the success of content marketing. These metrics are:
- number of visitors to a page
- time spent on a page
- click-through across pages
- click0through photos
- number of email addresses collected
Other metrics can also come into play depending on the nature of a business undertaking a content marketing effort. In addition, the focused goals of a content marketing campaign necessarily impact the specific metrics utilized.
By taking advantage of content marketing, a paying close attention to the specifics enumerated in this article, you place your business in the best possible position to develop, launch, and run an ultimately successful content marketing endeavor. The net effect of this is to enhance a businesses revenue and profit.
Jessica is a professional blogger who writes for Faxage, a leading company that provide Internet fax service services for individuals and businesses.