What is content marketing in digital marketing? – A Definitive Guide11 min read

Have you ever wondered what is content marketing in digital marketing and how is it different from content creation?

Believe me, you are not alone.

Content has been at the center of everything related to marketing for long.

Good content creators are in demand, getting awesome packages and making a butt load of money.

Different forms of content have evolved be it blogs, images, videos, whitepapers, survey reports, eBooks, and whatnot.

But the BIG QUESTION still remains?

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is the system or strategy to distribute all forms of content created in an efficient and effective manner such that the relevant organizational goals are met

Too much!

Let us take an example:

Company X wants to gain subscribers and increase the email list. They have created content in the form of a blog and a video for the same.

What are the various ways in which Company X can distribute content?

1. They posted blogs on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter). All the blog visitors will provide their email id via popup.

2. They posted videos on Youtube and gained visitors on the website.

3. They ran paid ads via Facebook or Google and got visitors.

All the above three steps define content marketing i.e. effective and efficient distribution of content.

There are four main reasons or benefits for companies to take up content marketing seriously:

First and foremost is providing value to the audience which plays a key role in attracting a new audiences and ultimately converting them.

Secondly to establish authority in the minds of the audience regarding that particular subject matter.

Thirdly to increase the Lifetime Value of the customer through developing better relations leading to upsell, cross-sell, etc.

Lastly, to increase ROI from marketing activities through repurposed content.

Now the next question is how to design a content marketing strategy?

Most of the content marketing strategies nowadays revolve around:

  • Finding customer pain points
  • Creating right type of relevant content as per the problem
  • Presenting the content to the right people at the right time via right channel

Do checkout 10 amazing secrets when designing content that no one will tell you.

Whatever you do, a successful content marketing campaign always starts with the audience.

The end goal of content marketing should always be to grow business. But that`s not possible without paying customers.

Below are the different formats of content marketing:

Most Popular Content Formats

Using the above-mentioned content formats is a separate game altogether

In an ideal world, an effective and efficient content marketing strategy would navigate people as below:

what is content marketing in digital marketing
Ideal Content Marketing Strategy Funnel

But an ideal world rarely exists.

The best foot forward before starting to create content is to create a User Persona or Customer Avatar as below:

Creating a User Persona will lead to better targeting for all your content. It helps us in creating content for an individual with goals, desires, pain points, etc.

The content should be like we are talking to an individual. Such level of personalization deeply connects with customer and help in forming a long-lasting relationship.

You need to understand your customer to connect better. You need to connect better to sell better.

Through your content, you need to guide your customer through different stages of customer experience, or as they say in marketing terms: Funnels.

There are three main stages of content marketing:

1. Awareness

2. Consideration

3. Decision

AWARENESS STAGE CONTENT

People don`t know you at this stage. The content designed for this stage should be written keeping that in mind.

This content is the most crucial and is click-bait to gain eyeballs and attract an audience.

For example: When you perform a google search with the keyword “Benefits of content marketing”, the below screen comes up:

You are most likely to click on the above snippet from terakeet.com.

SERP, Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Videos, Instagram reels are some of the most common forms of Awareness stage content.

You have to monitor metrics like blog visitors, engagement, top-performing posts/ pages, and so on.

CONSIDERATION STAGE CONTENT

This is a crucial stage for achieving conversion and filter out the interesting prospects from window shoppers.

The content in this stage is aimed at guiding the customer from the awareness stage towards making a transaction.

Look at the below mailer from Nike:

In the above mailer, Nike is aiming at giving a better product to the ones who have already shown interest in their products.

Mailers, Facebook retargeting ads, follow-up messages, and free resources like eBooks are some of the content types suitable for this stage.

The important metrics to consider here are number of returning visitors, email open rate, click-through rate, form submission, and resource downloads.

The consideration stage content is to be fed to the audience until they reach the decision stage.

DECISION STAGE

This stage is the final step where the prospect is ready to transact and become a customer.

The content in this stage is mostly an offer which they can`t refuse.

Look at the below mailer from Antler:

They have created a sense of urgency/scarcity along with a clickbait of discount offers that would lead to immediate action.

Content at the decision phase either leads to purchase or pushes the customer to obscurity.

Discount mailers, sale popups, free trials, push notifications are some of the types of decision stage content.

The important metrics to be tracked here are number of orders, total sales, ROAS, results, and so on.

Special focus is to be made on the call to action for this stage as CTAs can make or break the game.

The most common CTAs used are “Buy Now, Learn More, Shop Now, Avail Discount, Submit” etc.

Content Marketing Strategy

Now that we know the different methods of designing content according to various stages in the customer journey, next comes the distribution of this content so that it instantly connects and establishes trust with the customers.

Below are some of the most widely used methods of content distribution and marketing:

Social Media Channels

Let us look at how social media channels emerged as the biggest and most cost-effective method of content marketing and distribution for a different form of content.

Video Content

What do you think has a better recall?

Video, Images, or Text

You will find the answer in the below image:

We have a clear winner right!

Video content is one of the most widely used and accepted form of content.

There are different ways to market video content. It can be done through channels like Youtube, Vimeo.

Live videos can be created and distributed at the same time using Facebook, Youtube, Instagram.

Videos can also be distributed through paid ads on Google, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube.

Example: Redbull

Redbull undoubtedly has one of the biggest and most successful video marketing strategies.

Their Youtube channel is extremely successful with over 10+ million subscribers.

They cater to a very specific audience set and create videos around adventure sports, stunts, etc.

Image Content

Although video has been ruling the content game for quite some time, still the importance of high quality and well-designed creative, banners, and images can`t be ignored.

Images are still the go-to form of content for marketers who want to keep their communication short, precise and to the point.

Instagram has emerged as the top social media channel for image marketing with 1 billion+ downloads and over 95 million images being shared every day.

Other most commonly used channels are Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and the likes.

Example: RX Bar

RX bar used images as the most prominent method of reaching out to audiences.

Their carefully thought marketing strategy with well-designed and high-quality images became a lethal combination for its competitors.

Text Content

Blogs and tweets have been always been one of the best forms of content suitable for all stages of the customer journey.

Twitter has emerged as the top channel for text marketing with millions of tweets being published every single day.

Blogs, articles and newsletters are distributed through Facebook, LinkedIn, Paid ads and play an important role in gaining subscribers thereby building trust with users.

Example: Axis Bank

Axis bank India is one of the brands that is acing twitter game with 380k followers.

They often communicate their new product launches, offers through their Twitter handle.

Email Marketing

Since the beginning of online and digital marketing era, Mailers have always been at the forefront of all forms of content distribution channels.

This is the most effective tool to build a long-term relationship with the customer through personalization.

Email marketing helps in the distribution of all forms of content.

The most important metrics to be measured are delivery rate, open rate, click rate, actions taken.

Some of the most common tools for email marketing are Active campaign, Convertkit, Mailchimp, Sendinblue and many more.

Example: Aeropostale

Aeropostale has taken the mailer game a notch higher by sending out timer mails to promote offer discounts by creating urgency.

This strategy is highly effective during the decision stage of content creation.

Influencer Marketing

Demand for influencers has skyrocketed in recent times because of wide-scale acceptance of influencer marketing as an effective form of content marketing.

This method involves collaborating with influencers who got substantial following on Instagram, Facebook and other social media.

These influencers are given product samples along with content in the form of images, text or even reels to create brand awareness among the audience.

This channel is highly effective during the awareness stage when the brand wants to engage with the influencer`s audience who already trust the influencer and would listen to him/her.

This saves a considerable amount of time and money for the brand which would otherwise be spent to reach that audience and establish trust.

Example: Allen Solly #shootforsolly campaign

Allen Solly created a wonderful campaign called #shootforsolly.

They handpicked whopping 22 influencers across 7 Indian cities to promote their chinos for spring-summer collection.

The influencers handpicked the product of their choice from the nearby Allen Solly Store and arranged photo shoot in coordination with the company.

This campaign gave a huge bump to direct sales with a reach of 2 million across various channels.

Check our article on influencer marketing to learn this in detail.

Conclusion

The above article clearly shows that anyone can use content marketing to up their marketing game.

The world gets noisier day by day and you have to create, analyze and distribute content in the best possible manner.

A combination of good storyteller and smart marketer will definitely win in the long run.

Tell us your thoughts below in the comments.

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