Some boring dictionary writer somewhere defined content marketing as “a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.” In short, the term content marketing encompasses a vast array of specific tactics and strategies that aim to educate and engage audiences in contrast to traditional marketing and advertising that often interrupt audiences to convey a message. Content marketing is often referred to as inbound marketing and the strategies implemented are often digitally focused.
Generally speaking, if you decide to work with a content marketing agency, they should help you create on-brand content that will either:
- Help potential customers progress through the buyer’s journey or sales funnel.
- Increase SEO by targeting opportunity keywords and topics.
- Or, ideally, BOTH!
In order to achieve these goals, content marketing agencies will often implement various strategies, which can include:
- Creating blogs or articles
- Designing sales pages and landing pages
- Writing ad and sales copy
- Developing email marketing campaigns and automations
- Producing social posts and graphics
- Much more!
So, WHY is all of this important?
When it comes to content marketing, as mentioned previously, there are essentially two primary goals that content marketing agencies have: SEO and lead nurturing.
While SEO in itself can be quite a wide-ranging topic, when you get down to its core, it is simply positioning your brand for better visibility in search. Potential customers often turn to search engines (Google, Yahoo, YouTube, etc.) when it comes to finding a solution to a problem they are experiencing. Content marketing agencies will utilize tools including SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Google Keyword Planner to identify keyword opportunities that are relevant to the product or service that your business provides. Fun fact: 75% of people will not scroll past the first page of Google results when looking for information on a specific topic--enhancing your visibility on search engines will make your business seem to be a more probable and effective solution for your customers.
The second primary objective of content marketing is to nurture leads, otherwise known as prospects or potential customers, and help them progress in the buyer’s journey or sales funnel. It is important to remember that you should have content that speaks to customers at every stage of the buyer’s journey. The three stages of the buyer’s journey are awareness, consideration, and decision.
During the awareness stage, customers have identified a problem they have or are experiencing in their lives. Here, they put a name to their problem and decide if the problem is going to be a priority or not.
During the consideration stage, customers have decided that the problem they are facing is worth addressing and fixing. They have decided to do their research into the various options out there that are capable of fixing the problem at hand.
Decision is the end of the buyer’s journey, and at this point, the buyers have weighed the pros and cons of the alternatives they have researched and are ready to make a decision in regards to a solution. The solution here is the one that the buyer presumes to best fit their needs.
Based on these three stages of the buyer’s journey, content marketing agencies tweak ads, blogs, email marketing campaigns, and other content, in order to best target the customers in each stage.
How do you differentiate a good content marketing agency from a… not so great one?
A good content marketing agency often holds these three traits: fast, dynamic, and data-driven.
Fast insinuates that the agency schedules and meets deadlines for the client and themselves. These agencies value accountability and the willingness to create and execute content in a timely manner.
Hand in hand with speed is the ability to be dynamic. Campaigns will falter, customers will change, and businesses will inevitably have ups and downs. It is imperative that the agency can quickly change a plan at the drop of a hat in order to deliver the best results.
That leads us to the final trait that a good content marketing agency should have: data-driven decision making. When you ask your agency, “Why are we doing this ad?” or “Why are we only placing the ads on this platform?,” the agency should be able to backup decisions with data not opinion. A good content marketing agency should be able to answer the question with “Based on this data shown here…” not with “I think this is a popular platform right now.”
All in all, content marketing agencies provide a multitude of services that stem from the two initial goals of SEO and lead nurturing. A great content marketing agency can be a vital partner in developing and implementing strategies and tactics that strive to achieve these goals, and in the end, elevate brand awareness and ultimately increase revenue.
Looking for a content marketing agency to partner with your business?
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