If your company hasn’t implemented a content marketing strategy yet — well, consider this your sign.
In fact, most advertising experts have already jumped on board the content marketing train.
Even as far back as 2013, 60 percent of top marketers said they put out a minimum of one piece of new content every day. That number has only risen. Today, it’s central to nearly all major brands’ marketing strategies (more on this later).
Of course, there’s a reason content marketing is so popular and ubiquitous. According to DemandMetric, businesses on average, get three times as many leads using content marketing when compared with traditional marketing methods — but the strategy costs 62 percent less.
Up ahead, we’ve outlined some of the major areas you’ll want to hit if you’re new to this method of marketing. Examples are provided from some of the biggest brands in various industries. First, however, let’s have a brief overview of content marketing itself, including what it is and why it works.
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What Is Content Marketing?
Essentially, content marketing is a marketing strategy that trades in “deliverables.”
A deliverable is, as the word implies, something you can deliver or offer to your potential and current customers. In other words, it’s something that people want, and you’re giving it to them for free. Sometimes, they know they want it to begin with, and sometimes, they don’t know they want it until you give it to them.
As a rule, deliverables in content marketing have a few things in common. They’re:
- Useful or valuable in some way
When most people think of content, they think of writing or “copy”. And indeed, blog posts, articles, listicles, and infographics can all be forms of good content for marketing purposes. But content marketing can include other deliverables too, such as:
- How-to lessons
- Tips, tricks, and shortcuts
We’ll go over more of these later on.
Why Is Content Marketing So Critical to any Marketing Strategy?
When it comes to today’s marketing strategies, customers and your audience at large want to know they’re getting something from you. Old marketing techniques like simple advertisements on billboards, TV commercials, flyers in magazines, or logo keychains … well, these can still work. But in this day and age, it’s much more about being able to give your audience something valuable for free.
Most of the time, that is your in.
Then, in exchange for what you are providing, of course, you’re getting a whole list of things back. Just a few are:
More importantly, you’ll also be getting:
- Email addresses and other contact information
- Sharing of your content on social media
- Reviews of your content and/or services and products
If you are new to content marketing, you may be unsure where to begin. So, to help you get started, we’ve provided a list of 7 key content marketing techniques and ideas that nearly always work at generating leads, hyping up your products, and making sales.
7 Content Marketing Ideas for 2022
1. Interactive Content
Interactive content is anything that involves the user taking action to engage with what they’re consuming. For example, user polls, calculators, games, quizzes, engaging maps, and other tools are all forms of interactive content. Compare this with static content, which includes things like articles or videos that users simply read or watch.
Interactive content works because it grabs the attention of your audience and engages them. In short, it makes them stay on your page for longer than they otherwise would.
A great example of interactive content was by Clinique. Clinique was one of the first beauty brands to embrace the idea of different “skin types.” You could take a quiz to find your own. Now, they’re doing the same with their “Foundation Finder” tool. This tool takes customers through a quiz to identify the perfect foundation color for their skin tone. Then, it recommends the best color and foundation for each user.
Ebooks (electronic books) are long-form digital publications that provide in-depth information on a single subject. For example, the AI-powered branding platform, Tailor Brands, has an ebook called “7 Steps to Success: The Beginners Guide to Branding.” It details seven steps for creating and improving upon your business’s brand — super-useful content for any type of business, and, of course, a great way to push readers to work with Tailor Brands.
Ebooks work because they allow you to distribute extensive material on a topic you are an authority on. Furthermore, you can provide it to a large number of people, very quickly. Whereas publishing an actual book takes a long time and is a major investment, anyone with a laptop can write an ebook.
What’s even better is to put your ebook behind a “gate”. For example, ask people to provide their email in order to be sent your free ebook. This bolsters your email list and opens up new selling opportunities.
3. Behind-the-Scenes Content
Getting a “sneak peak” at something is always enticing, and that’s where behind-the-scenes content makes its mark. This type of content allows followers and users
to see the process behind their favorite brands instead of just seeing the finished product.
In addition to piquing follower interest, behind-the-scenes content marketing strategies can also make brands seem more approachable and likable. When your audience sees the individuals behind their favorite products, they can relate better and ultimately become more invested in your brand.
Nike used this approach recently when they released a behind-the-scenes “Meet the Design Crew” video for tennis star Serena Williams’ new clothing line. The video features Serena Williams discussing her design vision alongside footage of the design process and snippets of interviews with some of her team members.
4. User-Generated Content
Creating “challenges” or contests is another way to harness content marketing. This is called user-generated content marketing, and it’s really a way to get people involved. It’s different from simple interactive content (like quizzes and calculators), however, because it’s collaborative.
The reason user-generated content works is that it uses the power of “word of mouth” advertising. In other words, it opens up consumers to advertise your brand for you. They are the ones who engage. They create the content. You just have to provide the prompt.
An example can be seen in a recent user-generated marketing effort led by Levi’s and American R&B artist DaniLeigh — the “Levi High” Challenge.
“Levi High” was a single being released by DaniLeigh. She called on users of Instagram and TikTok to take videos of themselves promoting a healthy body image in Levi jeans. Users would use the hashtag #levihighchallenge and post videos or pictures of themselves wearing Levi’s jeans in a way that promoted body positivity. The hashtag and challenge generated thousands of posts, and a promo code to buy Levi’s jeans was marketed alongside the music-promoting content.
Video is one of the most powerful mediums in the content marketing world. YouTube, Instagram Stories, TikTok, Facebook Live — are all essential video formats that resonate with viewers. Not only is video an ideal way to convey an attractive message to a large group of people in a short amount of time, but when done correctly, it can also be extremely impactful and memorable. Zendesk frequently releases unique and crafty videos to market its products and provide useful tips and advice at the same time. Their recent video Zendesk Sunshine is a great example. It’s cute to look at, entertaining, and delivers key information that Zendesk wants potential customers and users to know about.
These days, it seems everyone is listening to podcasts — usually while performing other mundane tasks like commuting to work, cooking dinner, or doing chores around the house. For businesses wanting to use podcasts to market themselves, podcasts offer numerous benefits.
First, they allow you to provide value to your customers — for free. Remember, that’s key. Next, you’ll ideally be able to build an audience through your podcast, which means more contact with potential buyers and more opportunities to sell your products or services without being too pushy. Slack (a messaging app for business), for example, has a podcast called Slack Variety Pack. It’s about teams, people, and work and offers ambitious content for ambitious people. Finally, it shows you as the expert in your field or industry. That’s important for building trust and a lasting relationship.
Lastly, how-to content is just what the name implies: content that explains how to do something. This might be how to bake brownies, how to write an article, how to use a product, or how to calm a screaming baby. Your business’s how-tos should be related to your industry.
How-to content works because it’s useful and practical to your audience, and that makes it popular, well-received, and shareable. Customers feel a connection with you because you’ve generously offered your unique knowledge for free. It can also make them feel like they’re getting “insider information” that will help them in the long run.
This is what Flyp does, for example. Flyp is a business that helps people “flip” (improve, then sell) their properties. Their content on Instagram is made to promote their services. But it’s also helpful in and of itself. You’ll find posts on flipping techniques, tips for improved staging, and edifying before and after — all of which point visitors in the direction of buying their services.
Use the list of ideas above to start your content marketing wheels turning, then choose one strategy you think you can implement right away, and get started. The sooner you start creating useful content for your audience, the sooner you’ll reap the awesome benefits of this incredibly useful marketing strategy.