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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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        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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        Vikas Agrawal

        Vikas is the co-founder of Infobrandz, an Infographic design agency that offers creative visual content solutions to medium to large companies.

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        Last Updated on May 28, 2020

        How to Succeed in Business: 10 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs

        How to Succeed in Business: 10 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs

        Learning how to succeed in business used to be a case of being really good at one skill or area and milking it for all its value. Today, we are fast becoming a “skills economy”[1], driving trends in employment and even the way we approach entrepreneurship.

        To succeed in today’s business landscape, business owners and executives need to possess a mix of skills that enable them to stay ahead and adapt to change.

        1. Digital Savviness

        As the adage goes: “If you’re not online, you don’t exist.” Today’s entrepreneurs need to take to the internet to increase their presence and to remain relevant in an evolving business landscape.

        Companies like Amazon, Netflix, Airbnb and more are a testament to the disruptive impact of technology and the new image of what it means to be a skilled, successful professional. Think about today’s Mark Zuckerberg versus a banker from the 90s.

        Being able to quickly adapt to new technology, like cloud applications and collaborating remotely across the internet, is fast becoming the expected norm for executives.

        For businesses, discoverability on the web is becoming a quick litmus test for credibility. Potential customers and investors bank on the first page of Google to make up half their minds about making further transactions with a business. GE Capital Retail Bank found that 81% of retail shoppers conduct online research before buying[2].

        How to Develop This Skill

        For a start, begin by hosting your website and reserving all of your brand’s handles across social media platforms. While hiring a web developer might sound like the next step, consider first hosting your company’s site on more user and budget-friendly options like Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress.

        From here, you can start on some simple search engine optimization techniques that will increase your discoverability over time. Through keyword research, organic content creation, and external back-links, your site will, eventually, slowly but surely garner more traffic.

        Note, however, that an increase in search traffic does not immediately imply an increase in revenue. But it’s a start for delving into customer conversion rates in the future.

        2. Financial Forecasting

        Let’s face it, many business owners feel that time could be better spent on developing and running the business instead of planning for it financially. However, a financial forecast serves as a roadmap for shaping any kind of business and is not just reserved for the likes of listed companies providing financial guidance to shareholders.

        Largely, forecasting and planning your financial goals will give you a clearer idea of resources required and ways to measure success. It can also provide assurance to investors as a testament to the thorough research and planning you have done when included in business plans.

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        However, inaccurate forecasts can lead to livid investors and mismanagement of expenses, which could potentially result in financial teething problems. When creating a detailed financial forecast, a rule of thumb is to always start with your expenses.

        How to Develop This Skill

        Generally, it is easier to calculate and predict your expenses compared to your revenue, so noting down your expenses is a starting point to benchmark how much you might need to generate in sales to turn a profit. It is a good habit to regularly update and evaluate how adjacent your operations are to what you have forecasted.

        Building a precise set of growth forecasting will take time, but, remember, you are an investor in your own business. You must have confidence in the validity of your business concept.

        3. Video Production Skills

        The rise of visual mediums and the dopamine boosts it gives to users has long been researched and proven as providing an unfair advantage to businesses that leverage it[3].

        If you’re a heavy user of social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and even YouTube, you’ll know that it’s pretty hard to stop once you get started on a binge-watching session.

        In fact, video marketing is seeing a non-stop rise in popularity and effectiveness when used in conjunction with social media to drive traffic and boost conversions[4]. According to research, by 2019, 80% of global Internet consumption will be video content[5]. With video marketing becoming more ubiquitous, businesses that fail to leverage the power of video are almost certain to lose out.

        How to Develop This Skill

        Some ways to get started with using videos for your business would be:

        • Creating a series of educational videos that cover useful information for your audiences
        • Live videos interacting with your community at large (these can be shot on your smart phone)
        • Using videos on landing pages to boost your customer conversions

        4. Benchmarking Personal Goals to Business Performance

        As far as you get into achieving endeavours on your business bucket list, it’s important to remember that being an entrepreneur is just one facet of your identity. Don’t forget why you started in the first place.

        Ambition usually stems from some lifestyle goals you’ve always wanted for yourself and the people you might be providing for today or in the future. Working 24/7 is a surefire route to burnout and may manifest in an unhealthy interaction between partners and employees as well.

        How to Develop This Skill

        Money can’t be your only motivation, but look into the positives of how having more financial freedom and time can impact your life. In the short term, involving your interests in your businesses can make everyday tasks feel less like mundane errands. In the long run, your business may also bring you fruitful rewards, including personal fulfilment.

        Set realistic income goals to manage expectations for your performance and your company’s revenue, especially during its earlier stages. See how projected growth can align with your personal goals and make adjustments accordingly to maintain a balance between growth and your personal values.

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        5. Leveraging Healthy Competition

        Some of the best athletes who have spent their careers neck-and-neck with each other have changed the standards in their respective sports. The notion of healthy competition applies to the business world more than it may seem on the surface.

        Innovation has always been a key driver in free markets, which were intended to boost economies and provide customers with more choices. Just like the biggest sporting rivals that build on each others’ game, you can use your biggest competitors to hone your strategies.

        How to Develop This Skill

        Turn a competitive market landscape into an advantageous one by leveraging on long-established systems your business proposes an alternative to. Learn from the mistakes of predecessors once you discover their product or service loopholes.

        For example, the Dollar Shave Club’s viral video[6] became a big hit because it hit the right buttons of consumers being tired of purchasing expensive but low quality shavers from incumbent retail giants. Going in second meant they could fill a gap competitors might not even have been aware of.

        Apart from lifting off from what could have been your second-mover advantage, solidify your place with your business’ own first-mover advantage — whether you’re tapping into a new geographical region, unexplored market sector, or introducing a business model that proves more viable than others. There’s always room for improvement in business from mature markets to newly emerging ones.

        6. Honing Pitches to Investors

        Stand out in a broad mix of budding entrepreneurs by mastering the art and science behind a solid investor pitch that can determine the acceleration of growth for your business. Get comfortable talking about your ideas and receiving feedback or questions from peers, partners, and advisors before setting out to make a good impression on potential customers and eventually investors.

        The phrase “If you can’t convince them, confuse them,” will certainly never get your business funded, especially in front of seasoned venture capitalists who have seen thousands of startup pitches. You should be able to deliver a quick elevator pitch that summarizes your unique proposition and its market viability for casual meet-ups[7] because you sometimes only have a few minutes to make a good impression and move on to another meeting.

        How to Develop This Skill

        Develop your investor pitch deck by highlighting your business’ strongest points, which will vary for every funding round. Create your deck with the investors’ interests in mind, balancing technical jargon and buzzwords.

        You can also introduce your diverse team of experts, some proven traction, or the current state of the market to demonstrate profitability and the attractiveness of the opportunity to investors.

        Ensure each slide flows into the other to develop a persuasive narrative, utilizing consistent and intelligent design principles to support your content.

        7. Developing a Strong Brand Identity

        In a world of saturated content and numerous emerging businesses that offer similar service lines, developing a unique brand identity will help you cut through the noise and stand out from your competition. From aesthetics to the body of clients you’re associated with, these contribute to how you’re perceived by prospects looking to buy.

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        Evaluating your brand identity is linked to identifying your target customers, your business goals, a proposed promised land your solution achieves, and identifying values that are aligned to these components. Brand identity serves as a guide to maintaining consistency and creating an image you want your business to be associated with.

        How to Develop This Skill

        Efforts to strengthen your brand identity are closely tied to giving marketing strategies a direction. By knowing what makes your target customers tick, their values, ideals, and behavior, you will be able to elevate your business from simply being a service or product to be utilized into a projected brand customers and partners would be happy to identify with.

        8. Automating to Your Advantage

        The need for efficiency is often the general problem new businesses aim to resolve across all markets and industries. Assure that your proposed solution is more efficient than what’s readily available in the market to instill the need for it.

        Efficiency is often achieved nowadays through digitalization and new technologies. While your product or service may not necessarily be the most innovative out there, you can apply the same automation concept across your business’ daily operations.

        How to Develop This Skill

        Shorten turnaround times and conversion rates by investing in small tools for automation where you deem fit. While it may come out of your pocket in the early stages, evaluate the holistic advantages and benefits of automating certain processes. At our office, we’ve tried using collaborative apps like Workplace by Facebook, Slack, Asana and a few other popular apps to reduce human error and friction.

        9. Managing Millennials

        Your team plays an integral part in whether your business will accelerate at breakneck speeds or be dragged down by dead weight. Hence, it is imperative to be selective and strategic when choosing your team.

        In leaner small business teams, the addition of every new teammate can impact how your organization culture evolves.

        Today, learning to manage millennials has become an increasingly sought after skill as well due to the increasing proportion of them in the workforce[8]. Some brand them as strawberries that are easily bruised and others loath their need for “meaning” and wearing t-shirts to work.

        How to Develop This Skill

        Naturally, there are many misconceptions surrounding millennials, and various businesses would do well to leverage their unique skills.

        A couple of ways to manage a millennial team include:

        Encourage a Flat Team Structure With Open Communication

        Maintain clear professional lines between supervisors and subordinates but keep communication channels open to ensure no negativity festers.

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        Offer Constructive Feedback

        Baby boomers are well known for their straightforward approach to delivering feedback. Millennials, on the other hand, don’t always take feedback in a form that could be construed as deep criticism.

        Being constructive with feedback ensures that we don’t coddle millennial workers but also tell them the things they need to hear.

        10. Maintaining a Network of Connectivity

        Instead of proposing a business that’s ambitiously and entirely disruptive to the supply or process chain in a respective industry, foster connections with other companies that cater to the same target customers as long as they provide a different service.

        By creating partnerships, both you and other businesses thrive simultaneously through creative avenues for customers to utilize your products and services for a holistically improved user experience.

        Sole market disruption isn’t always the best strategy to take. Not everybody has the opportunity, bandwidth, or financial capacity to dominate and monopolize a marketplace. See your potential for integration into other businesses and services as a good opportunity for co-collaborative marketing efforts with shared campaigns, split costs, and a strengthened customer database for everyone to tap into.

        How to Develop This Skill

        Regardless of the stage your business is in, never stop looking for ways to expand your network. Keep in contact with mentors you can look to for valuable industry advice that can help you avoid pitfalls and costly mistakes. Strengthen brand awareness by attending cross-industry events and casual meet-ups to open your business to reinvention and innovation.

        As the African proverb goes:

        “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

        Collaborating will get you where you want to go quicker and gear you up for further growth.

        More Tips on How to Succeed in Business

        Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

        Reference

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