Ask any digital marketer, and they will tell you that content marketing should be the beating heart of any internet marketing campaign. If you get the content marketing part right, everything else will fall neatly into place. But what is content marketing? What are the essential elements of good content marketing? Let's walk you through it all.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is about creating high-quality content to promote a business or website. The idea is that by creating quality and useful content, a business appears to be much more reputable in the eyes of the customer and the search engines.
Content marketing is similar to traditional advertising in some ways. It is about bringing the customer to the business. However, content marketing is so much more natural. When content marketing is done correctly, you wouldn't even know somebody is trying to market it to you. You feel as if people are sharing good-quality content.
When content marketing is done correctly, businesses will see a boost in sales. They will see an increase in their search engine positions. They may even be promoted much more heavily on social media as people like and share their content.
What are Some Effective Types of Content?
Content marketing is all about creating content. Once again, the clue is right there in the name. However, there isn't just one type of content you should create. The content that a business creates should be tailored to its aims. This means that the strategy for one company will be wildly different from the content marketing strategy of another.
Here are some of the more effective types of content a business can create. Not all of them may be suitable for your business, which is why it is important that you work with an experienced internet marketer who can tailor the strategy:
- Blog posts are the simplest and most effective forms of content marketing.
- Educational content: Showing someone how to accomplish something is valuable and can rank well.
- Case studies: where businesses can show how their products and services have benefitted others.
- Infographics: highly sharable images.
- Rich media content: Videos, podcasts, and other similar recorded content.
- Lead magnet content: eBooks, guides, whitepapers, and checklists.
- Social content: Social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
- User-generated content: Content site visitors generate that has value. Think of comments or Quora or Reddit.
This is just scratching the surface of the types of content a business can create. A business must dabble in many types of content to ensure it gets noticed online.
Learn more about the top content types for 2023 and what you can do to profit from them.
The Importance of Creating Valuable and Interesting Content
We cannot underestimate just how important it is that your business takes the time to create quality content. One piece of content that took 30-40 hours to produce will likely be much more valuable than 40 pieces of content that took an hour each. Here are some of the reasons why.
Gets you noticed in the search engines
If you run a business, most of your traffic will likely be organic and come from search engines.
In the past, search engines were easy to game. You could shove a few keywords on the page and build up low-quality links, and you would see a drastic rise in your search engine position. However, things have changed. Search engines, especially Google, are becoming much more sophisticated in spotting quality and useful content. You need to be an authoritative resource to improve the search results.
The goal of any search engine is to ensure that people find the content they need near the top of the first page. They want to appear useful to the searcher because this keeps them coming back. This means that they use a variety of metrics to determine which content is useful.
Good quality content will boost your position in search engines. This will lead to more traffic, resulting in more sales for a business.
Learn more about Google's Webmaster Guidelines and E.E.A.T. for content.
Ensures people stay on your website
We are sure that everybody has landed on a website with awful content. Misspellings and grammar issues galore and, the worst thing? When the site doesn't answer any of the questions that you have. You would probably bounce off of it pretty quickly.
Good quality content ensures that people stick around a website. The longer you can keep a person on a site, the more likely they will purchase from you. Your website needs to be able to build relationships of all types. Customer relationships, relationships with potential customers, and the core audience.
People trust your business more
Do you know how the best salesmen make sales? It isn't just through charm. It is by demonstrating that they know what they are talking about. If a business shows the right knowledge, people tend to trust it more. This means that they are much more likely to make a purchase.
Companies that invest heavily in improving their content efforts find that they become an authority in their niche. People flock to them when they need info, which translates to more sales.
No matter what company you run, you always want to be known as the go-to business in your niche, whether new prospective customers or existing customers.
The content gets shared
Quality content will get shared through social media, blogs, and a whole host of other channels. The more your content gets shared, the more eyes are on it. The more eyes on it, the more potential sales there are.
Essential Elements of High-Quality Content
So, what are the essential elements of good content marketing? What makes for superb content that delivers all the advantages we highlighted? Well, let's go through them. Recently the Content Marketing Institute published an article connecting content with revenue in the B2B space. There were some alarming statistics from Forrester Research outlined.
- 55% of respondents call the material they get from businesses “extraneous” and sought content from other sources to confirm its validity.
- 61% say they receive too much material from businesses.
- 63% say the content is more focused on style than substance.
- 67% of respondents say they value competitive comparisons and aren’t getting them from vendors.
One finding, in particular, was alarming, underscoring content’s role in driving revenue: 69% of respondents say they’re unlikely to expand contracts if the content they receive from a business isn’t valuable or helpful. (CMI)
Content must be designed and created to be helpful to the reader from the outset. Forget that, and you're already behind. Let's look at the elements in more depth.
The content is useful
The primary goal of any piece of content you create is that it is useful. Your expertise aside, if the content doesn't help solve someone's problem or answer their question, it doesn't matter if you are an expert.
When somebody reads a piece of content, they need to get the answers they seek. For example, if your content had the title “What is the best dog bed?” that content needs to show what the best dog bed is. It should do it pretty quickly too.
Quality content needs to solve a problem that a reader is having. Good content will often start with things such as:
- How to
- Why does
- Should you
- What does
- How do
- Why would
See the pattern? Basically, it answers a question many share.
Content that is interesting
You aren't creating content just to rank highly in search engines. You are creating content that you want people to read. You want people to read every word you write on that page.
What is interesting will be dependent on your audience. For example, a science website targeted at scientists may not necessarily be interesting to the layperson but may be interesting to a scientist. For this reason, you need to put yourself in the shoes of your ideal content consumer. What type of content do they want?
Content that's easy to read or consume
Content should be short and snappy. Answer the question. Don't beat around the bush. Make things just long enough. Some sites have carried out the cardinal sin of writing thousands and thousands of words on something that could easily be answered in a couple of hundred words. Lengthy content is not going to help you or your potential customers. In fact, it is more likely to be a hindrance.
You should also think about who is going to consume that content. Think about the words that you should be using. Think about the sentence structure. A website targeted at professional lawyers would have a different message and readability than a website targeted at moms.
Content supplemented with other content types
Perhaps you've seen it? The best content marketing campaigns are comprised of multiple content types. Good quality content is best supplemented with additional material. For example, written content may add videos and images into the mix. The video content that you have created may encourage people to visit your website to read more.
Producing content in multiple types will provide more distribution possibilities for your business and allow people to consume content as they see fit.
Content that is easy to share
Good content marketing makes content shareable. Give people an incentive to share your content. Discount codes, for example. On every post, encourage people to share.
If it is written content, provide links to share on social media. If your content is good, people will share it. It will make your content marketing so much more effective. If you use video content, ensure it ends up on your YouTube channel. YouTube is the second most searched website globally.
Tips For Improving Your Content Marketing Skills
So, how can you improve your content marketing skills? Well, you aren't going to improve them overnight. People are still learning things years down the line. However, these tips should allow you to work on the essential elements of good content marketing and improve.
Read competing websites
You should never do your content marketing in a bubble. We can assure you that no matter what niche you are in, others are already doing content marketing and doing it very well.
Read the content produced by some of the biggest companies in your niche. When you consume their content, think about what they are doing and why they are doing it. Try and bring those elements into the work that you are doing.
Produce the content you want
Remember what was said earlier about how your content needs to be interesting? Well, content is much more interesting when you are excited about what you are producing. At the start of your content marketing, produce the content you want.
Think about the sort of things you would want the answer to and how you want the answer given. You can always tailor the strategy later on. However, initially producing your desired content will allow you to develop your personality and brand.
Look for common issues people have
There are multiple ways to find the most common questions and issues people have in your niche. Look at Google Trends and common keyword searches (autocomplete on Google can help here), and read forums, Reddit, Quora, etc.
You want to produce quality content that answers the most important questions. This is how you drive people to your business.
Understand the audience and content you are creating
How you approach your content will depend on the audience you are marketing to and the type of content you are producing. For example, a TikTok video would be different from a YouTube video. A blog post would be different from an eBook.
Once you understand your audience, the content will get better. Ask your most loyal customers about the content that won them over. The pain points they had and you solved for is a great starting point.
When producing content, look at what people say about it. Is it getting shared? Are people saying it doesn't give them the answers that they need? Take this feedback into account and make future content better.
Edit your content
Don't just publish your content. Edit it. You want to get to the point of your content right away. Cut out any fluff. If a word can be left unsaid, then don't say it.
Good Content Marketing Wrap-up
Learning the essential elements of good content marketing will be the key to a successful content marketing strategy. However, remember that learning how content marketing works can take time. It is full of experimentation and learning what works and doesn't for your business. However, when you get it right, your business will see a huge increase in traffic and a subsequent increase in sales.