What Is Content Marketing?

Posted on in Blog, Resources

Because the term has a wide definition, many wonder, “What is content marketing, and why is it important?” In short, content marketing is creating authoritative digital content to answer your audience’s specific questions. The goal of content marketing is to introduce new users to your brand in a helpful manner and to engage your current followers. While the content doesn’t directly promote your business, it establishes you as a thought leader and may mention products or services that are relevant to the topic.

But how do you know which questions your audience has?

How can you get started with content marketing or improve your current strategy?

Start by spending two minutes with Freddy and Gill in this Monday Marketing Minute video: “What is content marketing?” From our marketing agency’s perspective, they discuss key reasons that brands use content marketing and enlist Oneupweb for help.

All caught up? Good! Now let’s go beyond the minute to talk more about what content marketing is and how you can use it to secure more leads and customers.

Content Marketing Examples Using the Sales Funnel

One important technique for effective content marketing is identifying where a piece of content fits in the sales funnel or customer journey. Is the topic top-of-funnel, or does the subject imply that the reader already has an interest in a product or service? Be sure to write the content with this in mind, and create different content to cover the entire funnel.

Using HubSpot’s inbound marketing funnel as our framework, the Oneupweb team put together these content marketing examples for each part of the customer journey.

Step 1: The Awareness Stage

During this first stage of the customer journey, the user knows they have a problem and are looking to solve it, but they aren’t sure where to start. To Google they go! (Or to another search engine.) Will they find your company’s content in top search results, or will your competitor catch their attention instead?

Addressing your customers’ biggest problems with search-optimized content is the best way to start top-of-funnel content marketing.

Try this exercise: Do a Google search for a simple problem that you know many of your customers solved with your product or service. For example, if you provide consulting for mobile workforces, you might search “how to manage mobile devices for a large team.” Do you come up in the search results? If not, do you have an existing piece of content that could be updated to better answer the query?

Content marketing examples for the awareness stage:

  • Whitepapers
  • eBooks
  • Tips sheets
  • Checklists
  • How-to guides
  • Webinars
  • Blog posts
  • Social media posts
  • Videos

Step 2: The Evaluation Stage

Time to help prospective customers evaluate their options. Content marketing for the evaluation stage is about showcasing your differentiators. The content that’s targeting users in this stage should also help qualify your customer by explaining your business offerings instead of simply mentioning or linking to them.

In addition to SEO-focused content, this stage may also involve content such as email newsletters sent to a list of leads. It could also include paid media campaigns with custom landing pages. Work all digital marketing channels with a well-rounded inbound marketing strategy!

Content marketing examples for the evaluation stage:

  • Product-specific and service content
    • Webinars
    • Data sheets
    • Service and product pages
  • Case studies
  • Demos and samples
  • FAQs
  • Reviews
  • Comparison charts
  • Infographics

Even though customers may almost be ready to buy during this stage, just focus on helping them decide – not over-eagerly selling to them:

“No matter what media you choose, the key to results with content marketing is having something interesting or important to say, not just something to sell,” said Susan Greene, copywriter. “Well-written, purposeful content will showcase your company’s expertise and elevate its image in the mind of your customer.”

Step 3: The Purchase Stage

All right – your content has made the consumer aware of your brand, they have read about why you are a good fit to solve their problem. Now it’s time to purchase, right?

Not so fast. The consumer’s attention up to this point doesn’t guarantee a sale. Really, another good answer to “What is content marketing?” would be “a never-ending journey of learning about your audience.”

Think about potential issues preventing your prospective consumers from purchasing. For example, maybe budget is a roadblock for them. This roadblock could be indicated by lots of session drop-offs when users reach your pricing page, or you might find out about it in a survey. If you know that price is a problem, consider offering a coupon or a free trial of your product.

Do whatever it takes to coax your customer to make the right choice. Email drip campaigns can be useful during this stage if you have your prospects’ email addresses. If not, consider retargeting ads that introduce a special offer to users who have engaged with specific pieces of content.

Content marketing examples for the purchase stage:

  • Live demos
  • Coupons
  • Limited-time special offers
  • Free trials
  • Consultations
  • Audits

Use Content Marketing to Move People

There are so many ways to set up a successful content marketing strategy for your brand. Here’s how we recommend getting organized:

Finally, consider enlisting some support to tackle the ultimate content marketing strategy. The experts at Oneupweb will listen to your goals and put the spotlight on your brand. Reach out to us here or call (231) 922-9977 to start the conversation.

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