Top 20 FAQs on Content Marketing

If content marketing is still a mystery to you, these 20 frequently asked questions will give you a good idea about this popular marketing form that has transformed the way businesses and consumers interact.

1. What exactly is content marketing?
It is a marketing technique involving the creation and distribution of useful and compelling content in an effort to attract and engage a defined audience with the aim of converting the prospects to customers.

2. Is content marketing purely an online activity?
Social media and self-publishing have made content marketing predominantly an online activity. Businesses may start their content research offline, by attending industry events, brand-owned events, conducting customer interviews and surveys, and using brand-owned data.

3. What are the benefits of content marketing?
Content marketing is a form of pull marketing where quality content is treated as the cornerstone of the marketing strategy. Valuable content builds trust and credibility with the target audience and encourages them to take the desired action not once or twice, but many times over, and nurtures strong and lasting relationships. Effective content marketing converts prospects into customers and loyal customers into brand ambassadors.

4. Will content marketing fit into your current traditional marketing format and techniques?
Content marketing can be a good complement to your existing traditional marketing methods and integrated into your existing campaigns. Some ways in which you can integrate your online and offline strategies include using QR codes, hashtags, mobile-check-ins and investing in online paid search campaigns for products you promote offline.

5. Can content marketing benefit B2B companies? What are the differences between B2B and B2C content marketing?
B2C marketers target consumers who have a need for their product/service. B2B marketers use content to reach out to business influencers and potential business partners. There isn’t a world of difference between the two types of marketing, except in choice of media (B2C mostly uses Facebook and Twitter, B2B has an overwhelming preference for LinkedIn), and content positioning (mainly white papers, case studies, webinars and research reports for B2B, while B2C marketers may use some of these content formats and many more).

6. How do you get started in content marketing?
Developing a content marketing framework is not too different from any other type of marketing. You must start by clearly defining the audience your content is intended for, the goals you want the content to achieve (customer support, brand awareness, sales, etc), determine content ideas and plans, and measure the results.

7. How can the results of content marketing be measured?
Figures on lead-to-customer conversion rate, visit-to-lead conversion rate and lifetime value of customers are some of the key measurable results of a content marketing campaign. There are a number of tools that give you a granular look into the results of your content marketing efforts. Monitoring tools like Social Mention, Google Analytics and statistics from social media are just some of the many ways in which you can measure success.

8. What skills are necessary for effective content marketing?
Content marketing requires a deep understanding of online content platforms, social media and different strategies of getting your content shared online. It also requires an excellent understanding of your brand, offerings, and of course, some level of marketing acumen.

9. What are the constituents of great content?
The best content is a combination of relevance to your target audience (useful and engaging) and quality (well-researched, well presented, easy to consume).

10. What is content analysis?
Content analysis is an essential exercise involved in creating and sustaining web content that delivers business value. In analyzing your content, you consider factors like usefulness, relevance, usability, branding, format, SEO, delivery channels, tone and voice.

11. What type of content can you use?
There are several formats you can use to position your content creatively and compellingly. These include infographics, videos, memes, ebooks, SlideShare presentations, articles, interviews, podcasts and webinars.

12. Is there a way to find out what kind of content will work best for your industry?
A good way to find out what type of content is likely to engage your target audience is to do competitor research. You can also identify some online forums related to your niche and analyze conversations to identify hot topics, trends, problems and much more. A good mix of content, from blog posts and videos to infographics and presentations can expand your online presence across a number of channels. Content on the latest industry news and developments, new rules and regulations, or niche topics of interest to your target audience must be part of your content plan.

13. What if you operate out of a rather boring industry?
Regardless of how boring you may perceive your industry to be, there are ways in which you can leverage content to capture the attention of your target audience. For instance, if you manufacture camping gear, you can pin images of the great outdoors on your Pinterest page, create an ebook aimed at first-time campers, and share experiences of camping in the wild on your blog.

14. How much new content do you need?
There is no perfect answer to this question. It depends on a number of factors, such as your marketplace, marketing goals, and available time for content marketing activities, among others. It is a good practice to make fresh content available to your target audience on a frequent basis. You also have the option of repositioning your existing content into a different format, such as clubbing several blog posts on a particular theme to create an ebook.

15. Should you put all your content on your site?
You can have a mix of content on your site (and owned media like your blog) and other online channels where content is consumed, such as popular social media sites. Publishing books on Kindle and contributing authoritative blog posts on top-ranking guest blogs can also aid link-building and support your content marketing efforts.

16. Should you build your own blog or use a free platform?
If you choose to build your blog on your own domain, you have unlimited options for customization and integration with your website to address a number of marketing goals. On a free platform, you may not have the flexibility to enhance the functionality of your blog.

17. What are the costs associated with content marketing?
Your content plan and publishing schedule will determine the requisite man hours and budget. If you choose to outsource some of your content marketing activities to professional writers, you will have to factor in this cost as well. According to a report by B2B Marketing Insider, marketers spend more than a quarter of their budget on content marketing.

18. Can a small business with a limited budget benefit from content marketing?
If you have a smart, well-informed content marketing strategy, you can realize a good return even on a shoe-string budget. It doesn’t cost a penny to create content, share it on free social media platforms or start blogging on WordPress.

19. What are the main reasons why content marketing efforts fail?
Inconsistency in developing content, creating poor-quality/unremarkable content and treating content marketing as a one-time activity, fail to deliver good or sustained results.

20. Should you combine content marketing with SEO?
Content marketing and SEO complement each other, so you can consider combining the two as part of a single campaign. Some ways in which you can do this:

  • Create content based on keyword data
  • Target authoritative industry blogs for guest-posting opportunities
  • Cross link your content
  • Create top-notch content that attracts even the likes of Wikipedia

Photo by Bsi-seo-brainshakers / Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported