Ever heard the phrase “content is king?” What about information is king?
It’s the year 2021, and sales are now in the consumer’s hands - not just the salesperson anymore. Think of buying clothing in a store, and the saleswoman tells you “you won’t find that in any other stores” to encourage you not to walk away.
While shopping online, you can simply look up for yourself if that dress is sold at any other store. You have information instantaneously at your fingertips.
And guess what, it is for sale elsewhere. It’s sold all over the internet.
Granted, this is a simple example, but it demonstrates genuinely how much the new age of instantaneous information has impacted the buyer’s journey.
What Do We Mean By Information?
You don’t have to be a computer scientist or professional data analyst, just someone who uses the internet. There’s a whole world of consumers educating consumers that grew on the internet through YouTube, Blogs, Instagram posts, and podcasts. There's a “trust” between consumers when we read reviews and comments about a product that they are just like us and want the same quality that we do.
Why? Because their goal is different than salespeople, their goal is to educate. When a YouTuber posts her favorite makeup products of the month, the purpose is to share with her followers what she likes (if it is #sponsored, you know it’s sponsored - but it still elicits different viewer sentiment). There's trust between her and her followers.
Content Marketing Isn’t Advertising.
There’s a difference between content marketing and traditional advertising. Advertising has a different goal than content marketing. Advertising’s goal is to get the person who sees the ad to buy the product or service. Their end goal is to sell. On the other hand, content marketing is strategically creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to an audience. Hopefully, this will end in a sale or a customer acquisition, but the main goal is not to sell - it’s to inform.
Key point: If your content primarily promotes a product/service, it's not content marketing.
Content marketing is there to give the customer as much information as they need to make a well-informed decision, hoping that the well-informed decision will be you.
Content Marketing Isn’t All That Innocent.
Although easy to forget, content marketing is still a strategy. Although less noticeable than traditional advertising, you are still trying to get a new customer in the end. Your endgame is always to sell something, but it is a slower, trust-gaining, educational, and informational process.
The 80/20 Diet of Content Marketing
You need to create an 80/20 rule with content marketing. Like a diet, 80% should be good for you, and 20% is a cheat meal. The cheat meal is promotional content. 80% should be the educational, helpful content that the consumer wants, and 20% is the promotional content you want to give them. Your readers shouldn’t learn a ton about an industry and not know where to buy your product. Make it easy for them.
Is Content Marketing Right For Me?
You may be asking, is content marketing right for my business? Let’s look at two types of businesses and their content marketing needs.
B2C/DTC Content Marketing Needs
73% of B2C brands studied by the Content Marketing Institute of North America in 2017 said their top priority was creating more engaging content. 58% of B2C said they prioritized what kind of content is effective and what is not effective. 55% prioritized creating visual content. 44% wanted better and more ways to repurpose content, and 43% prioritized content optimization.
Breakdown of B2C prioritizes in content marketing:
- 73% prioritized creating more engaging content
- 58% prioritized what kind of visual content is effective
- 55% prioritized creating visual content
- 44% prioritized better and more ways to repurpose content
- 43% prioritized content optimization
B2B Content Marketing Needs
B2B leans more to the side of challenges rather than priorities. B2B studied by the Content Marketing Institute of North America in 2017 were much more challenged by content marketing than the B2Cs studied. This makes sense because it is the consumers reading the content, educating themselves, then making decisions. It is not that businesses are not also consumers in a sense, but it is harder to reach a company with many teams and prongs of operation with a blog post or video than to reach a singular internet-searcher consumer.
B2B faces many challenges in the content marketing world. 60% struggle to create more engaging content, 57% have a hard time measuring content effectiveness, and 57% are challenged with creating content consistently. B2B also struggles with measuring the ROI of a Content Marketing Program (52%). As for the budget, 35% are challenged with a lack of budget. Finally, 35% are challenged to produce a variety of content.
Breakdown of B2B challenges in content marketing:
- 60% are challenged to create more engaging content
- 57% are challenged measuring content effectiveness
- 57% are challenged with creating content consistently
- 52% are challenged with measuring the ROI of a Content Marketing Program
- 35% are challenged with a lack of budget
- 35% are challenged by producing a variety of content
Despite the challenges, content marketing is becoming an increasingly vital part of a marketing strategy for B2C and B2B. The internet is filled, boggled down even, with tons and tons of content. It can be beyond overwhelming for a consumer. There are tons of mediocre visuals and blogs posted every day, so it can be hard to decipher what is worth your eye time and headspace.
When we searched Google for a simple term - “cats” - 4,410,000,000 results came up.
4.4 BILLION results for one search term.
That’s a lot to sort through. And most people only see the top 10. According to Forbes’ article on The Value of Search Result Rankings, 71-92% of search traffic clicks are on the first page of Google versus the other hundreds of thousands of pages.
When searching for a full phrased question - we tried “How do I change a car tire?” - 773,000,000 results appeared.
773 million results for a question!
There is a lot of clutter on the internet. Long story short, you better make your content worthwhile.
How Do I Start Content Marketing?
The age-old question: how do I start? First off, it’s a slow process you have to build upon step by step. Content Marketing presents itself in many forms, referred to as “mediums.”
Ebooks & Downloadable Guides
Webinars / Series
Blog Posts *the most common medium
Content Marketing Strategy
You Need To Plan Before You Dive In
You need a road map. Content creation is extensive, and if you go in blind, you will spend more time trying to get organized than actually creating content. By starting organized, you will save yourself infinite time in the future.
Set SMART goals
S - specific
M - measurable
A - attainable
R - relevant
T - Timely
Buyer’s Journey & Content Marketing
There are three main “stages” of a buyer’s journey from the first interaction to purchase. Like we have said before, content marketing is a slow, steady process, and you have to be geared up for the ride. It’s about relationships - between you and the customer - and the trust they have.
The awareness stage is the first stage of your and the customer’s relationship. The prospective customer expresses symptoms of an opportunity or problem. They are on the internet looking for a way to answer their question - and this is where you show up. You want the prospective customer to be aware of your brand - they need to see it, be exposed to it, see it again, and think about it.
The consideration stage is the second stage, where the prospective customer clearly defines their problem. They know what they are looking for now and are committed to getting the best answer. This is where you swoop in with email sign-ups, newsletter sign-ups, forms, downloadable content, and other interactive ways to stay top of mind. You are one step away from the decision stage, so your main goal is to keep the customer interested and happy right now.
This is it! Get them to the purchase! The decision stage is where you track how many purchases, MQLs (marketing qualified leads), and SQL (sales qualified leads) you’ve obtained. The prospective customer has now decided how they are going to answer their problem. And at this point, you want to be the sole solution. They have other options for solutions, but this is your opportunity to be the one they pick - and turn your lead into a loyal customer.
What is an MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead)?
A marketing qualified lead (MQL) is a lead who has been deemed more likely to become a customer than other leads. This qualification is based on web pages visited, downloads, and other engagement metrics with your content.
What is an SQL (Sales Qualified Lead)?
An MQL becomes an SQL once they’re ready to talk to the sales team.
Content Sales Marketing Journey
Regarding the Buyers’ Journey, the content sales marketing journey is an essential component of turning a site visitor into a customer. Content marketing is about building a steady relationship of trust, so you have to walk hand-in-hand with the customer on their journey. As much as the customer knows you, you should know the customer. It is about consistent interaction, not just promotion.
At electrIQ we like to use the Attract, Delight, Engage concept, which we always keep in mind when producing content. How can I engage my readers? How can I use this content to attract new ones? How can I leave my readers with a good feeling and a positive outlook when I finished viewing my content? You can use this as a checklist for your content to ensure the voice and purpose are in the right place.
Successful Content Marketing
You have written all this quality content - but now how do you measure your success?
Here are a few metrics we like to measure:
- Bounce Rate
- Time Spent on Page
- Conversion Rate
- Other Company Specific Metrics
Content Marketing Takeaways
Say it with us - content marketing is not about sales; it’s about educating! The Buyer’s Journey’s various stages are all part of the educational journey that leads the prospective customer to a purchase.
You want to build trust between you and your customers. Imagine holding their hand throughout the Buyer’s Journey.
The biggest difference between content marketing and advertising is the main goal. Content marketing puts educations first, not selling as the first priority.
Remember the 80/20 Diet for content marketing. 80% of your content should be the educational, helpful content that the consumer wants, and 20% is the promotional content you want to give them (the cheat meal!).
Within content marketing, B2B and B2C are going to have different priorities and challenges. But no matter the content type, make sure to refer back to Attract, Engage, Delight to leave your customer with a positive outlook of your business. Know your business’ voice, and go in with a structured and organized strategy that can be measured and tracked for success!