Digital media has redefined ‘content marketing’!
In the last decade, how we interact with brands, celebrities, friends, and frenemies has changed significantly. We’re all connected through a digital world and a lot of us are creating content!
What is content creation?
Content creation is the production of information or marketing material for an audience. Content creation in marketing often involves informational or educational content combined with brand messaging.
Digital advancements have allowed the content creation process to evolve exponentially in the last few years. The multiple steps of producing quality content, from ideation to performance measurement, have become less cumbersome with content creation software.
Because it’s easier there is no dearth of content these days, and content creators aren’t just marketers. A 10-year-old creates a Snapchat story while a 45-year-old makes a photo collage to share their last road trip.
For most of us, we create content to share how awesome our lives are (you’re doing amazing, sweetie!) and to fish for likes and reposts, aka, for clout.
If you’ve found this article, you’re looking for a more focused approach to understanding content creation, its importance, and how you can make work that hooks your audience.
Let’s dive into the world of content creation, starting with its importance.
Why is content creation important?
In 2021, an adult’s average time spent daily consuming digital content was 8 hours. With stats that high, there’s an evident increase in digital marketing efforts leading to more digital content creation.
of total media ad spending went to digital ads worldwide in 2021.
Let’s break down which areas content affects and how they help with a company’s development.
- Builds brand awareness: Creating consistent content that aligns with your brand messaging creates a library of valuable resources that your audience starts associating with you. Over time, with increased brand visibility, consumer community and trust will grow.
- Engages top funnel (ToFu) and middle funnel (MoFu) audiences: Since there’s so much digital content, it’s imperative that consumers are engaged with the brand before they are ready to make a purchase.
- Supports search engine optimization (SEO): With SEO, consumers have increased chances to find your content. Engaging content could be your target audience’s first touch point, bringing them closer to a positive purchase decision.
- Establishes trust and expertise: Build a reputation for expertise in your field with consistent, effective content. To help customers solve their problems.
- Generates leads The one thing we are all behind! ToFu or MoFu content attracts potential consumers and finds leads. For example, a newsletter subscription or daily quiz gives you entry to their inboxes.
At this point, if you are convinced that content does boost business growth, let’s jump to the most popular types of content.
What are the different content types?
Like us humans, content comes in all shapes and sizes. They all have their importance, impact, and returns. Hence, understanding content mapping is critical, i.e., each content type serves a specific purpose and reaches the targeted stage of the buyer’s journey.
In the last few years, marketers have also observed the evolution of content creation trends. Some of the most common types used in digital marketing are listed here:
1. Infographics: Do you want to share a process or statistics? Infographics, which are quick-to-grasp and top-of-the-funnel, visually represent this kind of information.
- Best content mapping: Latest trends, statistics, flowcharts, or milestones.
- Relevant platforms: all social media platforms, in-between website content
Here’s an infographic example explaining the retail supply chain:
2. Blogs: Short or long-form content that revolves around a particular theme. It’s an effective format to address ToFu and MoFu so readers get invested in exploring areas of interest.
- Best content mapping: Informational articles, interview excerpts, listicles, story-telling
- Relevant platforms: Content hubs, personal blogs, knowledge hubs within a website
Example of long-form content: Ultimate Digital Marketing Guide to Improve Your Business ROI
3. White paper: Do your research and findings need space more than a blog? Then show that to your audience by publishing a white paper. It engages readers who want to dig deep into a complex topic.
- Best content mapping: Industry advancements, reports, policy briefing, eBooks
- Relevant platforms: A section on the website, downloadable content as a part of other content formats
Example: eBook by G2 Seller Solutions on ‘How to Lower Your CAC on LinkedIn’
4. Podcasts: An increasingly popular format and an exciting way to give a personal touch to your brand, this audio format are great for reaching your audience. While it can be an original content piece, marketers also use this to repurpose the existing written content.
- Best content mapping: Long-form content not involving many numbers, leader opinions, interviews, quick bites, or story-telling
- Relevant platforms: all audio or audio-visual digital channels
5. Webinars: While other formats are more of a one-way to drive desired actions, webinars are more of an interactive format. A webinar gives the attendees a chance to understand a topic through dialogue.
- Best content mapping: Thought leadership, product launch, open forums
- Relevant platforms: Video-conferencing tools or platforms
Example: G2 and ZoomInfo came together to host a webinar on ‘The Art and Science of Intent-driven Campaigns’
6. Videos: If you think an audio-visual format can better retain your audience’s attention, then consider making videos. An engaging video can make viewers anywhere along the sales funnel step closer to decision-making in a shorter cycle. Marketers experiment with this format in multiple ways, such as animation, gifs, or sound effects.
- Best content mapping: Educational content, interviews, or product reviews
- Relevant platforms: all audio-visual tools or platforms
Example: Check out the recording of an event on ‘Deepfakes: What B2B Leaders Need to Know’ hosted by G2
7. Case studies: This is the most effective way to share success stories and third-party evidence of your brand’s value. They offer the readers relevant information with a trust factor that helps them in their decision-making.
- Best content mapping: Success stories, testimonials, solution capabilities
- Relevant platforms: a section on the website, downloadable files as a part of other content forms
Example: A case study on how ‘Plytix Reduces CPL by 82% with G2 Marketing Solutions.
Let’s turn to understanding what makes content good, as the ultimate goal is to engage the audience and drive them to the desired action.
What is good content?
With so much information available these days, businesses must figure out ways to stand out. Here are the elements you need to ensure your content resonates.
1. Relevant: The most crucial aspect of any content is whether it’s relevant to your target audience and aligned with your business goals. These are some parameters that guarantee your content stays relevant.
- Content is geared toward the specific needs of your audience.
- Content provides all necessary information.
- The content is up to date.
2. Consistent: Out of sight, out of mind, especially when there are too many players in the market. Understanding what frequency works to enhance trust and credibility should be an essential part of content marketing. A few factors to consider while deciding the frequency of your content might be:
- Audience preferences and availability. A competitive study is a good starting point to understand and segment your customers
- Content size. A common strategy applied here is longer the content form, the lower the frequency
- Performance measurement. It’s always a good idea to measure your current plan’s performance.
3. Informative: Does the content play an important role in the consumers’ journey? Informative content should simplify the buyers’ journey. The following metrics can ensure the content is informational
- Caters to the needs of the audience
- Clear and easy to comprehend
- Facts and numbers are timely
4. Engaging: Can your content hold consumers’ attention? With decreasing attention spans and increasing flow of content, you must ensure your content stands out. To hook your audience, make sure your content ticks these boxes
- The content is original.
- Headlines are catchy and intriguing.
- Content is interactive.
5. Action-driven: The return on investment (ROI) from content marketing for any marketer is measured in engagement. The action here can be of any form aligned with the business goals. Here are a few elements that can support action-oriented content.
- The whole content has a clear directive toward the desired end action.
- Content has cues and distinct calls-to-action (CTAs) to assist the audience.
- Content has been created keeping buyer intent in mind.
Now comes the tricky part: how do you decide what kind of content to create?
How to set up a content creation strategy?
A content strategy gets relevant content to the right people at the right time. Let’s discuss ways you can make content creation easier.
Be clear about your goals. Some of the goals could include:
- Brand exposure
- Spreading thought leadership
- Increasing traffic on the website
- Generating leads
Once you have decided on the goals, ensure these are SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. These metrics guide your content strategy.
Know your audience
If you know your audience inside and out, the content you create resonates with them. Apart from target demographics, understanding your current audience’s behavior, thoughts, and needs is a good starting point to create a buyer persona. The additional benefit of knowing your customers is that you get what marketing channel is most effective.
Once you’re clear with the goals and the target audience, the journey of exploring great content ideas and creation begins. Here are some elements that help with the content ideation process.
Understanding the buyer’s journey
Their journey starts when they have a problem to address. After this, they research and compare multiple solutions that lead to an informed buying decision.
Essentially, the journey always consists of three main stages: awareness (problem is recognized), consideration (potential solutions are compared and explored), and decision (purchase decision is made).
Your content strategy can target one or all stages of the buyer’s journey depending on the end goals.
Generating content ideas
Content ideas abound these days, but mapping an idea to the business goals and the audience can be challenging. Here are a few ways that can help you home in on ways to structure the ideation process without getting overwhelmed by the amount of content that exists.
- Explore the current market demand through keyword research. This gives you a solid idea of what content has high potential in the market.
- Know your competitors. They can inadvertently give you insight into what’s performing well with your shared audience.
- Take in customer feedback. Their feedback should be considered while you work on your next marketing gig so that you can improve on the previous one.
- Brainstorm with larger groups outside your team. Sometimes great content ideas come from the least expected source. Brainstorming with a larger group gives everyone an open floor to discuss ideas from a broad perspective.
- Put yourself in their shoes. Tie up your laces and walk a mile in your customer’s footsteps. This change of perspective leads to content that shows your audience that you’re empathetic to their needs, which builds trust in your customer community.
You need a plan to organize and execute a content strategy that meets marketing objectives. Consider these factors to ensure your content ideas come to life without glitches and within the decided timelines.
- Consider the scale of your project. Understanding the frequency, content type, and marketing channels to meet the goals drives decisions about your content plan’s budget and scale.
- Prepare the necessary resources. Figure out what resources you need to execute the plan. Apart from financial and technology needs, hire a strong team of marketing content creators to bring the project to fruition. Your content team needs a manager, a strategist, subject matter experts, writers, editors, and distributors.
A content calendar, also known as an editorial calendar, is used to schedule content and track it. It comes in handy if there are multiple content pieces in various stages and you need to quickly check which article is at what stage.
It’s always helpful to have an overview of all tasks, whether your project is big or small. Many marketing calendar software available assist marketers in planning, creating, and organizing content and collaborating with stakeholders. Teams can easily share updates within and outside organizations without the need for emails.
Content creation and publishing
Now comes the heavy lifting. Content creation might take days or weeks, from the first draft to the final piece, depending upon the review and approval process. Don’t skip these elements that should be a part of any content creation process.
- Competitive Analysis: This process ensures that your content doesn’t miss anything that already exists in the market. It can include SERP analysis, relevant CTAs, and value adds the brand brings.
- SEO Review: This step aligns your headers, tags, and keywords with the best SEO practices so your content has a better chance of ranking on the first page of SERP, boosting traffic to the site.
- Design Review: This process keeps your visual elements on par with the competitors’ and maintains your brand’s visual integrity.
At G2, we ensure that all content types go through a thorough review process, including competitive analysis, copy-editing, design review, and SEO review, before reaching you.
After content creation, a robust publishing strategy will attract the right audience.
Data is everywhere, so why should marketers shy away from data-driven content strategy? Circling back to your business goals, the next important step is measuring its performance. Use some of these metrics to rate the performance.
- Number of views
- Organic or non-paid traffic
- Bounce rate
- Time spent on page
- Social engagement metrics
- Conversions or leads generated
Overall, the goal of performance measurement is to understand what’s working and what needs to be improved, which brings us to the last, essential part of the strategy.
Consumers are humans; their wants and needs are bound to change. Therefore, you must understand what’s working for you and what isn’t.
Focus on these three areas while you optimize your content pieces.
- Keyword research. Identify and target the right keywords that match the content intent. This makes it more likely that your content ranks high and reaches the right audience.
- Know your search engine result pages (SERPs). Focus on two factors while analyzing the SERPs for your target keywords: content that consistently ranks high (to get an idea of the structure and elements included) and the type of content that ranks high (to understand which format best resonates with the audiences).
- Don’t forget SEO: Even though Google’s algorithm increasingly favors human-first content, make sure basic SEO for bots delivers your content on the right terms. SEO elements such as the inclusion of target keywords, optimized headers (H1s and H2s), and optimized images help the crawlers understand the content’s intent.
Tip: Boost your SEO with internal linking! When relevant content on your site is linked to a new piece, search engine crawlers can discover and rank your content more easily. Internal links also provide credibility to new work as bots understand the relationship between content pieces and share the link value.
Additionally, user-generated content can help you understand content performance. However, this exercise involves a regular content audit with rewrites, new content creation, or even the removal of content. Let’s not get too attached to our content!
Best practices for content creation
If not marketed well, the best content might not get you desired results. Marketers realize the importance of effective content marketing. They’re trying to sell the content and also to hook the audience with some value addition. This strategy creates a community and increases your customer base.
A well-planned content strategy that we discussed above should take care of most of the content marketing part; however, answering the following best practices will further strengthen it.
- Clear and easy to comprehend. High readability contributes a lot to content performance. Read your content out loud to ensure it sounds correct and will resonate with the audience.
- Invite user-generated content (UGC). Are you including user-generated content to optimize the existing content? If the content is insightful and can start a dialogue, it will get its share of love and provides takeaways for the next piece you’re working on.
- Promote your content on social media. Engagement on social media channels is a great way to learn what works. Promote your content on all social media channels!
- Tap in the influencers. Partnering with influencers can amplify brand awareness, reinforce reputation, and foster credibility. Be watchful of the influencers’ credibility in the long term so there’s no negative impact on your brand.
- Be flexible with your marketing strategy. Always be open and flexible to modifying your approach to suit your audience and meet their content needs.
Best content creation software
Content creation and marketing are the needs of the hour for businesses in today’s digital world, though these content creation agencies might not have the expertise to start with. In this case, content creation software can help.
What is content creation software?
Content creation software enables businesses to create content for their marketing initiatives. These content pieces can include written content, images, and infographics. Promoting collaboration among marketing team members, content creation products are used to plan all activities of content development.
To be included in G2’s content creation category, software must provide:
- Templates and tools to create content for marketing goals
- Features to manage different content types such as reports, brochures, or videos
*Below are the top 5 leading content creation software from G2’s Fall 2022 Grid® Report. Some reviews may be edited for clarity.
Semrush is a leading online visibility management SaaS platform with over 55 products, tools, and add-ons including tools for search, content, or market research.
What users like:
“Semrush is more than just an SEO tool; it offers a wide variety of features and functionalities, such as keyword research, competitor analysis, metrics for search requests, and so on. The best part is they also offer a 7-day free trial to try out their software before making any purchasing decisions which helps the user figure out if this is the right tool for them or not.”
–Semrush Review, Kabita L., Sep 01, 2022
What users dislike:
“The only thing I don’t like is its price. The monthly cost of Semrush is high and at times, for small organizations and individuals, it’s not possible to afford this tool..”
–Semrush Review, Viney K., Aug 23, 2022
RELAYTO is an interactive experience platform that transforms any static content into engaging interactive experiences.
What users like:
“We work for various clients at the agency and are required to make new content daily that we distribute across all the social media channels for the client. We used various software earlier to create content and then publish it on social media. Since we started using RELAYTO, it has become so easy for the whole team to create new content and share it.”
–RELAYTO Review, Noman K., Aug 31, 2022
What users dislike:
“Using RELAYTO for the first time can be a bit overwhelming because there are just so many amazing features that we couldn’t decide where to start.”
–RELAYTO Review, Hazel Kay A., Jul 15, 2022
Copy.ai uses cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) technology to enable entrepreneurs and marketers to collaborate, brainstorm, and write great content. It has 130+ templates and tools that writers use to communicate their ideas.
What users like:
“The most helpful thing about Copy.ai is that it’s incredibly accurate. I’ve used it for a variety of purposes, but I use it almost exclusively for writing blog posts and social media posts, and it consistently delivers material that’s well-written, engaging, and on-brand.”
Copy.ai Review, Mncedisi B., Jul 04, 2022
What users dislike:
“A simple text field to input my title, body, and tone would have sufficed. Instead, I had to create a project to get things going, not to mention I didn’t notice/case for the interface/full package. I came here looking for quick copy ideas and I got it, but onboarding could be more simplified.”
Copy.ai Review, Ranj B., Jun 23, 2022
Scalenut is a content research and writing tool that brings together AI and natural language programming (NLP) that helps to create optimized long and short-form content.
What users like:
“It’s easy to use. Able to create high-quality blog posts in less than 3 minutes. It’s relatively cheap compared to other AI writing tools. It comes with top-notch SEO and copywriting tools.”
–Scalenut Review, Joseph O., Jul 08, 2022
What users dislike:
“The learning curve is a bit demanding at the start and you’ll take some time to get accustomed to the different features available in the platform. Once you go through the platform, you’ll find it easy to use.”
–Scalenut Review, Rahul M., Feb 16, 2022
Powtoon is a visual communication platform that enables people without much design or technical skills to create professional videos and presentations.
What users like:
“Powtoon has excellent features for audio and video editing and presentation for sales and marketing. The Share feature helps multiple people to work and collaborate at the same time. Excellent tool for prototyping and presentation or demo.”
–Powtoon Review, Raunak A., May 24, 2022
What users dislike:
“When using the free version, there are some limitations with what you can do with your video creation. For example, a person cannot download their video, nor can they make their video unlisted when uploading to YouTube. Because of the capacity for layering and icon movement, load time can take a moment, but all of these problems are solved with a higher bandwidth Internet and the paid version of the platform.”
–Powtoon Review, Jodi J., Jul 14, 2021
Start your content creation journey now!
With this step-by-step guide, you’re well-equipped now to embark on the content creation journey. It might take some time to learn what works for you, but with digital content, there are no boundaries!
Take your content to market! Learn how to promote your content and take the masterpiece to your audiences.
Source by learn.g2.com