The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing
Tier10 | On 21, Jan 2019
“Content marketing represents the gap between what the brands produce and what the consumers actually want.” -Michael Brenner
Whether your goal is to educate or entertain your audience, content marketing is a highly effective solution. This strategic approach allows you to reach your target audience in a way that is honest, transparent, and authentic. In turn, you can significantly increase your conversion rates as you encourage your audience to take profitable action.
Ready to better connect with your audience? If so, this is the guide for you.
What Is Content Marketing?
First thing’s first — what exactly is content marketing?
Whether your company focuses on Twitter, blogging, or email marketing, these are all examples of content. More specifically, this type of content is created in order to communicate a message. Whether that means releasing your latest product or increasing brand awareness, content marketing allows you to drive a successful sales funnel.
Within the automotive industry, content marketing is everything.
In fact, Google released an incredibly insightful case study. Considering the average research timeline for a new car can span months, a buyer may encounter hundreds, if not thousands, of digital interactions. This provides dozens of opportunities for car dealerships to showcase their unique selling points.
In a separate study, it was found that more than half of auto shoppers said that they would purchase a car if they were able to see a 360-degree view without having to go for a test drive. These prospective buyers are going online to do so, offering automotive marketers an opportunity to make a lasting impression.
So, whether you would like to strengthen your brand or acquire new customers, content marketing will help you bridge that gap.
The Importance of Content Marketing
The phrase, “content is king” showcases the importance of a well-planned content marketing strategy. Once you develop a strategy, your content can essentially drive the buying cycle, including the following steps:
- Awareness – At this point, a potential customer will have a need but they are not yet aware of the solution. This is what many will refer to as the “top of the funnel.” Within this stage, consumers are looking for resources, answers, opinions, and insights.
- Evaluation and consideration – As they reach the “middle of the funnel,” this is where potential consumers are conducting heavy research. They will be aware of what it is you offer, so it will be up to you to convince them that your product or service is the right fit.
- Purchase – As they approach the “bottom of the funnel,” the consumer will likely decide to move forward with the transaction. This can also help you build a loyal following, as you continue to provide valuable content.
While traditional advertising is great for the last two stages, content marketing will help consumers find you within stage one. This is your opportunity to educate the consumer about an option that they may not have considered before.
By producing high-quality content that is both relevant and valuable, you essentially build a relationship with your target market. A great example is our “Life is Better” campaign for the Northwest Honda Dealers Association, which highlights the core beliefs and values associated with the ideal Honda consumer in the Portland area.
You may view more examples within this series here and here. Based on in-market data, we were able to develop unique campaigns that aligned with the various needs of Honda owners. Although interesting and entertaining, the most important variable was this campaign’s level of authenticity.
Content marketing is now being used by the world’s top brands (and small businesses) based on its ability to significantly boost your bottom line, and it is anything but a fad. In fact, approximately 75 percent of marketers are increasing their investment in content marketing — and counting.
Overall, by focusing your attention on content marketing, you will be able to achieve:
- An increase in sales
- Cost savings
- Greater traffic and customer loyalty
However, in order to truly benefit, you need quality content — period.
The more authentic and credible you are, the easier it will be to build loyalty and trust. In turn, this will strengthen customer relationships as you grow your engaged subscriber list, allowing you to achieve an increase in profits.
Although the concept is simple — in that you need to offer valuable content and resources to your prospective audience — content marketing is complex. In order to be successful, you need to approach each campaign with a clear goal in mind.
Content Marketing Stats You Need to Know
To further drive home the importance of content marketing, the following statistics will help you wrap your head around the true benefits associated with this strategic approach.
- As stated by Pew Research, approximately 77 percent of American adults go online daily and 26 percent are almost always online.
- Twitter provided some great insights in their 2016 white paper, including the fact that 69 percent of users purchased something because of a tweet. In addition, 94 percent plan to make a purchase from a business they follow. That is why each and every post must add value to your audience.
- Considering 60 percent of marketers create a minimum of one piece of content daily, consistency is imperative. That is why it’s beneficial to outsource your content marketing needs so that you’re able to boost traffic, make more connections, and, in turn, increase sales.
- When it comes to your ROI, content marketing costs around 62 percent less than traditional marketing, yet generates three times as many leads.
The stats go on and on for a reason — when implemented properly, content marketing is one of the most effective strategic marketing approaches.
Know Your Audience
The success of your content marketing strategy will largely depend on whether or not you’re able to connect with your audience. After all, if there is a disconnect between you and your audience, they will not make their way through the funnel we discussed above.
As mentioned, our “Life is Better” campaign was developed in order to connect Honda owners with local businesses who share the same core values and beliefs as the Honda consumer.
We would not have been able to achieve this successful campaign series without understanding who the Honda consumer is. By building detailed customer profiles for various models, such as the Honda HR-V, we were then able to use that information to match consumers and local businesses, both of whom aligned with that specific model.
Coming back to the Honda HR-V campaign, in-market data allowed us to create a fun commercial that features a local multi-roaster coffee shop and a local clothing, accessory, and gift shop.
So, before you begin any campaign, ask yourself, who is this content for? Who is my target audience? If you cannot answer those questions, you need to obtain more data. In this case, Honda has more than one type of consumer, which is why we developed a content strategy that caters to more than one type of viewer.
At first, you’ll want to build a relationship. You can achieve this by providing quality, valuable content. Of course, the end goal here is to achieve a higher conversion rate. To do so, you need to generate leads based on the consumer profile you’ve built.
When the Cleveland Cavaliers were down 2-0 to the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals, Tier10 filmed and produced “an inspiring spot for Ohioans about the power of belief. …Tier10 capitalized on the gritty determination of a Cleveland fan base that hadn’t seen a professional sports championship in 52 years.” The ad’s footage was captured in downtown Cleveland near the Quicken Loans Arena when fans were preparing for Games 3 and 4.
The ad was initially used as a pre-roll that launched a day before Game 4, targeting those in the Cleveland area who searched for LeBron James or Cleveland Cavaliers videos. After tweaking the spot in the following days, Tier10 geo-targeted Honda owners in the area through Facebook. The agency also retargeted consumers who visited the NOHDA website by advertising on other websites. Taking it one step further, Tier10 ran the spot on TV in the region before Game 7.
3 Trends You Need to Be Aware of
“If you’re not putting out relevant content in relevant places — you don’t exist.” -Gary Vaynerchuk
When developing your content marketing strategy, you need to be aware of the most effective tactics and stay on top of the latest trends. Whether you plan to focus more on blogging or video in the new year, the following trends will help you maintain a competitive advantage.
1. Focus Your Attention on Video
Did you know that four times as many consumers would rather watch a video than read about a product? In fact, 55 percent of consumers watch online videos daily. It is also estimated that by 2019, consumer internet video traffic will account for 80 percent of all consumer internet traffic. After all, there are just some experiences that you cannot create with words alone.
Experts anticipated that video would be BIG in 2017 and that trend continues to strengthen. Of course, videos are engaging and allow you to connect with your audience, but there’s more to this strategy. Whether you plan on improving your SEO or seek higher retention rates, video is the key.
2. You Need to Alter Your Social Media Strategy
There has been a conversation surrounding “the death of social media” lately in regards to content marketing and organic reach (mainly in relation to Facebook). Although still an important outlet, moving forward, you need to diversify and alter your approach. Once again, video content will be key. Consumers want to see more than brand messages and logos — they want to see real people.
It is no longer enough to post weekly blogs on your Facebook account. Just like anything else online, social media is evolving. If you missed our post on the 5 Trends That Will Affect Social Media in the Coming Months, it is an ideal place to start. As you become more aware, you can adjust accordingly.
Also, be sure to switch things up if you haven’t already. Don’t be shy to build more direct relationships, invest in email marketing, or even host in-person events. Remember, the more authentic and “humanistic” your approach is, the better.
3. Create More Content That Your Audience Actually Wants
As Steve Jobs once said, “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology.”
It’s no longer enough to release a white paper on your latest venture. You need to create content that your audience actually wants to read, listen to, or watch. Whether that means discovering your own content marketing niche or learning how to become a better storyteller, your content should be valuable, entertaining, insightful, or all of the above.
Many would argue that blogging is the foundation of content marketing. However, you no longer need to stick to plain text only. Whether you experiment with infographics, quizzes, videos, or even podcasts, the more “consumable” your content is, the more likely you’ll trigger a response.
What to Consider When Developing Your Content Marketing Strategy
A successful brand or business will know how to set themselves apart, and it all begins with their content marketing strategy. With the ability to accomplish a wide range of goals, the key is to identify which of these goals you’re trying to achieve.
Although the majority of companies will strive to increase their customer base and, in turn, push more sales, you can approach your goals in a number of direct and indirect ways. Some of the more common strategic goals include, but are not limited to:
- Boosting sales and overall engagement
- Increasing traffic through social media and/or SEO
- Improving SEO through new, strategic content
- Strengthening your brand’s voice in order to increase awareness
- Establishing your business as an industry leader
- Lead generation
- Increasing email subscribers
Once you have established your goals, you’ll need to identify the key metrics in which you wish to track and analyze. These are what’s known as your key performance indicators, or KPIs. Google Analytics, for example, is an excellent tool when aiming to more closely track your site’s traffic and conversion rates, whereas Mention can help you better monitor your brand online.
This means that whether you are posting your latest video or publishing your newest blog post, you need to have a specific goal in mind. For example, if you would like to push sales, a CTA is always something to consider. In contrast, if you would like to boost your SEO authority, be sure to link to other high-value sites. You can learn some great SEO tips here.
How Content Marketing Can Help You Build Your Brand
There are dozens of global car manufacturers. However, the big players have built their brand identity by targeting varying audiences and consumers.
After all, the secret ingredient when aiming to elevate generic content into brand-building success is your brand’s voice. Those who develop the best content strategy, injecting their own unique personality, are those who successfully build lasting relationships with their consumer base.
Once you define your vision, solidify your brand’s voice, and then determine your value, your content marketing strategy can help you drive core objectives as you achieve one milestone after the next. Also, don’t be shy to show off your company culture and truly humanize your content whenever possible.
To learn more, please refer to, Building Your Brand with Content Marketing
Doing it Right
Although content marketing is fairly straightforward in theory, it’s not easy.
In fact, based on our experience, this form of marketing is actually one of the toughest to master. However, when done right, the ROI is immense.
First of all, in order to create and implement one incredible campaign after another, it takes a mini village. As you can see from the 2019 Honda CR-V commercial below, the project itself required photographers, directors, camera operators, visual effects experts, copywriters, producers, and more.
Here at Tier10, we are a team of professionals who specialize in entertainment, design, and the automotive industry. We understand what it takes to reach key milestones, all while ensuring that content is engaging, entertaining, and industry-leading.
To further assist you, take a look at some of our following guides and resources:
- Reach Your Audience with Influence Marketing
- Turn Mobile Car Shoppers Into Buyers
- Building Brand Awareness with a Combination of Marketing
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