It’s been a half a year since we wrote about content marketing on our blog. I thought it would be a great idea to refresh everyone’s memory starting from the basics and remind you what it is and why it is awesome.
If you have spent any amount of time on digital marketing websites, you have probably seen the term “social media”, and, more recently “content marketing.” You probably already know what social media is and are involved in it some way or another…because everyone and their friend’s sister’s cupcakes have a Facebook. Social media started as a personal platform, but has since become a great tool for businesses to promote themselves. It is also used to create brand awareness and connect with their audience. However, social media is not what I am going to talk to you about today. Today, we are going to focus on “content marketing.” Why did I bring up “social media” then, you ask? Because, the two subjects overlap in many ways.
Content marketing is sharing a company’s knowledge and expertise to help customers by creating educational material that results in leads, sales, or support. Social media is a way for companies to connect with their prospects and build a community. The goal of content marketing is consumption. The goal of social media is participation. Together, they can both result in increased leads and sales.
So, what exactly is content marketing? Well, it is a form of online marketing, and it has revolutionized the marketing community in recent years. According to Content Marketing Institute, it “is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” In simpler terms, it is the distribution of free content in the hopes of building brand recognition, increasing website traffic and sales. Here are some different forms of “content marketing”:
- – E-books and guides
- – White papers
- – Blogs
- – Webinars
- – Videos
- – Pictures, infographics, slideshows
Content marketing is an important component of any inbound marketing strategy. Inbound marketing is a marketing philosophy that is rooted in the idea of attracting those who are actively seeking information about a business or company and prompting them to contact you, rather than reaching out to them directly. This usually done by creating helpful content that demonstrates the value of your products or services. Regardless of the type of content you use, this type of marketing is the art of communicating with your audience without actively selling. Instead of pitching just to sell, you are providing information that educates your prospects with valuable information so they get to know, like, and trust you to do business with you. Content marketing usually does result in increased sales if done right, but the sales pitch is implicit rather than explicit. Many of the world’s greatest businesses use this strategy, including Pepsi, Microsoft, and P&G.
For more tips, information and examples, check out the following:
- Copyblogger – http://www.copyblogger.com/content-marketing/
- Direct Marketing News – http://www.copyblogger.com/content-marketing/
- Mashable – http://mashable.com/2014/06/23/starting-content-marketing/
Content marketing has become one of the most effective ways for businesses to grow their presence in the public eye, especially in online spaces. Just having a company website does not cut it anymore, like it did in the 90’s, when having a website meant you were the real deal. Using social media outlets to connect with prospects is an important part of updating your marketing strategy for the 21st century, but it’s not enough on its own. By using content marketing in tandem with social media, you will be able to draw in prospects, keep them engaged, and ultimately increase your sales as a result.