A Guide to Content Marketing

Content Marketing

This guide on content marketing was created by Breanna Harmer, a student at the University of Montana who once swam with whale sharks.

Pinpointing where, to begin with how to market a brand starts at the brand’s core values. This involves what the company stands for and how they want to portray their image to the public. It has become more difficult to stand out when there is endless competition. Consumers are flooded with an average of 5,000 ads per day. The world of ad men is dead and the digital age has bridged us all into content marketing.

content marketing graphic with little icons showing a phone, magnified glass, internet icon and a light bulb.
content marketing

“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer actions.” – Forbes

There are 5 main types of Content Marketing:

  1. Infographics
  2. Webpages
  3. Podcasts
  4. Videos
  5. Books

There are many more in addition to these, given that there are as many types of content maketing as there are of content.

Infographics

infographic template 101
infographic 101

The term infographics sounds alarming but they tend to take overwhelming information and make it feel excisable to the general public. It is the ability to make data tell a story. This type of content marketing will only aid the growth of certain companies given that they are data-based. For example, LumenAd is a tech company located in Missoula, MT. On their home page, there is a conglomerate of infographics that show new customers how LumenAd can help their company grow. LumenAd implemented a continues color scheme on their graphics backed by numbers, charts and other visuals that allow people to see the potential of their company. All this enables them to be understood without coming across as being too nerdy or confusing.

infographic cartoon

One of the backbone values to LumenAd is to stay humble and they are known for showing up to conferences in their jeans. Infographics are a perfect fit for a company like this. Infographics act like a good doctor who is capable of explaining your sickness without making you feel incompetent. In contrast to a bad doctor who just shoots out anatomy terminology while you stare blankly. The strategy for implementing infographics would not bode well for someone who is selling a low entry point item. For example, low-margin clothing, shoes, basic stationery, etc do not need an infographic to explain the benefits of obtaining the product. Infographics are built to break into high-margin companies that are typically service-based. There is room in the industry for this way method of marketing to grow. Companies like Inforgraphic World solely build graphics for companies. They are trusted by over 100 Fortune 500 companies and excel in conveying data in an accessible manner. They have worked with Nike, Johnson & Johnson and even Google. The company started in 2009 by Justin Beegel who was just 26 at the time. According to Neomam, almost 50% of our brain is involved in visual processing, 70% of our all of our sensory receptors are located in our eyes and we can get a sense of a visual scene in less than 0.01 of a second. All of these attributes to us craving the use of infographics to digest information. We as humans are also overstimulated. Our brains need to filter through 5x the material that it had to in 1986 and most people will only read 28% of the information listed on a website. By adding infographics, enables people to let the information come to them as opposed to needing to look for it.

Webpages

Webpages are the single page within a website, they are often just called “pages.” This method of content marketing is the most versatile for many reasons. One is that the internet is vital for a company’s survival. If a single webpage for a company can not be found on the internet, they are essentially irrelevant at this point. A good rule of thumb is that a company’s webpage should be its main source of marketing. Companies can link desired consumers to other marketing sources within the website, proving that attention should be given to the development of it.

Think of it as the kitchen within a home. A modern kitchen is open, welcoming, centrally located and even without trying, is where everyone gathers. A website has the same effect.

open kitchen, created on illustrator

There are endless options on what is the best method of building a website. There are web designers who can make ideas into a reality in a way that many website builders are not able to due to having constraints. Although there are minimal constraints with a web designer, it is more costly. If the business is small, in its growth stage and or not profitable yet, a website builder is probably the best option. These platforms are a great starting point and can cost very little while still getting a lot out of it. This is especially true with companies that are changing constantly. A simple menu change or new retail arrival could cost fortunes to update and create a lot of frustration. This is where semi-premade platforms come in handy. Businesses like Squarespace, WordPress, Sitey have all monopolized on this issue. By purchasing a subscription to one of these, the user becomes the web designer without needing to even know to code. They can log on at 11:35 am with a new menu and have everything to be live by noon at the lastest. This is a huge asset to businesses because products are always changing and with that, they need to be marketed. By utilizing these tools while in the growth stage, a company has the potential to hire a web designer further down the line. When it comes to whether or not you should hire a web designer vs website builder, remember the famous words of DJ Quik

“If it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense.”

The biggest take away on webpages is that it doesn’t matter specifically how one is made, but there defiantly needs to be one.

Podcasts

Podcasts are constantly changing and it has become a world of marketing that is not just for absorbing information. The stereotype of podcasts being all blah blah blah is dead and people have become more and more excited about finding ones that pertain to them. There are athletes with podcats, authors and even Instagram influencers who are using this platform to further market themselves. The action of playing a podcast while being able to go through the motions of your day is ingenious. This is essentially a marketer’s dream, having the ability to relay your message to possible consumers in what they feel to be completely organic. In some ways, podcasts have a competitive advantage over video. For example, people cannot watch video while driving, working out at the gym or outdoors. These times have turned into popular times for people to get in the daily fix of their favorite podcast.

women wearing headphones
person with headphones

The great thing about podcasts is that they don’t take much to get started. There is only one visual needed for the cover and the rest is all audio. This is a big deal for small businesses who are thinking of jumping into the world of podcasts. With minimal startup, it costs virtually nothing and won’t take too much time away from the current staff. It makes a good additional form of marketing for the right business. It could be augured that every business is the right business for a podcast but the differentiating factor is the speaker. Without having the correct speaker who can portray the company’s audio “vision”, the whole thing might be a waste of time. The trick is finding someone confident, clear and able to branch into connecting subjects seamlessly. The Podcast Host suggests drawing up an outline that addresses the purpose of the podcast and topics that the creator wants to tackle. This allows for structure and creativity to, hopefully, blend into one. Oddly enough, one of the most successful podcasts is by McDonald’s addressing why they choose to limit the distribution of their “sauce.” People want to know and they are listening in and maybe, just maybe, after a long day of hearing about that special sauce, they might just find themselves at the closest MickyD’s drive-thru on their way home. Many big-name companies are turning to podcasts in hopes of forming this relationship with their customers. Sephora, Microsoft and even eBay. Given that they don’t cost much to make if, anything, there is very minimal to lose if they don’t work out.

Video

As mentioned earlier, people are being flooded with ads like never before. It is difficult for companies to break through the ad barrier than we have all subconsciously built to protect ourselves. An extremely effective way to get through to people has consistently been video. This is due to it being an extremely engaging form of marketing that can be transformed to target anyone willing to watch. A properly done video ad can get even the laziest buyer to buy, states DreamGrow.In 2018, they found that 63% of businesses were using video marketing to gain customers. This number has certainly grown since then. Given that people are now abler than ever to shoot quality video even on their phone, there isn’t any reason not to do it. The trick is figuring out the type of video that works best for getting people to understand your business.

marketing funnel
marketing funnel

Whether that be a story, informative, question answered based, etc. A good place to start is by checking out youtube for inspiration. With 300 hours of video content being posted every minute, it is packed with all the ins and outs that someone could need. To say that it is a library of resources would be an understatement. A business can have multiple different types of videos within their site that target customers that are at different stages within the funnel. This is a great way to widen the possibilities for a sale and keep things fresh on the site. A personal favorite, for when it comes to video, is the act of storytelling. This has grown in popularity as more businesses become aware of the importance of having their brand stand for something. A company called Nena & Co creates sustainable, fairtrade handbags in Guatemala and excels with their marketing both on their website and as well on other platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Here is a video that the company created explaining their process and what goes into making each bag.

It’s insightful, not too long and makes the consumer feel like their purchase matters. It adds value too because the customer needs validation when spending around $300 for a handbag. It wouldn’t be as effective for a lower margin product because with that, the person is either going to buy it or they won’t. With the endless competition out there and other companies doing similar things, a video with a story is another way for Nena & Co to be seen through the ad barrier.

Books

The last form of content marketing might be the one dying at the quickest rate. They are timely to create, take time to get through, they are expensive to print and expensive to buy. You guessed it, books.

Book sales of paperback and hardback books have still outshined those of ebooks.

“I think the e-book bubble has burst somewhat, sales are flattening off, I think the physical object is very appealing. Publishers are producing incredibly gorgeous books, so the cover designs are often gorgeous, they’re beautiful objects.” –CNBC

woman with books
woman with books

This is a solid point, how appealing is it to own something that you can simply grab, look at and feel. The kindle works well for travelers or those who read a tremendous amount. The average price for one is around $10, making it rather affordable to check off the next book on the list.

The issue is that times have changed and the way that people consume information has also changed. Podcasts are growing at an extremely fast rate due to them being able to be integrated into a daily routine, appose to something like a video or book where time needs to be set aside and be consumed solely while sitting down.

We are a distracted society. 88% of Americans report being on their phone or tablet while watching TV. Getting through a book without distractions almost feels archaic. There are exceptions but for the most part, the marketing business by using books is not going to be the most useful method. The upside to this is that the other forms of content marketing are connected to the web so if a consumer does decide to make a purchase, they are already right there. Marketers are then able to track where the sale came from and what form of marketing the sale steamed from. This allows the business to further growth in that department with the hope of making more and more sales.

Overall, most of these forms of marketing are simple, cost-effective and easily changeable if they do not work. Companies need to try different techniques to figure out what works best.

conversation between a penguin and a cat
conversation between a penguin and a cat

Data service-based companies can benefit from infomercials and videos. These help the customer understand what the company is selling and why it is worth it to them in the long run. Podcasts are great for influencers, stores, and even athletes who are trying to get their names out there. This type of marketing is developing quickly and people are enjoying that it doesn’t take time out of their day. Video is a staple but somewhat in the shake-out stage of its lifecycle. It is struggling with people being distracted but still has a strong amount of those who can stay captive. As far as books go, if the company hasn’t already invested money into them, don’t. This is in the decline stage and it is hard to track the effectiveness of the consumer when it comes to future sales.

 

 

 

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