You’ve heard it over and over, “Content is King.” And in just the last couple of years, you keep hearing a new term—Content Marketing—as the hottest thing in, well, marketing. So, what’s the big deal?

To be honest, quite a bit.

Content marketing is getting attention because it supports critical goals including sales lead generation, customer retention, and brand awareness. It seems that marketing departments and marketers are transforming into authors and publishers.

We define content marketing as the creation and distribution of educational and/or compelling content in multiple formats to attract and/or retain customers. Having excellent content to post on websites, blogs, or social media channels is essential. Not only does content build search authority, but it reinforces thought leadership and brand positioning.

Content Marketing Studies

In a 2010 study from Marketing Profs and Junta42 (B2B Content Marketing: Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends), many interesting points on content marketing usage in the B2B marketing world were brought up:

  • 9 out of 10 B2B marketers use content marketing
  • Adoption rates by industries range from 78%(low) to 94%(high)
  • Top goals of content marketing include brand awareness (78%), customer retention (69%) and lead generation (63%)
  • Most marketers (51%) planned to spend more on content marketing in 2011
  • Content challenges included producing engaging content (36%), producing enough content (21%) and generating a content budget (20%)

More recently, Altimeter Group conducted a study on content marketing and discovered that marketers are now planning to add more video, images and infographics to their content marketing campaigns and are more confident in online video, social and mobile applications. Here they show various case studies to explain the different stages of content marketing, along with results of their research.

Content Marketing Infographic

Need more info and statistics on content marketing? Check out this really cool InfoGraphic from Social Media Explorer!

How then, does content marketing build search authority?

In many, many ways. Think about this: when you see an interesting story on the web, do you share, Tweet, re-post etc.? The more interesting, useful, educational and informative your content is, the better chance you have of getting your audience to share it. The more often your content is repurposed, the more backlinks (links from other sites that point to your site) to your blog, social sites and website you’ll create. It’s important to develop well thought-out material that has research and various sources to back it up. If you need ideas on how to develop your content marketing strategy in order to build search authority, check out the Content Marketing Institute’s guide for boosting website authority by clicking here.

How can I measure my content marketing campaign and what should I look for?

 There are hundreds of tools available for you to monitor your content marketing campaign. Below we name several with questions you should be asking yourself:

  • Google Analytics (Which of your web pages are people visiting on a regular basis?)
  • Google AdWords (What keywords are people searching that increase the click-through-rate to your site?)
  • Google Alerts (Are you setting up alerts on your top keywords to see if your content shows up high in search results? If you don’t see your content, what are you seeing from others/your competition?)
  • YouTube INSIGHT (Who is viewing your videos and how often? Does a low search volume mean the content in the video is not interesting?
  • Facebook INSIGHTS (How many new likes do you get each month? Are your posts shared? What is the reach for each post?)
  • TweetDeck (For your “mentions” column – are others also repurposing your twitter content by mentioning your name?)
  • HootSuite (When you look at an overview of your posts on Facebook and twitter for the month, which links are the most popular and how many ‘likes’ do you get on a daily basis?
  • LinkedIn (How many connections do you have on linkedin? How many people are following your company/are group members? How often do group members comment on your posts or generate posts themselves?)
  • Radian6 (What is the “chatter” this month for your brand across all social platforms? Are you getting generally positive or negative sentiments?)

This is all great, but what types of content should I create?

Many marketers wonder where to begin when creating content, and what to write about. Here is a list of ideas to help get you going:

  • Many marketers wonder where to begin when creating content, and what to write about. Here is a list of ideas to help get you going:
  • Product/service features, benefits, applications
  • White papers on industry topics
  • How you solved a customer problem
  • Tips, how-to’s, best practices for your product or service
  • Upcoming trade shows, programs and industry events
  • Frequently asked questions (FAQ’s)
  • Videos, seminars, and presentations
  • News announcements, news releases, editorial
  • New products, programs, promotions
  • Industry news (economic, trends, new technologies)
  • News from relevant partners or alliances, associations,
    trade unions, etc.
  • Customer case studies and/or testimonials
  • Profile a staff member or industry leader
  • Share resources that customers might be interested in
  • Conduct industry surveys with free tools like Survey Monkey
  • Blog about company history
  • Provide technical info
  • Write about a government program or legislation
  • Share a new ad campaign
  • Publish results of a recent research project
  • Welcome customers and detail your content ideas for the blog

Does your company use content marketing? What are your thoughts on the strategy, and what best practice tips do you have to offer? Please be sure to share this blog with your friends and comment below to let us know!