What is content marketing? Why is content marketing important?
If you find yourself asking these, you’ve come to the right place. We'll give you the answer to that question and more! Read until the end to get answers to frequently asked questions about content marketing.
Plus, we’ll give you the lowdown on hot content marketing trends in Australia and how you can latch on them!
Table of contents
So, what exactly is content marketing?
The terms traditional marketing and content marketing are often used synonymously. So, how does one differ from the other?
It all boils down to messaging and intent. Traditional marketing strategies often rely on hard-sells—comms that pitch products or services to entice customers to buy.
Content marketing isn't intended to sell your readers a specific product or service. Instead, it's a strategic way of providing valuable, useful, and timely information to your target audience that is supposed to help them solve their problems.
Let's say you're the marketing lead for a commercial bank, and you're trying to encourage more people to apply for any of your bank's line credit cards.
If you're going to implement traditional marketing methods, you'll likely come up with digital ads that spell out the perks of your new credit card line—cashback offers, reward points, etc.
But if you'll go for the online marketing service route, you can publish an article about the benefits of owning a credit card—convenience, safety, and security. You can even talk about how online shopping would be much safer when you course payments through a credit card.
How does content marketing work?
Content marketing works by tapping the three critical pillars of your online presence:
- improve your rank on search engines
- build trust with your audience
- establish your credibility as an industry source
A pivotal part of content marketing is search engine optimisation (SEO). SEO is a way for you to ensure that your readers find the content you publish online. Having an effective SEO strategy in your content marketing plan ensures that your target audience will see your content whenever they search for specific keywords.
When your readers see your website and content rank higher on Google and other search engines, they'll think two things:
- Your page has answers to their questions
- Your brand is an industry authority and a credible source of information
Make sure what you publish resonates with your target market's wants and needs. Align your content with what your target audience is really asking for, and not what you assume they need. You gain your readers' trust when your content addresses their problems.
Why is content marketing important?
Content marketing isn't just important because it increases your search engine rankings or builds trust with your audience. It's crucial now more than ever because of what customers expect brands to be today.
Nowadays, customers want brands to be more personal with them. Your readers don't really want to hear about your business. Instead, they want to know why your brand does what it does and how it can help them.
Meaningful content is a great way to bridge the gap between your brand and its target audience. It's a more personal and empowered approach to influencing your readers as compared to just telling them to buy a product or avail of a service.
What are the types of content marketing?
Content marketing comes in a variety of forms. What all types of content marketing ideas have in common is they provide information that's useful and relevant to the recipient.
Here's a list of the most popular types of content marketers incorporate into a typical online content strategy plan:
What are the digital channels of content marketing?
In content marketing, there are three types of media channels: paid, owned, and earned.
Paid Content Marketing Channels
As the name suggests, a paid marketing channel is an online platform you have to pay so that your content can be distributed there. You can use search and social advertising to promote your content through ads, so it reaches more people.
Here are examples of paid media channels:
- Google search ads
- Google display ads
- Promoted tweets on Twitter
- Sponsored ads on Facebook and Instagram
Owned Content Marketing Channels
These are the platforms your brand or business owns. Because you own them, you have full control over the content that gets published.
While posting original content on your brand's owned media channels is free, it does take a lot of effort to maintain. There's also the added pressure to ensure that your content reaches the right people.
Examples of owned media channels include:
- Your company's official website or blog page
- Your brand's verified social media accounts
- Your business' newsletters and e-newsletters
Earned Content Marketing Channels
Earned content marketing channels are platforms that you don't pay for or own. They positively impact your content marketing strategy because they are made directly by your target audience.
Here are examples of earned media channels:
- Website visits from organic search
- Online mentions by industry influencers
- Social media shares, tags, and mentions
Debunking Four Prevailing Content Marketing Myths
Content Marketing Myth #1: It’s easy and cheap
Business owners often expect content marketers to charge a small fee for their services. This assumption comes from their belief that content marketing is as simple as posting a product photo on social media a few times a week.
Familiar with the expression, "you get what you pay for?" Well, if you're not willing to shell out a few extra bucks for blog writing services, you're probably not going to end up working with someone whose content marketing strategy drives results.
When you provide a reasonable budget for your creatives to work with, you'll be assured of good content.
TIP: You don't necessarily have to break the bank to get quality content. There are many content writing services you can consult so you can have a digital marketing strategy that accomplishes your goals on a budget you can afford.
Content Marketing Myth #2: Nobody reads long-form content anymore
One of the common myths used in marketing nowadays is the notion that none of your fans read long-form content anymore. Nothing could be further from the truth.
People still read and find value in long-form content. But their desire for information is tempered by their lack of time. So, the challenge is to come up with content that's valuable, educational, and easy to digest.
This doesn't mean you should only be publishing long-form content on your website or social media pages. Instead, learn to strike a balance between long- and short-form content, so your articles and posts satisfy what your fans are looking for.
Content Marketing Myth #3: I should be on ALL social media platforms
Social media marketing has myths too. The most prevalent one you have to stop believing is that your brand has to be present on EVERY social media platform.
Of course you can increase your brand's reach when you have accounts on every social platform under the sun. Then again, maintaining every account (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, Quora, TikTok, Youtube, Twitch, Tumblr…you get the picture) requires a lot of effort, and can get taxing quite fast. You might even end up spending time and money on a platform that doesn't give you the results you need.
Here's how you can break out of this popular social media marketing myth: be selective about which platforms your brand is on. Find out which platforms your target audience is on and invest in these instead.
It's easy to be lulled into creating an account on one of the newer platforms like TikTok or Lasso. When you feel the temptation to sign up, take a step back and evaluate the platform first.
Ask yourself these questions before committing your brand's image to the platform:
- Who are on these social media platforms?
- Is this my target audience?
- Do I have resources to manage content for this platform?
If you find that your answers to these questions are beneficial to your company, go ahead and sign up for that social media platform. Otherwise, reinvest your efforts in your current accounts and see what else you can optimise there.
TIP: Before setting up a new social media account for your brand, do a social media audit of your existing accounts first. This way, you can evaluate how your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts are performing and make adjustments that align with your business goals.
Content Marketing Myth #4: I can expect IMMEDIATE results
Perhaps one of the most prevailing content marketing myths we want you to stop believing in is expecting immediate results.
Who wouldn't feel over the moon after seeing all the hard work you put into crafting and implementing a content marketing strategy that yields results? The sad thing about this is you probably won't experience that good feeling right away.
Content marketing is a long-term strategy. You have to give your plan time to get off the ground. It'll also take both Google and your target audience some time to find you, so you can't expect results after just a week or two.
If you have a bigger budget at your disposal, you can try promoted ads on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to help you get started. The great thing about social media promotion is you don't need to spend too much to get results, relatively speaking.
The bottom line is that even if you do subscribe to paid social media advertising to boost your content strategy, you'll still have to wait for results.
Trends for Content Marketing in Australia
Growing demand for video content
Brands are adding more videos into their content strategy, and with good reason! Here’s a fact: more and more Australian consumers are interested in video content.
How interested? According to We Are Social, 88% of Australian internet users watch online videos when they’re connected to the web.
So, what makes video content unique? Video content can keep audiences engaged better than other longform content formats can.
Video content is more interactive than many other content types. With videos, you give your audience the chance to comment, react, share content all in one go!
The bottom line is that Australians love video content, and they expect more of it from the brands they follow.
How To Use This Trend: Look into online video makers (e.g., Content Samurai, Moovly, Biteable) to help you get started. And remember, keep your video concise AND informative.
Content tailored to voice search
More and more Australians are embracing voice technology. They’re getting into the habit of mobile voice search, or asking their phones questions instead of keying them in on search engines like Google.
In fact, iProspect’s research revealed that 57% of smartphone-using Australians use voice search.
Voice search isn’t limited to smartphones. In 2018, VERSA found that 1.35 million Australian households owned smart speakers.
These numbers aren’t just impressive. They’re expected to rise in the coming years as Australians continue to make voice search a part of their everyday life.
How To Use This Trend: Make your SEO strategy voice-ready by adding long-tail keywords in your website content. These long-tail keywords should be as close to the way your target audience will likely use it in a voice search.
RELATED: SEO Strategies For 2020 and Beyond
SEO Shifting Towards Topic Ranking
Don’t get us wrong—combining relevant keywords with a solid SEO strategy does increase your page ranking, especially when it’s done right.
But Google constantly changing the way it ranks pages. Back then, Google relied solely on keywords to judge how well a person’s query matched the information on a webpage.
In 2020, many SEO professionals believe that the search giant will take a more holistic approach when ranking pages.
What does this mean?
Instead of looking just at a specific article on a webpage, Google will now consider the context of the content around it.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re looking for the ultimate guide to running shoes. After a quick Google search, you find quality articles on the websites of a (1) sporting goods store and a (2) style magazine.
Both articles can rank well for the same keyword. But because Google will consider the context of each website, it will list the former’s (i.e., the article posted on the sporting goods store’s website) content much higher than the latter.
Does this mean the era of ranking via keywords is dead? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
It just means that businesses should start investing in creating longform pillar pages. Talk to your SEO content writing agency partner about how you can get started.
Pillar page content covers all aspects of a specific topic. The pillar page is also a stepping stone that leads visitors to other relevant content on your website.
Here’s what a sample pillar page for blog post writing should look like:
The pillar page itself and the relevant content they link to should also be rich with keywords!
How To Use This Trend: Think about a niche topic you want your business to be known for. Use this topic as the anchor of your pillar page. From here, think about subtopics and keywords you can use to talk about your chosen subject in an in-depth manner.
In a nutshell, does content marketing really work?
With the right strategies, budget, executions, and expectations, you can count on content marketing to help you achieve your business goals.
The key is to make sure your company's content marketing strategy works is to align your content strategy with what you want to achieve. Having a reasonable budget to work with and the right kind of expectations helps, too!
Do note that content marketing is a long-term strategy. You need to be patient and let your strategy gain traction over time. If you're looking for a quick fix to your marketing problems, content marketing isn't for you.
Need help crafting an online content marketing strategy for your business? Contact us at Ape-X, and we'll give you ideas on how to create content that's tailored to your digital channel strategy and relevant to your audience!