As technology advances, competition increases, and the digital landscape as a whole becomes more saturated, marketers are having to come up with more creative ways to get noticed.

This is where content marketing comes in. But what exactly is content marketing? The term is used to broadly refer to several types of digital content, including blogs, video and social media campaigns. Generally, content marketing is utilised by brands to convey a message that isn’t directly related to the products or services the company sells, but draws attention to the brand in a positive way, and often demonstrates their values.

Types of content marketing

The reason why many struggle to understand what content marketing actually is, is likely because there are many different types. 

The most commonly used content marketing types are as follows:

  • Blogs
  • Video
  • Podcasts
  • Infographics
  • Email
  • eBooks
  • Whitepapers
  • Webinars
  • Social media posts
  • Free apps

A content marketing campaign may take just one of these forms, but will usually utilise several. For example, a video may be created to drive engagement across a brand’s social media channels, or an infographic may be used to enhance a blog post. 

Why content marketing is so important

1. It builds trust between your brand and your audience 

Consistent and regular content marketing helps to establish trust between you and your audience as it offers the chance to connect and build a relationship. This is because you are offering value without asking for anything in return. Content marketing provides the chance to position your brand as an authority on a particular subject – answering commonly asked questions, offering advice and delivering the information your audience requires presents you as a trustworthy source. 

2. It increases audience retention 

Content has the power to create a positive experience for your audience. If you provide something they want or enjoy, chances are, they’ll come back for more. Content marketing can greatly increase customer loyalty, as it makes your brand more memorable. 

3. It improves conversion rate

With any business, the aim of the game is to convert. If you’re putting a lot of your time, effort and budget into creating content, but not acquiring new customers, then perhaps you need to rethink your content marketing strategy. A good content campaign should attract, engage and ultimately, convert new and old customers alike. This is why it’s important to know your target customer, so you can build your content strategy around their interests, values and needs  to really resonate with them.

How does content marketing generate leads?

It brings in qualified traffic

Whilst traffic is by no means the most important metric for measuring success, qualified traffic is a rather different matter. The customers who make up what is referred to as ‘qualified traffic’ are those who are more likely to convert than others. A great way to generate this type of traffic is by using long tail keywords to form the basis of your blog strategy. Whilst ranking in the SERPs for more generic keywords may bring in a higher volume of traffic, chances are, your website isn’t providing what the majority of them are looking for, and even if it does, only a small number will actually be ready to make a purchase. People looking for specific product features or asking questions about a product or service are far more likely to be near the end of the sales funnel. 

It demonstrates your expertise 

Much of the traffic generated by content marketing may come through search engines. This is your chance to provide what your audience needs, at the exact time they need it. Producing high-quality, value-added content on a regular basis demontractes to your customer base that you know what you’re talking about – when they land on your website, they should discover well-written and detailed information related to their search and the products/services you sell.

By highlighting success

If you’re claiming you’re the best at what you do, then you should really be able to back up that claim. Highlighting your past successes shows customers that you know your stuff and can be trusted. Showing them what you can do is far more effective than simply telling them – anyone can claim they’re an expert, but not everyone can prove it. Case studies and testimonials are great ways to put this into practice, which can be shared on your company website, social media channels and with your email subscribers. 

Content marketing examples

Airbnb: ‘That’s Why We Airbnb’ campaign

In 2019, Airbnb unveiled its ‘That’s Why We Airbnb’ campaign. The online holiday rental marketplace has become known for clever, community-based marketing campaigns and this one is no exception. The campaign followed the stories of travellers, and was created to celebrate uniqueness and non-conformity. The intent was to let every type of traveller know that there’s an Airbnb for everyone – no matter your preferred destination, lifestyle or travel style. The message is delivered through a series of videos that aired across TV, YouTube and social media.

ITV: ‘The shows we never want to make’ campaign

ITV recently launched a thought-provoking campaign to raise awareness about climate change, as well as demonstrate their own commitment to tackling global warming. Through the creation of three videos, the TV channel brings to light some of the harsh realities of climate change and hits home the consequences of not doing more to take care of the planet. ‘The shows we never want to make’ puts a dark spin on some of the channel’s most well-known programs, changing ‘Coronation Street’ to ‘Catastrophe Street’ with an apocalyptic image of the iconic cobbles to really illustrate the sobering message.

Apple: #ShotoniPhone campaign 

In April, the UK lockdown was in full swing, so many brands decided to adapt their marketing strategy to promote the ‘Stay Home’ mission. Apple were no different, creating a personalised hashtag customers could use to share their own original photos and videos shot on their iPhone. Part of the #AtHomeSeries, Apple created an ongoing social media campaign that encouraged iPhone users to stay home whilst promoting their line of smartphones, via the use of user-generated content. The #ShotoniPhone hashtag has over 17 million posts worldwide.

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Content Marketing at Venture Stream

Not sure where to get started with your brand’s content marketing strategy? Venture Stream can help. Whether it’s online PR, content writing or email marketing you need a hand with, we can work together to create unique, high-quality campaigns that get results. Get in touch for a chat, or take a look at some of our work here.