Welcome back to our series of Digital Marketing Guides! Here at NTG Training we’re on a mission to help SMEs understand digital marketing, and to do just that, we’re breaking down the key concepts into bitesized chunks and removing the jargon!
This week we’re talking about Content Marketing.
Now, let me preface this with the fact i’m a content marketing aficionado. It’s my true marketing love. So if I gush about it, that’s why.
And why wouldn’t you love it? It’s fun. It’s the equivalent of art class on your high school rota. You are free to create and give your brand a personality.
So let’s get right to the point:
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is the sharing and creation of online material, whether that’s videos, blog posts, guides, social media graphics or whatever you wish! Generally, it’s about creating resources and items that are useful and interesting to your target market.
Content marketing is there to ensure your potential customers engage with your brand. It can pull in new visitors from organic search, it can lead to a viral share on social media, and it can even turn your staff into stars.
Here’s the thing, most people don’t like being sold to. Posting endless offers and information about what you sell is the online equivalent of cold calling. Sure, every now and then you might be lucky, but you’re not building a relationship with your online community if you’re just pitching at them, rather than creating engagement.
Content marketing is a subtle approach. It’s about showing how passionate you are about your industry and about building long-lasting bonds with the consumer.
What Does Content Marketing Look Like?
‘Content’ is such a big generic term, and that’s why your digital marketing lead needs to be a creative person. Thinking outside the box will help them to create content for your business that shares well and generates revenue long term.
Any business can make posts on social media, but a true content marketer can create something you just can’t help but engage with.
It’s also worth remembering that content marketing is dynamic and it’s often heavily affected by trends. Ten years ago it was infographics that would always go viral, people loved them! Nowadays they tend not to work as well, they’re usually bigger than most 1080px x 1080px social media posts and people spend less time browsing blog networks.
At the moment, you’ll find video is king. Social media sites like TikTok and Youtube are performing significantly better for businesses than sites like Facebook, where video sharing is more clunky.
Need inspiration? Here’s our ultimate list of content marketing ideas:
- Instagram Feed
- Instagram Stories
- Discord Servers exclusive to your community
- Youtube Channels
- Youtube Shorts
- Facebook Groups with regular updates
- Detailed website guides
- Behind The Scenes
- Twitch / Streamed Content
- Live Q&As
- Free Downloads
- Fill In The Blanks
- Creative Competitions (Stories, Photos, Poems, Videos etc)
- 30-Day Photo Challenges
- Educational Resources
- Planner Inserts
- Tips and Ideas
- Courses and Workshops
- Before and Afters
- Flat Lays
- Sneak Peaks
- Patreon Exclusives
- Troubleshooting Guides
- Vlogs / Day In The Life
- Calculators and Online Tools
- Case Study
- Free Training
- Product Previews and Samples
- Free Strategy Calls / Advice
- Original Research
- User Generated Content
- Social Media Takeovers
- Success Stories
- Hashtag Challenges
How To Design Your Own Content Marketing Strategy
There are two ways to go about content marketing – either you can be haphazard and rely on your wits to come up with something new on the fly, or you can do some detailed research, create a strategy and follow it.
Your strategy should begin with some market research. You’ll need to really understand your potential customers, so you don’t waste energy creating content that they don’t need or want. This can also help you allocate your time.
For example, If your aiming for Gen Z, you’ll want to focus on platforms like TikTok and content like videos. Very few Gen-Z are going to be interested in reading an ebook.
However if your market is Baby Boomer business professionals, they may love an ebook, and a good old fashioned webinar – but turn their nose up at a meme.
If you’re not sure, do a bit of trial and error. After a month or so you should start to see which types of content perform better for your business.
What To Include In Your Strategy
Here’s a few things to consider when making a content strategy:
- Where to post content
- When to post content
- How to promote and outreach content
- Key events and dates you should be creating content for
It’s also a great idea to sit down one day and make a master list of content ideas. This can include general ideas but also blog post titles for example. From there, you may also want to map out the resources and people you need to create the content. For example, if you don’t have video editing skills, you may need to hire an editor.
A content calendar is a really useful tool that all digital marketers should have. It’s a calendar that details any key dates, events, holidays and social media events that are relevant to your brand.
So most businesses will have key holidays such as Christmas, Easter etc, but a wedding dress shop for example may also have dates such as:
- Fashion Weeks
- Dates of New Line Launches from Suppliers
- Wedding Trade Events
- The Start of Wedding Season
- Black Friday
Or an accountancy firm may have days such as:
- Tax Payment Deadlines
- Government Budget Review Dates
There are also lots of kooky and strange ‘National Days’ such as National Sandwich Day or Talk Like a Pirate Day which make for fun social media content.
Having a calendar means you can always reference it and plan your content ahead. In doing so, you’ll be able to take advantage of increased visibility and viral content trends.
Would you like a free content calendar for 2021? Sign up to our mailing list below and you’ll get ours sent right to your inbox. We’ll also send you lots of handy digital marketing resources regularly.
Don’t forget we also offer Digital Marketing Apprenticeships. If you hire an apprentice before September 30th 2021, you’ll get up to £4,000 in government grants too!