Series 1: Content Marketing 101

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As a relatively new addition to the marketer’s toolbox, there has been some confusion as to what qualifies as “content” and how it can be leveraged to achieve business objectives.

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Strategies For Building a Successful Content Marketing Program

For years, traditional marketing methods have struggled to break through the increasingly cluttered and competitive landscape of the 21st century. More companies are turning to content marketing to drive awareness and engagement, from corporations to small businesses and one-person operations.

In this three-part series, we’ll break down the ins and outs of content marketing: the reasons for developing a content marketing strategy, the key elements of a successful strategy, and some examples of effective campaigns. Later, we’ll provide deeper insights into a few specific aspects of content marketing and its role in amplifying overall marketing success.

As a relatively new addition to the marketer’s toolbox, there has been some confusion as to what qualifies as “content” and how it can be leveraged to achieve business objectives.

The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as a “strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” The operative word here is “valuable.”

When done right, your prospects and customers should actively seek your content, rather than avoid it. The most effective content is timely, personal, genuine, honest, helpful, and visually appealing. It can take myriad forms, including educational articles, infographics, videos, webinars, podcasts, and blogs like this one.

Why Use Content Marketing?

Content marketing is an investment. There’s no denying that. It takes time and financial resources to develop a strategy and execute a campaign, and it takes time to achieve results. However, the benefits of this investment can be significant, including increased:

  • Brand awareness among target audiences. Wide-spread recognition sounds great, but what really matters is if the right consumers—those most likely to buy—are familiar with your brand.
  • Audience engagement. With the right content, it is possible to capture the interest of casual readers or viewers and convert them to subscribers.
  • Customer loyalty. Content that resonates can increase customers’ positive impressions of your brand and strengthen their connection to it.
  • Lead generation. Content marketing is a cost-efficient and effective way to identify consumers who may be ideal customers. This is especially true with gated content, which requires a reader or viewer to provide contact information to access the content.
  • Sales and profitability. Every business wants to grow revenue and profit—an integrated marketing program that includes well-executed content marketing can be a significant driver into the sales funnel.

Key Elements of an Effective Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing works best when it complements other marketing efforts that ladder up to overarching business goals. It should be part of an omnichannel communications strategy, along with public relations, social media marketing, search marketing, advertising, etc. This surround-sound approach ensures customers receive consistent messages through multiple channels, driving greater engagement with and loyalty to your brand.

Five key factors of a successful content marketing strategy include:

  • Brand guidelines. All content marketing should reflect the visual look and voice of an organization’s brand standards.
  • Measurable marketing objectives. There should be clear ROMI (return on marketing investment) metrics like impressions, downloads, subscribes, clicks, CTA (call-to-action), etc.
  • Customer research and data. Informed insights help brands understand and connect with the right customers through the right channels.
  • A content calendar. A structured approach helps ensure a steady flow of content and close coordination among integrated teams and initiatives.
  • Ongoing analytics. Content marketing demands a “test and learn” approach, and analytics is the best way to uncover what’s working and what isn’t.

Content Marketing Standouts

Examples of content marketing abound. Those that truly stand out provide useful and relevant content that address customer needs or help them solve problems.

Below are a few examples of content programs that DKY has either led or supported:

  • Winnebago debuted an enhanced digital content hub in 2021 called Winnebago Insider that provides valuable insight into the latest Winnebago product innovations and brand news, as well as improved shopper tools to simplify the purchasing experience. Featured content is updated regularly with the latest “breaking news” about soon-to-be released models, service and quality enhancements, the latest technology, and other information that existing and prospective customers need to make in their purchasing decisions.
  • ADM produces a monthly podcast, In the Driver’s Seat, and corresponding content campaign that’s focused on helping grain producers manage their financial risk and plan for the future. The hosts cover educational topics and conduct interviews with ag experts who offer timely, industry perspectives.

Below are other well-known, national campaigns that have made an impact:

  • Adobe Acrobat’s “Honor Heroes” video showcased images of some of the pandemic’s heroes, while simultaneously illustrating the product suite’s capabilities. The video worked—it’s received more than 3.4 million views—because it came across as genuine and heart-felt.
  • Recreation Equipment Inc. (REI), a co-operative for outdoor enthusiasts, publishes a monthly blog called “Uncommon Path” that highlights stories and issues related to the environment and outdoor recreation, while also spotlighting the perfect gear for that next adventure. The content is entertaining, informative and visually appealing. In fact, the blog generates nearly 350,000 new monthly visitors, proof that harnessing high-volume search terms and providing in-depth coverage of topics your audience cares about pays off.
  • Slack’s Frontiers Video Talks have helped educate companies on remote communications solutions during the pandemic, when many were forced to halt in-person work. The videos have helped business leaders address pressing challenges while also driving more traffic to the company’s annual conference.

For more information on how DKY can help you develop an effective content marketing campaign, please contact us.