B2C content marketing: the term encompasses so many different formats, strategies, tools, and delivery methods that it’s easy to just bury your head in the sand and stick to nothing but churning out blog posts.
And while blog posts are still an important tool in the B2C content marketing toolkit—hey, we’re writing this blog post right now, aren’t we?—they are far from the only tool you should be using these days.
Which tools you should be using will depend on a lot of things: your brand, your audience, and your goals, for example. But once you have those things defined, how do you decide which content marketing formats and delivery method to invest in?
Let’s take a look.
First, what is content marketing?
Content marketing, often used interchangeably with inbound marketing, is simply marketing that attracts customers to you rather than marketing that goes out into the world and interrupts your customers wherever they are.
Here are some concrete examples:
Inbound marketing — a social media post that links to a blog post you’ve just written showing people how to style your latest clothing line
Traditional marketing — a TV commercial advertising your brand’s latest clothing line during a weeknight sitcom
The first gives people something valuable that they want: content. The second simply places your brand in front of them, interrupting what they were actually interested in, which is the TV show.
So how about the “content” in content marketing? There are all kinds of formats, but the most popular generally include:
- Blog posts or articles
- Social media posts
- Reports and whitepapers
Podcasts, audio articles, email newsletters, and webinars are also included under the content marketing umbrella.
How do I know what types of content marketing I should focus on?
Now that you’re familiar with what content marketing is, it’s time to decide which types are best for your brand.
A good rule of thumb: You should definitely have a blog, especially if you’re just beginning with content marketing.
A blog not only gives you an easy way to deliver valuable content to your customers, but sites with blogs have an average of 434 percent more indexed pages on Google, which means that it’s a lot easier for your site to get pushed toward the first page of search results.
Next, you’ll need to figure out which social media sites you should focus on. Often, brands just starting out with content marketing feel the need to have a presence on every social media site there is, but—thankfully—that’s not the case.
Instead, it makes much more sense to zero in on the two or three social media platforms where your customers congregate. This way, you’re not spreading yourself too thin by trying to populate multiple social media accounts multiple times per week.
So, if through social listening you find that your customers are heavy users of Instagram and Pinterest, but not so much Twitter, it makes sense to focus your efforts on those first two platforms—especially if you don’t have a dedicated social media department.
Once you know where you need to be publicizing your content, you’ll have a better idea of the type of content you should be making. Blog posts, again, are a given, but maybe your audience likes to read articles they find on Facebook. Maybe they show the most engagement with quote cards or product sneak peeks on Instagram. Maybe they like short, newsy bursts via Twitter, or product demo videos on YouTube.
Whatever their preference, once you’ve figured it out, you’ll know what types of content you need to be spending your time on.
How do I make sure my content is helping me reach my goals?
The only effective way to make sure your content is helping you reach your goals is to define your goals.
Do you want to increase conversions? Widen your audience? Reach customers in a brand new market?
Whatever the goal might be, once you have it clearly identified, you’ll be able to map a path to reach it using content marketing.
If your goal is to increase conversions—say, get more signups for your email newsletter—a good option could be to create (or re-purpose) some high-value piece of content, like an audio interview with your CEO or a video walk-through of your product development process, and offer it to people who sign up for your newsletter by a certain date.
Then, you’ll need to set KPIs, or key performance indicators. How will you measure success? The number of signups, the number of signups in a specific amount of time, the number of sign-ups who also click through to the content?
Amplification: a key element of content marketing
One thing that’s easy to overlook—and important not to—is the amplification factor.
Amplification is what happens when your content is shared, either organically by your followers, by larger publications or media outlets, or through paid engagement (like “boosting” a post on Facebook by paying a few dollars to get it in front of a larger audience).
Amplification can help your content continue to bring in leads and spur conversions for an extended period of time, even after the initial bump in traffic dies down.
This topic is enough for an entire separate blog post, but there is one thing about amplification that you absolutely must remember:
Only amplify your best content.
If you’re going to put an ad budget behind a blog post, you want it to be a great blog post—one that people will read and say, “Wow, I want more from this brand!”
Think about it: If someone who’s never heard of you sees one of your blog posts that they’d ordinarily never come across, and it’s only semi-engaging, you’ve lost your chance to impress that customer.
On the other hand, if someone who’s never heard of your brand reads your post and immediately wants to know more about you, you’ve gotten someone to your site. You’ve possibly gotten someone into your shop. That’s a win.
Content marketing case studies
We’ve done several case studies on our content marketing for clients, which you can find below.
For an in-depth look at an influencer content marketing campaign, read our #BeingSeen case study for Nouveau Eyewear and True Religion.
For a look at one of our most successful video campaigns of all time, read our Navy Exchange case study.
For a glimpse into the type of content that can help bring a traditional company into the digital age, read our Tupperware case study.
And finally, to see what rapid-response content marketing looks like (and how it can result in an 8,000 percent increase in mentions!), read our Dippin’ Dots case study.
Happy content marketing!