If you missed Sophie’s talk earlier this month, fret not. Here’s the lowdown on how to use content to market your brand in 2023, covering an introduction to content marketing and its key business benefits, how to leverage content to market your brand and the best types of content to create.
What’s in this article?
Before we begin, let’s first define what content marketing is exactly.
“Content marketing is an inbound marketing tactic that involves creating and amplifying content online.”
Content marketing is currently overtaking more traditional, outbound, marketing tactics, by offering an authentic way of connecting with potential customers. Without coming across as overly self-promotional or salesly, content marketing aims to attract, engage and retain an audience by providing consistent, valuable and relevant content.
So, now you know what content marketing is, let’s delve a little bit into what it can do for your business.
The key thing to remember here is that content marketing is important for both users and search engines, and can help you achieve the following:
Now, let’s take a look at some of the top content trends to look out for in 2023.
First on our radar, we have search engine optimisation, more commonly known as SEO. With all the Google updates thrown our way this year, an increasing number of brands are quickly learning the importance of SEO within their content strategies. Investing in SEO will be crucial to improving online performance and avoiding any penalties, which could cause drops in traffic.
Going hand-in-hand with SEO, informational blogs play a huge part in your SEO content strategies. In fact, 70% of people say they prefer receiving information from blogs rather than ads. As such, we can see that although they may seem traditional, blogs are certainly here to stay, even with the growing popularity of new content formats.
That being said, there will be a huge focus on content experience going forward – and users will be wanting more interactivity in their content, including things like visuals, video and audio – such as podcasts for example. However, this will be in addition to blogs and longer forms of content.
Video in particular will become pivotal for marketers, as consumer attention span gets lower, and brands will be expected to keep up with the likes of TikTok and Instagram Reels. In fact, 88% of people say they would like to see more videos from brands in general.
Another interactive format to keep an eye out for is virtual events. Virtual events can be fantastic for building brand awareness, spreading information and generating quality leads, which will be especially useful for B2B brands
Lastly, we have human and data-driven storytelling, which will be exceptionally important for building trust with customers. Your audiences will be expecting things like value-sharing, strong tone of voice and empathetic strategies to really tell your brand story. This should be in addition to the expertise and data side of it, which will solidify brand trust. Brand trust has been especially important following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and brand trust sunk to an all-time-low.
Content creation is a top priority for over 80% of marketers and can deliver outstanding results, however, like most things, content comes with its own challenges. According to HubSpot, these are the five main challenges we will face…
Let’s explore how you can leverage content to overcome these challenges and reach your digital goals – starting with content strategy.
“78% of those who believe their content marketing was very successful in 2021 had a documented content marketing strategy.”
The best way to get what you want out of your content is to get the strategy and planning stage right, and document it. But where do you start?
These are the 4 steps to creating content that your target audience can engage with:
An editorial calendar will look different for every brand and will depend on how granular you would like it to be. Here are some examples of what you can include:
To give you an idea of how you can lay this out, here is a generic example of an editorial calendar:
So, what content types should you be creating to help overcome these challenges, and tap into the trends for the new year?
An increasing number of brands are realising the importance of creating content for both search engines and users, and SEO content is becoming increasingly popular. It is reported that 78% of brands carry out keyword research to identify areas of opportunity and inform their content.
This type of content is designed to rank in the top positions in the search engine results pages (SERP), and get your brand seen by more people. Since Google is always throwing curveballs, it is imperative that you stay on top of this, which means auditing your content regularly and focusing on quality content that serves user intent and meets Google’’s guidelines.
It is also reported that SEO generates 1000% more traffic than social media, so it’s a no-brainer!
What results can you expect to see from SEO content?
The real question on everyone’s mind is: does this actually work? Well, take a look at the results we were able to achieve using an SEO-led blog strategy – and decide for yourself.
Over a 3-year period, our client experienced…
Read the full case study for more information.
SEO content also has the potential to obtain SERP features, which will help you gain more clicks and increase web traffic. One example is featured snippets, which are important as users are not likely to scroll down the page and will click the first listing they see. So, you need to try and make sure that’s you.
Here are a few examples of featured snippets we have obtained:
Nowadays, consumers crave content – whether that’s scrolling through social media or catching up on podcasts. It’s your duty to give consumers what they want and become the go-to destination for all their content needs.
Evergreen content is particularly important as it is always relevant for your readers, and can be used to answer their burning questions or provide their daily dose of entertainment – all while building an engaged audience and supporting your SEO efforts. For instance, evergreen content that is informed by your keyword research will help your site rank for relevant terms and boost online visibility over time.
Evergreen content has many benefits. It serves user intent, drives a regular flow of traffic to your website and can even promote your products or services, for example with informational blogs or product pages
Is creating evergreen content worth it?
Although difficult to measure directly, the modern consumer relies on content to complete the buyer’s journey – both for B2B and B2C purchases. In fact, B2C consumers read 3-5 pieces of content and B2B buyers read 11.4 pieces before making a purchase.
Creating high quality content regularly leads to an increase in website visitors – 55% more on average – or in many cases more, as seen in our previous example.
However, not all content needs to be evergreen, and topical or seasonal content should also play a part in your content strategy.
Topical content is anything on trend and timely – such as holiday content, industry updates or product launches. It is a great way to involve your brand in important conversations, earning your share of voice and increasing brand awareness where it counts. This type of content is excellent for sharing on social media and improve engagement –it may even go viral if you’re lucky.
To do this, you need to stay on top of your niche, jump on trends and demonstrate your expertise (in a timely fashion). But how do you find out what’s trending?
Here are a few ways you can find trending topics for your content:
Finally, we have thought leadership content. Thought leadership uses your business experience and expertise to discuss important topics.
This could be providing digestible insights and making them accessible to all through engaging ebooks and whitepapers. At the end of the day, consumers want to know they are getting the best from a reputable brand, who knows their stuff.
Not only does this build trust with consumers, but helps satisfy Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, too. Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines place value on expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (EAT).
Although EAT is not a direct ranking factor, it is important when it comes to outranking competitors – especially for YMYL websites (such as news, science, politics, finance, health, shopping and nutrition sites) – anything that could potentially harm the wellbeing or health of an individual if they were to spread false information.
So, it’s your priority to create thought-provoking content that will position your brand as an expert, build trust and motivate decision-makers.
This could mean focusing on building author pages on your site to showcase your credentials, including expert contributors in your blogs or implementing internal linking to back up ideas and build more authority.
Thought leadership is a big driver for B2B buyers, with 54% of B2B decision makers saying they purchased a product after engaging with thought leadership. If you’re marketing to businesses, then it’s definitely worth considering in your upcoming plans.
So, now you’ve created content, you need to distribute it. It’s no good just sitting on your site if you want to maximise your results.
Content amplification involves distributing your content through various channels and extending your brand reach. There are a number of different channels you can use to do this, such as:
Measuring content success is not linear, and there are a number of different metrics to consider in addition to leads and sales. In many cases, leads and sales are not possible without what comes before them, such as actually building brand awareness, attracting visitors to your site and gaining enough trust with potential customers for them to make a purchase.
Here are some of the metrics you can measure in addition to leads and sales:
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