Recent surveys show a growing trend to increasingly employ content marketing as a significant component of an overall advertising mix. The effectiveness of content marketing hinges on information that is current, relevant, and of value to the consumer.
The content must distinguish itself and stand out from the thousands of marketing messages that the average person is exposed to each day. And the key to this distinction that content marketers strive for is most certainly the quality and pertinence of the ad copy used.
Writing good copy is not a natural talent or gift, but rather it is a specific skill that must be learned and mastered over time. And the result can always be improved by careful proofreading and editing by the writer, followed by additional proofreading, editing, and improvement by any colleagues that are available and willing. While this applies to all advertising copy, copy destined for use in content marketing is further distinguished by the need for specific relevance, as mentioned above. Whereas traditional advertising copy is designed primarily to persuade and motivate a potential consumer through scripts for standard advertising formats such as TV and radio, copy employed within content marketing must deliver sought out and useful information in a crystal clear and easily understood manner.
Content Marketing Defined
Content marketing can be defined as providing a broad range of non-promotional information to attract, engage, and convert potential consumers through offerings designed to:
- Provide Information
- Solve Problems
- Tell Stories
Even if you don’t know what content marketing is, you are no doubt exposed to it every day in a variety of forms and through assorted tactics including:
- Blog Posts
- Social Media Posts
- Case Studies
Content marketing has grown from its limited beginnings as simple blog posts and advertorial strategies to become the broad range of tactics used today. All are designed for reach and appeal to a specific target audience. Content marketing differs from advertising in that it deliberately avoids being overly promotional. Instead, choosing to provide potential consumers with useful content they either want or need. Instead of using specific sales promotions, content marketing is designed to entertain, educate, inspire, or inform, yet still manage to benefit both your brand and your target audience!
Content Marketing vs. Copywriting
Content marketing and copywriting are different, and again, perhaps they are not. Traditionally, copywriting involves crafting wording to reach a potential customer and encourage them to take a specific action such as making a purchase, contacting you for more information, or visiting your website. On the other hand, content marketing is concerned with the creation of free content of value designed to attract and hopefully convert prospects into customers and eventually into repeat purchasers.
If your content marketing is failing to attract the traffic it deserves, the problem could very well be ineffective copywriting that ignores the basics.
The problem could start with a failure to include proper keywords that attract traffic in the first place. That can be further compounded by dull headlines that give folks no reason to click through to the remainder of the content, or titles that are trying too hard to be cute and clever.
Failing to craft compelling, quality headlines that clearly convey how your content will benefit or reward readers can quickly result in the underlying content going unnoticed or being ignored. And even with a good headline, if the underlying content fails to build rapport or trust, readers you do attract are unlikely to return to your website for more. The proper use of effective copywriting techniques will give readers a reason to share your content with other readers, helping you to build an ever-increasing audience over time.
Why Your Copy Matters
It is essential to start with topics that are extremely relevant to the intended target audience. Properly constructing the title of the content so that it mentions the exact problem or clearly states the issue to be solved will result in the most clicks. The content itself should avoid being promotional. While your business, product, or service is one that addresses the need stated in the title, you may not even want to mention it by name within the content. As David Beebe, Content Marketing Advisor for Marriott International, has said,
“Content marketing is like a first date. If all you do is talk about yourself, there won’t be a second date.”
While content marketing specifically avoids directly promoting your business, product, or service, the inclusion of an offer or call to action will often greatly enhance the effectiveness and your return! This is never a hard sell, but it is usually the offer of something completely free designed primarily to capture email addresses. Anything that has value to your target audience, especially if it’s something unobtainable elsewhere, will serve to demonstrate expertise and create familiarity in the potential customer’s mind. Items such as free e-books, special reports, free consultations, or any other opportunity that entices prospective customers to make a connection with you can serve this purpose.
Content Marketing Strategy
Planning an effective content marketing strategy is essential to the success of your efforts, and should include:
- Clearly Stated Goals
- Defined Target Audience
- Specific Content Strategy
- Distribution Plan
- Reporting and Measurement
Beware of confusing content strategy with content marketing strategy.
While they are certainly related concepts, they are very different in meaning and planning, design, and implementation. While content marketing strategy is concerned with having an effective overall plan for using content marketing, content strategy involves the development of good quality, useful, usable content.
It’s essential that content marketing is thought of as just one component of a larger, comprehensive advertising strategy for your business, product, or service. As with most things in the business world, a balanced and continuous approach will usually end up being your best option for producing ever-increasing results. The undeniable benefits of a combined advertising strategy include boosting visibility, enhancing reputation, and making you stand out from the competition.
An approach that is well planned and cohesive should produce the greatest success over time when contrasted with a strategy relying only on traditional or non-traditional methods alone. In most cases, you are likely to find that partnering closely with an experienced advertising agency or marketing firm will only increase the buying power of your available advertising budget.
While current media trends show that TV, radio, print, billboards, logos, and direct mail all continue to be valuable to any marketing strategy designed to deliver effective messaging to potential customers, adding content marketing to the mix should make a significant difference in both branding and in attracting new consumers to your business, product or service.
In a focused demographic, like East Texas, the value of enlisting the expertise of a long-time, advertising professional such as the Twenty East Agency in Tyler, can never be overemphasized.