More and more people are using the internet to conduct their business and personal affairs. By 2015, 86.8 percent of the U.S. population had home computers, and there are now 4.77 billion mobile phone users worldwide, according to statistics from 2017. Easy access to the internet means easy access to a world of information. If people need to know the best way to cook a lobster, how to gain more subscribers, or how to win at the hottest new video game, that content is just a few button presses or screen swipes away. If you aren’t running an online content marketing campaign, you’re missing out on a massive audience that has the potential to boost your brand.

Why Is Online Content Marketing Important?

The value of online content marketing is hard to ignore when you consider statistics relating to modern internet usage. A staggering 53 percent of the world population uses the internet, with 95 percent penetration in North America. With that many people seeking a daily download of information, it makes sense to have an online presence.

To take full advantage of an online marketing campaign, you need compelling content. Internet users are becoming increasingly desensitized to traditional advertisements. Many use ad-blocking software to make sure plugs for products they aren’t interested in don’t interrupt their browsing session. Those users are looking for answers to everyday problems, and that’s where your content comes into play.

Online content marketing is inbound marketing that gives potential customers a reason to engage with your business. They come to you for answers to questions. In finding those answers, they learn more about your brand. And they learn the ways you can help.

The true value of this kind of marketing is you don’t pay for visibility in the search ratings. You don’t need to bombard customers with advertisements they didn’t ask to see. You just need to publish valuable content that people are interested in reading, and they’ll come to you. Get it right, and you could produce three times as many leads as you would with an outbound campaign. And, for up to 62 percent less in marketing costs.

Getting Started with Online Marketing

Not all online content marketing campaigns have the same goal in mind. You may have a very general aim, such as increasing revenue; or you may have a very specific goal, such as improving engagement with middle-aged businesspeople. Once you know what your aim is, it’s possible to think about the type of content you want to make, and where you intend to share it.

Select Your Subject

Quality content is key to the success of your online campaign. It’s possible to establish what kind of content you need by monitoring the popularity of various searches to identify keywords. For example, in 2017, tech continued to be a major concern. The two of the top three most-common searches related to iPhones. That could be a valuable angle for promoting your product line. Just bear in mind that if you let keywords drive your content, your content should still remain relevant to your business. Use your existing customer data to derive an understanding of the type of people your product appeals to, and then consider ways to speak directly to that demographic.

Create Quality Content

Once you know what you want to say, you need to find a way to say it. There’s a wealth of information online, and you need to make sure your content has the necessary draw. Accurate, well-researched content is more likely to be successful, but you need to make sure you’re placing that content where the right people will see it. Some of the most common forms of content include:

Videos:

In a fast-paced world, bite-sized chunks of information dished up in instantly engaging visual media is essential, and 51.9 percent of marketing professionals rank video as the best type of content for return on investment. The four most-popular types of video are “how to” guides, explainers, testimonials, and product demonstrations. Live streams present an opportunity to engage with the audience.

Blogs:

Maintaining a business blog is a good idea, and is often a core element in an online content marketing campaign. Regularly posting valuable content keeps your site relevant and interesting.
Long-form content: Writing longer articles is an extension of blogging. This type of content takes more time to produce, but is a great way of building engagement, and brings in the people who don’t enjoy the more common short-form blogs that many sites use. If you offer your articles on a subscription basis, they’re also a good way of expanding your database with customer details.

White papers:

68 percent of marketers use white papers. These papers are incredibly in-depth, with a strong focus on educating rather than selling. They take a lot of time and research to produce, so they often require a dedicated writing team or a freelancer. But as they offer a complete breakdown of a specific problem and propose a solution, they have the potential to attract a lot of interest, especially in the business-to-business sector, where professional papers are highly valued.

Infographics:

Pictures speak a thousand words, and an infographic expresses a number of statistics or short facts in an easily understood way. If you’re concerned that customers don’t have time to read your blogs, posting something with visual flair may be the solution. Infographics are easy to share, improving the chances of expanding your brand’s reach through social media.

Art:

Photographs and memes have the potential to pack a marketing punch. A funny image with a strong call to action may go viral on Instagram, while new memes find a home on Facebook and help you to show off the lighter side of your business.

Analyze Your Results

Whatever form of content you produce, you need to know it’s working the way you intended. It’s important to define a metric for success based on your goals, such as sales, sales leads, viewer retention, or the number of people that provide contact details. Track your results carefully, and take note of what’s working and what isn’t. It’s possible to use this data to shape the future of your campaign and improve the return on your investment.

The Final Word on Getting Started

Online content marketing is a solid way of building your brand, but it takes a lot more effort than a few hastily written blogs published at infrequent intervals. Building a customer base and maintaining customer engagement requires regular publication of quality content. If you don’t have the resources to put together a dedicated team to follow current online trends and produce the content that meets the shifting requirements of customers, you may need to consider outsourcing the work to freelancers. But the first step is always to formulate a plan and set your goals. There’s no point creating articles or hiring writers if you don’t have a fixed idea on what you’re trying to achieve.

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