You wake up and grab your phone. Before leaving bed, you read an email newsletter. Throughout the day, you stream videos, listen to a podcast, and post a photo to a weekly Instagram challenge. It may not feel like it, but these pieces of your everyday experience are the result of a business’s content marketing strategy.
What is content marketing?
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “the strategic marketing approach of creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
In other words, content marketing is a way to sell products and services without overtly “selling” something. Instead, as people regularly engage with content that provides something meaningful their lives – information, entertainment, or community support – they arrive at decisions to use a business’s products or services because of the knowledge and experiences the business has provided them.
Let’s return to that email newsletter you read this morning. It was casual, and it had tips about healthy living. You started receiving it weekly when you attended a local nighttime cooking class. You like everything you’ve been learning and trying from the emails, and you’re looking forward to attending another class.
This is content marketing at work. You, the customer, are interacting with valuable (gaining new knowledge and skills), relevant (related to your health), consistent (weekly) content, and it’s driving you to profitable action (attending another class) for the business.
Content marketing works because it makes customers more than consumers. They are actively part of a business’s mission and experience. They develop trust in a business – because it’s doing more than selling to them. It’s helping them solve problems and work toward personal or professional fulfillment.
Content marketing can work for any kind of organization, and success means more than profit. It’s holding onto customers and getting leads. A good content marketing strategy also saves money per lead, over time.
What does a content marketing agency do?
Content marketing is more than emails. It’s blog articles, audio, video, online communities, free and paid apps, interactive experiences (like using QR codes), augmented reality, virtual reality, and more. It’s what people interact with in their everyday lives.
Here are a few common tasks that a content marketing agency might handle for its clients:
In 2018, 55% of marketers designated blogging as their top content marketing priority. Why? It’s a way to reach customers that allows them to digest content and build familiarity at their own leisure. A business can use the copywriting services of a content marketing agency to ensure consistency and quality content – written by professionals experienced with producing content and employing best marketing practices.
Globally, 3.2 billion people are on social media, and many people access social media throughout the day on their phones. A content marketing agency’s social media marketing services can help businesses find unique ways to connect with their customers in a way that speaks to their personal needs and interests, building relationships that are a natural part of customers’ everyday experiences.
Good content retains customers, but customers and leads must be able to find content. SEO (search engine optimization) services provided by a content marketing agency improve business content by using analytics tools, making it more likely to be indexed by search engines and accessed by internet users .
A good content marketing plan can be supplemented with advertisements. With a variety of digital venues for advertisement, navigating set-up and follow-through can be overwhelming. A content marketing agency can generate advertisements aligned with a business vision and overall marketing strategy.
Businesses uncertain about tackling individual pieces of a marketing plan can rely on a content marketing agency to help with their public relations strategy. By working with an agency on PR initiatives, a business can get help developing a brand, setting goals, and getting media attention from relevant publications and influencers.
Developing and implementing a content marketing strategy is a long-term investment for a business. Through engaging customers with content they connect to their personal goals and experiences, content marketing builds a reliable customer base that leads to business profit and visibility.
If your business is interested in developing or improving its content marketing strategies, Lightning Media Partners can help. Learn more about our comprehensive service packages here.