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This article was written by a guest contributor. The author's views below are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of WHSR.
Content marketing is a relatively new term that refers to a bunch of marketing techniques that have been around for decades. In some ways, content marketing predates the Internet. To summarize, content marketing is the use of content (text, photos, videos and perhaps even audio) to build interest among your target audience who may then be lured in to buy your product.
Think of the time you read an advertisement in your local newspaper about hair loss and decided to visit an event organized by your neighborhood clinic. That’s content marketing for you.
In this article, however, we will restrict ourselves to the conventional definition – that is, the use of text, videos, images and audio over online platforms to build traffic, generate leads and eventually convert customers.
You may not be alone in assuming that content marketing is just blogging or perhaps infographics. Content marketing goes way beyond this, though. We will look at several ways you can use content marketing to double your website traffic.
The first and foremost rule of building any sort of marketing strategy is to know where your audience hangs out. Creating the most informative YouTube video about your product may not take your product anywhere if your audience is bandwidth-starved and won’t access video-heavy content.
You need to figure out what platforms your audience uses before creating content. This will give you an idea of the kind of content that will appeal to these users. For instance, if you target teenagers who hang out on social networking platforms like Snapchat, then perhaps it is a good idea to make use of trendy content formats like memes (yes, memes!) to appeal to your audience.
In a B2B setup, content marketing is routinely used to do two things:
In such instances, it is recommended to segment your content marketing strategy into three unique components.
First focus on SEO – write content that will help you rank near the top of Google search results for relevant industry phrases.
Second, generate link-baiting content whose purpose is to build new inbound links to your website. These could be viral images or exhaustive stat pieces that other blogs like linking to as part of their content.
Finally, write content that will aid in customer conversion. These are essentially sales pages that have a specific call to action to drive conversion.
This three-pronged strategy is quite useful because it helps you build an authoritative site that Google trusts. Once this is achieved, your SEO-focused content starts ranking on top of searches and brings in a lot of targeted visitors. These visitors can now be converted into customers using the third kind of content.
The idea of content marketing is to establish sections on your website that appeal in one way or another to your target audience. It does not always have to be self-generated content. You may also crowdsource content or build it with the help of third party tools.
For instance, popular eCommerce service provider Shopify has a marketplace called Exchange, where users can buy/sell eCommerce websites – this is a microsite that adds a unique value to the target audience and thus helps lure in potential customers to the service.
An example of script-based content generation is Dove’s Speak Beautiful campaign. For this, the soap brand partnered with Twitter to build a microsite that allowed users to measure the positivity or negativity in their tweets. In both cases, the content was not generated in-house, yet it helped the business build a platform that brought in targeted users.
Content marketing is a momentum-based strategy where the uptick may be slow and gradual to begin with, but can grow exponentially over time. The momentum is often higher if you provide your content a helpful nudge in the early stages.
Facebook advertising is a tried and tested strategy to establish this first nudge. Even a small $5 advertising push on Facebook could help set the ball rolling and dramatically increase the inbound traffic to your content.
The strategy here is quite simple – identify the audience or group that will find your content appealing and spend a few marketing dollars reaching this audience with your content. This establishes virality that can gather momentum and help maximize your content reach.
Getting your content to go viral is an extension of the momentum-based marketing strategy we discussed in the previous section.
When starting out, viral marketing may seem like a hit-or-miss strategy where success is not always guaranteed. However, the right content marketing strategy can help businesses take their posts viral every single time.
In summary, the strategy is this:
Marketers realize the importance of quality over quantity when it comes to content marketing. One by-product of this realization is that long-form content is often regarded as higher quality and more important than short-form content.
While this is partially true, especially when it comes to blog-based marketing, short-form content can be quite an effective medium to lure audiences as well. This is especially true when it comes to user generated and social network based content. The strategy here is pretty straightforward – identify threads and discussions on platforms like Reddit and Quora on topics that are of interest to your readers and provide helpful answers to questions from your business’ perspective.
Over the long-term, this strategy helps you build authority among your target audience and helps you convert customers. In addition to this, users who visit such threads also come across your submissions and are driven to your sales pages from there.
About the Author: Anand Srinivasan
Anand is the founder and owner of Hubbion (https://hubbion.com), a free to use task management tool for small and medium businesses. Hubbion has been ranked as one of the top 20 project management tools by Capterra.