What is content marketing?

My customers usually ask me about what content marketing is and whether they should invest time and effort into it. So, I’ve decided to create this general article on the topic. 

Definition of content marketing

Content marketing is a process when you create content that seeks to help folks without trying to directly sell your product. Facebook ad “Buy our new SEO course” – not content marketing, but an ad. A blog post “What is SEO and why does your business need it?” – content marketing. 

Do you need to do content marketing?

Yes.

It’s like with sports. If you jog a couple of times per week, and if you go to the gym a couple of times per week, you are getting a sufficient dose of sports. If you are an ordinary person. And if you train for the Olympics, maybe not. 

An ordinary business is any business that sells a product/service. And an Olympics-level business is a magazine. 

What kind of content marketing activities do you need to do? 

It doesn’t depend on you. It doesn’t depend on me.

It depends on ROI within your CRO rounds. 

CRO stands for “Conversion Rate Optimization”. Here’s a good article about CRO. With CRO, you create the first version of your assets (site, blog, YT channel, socials). This is your first round.

At the second round, you set the goal (e.g. “get 10 people to the site per day). Then you create the action plan to try reaching that goal. Then you execute it.

While you are executing it, you’ll start asking questions like these: 

“What is traffic?”, “What kinds of traffic are there?”, “Do I need some specific folks to visit my site?”, “How do I get them to my site?”, “What do I want them to do when they visit my site?”, “How do you grow sales by converting more of the visitors who get to my site?”

Thinking about these questions, you’ll arrive at the following thought – “it’s impossible to make anybody do anything today. Online = freedom of choice. There are only a few ways to attract folks to your site: paid ads, organic search for commercial pages, organic search from informational pages and other assets, affiliate referrals”.

Paid ads are just that. It’s pretty simple to calc ROI here. 

Organic search for your commercial pages will get you only commercial-intent keywords.

Organic search from informational-intent pages and assets (socials, YT channel) is where the content marketing comes into play. 

Start with basic operations in your blog, socials and YT channel. Just set them up and create some assets.

Don’t sweat it. The  first iterations can be truly ugly. You are learning. In the future, you’ll be able to redo or delete them. Marketers who invest too much effort and try to perfect the assets end up with just a few videos and blog posts. Those can be super-duper great, but they’ll be just too few of them to get you some traction. 

Whenever you create any content-marketing assets, you should always think about your customer’s journey. 

You customer’s journey 

It’s a path that your customer takes while looking for products, purchasing one and moving forward. 

The customer’s journey includes 3 stages: 

1. Awareness – this is when a customer realizes that they have a certain need (e.g. they need to groom their dog); they do a couple of Google searches in order to grasp the basics with searches like “Dog grooming LA”. These are the high-frequency keywords that go into your commercial pages.

2. Consideration – this is when the customer goes deeper into the niche. They might google something like “best shampoos for Welsh Terrier after grooming” or “how to groom the Welsh Terrier’s neck”. As you can see, these are long-tail keywords. The longer the keyword, the more intent the search has. These are the keywords that you should write articles about.

3. Decision – the customer might have spent a couple of hours/days/months learning your niche (depending on the niche complexity) and they start feeling the need to make some kind of a decision. You should identify the keywords and generally intent zones that denote this stage. For instance, “should you groom your Welsh Terrier yourself”. Create in-depth and high-value content on these topics and prominently place CTAs on the page. Since the user is close to the purchase decision, you can nudge them into choosing your company. 

Here’s what marketers usually do: 

A. Create the customer persona

Create the general description of the person who’s going to buy your services; it’s best to give that person a name (your real customer) and strategize as if he/she were the only buyer for your business; write down the questions and give answers to them. 

Example (for a dog groomer’s business)

Name

Elon Musk

Age? 

40-ish

Needs? 

Needs to groom his Welsh Terrier

Purchasing capacity? 

$50-$100

Just like with anything in digital marketing, don’t sweat it. Just keep on moving forward. You’ll always be able to go back and expand the customer persona.

B. Create the customer journey

Sit down and imagine that you are the searcher. Think through various ways that you can use to search for your business. Consider various questions that you might have  and related needs you might uncover.

How to choose topics for your content marketing assets?

Instead of just writing about any topics under the sky, you should use the customer journey in order to identify the intent zones you want to cover. 

An intent zone is any “cluster of topics”. For instance, “what kinds of shampoos are best for Welsh Terriers”. You need to groom your Welsh Terrier every 6 months. Thus, anybody who’s googling for the shampoo is a possible customer of your grooming business.

You need to start focusing on those intent zones that are the least saturated with articles from your customers. This means that you’ll need to prioritize because you can’t spend the next 6 months only writing articles for your blog. And you don’t have to be sequential in your content planning. Just pick the content zone where you have low saturation and start writing. 

When you write, try to create a comprehensive review on all the topics related to the niche. But never go overboard. If a user comes for an answer to a specific question like “how to groom Welsh Terrier’s neck area”, give them the answer, and don’t write an in-depth article on anything related to dog grooming. 

At the same time, you can place links and buttons to other materials. Those readers who want to will follow there.

How to manage your content marketing assets? 

One of the best methods to managing your content marketing assets is the method called “Battleship”. Here’s a great video about it

I am sure that you are convinced that content marketing can help you gain more traction and attract more leads to your brand. Now it’s time to put these insights to practice and start creating useful content for your potential customers.