by Jeeyan Rostam-Abadi
Vice President of Marketing at Hawke Media.
I love content. There are so many ways to leverage great content and its many different elements.
Most people understand the value of content as a stand-alone. But you can squeeze so much long-term value from it by strategically approaching and leveraging different formats based on your goals and business objectives.
Here’s why content marketing can help your brand take off, and how to use it to its full potential:
Content Is King, Across All Teams
If you understand how each specific team in your company uses content, you can produce synergies to make them stronger. What is your email marketing team trying to accomplish? How about sales or paid media?
If, say, your client has a new product launch that receives press mentions and reviews, your email team could leverage that content in a newsletter. And sales can use content and press to support their initiatives. If you have a content marketing calendar working in conjunction with your sales, marketing and business development teams, your dollar can be stretched further.
Short-Term Spend, Long-Term Gain
Although initially content marketing carries an employee cost — time for ideation, tools to conduct keyword research, production resources such as writing and shooting video, and boosting to a broader audience — it can become super low-cost in the long run, while supporting business initiatives and hitting goals. Digital marketing content can be evergreen, repurposed, republished, amplified, syndicated and seasonal. It can last forever.
Content As An Experience
Events and experiences are technically a form of content, and just like creating written content, even though events can be expensive to ideate, plan and produce, there are so many advantages to them. You can interact directly with your prospects, clients or customers, developing long-lasting partnerships and relationships through networking. And you can get feedback on your products and services.
You can also produce photos and/or videos of the event, which can be broadcasted or repurposed for later use. For example, you could create a sizzle reel to recap the event and then use it for promotional materials the following year. Your event can be covered by the press, giving you additional content that is validated by a reputable third party.
Start By Creating A Game Plan
All these different types of content marketing sound great, but where do you begin? Before you can start leveraging your content, you have to begin content mapping.
There are four questions you should ask while developing your content strategy:
1. What are your objectives?
2. Who is your target audience?
3. What does your audience want or need?
4. What type of content should you use to satisfy those objectives?
Because content has many different purposes depending on what you’re using it for, it can take shape in many different forms. If the purpose of the content is to entertain, you might use a quiz, game, video or competition to captivate your audience. If the purpose is to convert, you might create content through celebrity endorsements, third-party-validated pieces, reviews, online forums, groups or ratings.
Do you want to educate your customers? Try using guides, infographics, trends or e-books. Are you trying to convince and generate demand? Create checklists, demonstrations, case studies or features.
It's About The Journey And The Destination
The benefit of digital content marketing is that it creates a destination, which is a shortcoming of physical, brick-and-mortar-only marketing or other static revenue-generating activity.
Content can generate engagement and revenue while you’re asleep, just like an e-commerce site or any other digital approach to building a business. Content can create traffic, engagement, followers, sales, repeat sales and conversations around your brand. Even if you produced the content a long time ago and haven’t done much with it yet, it’s not going anywhere.
It’s like buying versus renting a house. If you rent a house, it’s almost like a paid advertisement impression on Facebook or Google, where the inventory is finite. Once someone refreshes a page or clicks away, you’ve paid for that brand interaction, but it’s replaced by another brand.
On the other hand, you own your content, and it will live on your site and a search engine results page. As previously discussed, you have already put in the cost to produce and publish the content, but now it’s yours. You own it, and you can do whatever you want with it.
The Gift That Keeps On Giving
Once you launch an advertisement, you can sometimes turn off a campaign, but you can’t make changes to a live advertisement once it’s up. Content is different. You can republish, repurpose, edit and update it because it’s your house, your property.
Once someone clicks on a paid advertisement and buys your product, you have to incur additional spends and use other resources, such as retargeting the customer via email, SMS or paid advertisements to interact with them again. Blogs, newsletters, product launches, ratings and reviews can all be reused without additional spending.
Online content allows you to create a destination where people can continue to come back to gather more information, buy more products or use more services. For instance, just like you can always circle back to the ESPN website for new information and insights (even if it’s not about your sports team), e-commerce brands always have a new offering, even after someone has bought a product or service. Whether it’s blogs, newsletters, reviews, ratings, videos or e-books, content can help keep customers coming back for more.