Competition in the content marketing arena is heating up. Statistics show that the number of brands that are actively using content marketing has grown by 12% between 2020 and 2021

To succeed, you have to master content marketing and use creative ways to set yourself apart from competitors. But first, let’s make sure we cover the content marketing basics, from what content marketing is to the types of content you should be creating. 

What’s Content Marketing?

Content means information in written, visual or audible format. It could be anything from blogs; guest contributed articles, white papers, press releases, infographics, social posts, podcasts, webinars, or videos. 

Marketing, on the other hand, is the action of promoting your brand, products, or services. 

Therefore, content marketing is the act of using content to market your products or services. 

Sounds easy-peasy, right? While the definition makes content marketing look deceptively simple, there’s a lot to the process. You have to plan, create, distribute, and publish relevant content through meticulously picked channels. You have to get each of these steps right to reach the target audience and increase product awareness, engagement, and sales. 

Why Content Marketing Is Essential for a Well-Rounded Marketing Plan

Content marketing is a vital component of your overarching marketing plan. As the digital world evolves, customers are discovering and buying products online. 

Content marketing helps you spread the word about your products or services on channels like social media, websites, and email. It creates demand for your products, nurtures leads into customers, and converts frequent customers into brand loyalists. 

How to Use the Content You Create

That said, not all content advances your marketing campaigns— you can’t just throw a bunch of words and pictures out there and expect results. In other words, you must create content that’s relevant, optimized for search, accurate, and resonates with your target audience. 

Moreover, have a predefined list of goals you want to achieve with content marketing. Some core objectives include:

  • Educate prospects about your product and services
  • Generate demand for your product by attracting the right leads
  • Increase conversion to boost sales
  • Build a community of engaged advocates around your brand
  • Build better brand relationships that result in increased loyalty

Types of Content You Should Be Creating

If you’re getting started with content marketing, here are some types of content to focus on:

Tips for Distributing Content Effectively

One huge mistake brands make is publishing content, forgetting about it, and hoping it will bring the desired results. Don’t fall into that trap. For your content to flourish, you need a solid distribution plan. 

As Ross Simmonds, founder of Foundation Marketing Inc, often says, “Publish once, distribute forever.” Here are some tips to help you promote your content: 

1. Repurpose Content

Find new ways to recycle your existing content for different mediums. Take your one-year-old blog post, put a new spin on it and update it to give it a fresh perspective. This could mean converting the blog into a Twitter thread or LinkedIn post.  

This allows the content to reach new audiences on social media. Even if you’d shared the post on social media before, it pays off to reshare. Remember: people who followed you on Twitter a year ago are not the same group following you today. 

2. Partner with Brands From Your Niche

Look around your niche and pinpoint brands that are excelling in content marketing. Reach out to the brand owners with a proposal to partner up on content creation and cross-promotion. 

The chances are that some will reject your proposal, but others will be on board with the idea. When you contribute content for a higher-authority website, you add a link back to your site. Doing so will increase traffic to your website, meaning more people will get to see your content. 

3. Collaborate with Micro-Influencers

Influencer marketing can do wonders for any strategy, big or small. However, if you don’t have a huge budget, check out micro-influencers for an interesting content promotion path. They have a commendable following on social media, email newsletters, or even websites. They engage with their followers on a human level and thus have built authentic connections.

Look for micro-influencers from your niche: this could be anyone whose followers are your target audience. Hint: your content writers can be micro-influencers, too. For example, if you have a writer who runs an email newsletter with over 2,000 subscribers, ask them to share your content with their followers. 

4. Use Email Marketing

Lastly, leverage the power of email marketing to promote your content. 81% of marketers use newsletters to promote their content. Besides adding that to your content distribution checklist, you should try other ways. 

Take Gareth O’Sullivan, Founder at Revealing Britain, for example. Gareth links trend-worthy content in his email signature to complement the email content. This is a viable way to promote your content, and it works if you send and reply to a bunch of emails every day. It brings extra organic traffic to your blog for free. 

How Content Can Feed Your Email Marketing

When you create quality content and promote it, you reap the rewards. One of the biggest signs your content marketing efforts are paying off is an increase in organic traffic

When you grow traffic, sales on your eCommerce store will increase. However, some of your web visitors won’t buy on their first visit to your online store. It will take you multiple engagements to convert them into buying customers. This is where email marketing comes in. 

By sharing the content you’re creating with your email list, you’re able to spread your valuable resources, proving that you’re an authority in your industry and that you’re a trusted resource your leads can depend on. Over time your relationship will grow, and you’ll be able to move those leads through your inbound funnel till they’re ready to make a purchase. 

In order to launch these targeted email campaigns, you need to have access to prospect data and the ability to segment your email list based on qualifying factors. Luckily, BenchmarkONE offers a CRM and marketing automation software that makes this possible. 

Through its tagging feature, you can segment your leads, placing them into lists based on where they are in the buyer’s journey, their industry, business size, etc. This allows you to send them content that is personalized to their needs so you can begin to build that trust and work towards more conversions.

Creating a content marketing strategy is a crucial component of any successful marketing strategy. It takes time and resources, but it’s extremely worth it in the long run. We hope this guide helps you get started.