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5 Proven Content Marketing Strategies

5 Proven Content Marketing Strategies

An increasingly huge segment of the capital that modern businesses are assigning for marketing is being dedicated to online marketing. In fact, research has identified content marketing as the single most productive and sustainable form of attracting a loyal customer base in the 21st century. After decades of newspaper, radio, and television advertising, the global audience is waking up to the competitive advantages of a new online media. These advantages have influenced the ever-growing dominance of content marketing. The main advantages of content marketing allow marketers to:

  1. Fluidly incorporate the creative edge of 3D content
  2. Have a comparatively cheaper option for marketing
  3. Create a long-term market presence using online media
  4. Accommodate emerging trends of the Information Age
  5. Personalize content despite using social/mass media
  6. Integrate multi-media platforms with both video and audio

Regardless of these advantages, however, content marketing does not work for everyone. Some firms invest less capital and still convert more visitors to active customers. In contrast, other firms invest gigantic sums only to attract a few customers. It would seem, then, that success in content marketing depends on the science of marketing, not on the amount of time or resources invested. Like every form of marketing, content marketing is both a science and an art. This means that content marketing employs a creative and artistic strategy to attract online traffic to a site and then converts this traffic to loyal customers.

The question now becomes, “How can you improve the success of your content marketing program?” Previous research has proven that it is possible to improve the success of your content marketing instantly. You need only use a precise set of strategies, most of which have proved extremely effective for modern online entrepreneurs. The following five strategies are among the most essential and effective secrets to improving your content marketing outcomes.

1) Creating Problem-Solution Content

Improving your content marketing must always start by attaining the content’s purpose. Content marketing is, after all, a strategic and purpose-driven marketing approach that helps create, publish, and distribute valuable content for a clearly defined online audience. Content marketing seeks to move a customer towards taking profitable action. Before promoting a product or service, content marketing must first inform, educate, and positively improve the customers’ knowledge of the product or service. Such education preferably comes from an expert’s point of view. Only then can the content attract and sustain worthwhile traffic.

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    This explains why “how to” online content generates perhaps the highest portion of online traffic. Potential customers seek to know, learn, and understand issues that are of personal interest to them. Content marketing thus needs to precisely and concretely address realistic customer concerns, guide them towards ideal solutions, and offer a problem-solution exchange. Online marketing succeeds when it shows a customer how to do several things, including:

    1. Know more about an issue that is interesting to them
    2. Service their needs effectively and without additional cost
    3. Progressively improve their homes or workplaces
    4. Make their lives more enjoyable and affordable

    2) Anticipating Emerging Trends

    Content marketing helps anticipate future trends in the market. It is also becoming the only possible way to embrace these trends. Leading media companies that had previously relied on newspaper and TV advertising have acknowledged an emerging marketing trend. This new marketing trend is exclusively underscored by content marketing. Consequently, modern media giants have launched content marketing studios to service a new age of marketing dynamics. Companies that have traditionally relied on their global reach are gradually attaining the same outcomes through online platforms. Their online activities usually include posting videos and articles through their social media pages and blogs.

    Significant trends in advertising hinged on content marketing are evident in modern business. According to recent research, over 62% of content marketers have claimed that they saw an increase in the success of their content marketing strategies this year. This included over 88% of business-to-business advertisers who were using content marketing by the end of 2016. Furthermore, over 76% of all marketers claimed that they were planning to improve their content marketing strategy by 2017. Evidently, content marketing is no longer a choice. Rather, it is a mandatory component of 21st century marketing. This reality is the product of several emerging practices:

    1. Increasing the positive impact of content marketing on contemporary businesses
    2. Reducing the cost of content marketing
    3. Increasing the usage of social media platforms
    4. Personalizing general marketing messages for online visitors
    5. Customers making purchasing decisions using online content

    3) Optimizing the Marketing Message

    Content marketing should provide content that markets a product or service. As such, the mere presence and frequency of high quality content on an e-commerce site are not the only requirements. Long before dissemination, content marketing must start with a creation process. That process of creating content is both an art and a science. By default, the success of online marketing relies on how well both the art and the science are integrated.

    It is during the creation process that a message is strategically constructed. In most cases, content is judged based on its information value. For the marketer, however, the purpose is not to inform, but to market a product or service. The science is in making that marketing goal indirect yet convincing. Only when informative content is created can the content then be used to convert the reader to an active customer.

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    4) Embracing the Era of Multi-Media Usage

    According to recent research, advances in communication technology have triggered the use of and reliance on mobile devices. The prospective customer simultaneously uses assorted stationery and mobile devices. This means that the online content must be effectively accessible from smartphones, tablets, desktop computers, and laptops. Successful content marketing must embrace the simplicity and liquidity of being available and accessible in what has become a multi-device world. The marketer should customize the content for consumption by a relatively mobile public.

    content marketing

      The world is going mobile, and content marketers should therefore always cater to a mobile audience. Unfortunately, that is not all. In a recent study commissioned by Facebook, it was found that the international audience targeted by content marketing uses several mobile devices simultaneously. Among a sample of 2000 adults in the UK and the US, the study recorded over 60% of adults online accessing the internet using at least two mobile devices on a daily basis. Most of these adults used the mobile devices simultaneously. Further still, 25% of Americans and 20% of UK residents simultaneously use three mobile devices. Interestingly, over 40% of the sample in both countries start an online activity using one mobile device and then complete the activity using another device. The impact of content marketing thus depends not only on how well it caters to a mobile audience, but also on how well it facilitates multi-device usage.

      5) Personifying the Marketing Appeal

      Readers largely prefer reading information given by experts. This explains why quality content marketing needs to have the perspective of an authoritative voice. Even so, when marketers make the content personal, they take the content to a level it might never have reached even with an authoritative voice. Personalized content is more attractive, appealing, and convincing to the reader than abstract text. TED talks, how-to articles, and advisory YouTube videos, for example, attract such a gigantic following because their content is always personalized.

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      content marketing

        The problem with content marketing is that it cannot attain essential eye contact. Nonetheless, even without eye contact, the content attains nearly the same effect with a personalized interaction with the reader. Content that does not address “the” reader, and which builds an interactive discourse with “you,” helps attain the goal of content marketing better. Once that personal contact is made, sustaining it with reliable, consistent, and regular content solidifies how well content marketing attains its primary goal.

        Content Marketing Is Invaluable

        The future of content marketing is evidently more prosperous, influential, and critically essential than any other traditional form of marketing has been. Content marketing is not only becoming dynamic, but is also a combination of advertising art and marketing science. It might be extremely cheap to get likes on Instagram, for example, but the potential marketing impact of those “likes” is priceless. That said, use the advice here to tap into this potential and consolidate your content marketing success. This success in content marketing is both attainable and essential.

        Image Credits :

        Working in Laptop via Pixabay.com, Apple Devices , jcomp / Freepik Via Freepik.com

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        Published on December 13, 2018

        How to Start a Company from Scratch (A Step-By-Step Guide)

        How to Start a Company from Scratch (A Step-By-Step Guide)

        If you’ve ever thought about starting and running your own business, you’re not alone. Being your own boss, having flexibility with your schedule and keeping more of the financial rewards that come with business ownership are all good reasons to own your own company.

        But as you might expect, it’s not all vacations and fat bank accounts. According to the SBA, 2/3 of businesses survive at least 2 years and approximately 50% survive 5 years.[1] So why is the failure rate so high? At least for the businesses that fail early on, lack of, or poor planning can be a major factor.

        So how to start a company?

        Starting a business from scratch doesn’t have to be hard or complicated, but it does take planning and work. Here are the first and most important 9 steps to take when your are starting a company from scratch.

        1. Do an Honest Evaluation of Yourself

        Do you work better in a structured or unstructured environment? Does a daily routine reduce your anxiety? What kinds of things are you good at? Does public speaking or making presentations make you nervous? Are you good at accounting and numbers? Can you handle the rejections you’re bound to get when selling or cold calling?

        These are all important questions to ask yourself, in fact it’s a good idea to get other peoples opinion about their perception of you in each of these situations.

        Whatever the answers you come up with for your evaluation, remember that’s all it is, an evaluation of where you are now. Think of it as a way to identify both your areas of strength and weaknesses.

        You maybe good at public speaking which can help when raising money, but bad at accounting which just means that you’ll need to find some kind of help with that area of the business.

        2. Evaluate Your Idea

        If your business idea involves a new product or service (or even an enhancement to an existing product or service), it needs to be evaluated. This is technically called market research.

        There are firms that specialize in doing market research for new products, but if you are on a tight budget, you can do this yourself.

        First, if you can build a prototype for people to use, touch and look at that’s the best option. If a prototype is not possible or it’s a service business, then offer a highly descriptive presentation of the business plan complete with it’s unique benefits and how it’s different from the competition.

        Then listen! Remember that this is not about others liking your product, this is not your baby that they are talking about. You want honest market research that gives you the best chance for a successful business. Take notes, when someone tells you that they didn’t like a feature or some aspect of your idea tell them ‘Thank you”.

        After several rounds of market research with different groups of people, you should see patterns emerging about things that they both liked and didn’t like. Use this information to tweak your product or service and do another round of market research.

        Keep in mind that you’ll never come up with a universally loved product, your job is to produce a product or service that appeals to the broadest range of your target market.

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        3. Make a Business Plan

        I know, I know this isn’t the “fun” part of starting your own business, but it is an very important step in creating a successful business!

        Basically, you can think of a business plan as an outline or blueprint of your business. A good business plan should have the following elements:

        • Executive Summary – This should lay out the businesses product or service and the problem that it solves for the consumer.
        • Market Evaluation – This should talk about the market you are serving. Is it an expanding market, and how does your product better fulfill the consumers in that market.
        • Market Strategies – How are you going to penetrate the market and sell your product.
        • Operational Plan – How will the company run from day to day? Who are the key employees and what are their specific rolls. Do your key players have specific goals set for them in advance?

        A final word on making a business plan: while lying is never acceptable especially when you are using the business plan to raise money, it is acceptable to “put your best foot forward”.

        Playing up the positives while minimizing the negatives is almost expected in a business plan.

        Besides, banks as well as professional investors will both do a more in-depth analysis before investing any money into your idea.

        4. Decide on a Business Structure

        You have many options here, and discussing them with your accountant or financial adviser is really the only way to know what’s right for you. But just to give you a quick rundown of the types of business entities and their pros and cons we will briefly go through them:

        Sole Proprietorship

        This is a common way for small businesses to get started.

        The pros being:

        Relatively low costs to set up (usually a business license and sales tax license).Owners normally do not have to set up a special bank account, they are allowed to use their personal one. Any income earned can be offset by other losses (check with your state!). You as the sole proprietor have complete control over all decision making. 

        Finally, sole proprietorship’s are relative easy to dissolve.

        The cons of using a sole proprietorship include:

        You as the sole proprietor can be held personally responsible for the debts and liabilities of the company. Some benefits, such as health insurance premiums, are not directly deductible from business income.

        If you need to raise money, you are not allowed to sell an equity stake in the company. In that same vein, hiring key people maybe more difficult because you cannot offer them an equity stake in the company.

        Partnership

        A partnership is formed when two or more people decide to start a business. Although there is no legal requirement for any documentation to form a partnership, it is my advice that you never enter into a partnership without having a partnership agreement. (Remember, spending $1500 now can save you $150,000 in legal fees later!).

        The pros of a partnership include:

        Being relatively easy and inexpensive to start. Hiring key employees can be easier as you are allowed to give equity ownership to as many partners as you want.

        For tax purposes, partnerships are relative simple as any income is treated as “pass through” meaning that each partner pays tax on their individual portion of the partnerships income (As of this writing, always check with your tax adviser).

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        As far as the cons go:

        It can be difficult for some general partnerships to raise capitol. Because it is a partnership, the actions of one of the partners can obligate the entire organisation. All profits must be shared according to the partnership agreement regardless of the amount of work done by any single partner.

        Some employee benefits may not be able to be deducted on income tax returns.

        Limited Liability Company (LLC)

        This is a very popular business entity for small to medium sized businesses. The reason for this is the cost of set up is not prohibitive and there is a separation between the owners and the company.

        The pros of an LLC include:

        Limited liability for the partners, unlike sole proprietorship’s and partnerships where the owners are held responsible for all of the companies debts and liabilities, an LLC provides some protection against certain debts and liabilities that are solely the companies.

        Simple taxation, just like the sole proprietorship and partnerships, income is considered “pass through” and is only taxed once on an individual level.

        There is no limit on the number of shareholders in an LLC. An LLC requires fewer fillings and administrative requirements than a corporation.

        Corporation

        A corporation is much more complex and expensive to set up. And a corporation is legally considered an independent entity that is separate from its owners.

        The pros of a corporation include:

        Complete separation between the owners and the company. Because the corporation is considered its own legal entity, owners can not be held personally responsible for any debts or liabilities of the company.

        A corporation can raise capital much easier just by selling more shares in the company.

        Cons of corporations include:

        Much higher administrative costs than any other business entity. Corporations generally have a higher tax rate. Dividends are not tax deductible for corporations. Income paid in dividends is taxed twice, once by the corporation and again by the shareholder.

        Again, this is just a short summary of the pros and cons, always check with your tax adviser about what will work best in your situation.

        5. Address Finances

        Again, not one of the “Sexier” parts of starting your business from scratch, but very important nonetheless.

        So, you’ve done your business plan and an estimate of your start up funding should be included. It should include the amount of funding you’ll need to get you through your first full year of operations.

        Now, how do you get that money?

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        Self Funding

        If possible, self funding is the easiest. You won’t have to go to banks and investors with hat in hand, or give up ownership or control of your company. But as we know, this is not a reality for most people. But don’t worry, there are still plenty of options available.

        Friends and Family

        They can be a good source of funding your business if they can see and understand your vision.

        Remember that business plan? Pass them out to everyone you know. Then follow up, be prepared to tell them the total amount of money you expect to raise, the minimum investment you are looking for and what you will give in return for the investment.

        For example, you give a friend your business plan and follow up with him/her a few days later. You can explain that you have secured funding for $80,000 of the $100,000 you need. You are selling a 2% share in the company for every $2,000 investment. How many shares would he like?

        And when he/she tells you no, thank him/her and ask if he/she can think of anyone off the top of his head who might be interested? Tell him/her you really appreciate his/her time and if he/she does come across someone who might be interested to let you know.

        Banks

        These guys are happy to lend you money when you don’t need it, but all of the sudden they get stingy when you actually need a loan! This is where preparation comes in.

        It’s a good idea to go over your business plan with an expert and maybe even have it rewritten by an expert before you approach either a bank or professional investor. Both will want to go over your business plan with a fine tooth comb, verifying all the numbers and data you provide.

        You should also brush up on everything in the plan so that you can answer any questions they have with authority.

        Crowdfunding

        Finally, there is crowdfunding through sites like Kickstarter or GoFundMe. Crowdfunding helps to build interest, community spirit, and a customer base. It’s also an efficient way to raise funds. You can take a look at these tips to find out more:

        6 Crowdfunding Tips To Get Your Project 100 Percent Funded

        6. Register with the Government

        As stated earlier, different types of business entities have different filling and administrative requirements. At the very least, you’ll probably need a business license as well as a state sales tax license.

        Unless you are forming a corporation, there are many good resources on the web that will do everything for you at a minimal cost.

        7. Assemble Your Team

        Remember when we evaluated your strengths and weaknesses? Here is where we fill in the gaps!

        Do you hate sales and cold calling? Great! There are people who love selling and wouldn’t want to do anything else.

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        Bored to death with accounting? There are a ton of small accounting firms out there that will take care of that for you.

        What about marketing? You can hire someone in-house or out-source that too.

        Your job is to keep on top of all the different aspects of the business to make sure they are all running smoothly and getting the results you need. If not, it’s your job to figure out the problem and implement a solution.

        Check out this guide and learn how to delegate effectively:

        How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

        8. Buy Insurance

        No matter what kind of business you start, you need insurance! Yes, I know, no one likes to buy insurance, but it can literally be the difference between having a minor inconvenience and declaring bankruptcy.

        We live in a very litigious time, even a minor slip and fall at your place of business could bankrupt you without insurance. If you need help finding a good agent, check with your local trade organizations or fellow business owners.

        9. Start Branding Yourself

        Has anyone ever ask you for a Kleenex or a QTip? We all know what they are because of branding, Kleenex is just a brand of tissue and QTip is just a brand of cotton swab. It doesn’t have to be as widely known as Kleenex or QTip, but you can make your brand a common name within your niche.

        I once owned a manufacturing company that developed a product that was so popular that my competitors started co-opting my brand name for their products.

        If you aren’t sure how to kickstart branding yourself, check out these ways:

        5 Ways to Build your Personal Brand & Make More Money

        The Bottom Line

        Starting a business from scratch can be one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have.

        But do you know what’s even more rewarding? Having a business that succeeds, is profitable and provides a good source of income for you, your employees and their family’s.

        More Resources About Entrepreneurship

        Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

        Reference

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