In the retail and advertising world, content marketing could be considered a bit of an outlier in terms of its scope and approach. Whereas the primary intention of traditional marketing—be it online or offline—has always been geared towards driving sales as quickly and aggressively as possible, content marketing takes a different route.
Content marketing means developing resources that have real value to your audience to develop and maintain an engaged group of consumers. By creating a value-based relationship with consumers, businesses lay the groundwork for future leads and conversions without paying for clicks or ads.
Because content marketing focuses on more than just the immediate sale, it can attract and cater to consumers at the top of the marketing funnel—people still researching and considering their options. By creating content that answers their questions and discusses the topics they’re interested in, you position yourself as an expert in the field. And when consumers are ready to make a purchase—especially a large purchase like a vehicle—their top priority is buying from a business they trust. With an effective content marketing strategy, that business can be yours.
Common Content Marketing Formats
Content, at its most simple, is any information found online, whether it comes as text, video, images, or audio. This means that there are a lot of different ways to present your content, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Depending on your target audience, you may choose one format over the others.
Writing a blog post is one of the most common ways to begin sharing your expertise. Because there is such a low barrier to entry for the content creator and because the format is familiar to so many users, a blog is a great place to begin. Social syndication (sharing each post on your social media platforms) is a great way of driving additional traffic to your blog.
With the ubiquity of smartphones these days, it is also very easy for most people to produce a video containing the same type of information. Not all audiences choose to get their information from videos, but for some, the additional visual cues can be helpful in processing and retaining information.
Infographics are perhaps the most easily-digestible content format. A good infographic is designed to quickly and clearly share important information without getting bogged down in the details. A thorough caption or accompanying article can provide additional context, but the bright bold visual aid is eye-catching and memorable. Because of this, infographics are especially well-suited to sharing and distributing on social media platforms.
How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy
Choose Your Audience
To create content that will be valuable to your audience, you first have to determine who your audience is. A 70-year-old and a 17-year-old might not have the same questions about buying a new car, but there’s no need to encompass both perspectives into one piece of content. Instead, narrow your focus to create something that really resonates with one segment of your customer base. This will be much more valuable content for them and you.
Demographics, like age or income, are one way to visualize and divide your audience into targetable segments. Another way is to consider what part of the funnel your targeted audience is in; in other words, are they just beginning to think about buying a car? Are they actively researching which car to buy? Or are they ready to pull the trigger and just need to decide where they will make their purchase? Again, people in each of these parts of the funnel will be looking for very different kinds of information, and it’s important to consider each segment—and pick one to focus on—when creating content.
Choose Your Format
Knowing who your audience is can also help you make an informed decision regarding what form your content will take. Will your selected audience respond best to an in-depth blog post? Or are they more likely to engage with a video? Each format will have its own pros and cons, and you’ll have to decide what makes the most sense for each piece of content you create.
One way to get even more value out of a piece of content is to reconfigure it for multiple formats. A video can easily be the content source for a new blog post, which can then be summarized in an infographic. Each of these pieces of content can then be shared online through your social media channels and elsewhere, driving traffic and leads back to your website.
Regardless of what segment of your base you decide to target, or the format you choose for your content, the end goal is to create something that genuinely serves your audience’s needs. Connect with people in a meaningful way, and they will reward you with engagement, leads, and sales.
Optimize Your Content
When you create high-quality content, people will naturally respond with interest. But in order to get that content in front of as many people as possible, optimizing it for search engines is crucial. Spend some time researching the keywords that you want to rank for in searches, and make sure you include them in your content when it’s appropriate.
Internal linking (linking from a blog to a page designed for lead generation, for example) will also help search engines understand the purpose and structure of your site. This type of linking structure encourages users to spend more time on your site by making it easy for them to explore other topics and pieces of content—ultimately generating more leads and conversions.
The Benefits of Content Marketing
One of the most powerful things about content marketing is that it provides you with the opportunity to increase your brand awareness and recognition while showing that you are a trustworthy source of information within your industry.
In fact, the same things that prove to your audience that you are a good source of information will send equally positive signals to Google. Good content written for real humans will typically rank higher on the search engine results page (SERP) because it meets Google’s quality guidelines. These guidelines state that content that demonstrates Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness is more valuable to users and should therefore appear more prominently in search results.
So not only can your content reach more and more people by ranking higher and more prominently on the search engine results page, but when people do click on your site, they don’t just bounce out—they stay for the quality of your content, giving you the opportunity to convert their interest into leads and, eventually, sales.
Content marketing is an excellent way of generating high-quality leads and conversions. Because your audience is connecting meaningfully with what you’re producing, they are more likely to opt-in to a mailing list, subscribe to a blog, or follow a social media account; they want more of the good content that you’re sharing. Plus, having this relationship makes it easier for you to include a CTA (call to action) within your content in a way that feels natural and not exploitative or pandering.
Focus On Your Consumers and Their Needs
Content marketing is all about building relationships with your customers. It’s not asking or expecting users to make a purchase from the moment they first interact with your brand. It’s understanding that most consumers will spend days, weeks, or months considering their options before making a purchase. It’s a way of presenting yourself as a reputable and trustworthy place to do business when they’re ready to commit.
If you can do all that—and keep your focus on your customers as people, not numbers—you will naturally drive traffic to your site, gather more leads, and increase your conversions. It can be a big undertaking, but it’s one that will pay off for years to come.
For more information on building your own content marketing strategy—or for a hands-on approach from a company with combined decades of experience—get in touch with us today. Wikimotive is your content marketing partner, and we look forward to getting you the attention you deserve.