What Is Content Marketing? Your Essential Guide
It’s a way of marketing using content produced and shared by businesses. The aim is to capture the attention and interest of potential clients and build a relationship with them. That’s the short answer to the question ‘what is content marketing?’ but let’s dig a little deeper…
What Does Content Mean in Marketing?
In the context of marketing, content is information shared strategically to engage with potential customers and build a relationship that will ultimately lead to them becoming customers.
In the past, particularly before the advent of the internet and social media, most marketing focused on talking about your products or services. Over the past 20 years this has changed significantly. A lot of the marketing you now see online aims to attract customers by providing useful or entertaining content.
This content, used for marketing, needs to catch people’s attention and provide some value. Particularly in the noisy online world of today. Most content does that by falling into one of three brackets: Entertaining, motivational/inspirational, or educational.
What Types of Content Are There?
Understanding what exactly constitutes ‘content’ is essential in order to properly answer our question, what is content marketing?
Content marketing is often equated with blogging but there are many types of content beyond blogging. Whether your content aims to entertain, inspire, or educate, you can produce it in a variety of formats. The most common being written, audio, and video.
Find out Why B2B Blogging Matters.
As well as blog posts or articles (informative pieces that we write and publish, either on our own websites or as guest posts on other sites in order to reach new audiences) other forms of written content include:
- The other content on your website, from your about page to frequently asked questions (FAQ)
- Shorter forms of content such as tips and quotes that you can share on social media
- Downloadable information like ebooks or checklists
- Books. It’s common for companies and individuals to write books simply to raise their profile and market their products or services.
Lots of people prefer to consume content in audio format. Because they can listen while doing other things, like whilst at the gym, driving, or walking the dog.
You can provide audio versions of your written content or start a podcast providing unique content solely available as audio.
Finally, video is another popular form of content. It’s particularly good for educational content. Firstly, it helps you get found online. More importantly, however, it helps to position you as an expert in your field. Upload your video content to YouTube for the widest reach. Then embed the videos on your website too (great for your Google rankings).
You can also produce video content quickly by ‘going live’ on social media. All of the major social media platforms encourage live streaming video content. And it can really boost your reach without having to pay for ads.
Whichever format you choose, do consider repurposing your content into alternative formats. This is a very cost-effective way of reaching a wider audience. For example, provide transcripts of video content for those who prefer to read. Or, alternatively, create audio recordings of blog posts for people who like to listen on-the-go.
What Are the Benefits of Content Marketing?
Once you understand what content marketing is, it becomes evident that there are lots of benefits of content marketing. It’s a cost-effective way of increasing brand visibility and building that all-important ‘know, like, and trust’ factor. All this, while driving traffic to your website and helping to position you well within your industry.
To summarise, content marketing —
- Increases brand visibility: Sharing good content can help you to reach a new audience that might not have come across you otherwise.
- Is cost-effective: After the initial cost of production, content shared online can continue sending clients your way for years to come.
- Generates website traffic: Publishing content on your website gives people a reason to visit and will help increase your website’s Google ranking.
- Positions you as an expert: Creating content is a fantastic way to build your brand’s authority and establish you as an expert in your industry.
- Builds trust: When you share good content for free you provide people with value and the opportunity to get to know you before they buy.
Why Good Content Is Important
Good content is essential. That’s if you want to beat the competition online, get people’s attention in the first place, and then keep them coming back. Also, good content is important because it is a reflection of your business. Which is why many businesses outsource to a content marketing agency.
If you share low-quality, poorly thought-out content then people will assume the same is true of your products or services.
Share great content and people will remember you and buy from you.
So, what is content marketing?
A great way to engage and convert potential customers into paying customers. Entertain, inspire, and inform them, with no overt or direct expectation of anything in return.
How Can I Improve My Content Marketing?
We seem to say this a lot around here. But that’s because it’s so important: Start with a content marketing strategy. You can improve your content marketing by following these content marketing starter tips. Then take some time to think about your strategy.
A content marketing strategy will ensure that the time you invest in producing content is time well-spent. Decide what you want to achieve upfront:
- Who are you trying to attract?
- What do you want your content to do for them?
- How can you make it easy for them to find out more about you after they’ve consumed your content?
If you’d like some more input on developing a content marketing strategy then book in for a free consultation call.