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Content marketing has been gaining strength in recent years, becoming one of the most effective techniques to attract customers, as shown by recent studies. One of them, carried out recently by Ascend2, highlights the importance of content marketing among other techniques, with 59% efficiency, over strategies such as SEO (54%) and social networks (38% efficiency.)
Although it was carried out among 270 professionals worldwide and it is not a very representative sample, the study gives us an idea about the growing importance of content marketing, which last year already proved to be an effective strategy to attract customers. We can see it for example in the study conducted by HubSpot among 3,300 marketers entitled “2013 State of Inbound Marketing”, and where 18% of the surveyed said that content marketing is their top priority, above SEO, which has decreased a significant 3% in the budgets of companies (representing now 11% of the total.)
The reason why content marketing is gaining more importance within marketing strategies is that companies are realizing the importance of providing unique and quality content. On one hand, the fact that search engines like Google and Bing keep secret their algorithms, that change or are updated constantly, make quality content a priority in the internet strategies of any company.
On the other hand, it is proving to be very effective to reach customers with valuable content; actually, some companies are showing strategic changes towards the analysis of this type of content. A good example can be found in LinkedIn, which has grown from being just a platform for human resources and job search to become a medium known for its content and a hub of influential people. Such is the transformation experienced by this network that it recently launched The Dynamic Duo, a tool related to content marketing that quantifies the impact or the success of publications by measuring the interaction of the audience with the content and classifies the most shared topics.
How to start a content marketing strategy
Although one might think that content marketing is a task for professionals, as an entrepreneur you can also launch a strategy in this regard to attract customers and draw the attention of others.
First, you have to know that content marketing involves creating and distributing interesting and useful free content in order to let your target audience know the benefits of a particular product or service, with the idea of being able to turn those readers into potential customers.
Nowadays there are many formats we can use to communicate and engage with our customers, each one with its unique features: trend books, blogs, how-to videos, newsletters with exclusive content, and whitepapers or sectoral reports, among many others. In this regard, it should be noted that in content marketing quality is more important than quantity, and in this case the quality of your content should arise, first, from the knowledge you have of the product or service you are providing and, secondly, from the knowledge you have of your audience and their interests.
Some ways to get data about your audience and their interests are the study of keywords through, for example, Keyword Planner, a free tool from Google AdWords. It provides information about trends that can be used in a content strategy, as its keyword performance lists indicate the type of user who’s interested in your content and what publications cause more reactions in your social networks, like Twitter or Facebook.
It is also worth to identify influential people on the Internet and know their profile and what kind of content they share, as they usually distribute valuable information that causes a reaction in other users, turning a topic into a trend.
Finally, don’t forget to analyze your database in order to know the profile of the Internet users interested in your products and services.
A good example
At BBVA, content marketing is an important part of their strategy, as we can see in the content published around innovative services such as Easy Bank, for which the bank has created a special online section with news and documents in digital format. Users can choose the format that best suits their preferences and the electronic reading device they use to read the posts: ePub and Pdf. This strategy allows BBVA to communicate a new approach to banking, where customers are able to do many of the operations by themselves.
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