The Basics of Content Marketing

Content marketing, as defined by the Content Marketing Institute, is a “strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

Basically this means that instead of trying to sell your products or services with traditional advertising you provide prospective customers with relevant and useful content. This content will benefit them in some way and eventually lead them to purchase your products.

The strategy of marketing with valuable content should, in theory, be relevant no matter what industry your business is dealing with. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling cosmetics, travel packages, tickets to the US Powerball lottery, or women’s clothing, if you provide consumers with relevant, useful content, the branding of your company will be improved and hopefully, so will your sales.

The secret of content marketing, therefore, is producing great, value-adding content that readers can’t get elsewhere. The more unique your content is, the move valuable it will be and the more it will attract readers and prospective customers.

Content can be presented to readers in a number of formats adapted to a reality in which smartphones are the primary device for internet access. Websites are built with responsive web design so that the content displays correctly on the device each visitor is using.

Normally, web pages contain information that attract attentionfor a limited amount of time and most likely they only warrant a single visit by a reader. Web pages prepared as part of a content marketing strategy, on the other hand, provide evergreen information that aims to be the most authoritative online resource on the subject. For example, The Beginners Guide to SEOhas been read over 3 million times and serves as the ultimate resource for comprehensive information on the basics of Search Engine Optimization.

Successful web content includes a mix of text, images, and videos, presented in a pleasing-to-the-eye manner. Bold headers and lists make for easy reading. In many cases, web pages are built on the basis of long-form content, with extensive amounts of text. In other cases, the inclusion of graphical elements, such as informative infographics, provides all the content that is needed. A visually pleasing presentation of information leads readers to share articles and helps make the content go viral, a true sign of content marketing success.

Additional platforms for content marketing include podcasts, digital books, and PDF files. Social media serves to distribute content via Facebook posts, LinkedIn articles, and Twitter tweets. These platforms direct readers to valuable content they would not otherwise have been aware of.

Successful content marketing is important to your business as it creates awareness in your brand, offers solutions to customer problems, and, in an indirect way, encourages them to purchase your products.