What is content marketing—and how can you use it?
Consumers are cutting through more and more media clutter, especially as technology keeps growing. With the expansion of marketing tools in recent years, it is becoming more difficult for businesses to rely on traditional marketing. Consumers have become so bombarded by advertising and sales tactics that they fast-forward through commercials, enable pop-up blockers, and completely dismiss ads in magazines. So, how can you market your business and cut through the clutter—and keep your marketing efforts from being ignored or deleted? The answer is simple: content marketing.
So... what's content marketing?
According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is defined as “a strategic marketing approach that focuses on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience—and ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
In other words, content marketing is a marketing tool that businesses use to provide information to consumers without directly selling a product or service. The content is often informative, well-researched, and distributed in blogs, video, infographics, or social media. Content marketing articles appear more like editorial pieces rather than advertising, requiring reading, thinking, and sometimes action.
COMBINE CONTENT MARKETING WITH OTHER STRATEGIES
Like other forms of marketing, content marketing works in conjunction with other tools, including public relations, marketing research, SEO, and social media to create a multidimensional strategy. Public relations assists with validating your brand, while SEO and social media helps people find your posts and articles through online search engines. Marketing research can be used to identify your company’s target audience and make sure the content you create is of interest to these groups. In the end, your goal through content marketing is to provide knowledge that can alter or boost consumer behavior.
In a recent Entrepreneur article, author Sujan Patel highlights a few top content marketers and discusses the techniques they have used to be successful. Patel, the co-founder of ContentMarketer.io, emphasizes some of the strategies these marketers have found worthwhile. Three of the top recommendations:
1. Be authentic and transparent with posts.
Don’t schedule content to be published in advance through automated services. This technique can keep your businesses from posting frivolous information after major news stories have been released.
2. Be bigger, braver, and bolder with your content.
Post in a storytelling format. Consumers want to know what’s actually going on behind the scenes and are interested in hearing personal stories.
3. Be unique.
Make sure you’re distributing information that is not already out there to entice readers. Staying on top of industry trends and competitor news can eliminate copycat posting or appearing as a follower.