Unless you have been hiding in a cupboard for the last year or so, you’ll probably have heard of content marketing. But what exactly is content marketing, why’s everyone talking about it and how can it help your business? Here’s a look.
What content marketing is:
Content marketing can best be defined as the use of content, in most cases web content, by businesses to market and promote themselves. Content can be written, audio and visual. A business blog is a form of content marketing, as are whitepapers, eBooks, instructional videos and podcasts. Even photographic images can be a form of content marketing if they tell a story and engage the reader. The main purpose of content marketing is not to sell directly but to take a more subtle approach and help a business establish its credibility and connect with its audience.
What content marketing is not:
Content marketing is not a sales pitch! This is a common mistake that businesses make when creating a blog or updating their social media pages. Think less about directly promoting yourself and more about building rapport with your customers and establishing trust. To be effective, content marketing should focus less on your needs and more on your customers’.
Why is it such a big deal at the moment?
The idea of content marketing has been around for a long time but it has never been as widely used as it is now. With the explosion of digital media and the internet there are two main factors at play. One is that now anybody can produce and distribute content. Businesses can take on the role previously reserved for publishers and news organisations and bypass more traditional forms of communication, to put their business out there and enhance their reputation.
Getting your content up on the internet is one thing, but what about distribution? This is where content marketing really comes into its own. With social media sharing, you have the perfect distribution network. Not only can you promote your business to one potential customer – if they like your content, they can pass it on to their friends with no cost or effort on your behalf. It’s easy to see the possibilities!
How can content marketing help me?
Content marketing does take time and effort, although there are plenty of outsourcing professionals and organisations who can help. It may be difficult to calculate a direct ROI on the time you spend on your content marketing activities, as chances are you probably won’t see any direct sales as an immediate result. What you will hopefully start to see are increased awareness of your product, higher website traffic and the opportunity to build your brand, all of which may lead to improved long term sales.