Digital marketing is a vast and complex field of business. From paid ads to search engine optimization, emails to social media, there are many ways marketers can use the digital world to promote a business.
Most of these channels utilize content in one form or another. In fact, marketers love to throw around the term “content marketing” as a part of their larger marketing strategies.
But what exactly is content? What is its purpose in marketing? How does content marketing strategy really factor into your marketing efforts?
Let’s consider the purpose of content as a marketing tool and the number one biggest objective that all content marketing should seek to achieve.
The term “content,” when it’s used in marketing, references a wide range of varying types of content. Different content platforms and formats include a blog post, sales pages, social media, email marketing, demos, videos, and podcasts.
This wide range means the purpose of content tends to vary depending on how it manifests. A blog post, for instance, can educate consumers while attracting organic traffic and generating leads. An email can nurture those leads and encourage sales. A podcast can build brand awareness and establish authority.
As a whole, content functions as a key part of a marketer’s toolkit. It represents the medium through which they channel various forms of information and messages to consumers. When you create content with this in mind, it takes on a bigger role than simply presenting information. Purposeful content functions as part of a larger content marketing strategy.
With so many forms and uses, it’s easy to wonder what the primary content marketing objectives are when you use content to promote a business. While there are many important factors, though, one stands out above all the rest: providing value to consumers.
Content varies in complexity, from basic top-funnel topics meant to build brand awareness to complex mid- and low-level pieces designed to nurture leads and close sales. Throughout this process, though, the need to be genuinely helpful and provide real value for your target audience remains a top priority.
Google has made this abundantly clear in recent years. The brand’s Helpful Content system and updated E-E-A-T content quality standards emphasize the need for every piece of content to provide clear, clean, and accurate value for its intended audience.
Content development should always start with and center on creating content that provides value to the reader. The need for high-quality content is ground zero in the content marketing process.
However, it isn’t the only purpose that content serves. Good content that educates, informs, and satisfies users creates the infrastructure within which you can achieve other marketing goals.
For example, a holistic blog post can also build brand visibility if well-optimized for SEO. This helps your brand stand out in the Google search engine SERPs.
Content marketing can also build an audience through email sign-ups. Self-help content can provide quality customer service solutions that encourage customer retention and loyalty.
Knowing that content marketing focuses on readers first and everything else second is important to keep in mind as a general rule. But how does it apply to your specific marketing needs? How do you decide what your content marketing goals and KPIs are?
This is an important question to answer, as it functions as a central part of your content marketing strategy. This strategy should weave together each marketing goal with the resources, plans, and platforms that you have available to create content. Obviously, you need to identify those goals if you’re going to do this effectively.
The best way to clarify your objectives is to start with your larger marketing goals. What are you trying to accomplish with your content right now? Are you focused on lead generation? Brand awareness? Building authority? Generating revenue? To help you build an effective strategy that helps accomplish these goals, consider hiring a content marketing agency. They can be the experts you may need to help crush your goals.
Once you’ve identified this, consider how you can create effective content with the proper optimization and CTAs to achieve those objectives. As you do so, make sure you are still creating value for your reader with every piece and at every step.
It’s difficult to create an effective content marketing strategy without an end goal. Too often, content is created haphazardly or for one-off occasions without a content strategy in mind.
If you want every piece of content to perform at peak quality, though, you need to identify your content marketing goals and stay focused on them as you go along. This starts with the number one objective of always creating real value for your reader.
As you satisfy this requirement, consider what other goals you’re trying to achieve. Do you want to improve organic traffic? Build your email list? Close sales?
These secondary KPIs are always easier to achieve when you have the main objective of value creation in mind from the start.