The term ‘content marketing’ is all the rage these days. According to Google Trends, online interest in the term has increased dramatically from a score of 19 in 2012 to 88 in 2017. However, to many, it is still unclear as to what this term actually means.
[credit: Google Trend]
Understandably, it can be extremely confusing for stakeholders when services are bundled up in different ways. With so much jargon and noise online, it’s often difficult to decide which agency has the best expertise and tools to drive the required results.
Break it down: Earned, paid, and owned media
Content marketing is a widely used term that describes using earned or owned media to meet marketing objectives such as customer acquisition, increased customer retention rates, improved search engine rankings, lead generation, and brand awareness (to name but a few).
This kind of content can also include original material created by, or on behalf of, a company, and covers things like content on the company’s website and print copy. It encompasses the entire spectrum of PR, SEO, PPC, email marketing, display advertising, social media, affiliate marketing, videos, white papers, eBooks, and print.
Earned and owned media should be viewed as a dynamic duo…
They rely on each other for best results and both earned and owned media contribute to a complete digital marketing strategy.
But what’s the real difference between the two?
Earned media is essentially a vehicle that gets your brand out there. Whether this is through viral shares, mentions, reports, reviews, recommendations, word-of-mouth, or offsite content.
Two of the main driving forces behind healthy online traffic and higher conversion rates are first page rankings and valuable, shareable content which links to your site. Content marketers are your go-to people for optimised on-page content which works seamlessly alongside SEO to improve your rankings.
Owned media refers to any online asset that you control, such as your website, blog, or social media accounts. The greater your owned media offering, the greater the opportunity for reaching out and engaging with your target audience. Whether this is through a clever brand voice on social media or an informative blog, being a part of the online conversation in your industry is a sure-fire way to get noticed.
On top of managing owned media, content marketers often project manage the translation of content into various languages, so you are visible across multiple markets.
The current landscape of agency-side content marketing
Many digital agencies embed content marketing within the SEO channel so it’s easy to see how an offering in content could be sold to clients this way. It’s no secret that backlinks and on-page SEO are two effective tactics that drive traffic to a client’s site. This is largely due to the desire of clients and marketers to attribute a clear ROI to their services.
SEO is a channel rich in measurable statistics and figures to marvel over when reviewing account performance.
Don’t underestimate the power of content marketing
It’s important that your brand doesn’t underestimate the power of content marketing as its own channel, particularly with the value it can bring to top-of-funnel brand awareness campaigns.
Creating pieces of influential, topical and informative pieces of hero content for your brand are key to improving brand reputation.
Content marketing is more than link building campaigns to improve authority and organic search visibility – you need to connect with your audiences with engaging content. Think micro influencers, Instagram stars, and major pieces in digital publications, to showcase your brand message and products or services.
In need of inspiration?
You need only glance at ranking keywords relevant to your niche, or PPC data, both of which will offer you an insight into what your target audience is searching for online. If you can meet this search intent with your content, you could be onto a winner.
To offer an example of what content marketing can do for your brand, consider this:
A user comes across an Instagram post, sponsored by a fashion retailer, as part of their female empowerment campaign. The campaign features a series of famous Instagram users taking a selfie, describing a story about how their tailored outfits made them assert authority, and therefore the balance of power, in the office. The post is nicely rounded off with a hashtag of its own, including the brand’s name, encouraging other Instagram users to get involved and do the same. It therefore has the potential to go viral. This is what we like to call ‘user-generated content’. As this campaign spreads around the platform, the fashion retailer gains exposure to the audiences of each influencer. Though this campaign isn’t directly related to a product and isn’t overly promotional, it raises awareness of the brand and associates them with a campaign for a good cause. This kind of positive press can be really powerful in garnering trust and increasing the chances of your brand popping into the head of a consumer looking to make a purchase online.
For more information on how to improve your content marketing strategy, check out the following:
- ‘How We Went Viral’ – BuzzSumo
- Content Marketing Guide – Moz
- The Advanced Guide to Content Marketing – QuickSprout