Content advertising uses a variety of information to sell a product or brand. The primary intent behind creating the content is to market to a target audience. Different types of content speak to various audiences.
Content advertising is a $32.1 billion a year industry predicted to grow even more in the near future. However, as with most forms of advertising, if you don’t understand what you’re doing, you can throw a lot of money at content marketing without seeing much result.
Overcome people’s reluctance toward advertising by making your ads more informational or entertaining than spammy. The beauty of content is sharing information with readers without ramming a big flashing “buy me” sign down consumers’ throats. With content, you provide something of value to the reader without outright asking for a sell in return.
Some things to keep in mind as you delve into the exciting world of promoting through content:
1. Meet Your Audience
Since you’ll create content on specific topics, you need to have a particular audience in mind — your readers. In a recent survey, 90 percent of respondents said they found personalized content appealing. The only way to do this is by understanding your readers.
- Study your site’s analytics. Where are most of your readers entering your site? Are they based in a particular region? Google Analytics offers a few details on your audience. Study your stats closely.
- Break down information on your social media followers. Is your social media audience similar to your website visitor audience? Who is following you and liking your posts? Is anyone commenting or sharing what you put on your page?
- Poll your current customers. Get the in-depth information needed to market to your specific audience. Ask them what they’d like to see from you in the future.
Once you know your audience, figure out your tone. If most of your audience is Gen Z, your tone is going to be young, hip and fun, but if most of your audience is baby boomers, then you may need to take a casual but more mature tone. However, your audience’s personality is more than their age, so pay attention to all the elements that make up your particular customer base.
2. Answer Questions
One of the easiest ways to figure out what type of content advertising works best with your target audience is by looking at questions your customers and site visitors ask customer service. Consider questions from current customers and from those thinking about buying your product. If you’ve received any complaints, how can you turn it around and write about it?
For example, if a customer complains that your customer service responded slow, fix the issue and then share with followers the process you used to repair your slow response time.
If you notice a common query, that’s a signal to create content that answers the question. If you run a flower shop and people ask three times a week what bouquet is best for a birthday gift, write an article about it and feature some of your favorite arrangements for this occasion.
You can also search Google for questions about your specific industry. In the example above, you might search for “Questions for flower shop owners,” for instance. Google returns a list of results with some of the top questions. These are perfect subjects for articles.
3. Choose a Variety of Formats
Once you have a list of topics for your content, your next step is choosing the format. There are some ways to present content advertising, such as:
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
To reach the widest span of your chosen audience, vary the type of content you offer. For example, if your inside statistics show that your Facebook followers respond well to informational videos, then create one. However, your online visitors might respond better to an article, so you’d create one on the same topic for your website. You can still link to the video on Facebook, too, providing some cross-channel marketing opportunities.
4. Find a Unique Angle
Study what your competitors write content about and do something unexpected. Even if you cover the same topic, do it uniquely. For example, if you write about wedding flowers, compare them to the top 10 romantic comedies, highlighting why different types of flowers work for various types of weddings.
Make your content stand out and create a name for your brand in the process. People are fed up with advertising 24/7 and either ignore or block most ads, which makes content advertising even more effective. Give them valuable information without expecting anything in return, and they may just reward you for your efforts.
5. Start a Blog
One of the most useful forms of content advertising is your blog. Small businesses that have a blog get 126 percent more leads than those without. Content advertising via the form of a blog gives you access to more consumers than just the ones who visit your site.
With the right type of blog content, you gain information to share on social media, in emails and even in a free ebook offer. A blog educates the general public about what your company does and the products you offer. Figure out the pain points your customers deal with and explain how your product or service solves those issues.
6. Improve Conversion Rates
Driving traffic to your website or social media pages is only half the battle. Excellent content also connects with readers on an emotional level and encourages buying.
Content that converts considers the buyer’s journey and moves them every step through the sales funnel. The buyer must remain engaged from the moment they land on the content until they complete the sale.
Content marketers study the pain points at each step and find the best ways of moving the buyer forward in the process.
Why You Should Try Content Advertising
Creating amazing content requires only a little time and writing skill. If you haven’t shared content with your site visitors and fans, now is the time to choose a few favorite topics related to your industry and show off your knowledge in the field. Not only will you attract people interested in the issue, but you’ll also establish yourself as a pro.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.