Table of contents:
- What counts as content marketing?
- What's included in content marketing?
- How do you make content engaging?
- How do you make your content reach the right audience?
- How do you get started with content marketing?
- How do you make a content marketing strategy?
- Does that mean I have to create new content all the time?
- Is short-form or long-form content better?
- How do you measure the success of content marketing?
- Should you outsource your content or keep it in-house?
The world of marketing is changing. With less focus on traditional marketing strategies that prioritize sales alone, content marketing that focuses on the consumer is taking up the slack. Here, we'll answer all your burning questions about content marketing.
Content marketing is well and truly here to stay. As a society, we’re moving away from traditional marketing strategies which just focus on sales and success. Now, it’s all about the consumer.
It can be a little confusing to keep track of it all, especially when there are so many buzzwords floating around. What is content marketing, and how exactly does it differ from the ad campaigns of the past?
Let’s take a walk through some of the main questions that we always hear, and hopefully clear some things up a little.
What counts as content marketing?
Literally anything and everything. When we hear ‘content marketing’, most of us instantly think of a traditional long-form blog post. But there’s so much more to it than that. Check out our full list below.
Basically, any information, in any medium, is considered content. The goal of content marketing is to provide something to customers that is genuinely helpful or entertaining, in order to create a relationship with them based on trust.
Content marketing is different from traditional marketing techniques, in that it’s all about the consumer. Rather than shaping a marketing strategy around the brand, now we focus on the customers’ needs first.
What's included in content marketing?
Here are some things that come under the umbrella of content marketing, though really, the list is endless:
- Social media copy
- Blog posts
- Short-form video for social media (including IG stories)
- Long-form video for YouTube or a website
- Pinterest graphics
How do you make content engaging?
The answer to this question depends on your specific audience, though there are a few golden rules to follow when creating content.
Think about your audience and their habits. What’s engaging to a teen girl will be vastly different to what’s engaging for a middle-aged man. Spend time consuming media targeted at your audience to get a feel for the kind of content that resonates with them.
Start conversations. The beauty of modern content marketing is that you can open up dialogue with your customers far more easily than traditional marketing would allow. Ask questions, and invite them to respond, let them know that you understand them and are there to help them.
Consider the reading experience. When you’re writing a blog post or article, think about what it’ll be like for the reader. No one wants to read giant walls of text. Keep your paragraphs to a maximum of 3-4 sentences, and break up your article with subheadings. Here’s our failsafe guide on nailing your long-form content.
How do you make your content reach the right audience?
Here, keywords are… key. Spend time researching the right keywords to use for your target audience and your topic. By including the right keywords in your article – especially in subheads and in your introduction – you’ll be more likely to show up high in Google’s search results.
However, it’s important to remember that at the end of the day you’re writing for humans, not an algorithm. Don’t go overboard with keywords to the point where your sentences barely make sense.
How do you get started with content marketing?
The first thing that you need to do is create a watertight strategy. It can be tempting to jump right in and start publishing blog posts, but that’s not sustainable. Having a well thought-out and thorough plan before you start creating content will keep you on track.
Without a strategy, it’s hard to have goals and track the success of your campaign. First time creating a content strategy? Check out these templates to give you some guidance.
Once you start producing and sharing content, you may have to go back and tweak some aspects of your strategy. The most successful content marketing campaigns are the ones that evolve over time based on customer feedback and analysis of metrics.
How do you make a content marketing strategy?
Ask yourself a few questions about your brand.
- Who is your target audience?
- What problem is your product or service solving for them?
- What kind of content do your customers want from you? Educational, entertaining, or a mix of both?
- What is your company’s voice? Base this on your ideal customer, how they communicate and engage online, and your brand identity.
- What kind of content do you want to be sharing? Maybe you want to focus more on your website and SEO-focused blogs, or perhaps it’s more valuable to be creating short-form video on Instagram and TikTok.
- How can you measure your progress? Using Google Analytics and social media metrics you should be tracking how well your content is performing, and tweaking your strategy accordingly.
Does that mean I have to create new content all the time?
Well, yes and no. Your output should be continuous, but there are some ways to streamline the process so you’re not spending 12 hours a day creating content.
An easy way to lighten your load is to hire an external copywriting service. They’ll take all the content creation off your hands, and create engaging work while sticking to your brand’s voice and identity. Find out more about how that all works here.
Repurposing content is another sneaky way to maintain a high output volume. This means you can write one piece of content, then adapt it to a bunch of different mediums. For example, say you pen a detailed ebook meant to be a freebie for any new customers who sign up to your newsletter. Then you could take chapters of that book and tweak them to be individual blog posts for your website.
Keep going –– take salient points from each blog post and turn those into social media posts, or make infographics that you can share on Pinterest. Finally, host a webinar where you talk through the content of your ebook.
The benefits of repurposing content are two fold: you’re lightening your workload, and your content is reaching more people who consume information in different ways.
Is short-form or long-form content better?
This is a highly debated topic in the world of content marketing! Some people believe that content is best kept short and sweet, with blog posts under 1000 words, short social media captions, and a focus on engaging video.
Others swear by long-form content: 3,000-word blogs, long ebooks, two-hour webinars, lengthy LinkedIn posts. One study found that pieces with 7000+ words drive almost four times more traffic than articles of average length (900-1,200 words).
So really, the answer varies based on your brand and your audience.
If you’re marketing to Gen Z, for example, they’re more likely to engage with a TikTok or Instagram campaign. But if your core audience is 40-something professionals, then a long-form article will be more effective in getting their attention.
The only way to find out for sure is to create a whole bunch of varied content and see what performs best. Check out our guide to writing killer long-form content without it looking like a boring wall of text.
How do you measure the success of content marketing?
At the end of the day, the whole point of a content marketing campaign is to result in conversions. But that’s just one end of the funnel –– it’s important to also look at how consumers are engaging with your content and how it’s affecting their perception of your brand.
Before you can measure the success of your campaign, you need to define what success means to you, and which Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are most important. Are sales leads your main goal, or are you more focused on growing your social media following? Do you want to boost your mailing list or will your brand benefit more from having a video go viral?
There really is no one right way to measure the success of your content marketing strategy, but some KPIs to track could include:
- Website traffic
- Google click-throughs
- Time on site
- Social media followers
- Social media impressions
- Percentage of return customers
Should you outsource your content or keep it in-house?
If you’ve got plenty of time and resources at your disposal, or you have a background in content marketing, then by all means create your own content.
But if you don’t feel like you have the capacity or the skills to create the high-quality content that you’re after, it might be better to outsource your content creation. Yes, it can be hard to hand the job over to someone who doesn’t know your brand inside out like you. But you might be surprised at how well a professional copywriter can bring your voice to life.
At Scribly, we work with brands and companies from all different industries and niches. We handle content marketing and copywriting, and with over 30 writers from around the world, we’re confident that we’ll bring you work that you’ll fall in love with.
We don’t just create content, deliver it, and disappear. We work with clients to create a strong content marketing strategy, produce all the work to support it, then monitor the performance and make data-driven changes.
If you think your brand would benefit from a foundation of strong, engaging content, say hi and see how we can work together!
Did we miss something?
Do you have a burning content marketing question that we somehow missed? Leave us a comment below and let’s keep the conversation going!