In the world of 360° digital marketing, content is king. Content is the quality of information you create and share online. It basically comes in 4 broad formats; text, audio, video and images. The extent to which you make them unique, useful and entertaining, determines how effective they become in marketing your business online.
In a previous article, I explained why content is the lifeblood of your 360° digital marketing strategy. Without it, all your efforts online will be futile. With that being said, for many businesses thinking about adopting digital marketing, knowing how to use the content for marketing purposes online is very important.
And that is the essence of this article; in it, I will be sharing 45 different ways to use content marketing to strategically market your business.
Let’s get into it; we have a lot of grounds to cover!
45 Ways to Use Content Marketing to Strategically Market Your Business
The practice of using content (text, audio, video and images) to strategically market your business or brand online is what is known as content marketing. It is a crucial element of your 360° digital marketing strategy.
Below are 45 different ways you can use content as a marketing tool to increase your business or brand’s visibility online. In other words, the following are the 45 different content marketing formats available to savvy entrepreneurs and smart businesses.
‘How to’ contents are a particular type of article or blog post that clearly explains how to do something. There are very popular among digital marketers because of their practicality. ‘How to’ blog posts or articles are actionable tips that the reader can immediately begin to apply to solve the problem they have or help create the results they seek.
As a matter of fact, all types of content that serve as a guideline to help you get anything done in your life or business is a ‘how to’ content. Whether it is found online or in a hard copy book like; “how to win friends and influence people”, doesn’t really matter. The key thing to bear in mind with ‘how to’ contents is their practicality. They have to be useful to the readers.
To put them to use, think about all the problems your target customers might be struggling with or all the results they currently lack but desperately desire and present the solution as a ‘how to’ article for them.
See a quick example of ‘How To’ content format:
- How to make a wig in 30 Minutes.
- How to create a winning brand strategy for the Nigerian Market.
- How to become a Lekki Landlord in 2 months.
The examples above have some sense of urgency in them; you will find people reading your article if it addresses their needs and wants.
To curate simply means to gather and organize something that is of particular interest to you. It is usually around a particular subject matter. In digital marketing, content curation is gathering and organizing information around a particular subject matter for the benefit of your target audience.
According to Wikipedia, “content curation is the process of gathering information relevant to a particular topic or area of interest.” It involves finding out the best contents in your field or industry from reputable sources, organizing them by topics.
There are so many contents online; doing the extra work of helping your target audiences stay informed with relevant contents positions you as the go-to expert. They know you have already sifted through the contents and will only present the best to them. That alone is value to your target audiences who are busy and can’t do such.
Let’s see some examples:
- ‘Top 10 real estate companies in Nigeria’ – articles like this help readers to focus a set of real estate companies as oppose to reading about the over 100,000 real estate companies we have in Nigeria. Writers give facts on why the mentioned companies made their list of 10 top real estate companies.
- Trending issues can be summarised with a curated content as well, a quick example is the Tonto Dikeh and Olakunle Churchill scandal, where the former threw shades at her estranged husband.
The issue generated a lot of comments from other celebrities and followers, in order to make it more convenient for readers, writers and bloggers write articles like ‘15 responses from Nigerian celebrities over Tonto Dikeh’s recent outburst’.
- Top 5 songs for the week – is another typical example of curated content, it involves bringing just 5 music together from the many songs that get airplay daily for the listening pleasure of viewers and followers.
Case studies are contents on your website either as blog posts or as web pages that serve as credibility boosters to your target audience. They help to convey the potency of the products/services you sell to your target customers.
According to Kissmetrics; “case studies are a great way to tell the world how valuable your products or services are. They go beyond simple testimonials by showing real-life examples of how you were able to satisfy your customer’s needs and help them accomplish their goals. With great case studies, you will be able to highlight your successes in a way that will make your ideal potential customer become your customer.”
Case studies are powerful content marketing strategies because they help your target customers to put your products/services in a better perspective. They literally see the solution you are promising in the success stories of your past or current clients. The aim of case studies is to assert the credibility of what you sell to potential customers.
Let’s relate case studies to marketing:
- Brand stories can do two things; it either inspires your brand or discourages you from taking effort to grow. A strategy is easy to adopt when you can relate it to another successful brand.
- Another example of case study is testimonial, when you feed your audience with information of how your customers have been satisfied with your quality of service, prospect trust you more.
- For cosmetic businesses for instance, pictures can be placed side-by-side to show the before and after effect (sure you have seen this somewhere).
Case studies are good if you are looking to close sales faster, it saves you a lot of time.
These are visual content types that help to present the information in memorable formats. A page of information presented as a text can be summarized with a chart or graph making it easier for your target audience to consume the information.
Charts or graphs are particularly useful when your content is research or survey. They further tell the facts of your findings in compelling ways than using text alone. It is usually boring trying to present data in words, that’s why charts and graphs were invented. So spare your readers the headache by using them whenever the content is research, survey or data-driven.
The Graph Influence:
- Graphs and charts are visually appealing; should you come up a good graphical representation your readers will pay more attention to your graph, the logical thing to do here is to put in the graph or charts the most important aspect of your writings.
If your content can prevent readers from spending more time reading a long line of text, then go graphical!
- Not all content can be in graphs, but to be used where applicable. If used appropriately, trust, you content will be appreciated by readers.
- In mathematics, sure you must have plotted one if you have graduated from secondary school. There different kind of graphs, some are pie, bar, or line, anyone that fits your data can be used.
Ebooks are another credibility-boosting content marketing strategy. When you need to position yourself as an authority in your field, an ebook is a good content format to use. As a marketing tool, ebooks are unique because they don’t seem like a marketing tactic. People naturally see them as valuable resources as opposed to marketing information.
In digital marketing, Ebooks are mainly used for lead generation through your website. Your target audiences are more inclined to drop their contact details such as emails and phone numbers in exchange for a valuable resource packaged as an ebook. Examples of ebooks used for content marketing include; whitepapers, case studies, industry reports, research studies and manifestoes.
The Ebook Factor:
- Electronics books, fondly called Ebooks can be accessed after an online visitor must have subscribed to a website for updates on a preferred topic. What happens from then on is an unlimited access most of the free ebooks.
- Businesses that use the Ebook as a marketing tool, usually have features on their website that enable online visitor subscribe to their Ebooks; On assessing their website, a small notice usually pops up, which suggests to the visitor to provide emails and name if they will like to read more about their services or articles.
Two things you can get with Ebooks; you have access to email contact, and get to attract more people to your website because they are getting valuable content consistently.
Regardless of the rise and popularity of social networks, emails are still an integral part of online communication. And that’s why creating contents for email marketing in the form of newsletters, autoresponders and sales letters are critical to strategically marketing your business or brand online.
Unlike blog posts or ebooks, emails are considered as a more personalized form of communication with your target customers. The fact that they drop into their inbox makes it very personal to them and changes the context of the message.
The frequency of use is also a strong reason to adopt emails as a content marketing strategy. Hardly those a day goes by without people checking their emails at least once. That means your message can get seen repeatedly if the reader considers you as an authority in your field.
In addition, emails are also good for strengthening the relationship and bond between you and your target customers. This is one of the greatest benefits of using autoresponders as they help you create a series of emails that can be sent out to your target customers over a certain period of time. This creates a long term ongoing communication between you and them that can be leveraged into sales and other business development opportunities between you and your audience.
- If you are reading this, sure you have an email. Upon signing up on a platform, have you noticed you already have a unread mail in your inbox? Sometimes you get a notice to check your email to activate your account. Those are autoresponders!
- Facebook pages also have auto responder/prompts that allows you understand that platform better, the first few words could have been saved by the page admin, this message are basically greetings.
Autoresponders, help you make anonymous visitors to subscribers, ensures adequate follow up, and ensure a better email delivery rate when you want to send emails to your subscribers.
Cartoons and illustrations are great ways of presenting your contents visually to your target customers. Leveraging on their humorous nature, cartoons and illustrations can spice up your contents with an entertainment appeal.
They are also good branding tools because of their uniqueness. Presenting your contents as cartoons and illustrations immediately distinguish you from all other players in that industry or field. This is because the majority of online marketers use text for their publications, spicing things up with engaging cartoons and illustrations will be immediately noticed.
So consider adding them to your list of content marketing strategies for your business. The only challenge might expensive for small businesses because cartoonist and illustrators are not as cheap as graphic designers.
The Cartoon Effect
- Cartoons are humorous characters; this is a good content format if you are looking to attract younger people to your brand. A typical example is Indomie Noodles, they designed the indomitable character, all in a bit to endear the younger children to their brand; this, today is no longer news because they have succeeded in making the cartoon characters a household name.
- Another brand that also used the cartoon character to great effects is the maker of Cowbell milk.
The nature of children age 0-12 makes the idea of cartoons in marketing strategy a productive one. Childrens are imaginative, not afraid to try new things, so you shouldn’t be afraid to adopt this strategy if your target markets are mostly children.
People are always in search of a good book to read. But the sheer volume of books out there can be overwhelming for them to sift through.
Thousands of books are published daily, more so, some of these books are actually covers the same topic, so how then can you help readers choose the best book? The reason why many seem to miss out on the good books is because the authors have refused to provide compelling book summaries.
This is why book summaries are a good content marketing format to adopt for product marketing.
Book summaries are made to capture the mind of the writer in few words, reading a summary gives reader a vague idea of the book.
Where you find book summaries?
- Book cover often has the book summary; aside from the little bio of the author you see at the back cover, authors also provide readers with few words the stare up a hunger to read the book. There are many books to read, but a simple book summary can help you choose from other books with similar titles.
- A summary can also be found at the beginning of a journal or book, just to serve as a guide, and as we often say, “don’t judge a book by its cover design”. The book summary you find in the first few pages of your book can help readers understand a little the kind of book they are about to sacrifice their time and energy to read.
Reviews are not just a way to get feedback from users or customers, but reviews help to validate your products and services.
Reviews can be gotten offline and offline, offline reviews are sometimes biased and might be difficult for a customer might be misled.
Online tools reviews provide customers with more objective information about a product because you get to see a lot of people giving their remark on the product or service that interests you.
A good example is the App. Store; there you can see the ratings and comments from users of an App. A bad review will most likely be a turn-off for anyone who might want to download an App, while a good review from users will definitely help in conversion and retention.
All these content gotten via reviews put together are substantial tools to help you market your product, if there are more positive reviews then it good for business.
Another good thing about tool review is that it helps you to see the weakness in your brand and the areas you need to improve in other to get more positive reviews.
Giveaways are special offers, prizes usually given to reward customers and sometimes staffs. Instead of disposing of some items that have been on the store shelves for too long, business owners can offer those items at a discounted rate.
Knowing customers for who they are, you will definitely get more people coming to buy your product. A lot of people look forward to when brands will offer giveaway items.
Usually, giveaways come after buying a particular product; it’s a reward from the seller to her customer for choosing to patronize them.
This is an effective marketing strategy especially when you have competitors. It gives you good leverage to make more sales. The success of this strategy depends on how effective you are able to make people aware of your giveaways.
Use various media platform to pass the message, make the content of your advert simple and easy to understand. For an effective advert content, you should contact us, we will be glad to help.
The Giveaway Effect
- At festive seasons, you get captions like “Buy 3 and get 1 free”, “Get 25% of all Baby Products”, “Enjoy free delivery for orders more that 20K” – these are examples of captions used by retail businesses to attract customers. Some even have promo running throughout the year.
- Another example is the mobile telecommunication operators; from time to time they introduce packages that allow their customers get more airtime and data for less money.
The FAQ is an acronym for Frequently Ask Questions, FAQs is a compilation of enquires, questions asked by customers and other people who might be curious to know what a brand is all about. Specific answers and solutions are summarized in a few words for everyone to understand.
The FAQs helps the seller or business owner to reduce the number of times a question or an enquiry has to be resolved, meaning anyone can read the answers to a perceived question.
Having FAQs helps a brand to build a closer relationship with their customers. Information on the company’s vision has been known to be included in FAQs.
Example of FAQ
Question 01: Are all products on Jumia original and genuine?
Answer 01: Yes. We are committed to offering our customers only 100% genuine and original products. We also take all necessary actions to ensure that any seller found to be selling non-genuine products is immediately delisted from Jumia.
Please contact us here if you think a product listed on our website does not meet these standards.
Question 02: How can I check reviews/ratings of a product before buying?
Answer 02: It is advised that you check what other customers have said about a product before you buy. Click here for a guide to product quality and reviews
A question and answer session of stakeholders with customers/shareholders is another effective marketing strategy.
This strategy could be used before or after a product launch. People will like to know the stories behind a product, they want to know the why, what and how of a product or service.
Calling for a question and answer session is a good way to help the customers and stakeholders understand a product.
Distributors of products also gain a lot from sessions like this. They get to ask questions on product pricing, quality and other related questions.
For customers, it helps to build confidence in the brand. Brand loyalty comes when a company is able to meet the needs of its customers. How then can one understand the need of the customers if there is no interaction? It’s will be difficult.
Successful companies have been able to harness the feedback gotten from customers to improve their customer experience.
Having a regular question and session also help companies to be more sustainable, because your ability to give satisfactory answers will make your audience continue to choose you over your competitors.
- Like the FAQ, questions are asked and answers are provided; the difference here is that the answers are live as opposed to the already written answers for FAQ.
- The Nigeria general election also witnessed question and answer session for candidate of different political parties, where the citizen were able to ask question based on their felt needs. The responses of the candidate were responsible for voters’ choice of candidate.
A webinar is simply seminars done online. Webinars allow for a wider reach, relatively cheaper when compared to the offline seminars, where one have to get a venue and plan for other logistics.
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have Live streaming features to allow followers to keep up and even ask questions.
Many entrepreneurs have been found to utilize webinars, as they hold skill acquisition training online.
A webinar can be held on live video, audio or via a group chat, as long as it is done online, it can be categorized as a webinar.
Here is a typical notice for a webinar:
“Webinar: 7 Ways to Include Videos in Your Sales Funnel to Increase Conversion Rates”
“In this webinar you’ll learn:
- What research says about your audience. Do they really want more video? (Spoiler Alert: Yes.)
- When and where to introduce video to increase sales conversions
- What types of videos work best at which stages in the funnel
- How to easily create effective videos, regardless of experience”
When: Thursday, April 11 at 1 pm ET (10 am PT)”
The notice is sent via emails to subscribers with a link to the online platform the seminar will be held. Facebook and instagram are just two of the many platforms webinars can be done.
Guides are information given by manufacturers to users to enable them to understand the features of a product.
Guides are fondly called operating manuals when referring to electronics and automobiles. It can also be in form of Video Illustrations.
Having a clearly written product manual helps a buyer understand everything about a product, it wouldn’t be good if your customer call or come back to ask on how to turn on a gadget, it just not good enough.
Customers will most likely choose a product with guides rather than one that does not have a guide. It’s also a good way to show a product is genuine.
How would it be if all phones don’t have guides? Simply put, the phones will be underutilized or abused. If you are a manufacturer and do not have your own user manual, it’s a good time to start working on your content, and it helps customers to understand the uniqueness in your product.
Guides are very useful content marketing formats that you can adopt for your business. Even though you are not a manufacturing company, you can use guides to train your target customers on how to solve a problem or achieve a desired result.
- The Nigerian students Guide to studying abroad
- The beginners guide to digital marketing
Your target audience have problems and desire solutions to them. They also have desires and need help to achieve them. Both scenarios provide you as an entrepreneur or business owner the opportunity to attract them to your website.
By simply searching for relevant tools or apps that can help them solve their problems or achieve their desires. Such tools and apps can be compiled and shared as an article on your company’s blog.
Here are some examples;
- 10 Productivity Android Apps for Entrepreneurs
- Top Fitness Apps for Busy People
- The best Project Management Apps for Engineers
To be continued…
Watch out for part 2 where i will be sharing another 15 additional ways to use Content Marketing to Strategically Market Your Business.