The term “content marketing” is one that’s used extensively by website development agencies, marketing professionals, and online businesses alike. But, like many of the buzzwords we digital agency types love to use, for those outside the profession, there is confusion about what it actually means.
For this blog post, we decided to try and demystify the content marketing concept:
- What content marketing actually means;
- What goes into building content marketing campaigns;
- Why businesses need a content strategy;
- And how a content marketing agency like The Bank can help you leverage the power of content to generate awareness and reach your business goals.
Sound good? Then let’s get started…
So, What Is Content Marketing?
At its core, content marketing is the process of creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content with the goal of attracting and retaining a clearly defined audience—and, ultimately, driving profitable customer action. Top content marketing agencies will use a mix of SEO, social media, and email marketing to achieve these objectives.
Still sound complicated? Consider sponsored editorial, such as the PR-type outreach that might have traditionally appeared in magazines or newspapers (and which still does to some extent). Similar to these editorial spots, content marketing involves the creation and distribution of informative, engaging and inspiring content which has been carefully curated by the brand in question.
Sponsored Content for the Digital Age
The digital age has flipped the concept of sponsored editorial content. No longer are brands reliant on media publications for the mass distribution of company messaging. Businesses now have the ability to publish their own content, across their own channels, whenever they choose, and at a fraction of the upfront cost.
The most forward-thinking and ambitious brands are effectively able to use their websites, blogs, and social media channels as canvases for innovative thought leadership pieces, branded stories, and creative materials that engage with old and new customers alike.
Content Creation as a Pillar of Your Digital Marketing Strategy
Content creation covers many potential bases across a company’s digital strategy, though there are two primary benefits:
Attract, Share, Act
Creating content for your company helps to attract search clicks, boost shares, and—ultimately—encourage buyers to act. By using keyword analysis as a strategic basis for its creative team, a business can achieve content which specifically targets consumer intent. Whether this means developing material that answers a question or which showcases in-depth expertise, your content can help you to reach fresh clients and compel them to take action.
The second application for content marketing is content which is published on other people’s channels. Likely, this will ultimately link to you—a strong SEO performance metric—and will increase buyer awareness and strengthen intent.
Examples of this practice include sponsored articles, videos, or product placements that are hosted on other websites, with your content marketing efforts crossing over into the worlds of PR, influencer marketing, events, and more. The key difference is that you control the content.
Another example of this type of content marketing is on-page content on platforms such as Amazon or eBay—using rich media to manage and support your brand on the most popular third-party networks.
The Role of a Content Marketing Agency
A good content marketing agency should sit comfortably within your digital marketing mix, but should also be mindful of traditional media. It should facilitate an avenue for your creative to be deployed across digital and traditional channels, and focus on strategies that allow you to utilise your content investment to its full potential.
A top content marketing agency will focus primarily on creating amazing assets: not only good copy about your products or services, but also video, pictures, photos, illustrations, and models, all of which can complement your brand offering.
The creative they produce is designed to influence people about your product, answer their questions, and compel action, whether this is through demonstration, promise, or any other combination that plays into a consumers’ buying decisions.
A content-based digital marketing company occupies a unique spot in the marketing mix: its brief is specific, but its output touches all other channels, both physical and digital.
Let’s say you’re producing video content. With the right level of planning, you can maximise this time to also obtain photography, products illustration and diagrams, offshoots of video assets that can be utilised via other media, and a write-up of everything that makes your product great. Not to mention the voice-over from the actors who are acting for your brand. These assets will be used by marketers across the organisation to reach audiences and boost client outreach.
A digital agency focusing on content strategy will not only assist in the development of creative; they will introduce tools and ideas for using these assets across your digital marketing platforms. This means your content can be used for social media marketing, video streaming platforms, audio streaming placements, and influencer marketing feeds where you are both in control of the content assets and feeding these influential platforms with consistent, on-brand assets that boost the extent and effectiveness of your campaigns.
In summary, content marketing agencies take a broad view of the creative assets that they control.
Content Marketing Services and Digital Strategy
The most crucial element of the content marketing process is to ensure that the material you’ve created actually reaches its target audience and performs as intended.
Achieving this requires a mix of digital marketing services, with SEO, social media, and email marketing all playing their part in getting your content seen by those who matter most.
Specifically, content marketing agencies should be assisting their clients in the following areas:
Your content marketing agency should be generating great ideas. They should work in conjunction with your other creatives and uniquely interpret content opportunities which are everywhere.
With The Bank, this usually starts with what people are asking across a range of networks. Often with such questions, they aren’t related specifically to your product. They are not: “what’s the best carpet washer to get wine out of a carpet?” They are: “how do you get wine out of a carpet quickly?”
Discerning the difference is the heart of a good content marketing agency. Answering the question innovatively is what makes your agency industry experts.
As a brand marketer, you live and breathe your brand each day. You’re in it, you’re selling it—whether consciously or unconsciously—because you love and own it. In the above example, the brand marketer brainstorms content based exclusively on their product filling every facet of their website and social feed with product features and benefits, rather than examining the search behaviour of their clients and customers.
A content-focused digital marketing agency should understand that consumers don’t think in a product-first manner. They’re motivated by the problem, not your product as the solution.
- How do I lose weight?
- What’s the best way to get out of debt?
- How to run a marathon?
They do not ask:
- Which diet plan is best to lose weight?
- What interest-free credit card might help me get out of debt?
- Which running shoe will help get me up to marathon-level fitness?
The job of the content marketing agency is to position your product as the answer to those issues. You need to raise awareness and aspiration that your brand is going to solve the problem. Then create the content which does this best.
The goal of your content marketing agency is to frame creative in a way that “makes sense” to its clients. Perhaps if your TV asset shows a car hurtling across the plains of the Saraha, your content marketing strategy can show it in real environments here in the UK. This could mean using aspirational influencers to take on their own Sahara. You make the vehicle real for the end user.
Alternatively, if you’ve got a well-known face consuming your brand on outdoor media, show real users consuming it across your content. The celebrity raises the awareness, your channels then reinforce it. Let content come from the consumption of your product for the benefit of others.
The Bank: A Digital Content Marketing Agency
The Bank can create not only the big ticket media campaign but the more intricate content that compliments and helps to convert. This turns your main campaign into genuine selling assets. We can assist clients to craft content from existing creative tools and assets, or our consultancy team can help you create entire campaigns from the ground up, with content marketing a core part.
The development, management, and implementation of brand content can no longer be an afterthought. Your creative is key to showing the life of your company and to generating sales across the funnel. Make sure that your content marketing agency can provide all of these things, and you’re guaranteed a productive partnership.