How to Use Informational Marketing to Actually Help Your Audience in 2024

In a world of constant content overload, people are hungrier than ever for reliable information and advice that can help them solve real problems and make smarter decisions. Enter informational marketing: the art of creating and distributing valuable, relevant content to educate and empower your target audience.

When done right, informational marketing is a triple win: you build trust and credibility with potential customers, attract qualified leads to your business, and make a positive impact by genuinely helping people. In fact, companies that prioritize educating over selling are 60% more profitable than those that don‘t.

But in a crowded content landscape, how can you ensure your informational marketing efforts actually hit the mark? Let‘s dive into some proven strategies and examples to inspire your own campaigns.

Why Informational Marketing Matters More Than Ever

First, let‘s look at some eye-opening stats that show just how important informational content has become:

  • 70% of people would rather learn about a company through articles than ads (Demand Metric)
  • Searches for informational keywords have grown over 150% in the past two years (Google)
  • 95% of buyers are willing to share their name and email for content they deem valuable (Demand Gen Report)

In other words, people are actively seeking out helpful information to guide their purchasing decisions and they‘re willing to engage with brands that provide it. But generic fluff won‘t cut it – to stand out, your content needs to be top-notch.

The Anatomy of Great Informational Content

So what separates good informational marketing from the merely mediocre? Having studied hundreds of successful examples across industries, I‘ve found they tend to share a few key qualities:

  1. It‘s deeply researched. The best informational content is backed by authoritative sources, original data, and expert insights. It goes beyond surface-level info to provide a comprehensive look at the topic.

  2. It‘s highly relevant. Effective content is laser-focused on the specific needs, challenges, and interests of a particular audience segment. It addresses their burning questions and pain points head-on.

  3. It‘s actionable. Truly helpful content doesn‘t just dump information – it provides clear next steps and practical tips the reader can implement. It empowers them to take meaningful action.

  4. It‘s easy to consume. Great informational content is well-organized, skimmable, and visual. It uses clear language, short paragraphs, descriptive headings, and multimedia elements to keep the reader engaged.

  5. It‘s search-optimized. Top-performing content is crafted with both reader intent and search engine algorithms in mind. It targets relevant keywords naturally while still prioritizing the human audience.

One brand that consistently nails these elements is Moz, the SEO software company. Their Beginner‘s Guide to SEO is a master class in informational content, clocking in at over 500 pages of in-depth, actionable insights broken down into chapters and enriched with custom visuals. It ranks on page one for over 1000 keywords and has earned thousands of backlinks and social shares.

Informational Marketing Best Practices to Swear By

Ready to level up your own informational marketing game? Follow these battle-tested tips:

1. Map content to the buyer‘s journey.

Align your topics and formats with each stage of the marketing funnel, from early awareness to post-purchase. Someone just learning about a problem needs 101-level primers, while those closer to buying want nitty-gritty comparisons and case studies.

2. Don‘t be afraid to go deep.

Comprehensive, long-form content (1500+ words) consistently outperforms shallow posts in both search rankings and conversion rates. Aim to create the definitive "ultimate guide" on your chosen topics.

3. Showcase original research.

Conducting your own studies, surveys, and experiments is a powerful way to create unique content and build authority. For example, Orbit Media‘s annual blogger survey is one of their most widely cited and linked assets.

4. Collaborate with experts.

Tap internal and external subject matter experts to co-create or contribute to your content. Expert interviews, roundups, and webinars are all great formats to showcase valuable insights while expanding your audience.

5. Optimize for featured snippets.

Over 50% of Google searches now end without a click thanks to featured snippets that directly answer the query. Structure your content with clear headings, bullet lists, and Q&A formats to increase your chances of snagging these coveted spots.

6. Make content easy to share and link to.

Include pre-written social sharing messages, embed codes, and clear CTAs to encourage people to spread your content far and wide. The more others share and link to it, the more it will get in front of new audiences.

7. Repurpose across multiple formats.

Get more mileage out of your best content by adapting it into various mediums like infographics, videos, podcasts, and email courses. Different people prefer to consume information in different ways.

8. Promote beyond organic.

While search and social are powerful free channels, investing in paid promotion across display ads, sponsored content, and influencer partnerships can dramatically expand your content‘s reach and impact.

By putting these principles into practice consistently, you can build a well-oiled informational marketing machine that drives serious results.

Measuring the ROI of Informational Marketing

But of course, creating content is only half the battle – you also need to track its performance and tie it back to your business goals. Here are some of the most important KPIs to keep an eye on:

Metric What It Measures
Organic traffic How many visitors are finding your content through search?
Social traffic & engagement How much buzz is your content generating on social media?
Email subscribers How many people are opting in for more content?
Backlinks & domain authority How much off-page SEO value are you earning?
Marketing qualified leads How many high-quality leads are engaging with your content?
Pipeline velocity How quickly are content-engaged leads moving through your funnel?
Revenue influence How much pipeline and closed/won revenue is your content driving?

By regularly monitoring these metrics and running experiments to optimize your approach, you can prove the concrete value of your efforts and secure more buy-in and budget over time.

The Future of Informational Marketing

Looking ahead, all signs point to informational marketing only becoming more critical to business success. As AI content generation tools like GPT-3 make it easier than ever to churn out generic posts at scale, the bar for quality will continue to rise. Brands that invest in creating truly best-in-class, multimedia content experiences will be the ones that cut through the noise.

At the same time, innovations in personalization, interactivity, and immersive technologies (e.g. AR/VR) will open up exciting new possibilities for informational formats. Imagine an interactive buying guide that lets users virtually "try on" different solutions, or a dynamic ebook that adapts its content based on the reader‘s behavior. The future of content is looking bright indeed.

Go Forth and Inform

We‘ve covered a lot of ground here, but the key takeaway is this: informational marketing is a massively underutilized opportunity to build trust, generate leads, and make a real impact on your audience. By committing to quality, putting yourself in your customer‘s shoes, and relentlessly measuring and optimizing your efforts, you can harness its full potential.

Now if you‘ll excuse me, I have some how-to videos to shoot and an industry report to write. Happy informing!