One of the more popular phrases when it comes to the online presence of businesses lately is content marketing. “You should focus on content marketing”; “Content marketing is the best way to increase your exposure”; “How to create epic content marketing” and variations of the theme are all over the place.
All very well, but what is content marketing?
First ask, “What is content?”
Perhaps firstly we should think about what “content” is.
Content is information. Blog posts, news, photos, presentations, infographics and so on are all content. There’s plenty of it around.
Useful content is something that someone is interested in consuming. Someone that is in your market.
So what is content marketing then?
The key is to produce useful content and present it to your market in an interesting, accessible way all the while keeping your marketing goals in mind.
Content marketing falls under that beast called internet marketing. Ugh. Dodgy brothers, right? Well, yes and no. Unfortunately there is no shortage of scammers that will willingly take your dollars in the name of internet marketing. But on the other hand, it is a legitimate and effective form of marketing. The key is to produce useful content and present it to your market in an interesting, accessible way all the while keeping your marketing goals in mind.
Why would I bother?
The internet gives everyone a voice. It gives your competitors a voice. It gives you a cost-effective way to reach a potentially unlimited number of customers. But you need to be in it to win it, so to speak.
Simply having a website isn’t enough. Search engines favour regularly updated websites with information that is useful to searchers. Social media provides access to the ears and minds of your market and a gateway to your website.
How do I find time to produce content to market?
Fortunately for many businesses the content is there, ready and waiting. Pre-existing materials can be re-purposed, sometimes into many different formats. Brochures and reports can be broken up into blog posts. Blog posts can be broken up into social media posts. Slide shows can be uploaded to Slideshare. FAQ’s can be answered in videos. Getting the idea?
In addition, industry news, product developments, company news and content curation are all fodder for discussion, review and opinions that are, yes, content.
What is good quality content?
It’s important that your content fits with the rest of your marketing, so it needs to be “on message”. Some other questions to ask when evaluating your content include:
- Is all of your content in the “voice” of your business?
- Is your content in a form your existing and potential audience prefers to consume?
- Is your content interesting enough to capture and hold peoples attention, and perhaps get them to dig a bit deeper
- Is your content interesting enough to encourage sharing?
- Does your content tell your audience what the next step is?
And the next step is?
Set some time aside to look at how you can utilise content marketing your marketing plan.
And if you have a content marketing success story, tell us about it in the comments.
Image: Pedro Szekely