If you want to remain competitive in the current digital marketing climate, then content marketing is what you have to truly excel at. However, that’s not necessarily easy to accomplish — and in some cases, it’s much easier said than done! However, there is good news to follow when it comes to excelling at content marketing, even though this type of marketing requires not just technical skills but content-creation ones as well.
In fact, there are ways to harness the power of content marketing even if you’re not an expert on content marketing techniques — or even if you’re not a marketer at all. The answer isn’t to go through a crash course on content marketing, though you can do that if you want to. In reality, the fastest way to get up to speed on content marketing — and to remain competitive — is to find someone to partner with to make it easier for you in the long run.
Content Marketing in a Nutshell
Yet before we get into all those things, there are some things that we need to establish. In particular, it’s crucial to have an excellent working definition of content marketing in order to differentiate it from other types of digital marketing techniques.
So if you can’t talk about content marketing without digital marketing, let’s take a brief look. With the advent of the internet, traditional marketers flooded into digital spaces and began to use what they had learned and perfected in older, traditional media types like print ads. This led to web page banner ads, which soon gave way to pay-per-click and, eventually search engine marketing.
From SEO to Content Marketing
Search engine optimization was at the top of the table for a long time. By many accounts, SEO is still the digital marketing technique to beat. Yet the face of digital marketing has changed — and changed rapidly — with the introduction of the smartphone and the increases in mobile connectivity it drove. Now everyone seems to have a mobile device, and with it came new methods for marketing, such as through social media.
Newer, more transparent and perhaps even more authentic digital marketing methods emerged as well, methods that focused more on telling stories and engaging with consumers on a more honest level and less on direct selling to those consumers. Suddenly, the content of the marketing materials mattered much more than the call to action. This has led to the current state of content marketing, which seeks to add value first instead of driving sales volume.
Content marketing, while unmistakable when you see it, is also surprisingly varied. There are many different approaches to content marketing, from creating video content to YouTube to sharing images on social media or even creating custom-designed websites and sharing content such as longer-form articles and blog posts there. As long as the content you share forges those honest and positive connections with consumers, your brand will benefit from those connections.
A Brand by Any Other Name is Sweet
Keeping the goals of content marketing in mind — raising awareness of your brand and what consumers can gain from it, all without using old and tired advertising methods — isn’t easy. It needs a deft hand on the tiller and a good weather eye, and you only get that with specialized knowledge and experience. If you don’t have either, how are you supposed to tell the world what an incredible company you have for them to enjoy?
Your digital marketing content should be as unique and vibrant as your company. Traditional advertising methods, even traditional ones that have been adapted to the digital sphere, still aren’t going to be your best bet due to the tendency of modern audiences to find such content inauthentic. In the good old days, you might have benefited from getting as much attention as you could in any way you can, but the days of the marketing stunt are over. These methods are absolutely looked down upon today by the average modern consumer, with research showing that suspicion and cynicism in consumers run quite high in the minds of those who are subjected to traditional marketing and advertising.
This is exactly why it’s become standard to use content marketing in an online environment. Showing consumers that you’re not an old dinosaur that can’t evolve past traditional marketing methods to brute-force your way to market dominance is important. Today, consumers want to do business with companies that aren’t faceless behemoths but are instead composed of thinking, feeling people who are a part of their community and that sell goods and services that enrich lives. Doing so breaches that armor of suspicion and cynicism that modern consumers have clothed themselves in. Forging honest, authentic connections to consumers — and not just to their money — is the key here.
The Nuts and Bolts of Digital Content Marketing
There’s no argument that you’re going to need to use digital marketing techniques to market your company. Using content marketing is hands-down the best way to accomplish this, as it’s been proven to be much more effective when it comes to lead generation when compared to older digital marketing methods — three times more effective in fact, according to research. Sharing content digitally to social media is often one of the most effective ways of doing so, but there’s more to it than just hitting that “share” button; in fact, you need a deep understanding of not just how but when and where to share content marketing material if you want to get your brand out there and see your engagement figures increase.
Digital marketers with little to no content marketing experience have little in the way of that knowledge. Business owners who do their own marketing but don’t have any formal training are in an even less advantageous position. Just because you think that sharing content on social media is a good idea, you might not know for sure how important it is without that knowledge; for example, if you don’t know what the Pew Research Center has found that more than two out of every three Americans are on Facebook, you might not take social media that seriously. You also wouldn’t know that YouTube as a social media platform is even bigger, with 72 percent of Americans using it.
Reaching Out for the Help You Need
You can’t argue with the statistics. Using digital marketing today means content marketing, especially in conjunction with social media. If you want to grow your company brand — or if you want to run a successful marketing campaign for a client — you can’t choose anything besides content marketing. With modern consumers looking down on pre-internet traditional marketing methods, or even just pre-content-based digital marketing methods, you have little to no choice in that matter.
The challenge, therefore, is to put together an effective content marketing campaign. Yet if you lack the skills or experience needed — or the time to learn and accumulate these skills — you may feel like you have nowhere to turn. Meanwhile, you might not have the wherewithal to hire on a specific full-time content marketer, especially if you’re on a shoestring budget. In this case, it obviously behooves you to find a partner with the skills and experience you lack to fill in the gaps for you.
You Don’t Have to Go It Alone
Shake off the idea that you’ve got to do everything yourself. You can’t use content marketing without the appropriate content to market, which is why you won’t get far unless you locate a partner that can produce the content you need. This can take many different forms — for instance, a blogging or ghostwriting service provider — that has the ability to collaborate with you and produce content that’s been customized to your company’s needs. Such partner companies can create narratives through content that can be published to a website and then be shared on social media.
The depth and breadth of the relationship you forge with your content creation partner are completely up to you and your needs. The amount of outside help you decide to use is dependent on a number of factors, first and foremost is the amount and type of content you need. The number of resources you want to invest in this content will also have a heavy influence on quality, as will your choice of partner. There’s no guarantee that your content marketing campaign will come out successful, as even the most meticulously-planned campaigns can fail to ignite the imaginations of consumers, but your best bet will always be to partner with an expert in creating content marketing materials in order to remain competitive in the current marketing landscape.