What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a marketing technique that uses high-quality, relevant content to educate, engage, and acquire your target customer. Content marketing isn’t just creating content for the sake of producing content; your objective is always sales. The true potential of content marketing lies in its ability to provide a conversion path for your leads to follow—on their own schedule and at their convenience.

Content marketing succeeds when you provide your prospect with educational information and context about your products or services, minus a sales pitch. It’s the opposite of outbound marketing; your goal is to educate. There are neither direct sales pitches nor calls to action; what you are really trying to do is create influence. Content marketing can consist of a wide variety of media: text, photos, audio, video, etc.

Content Marketing is a pull versus push strategy.  Your content should engage and attract people; it’s not meant to interrupt someone’s conscious thought. Many people mistakenly confuse social media for content marketing. This is understandable, but think of social media as just one channel in a content marketing strategy.

The five components that define content marketing are:

  1. Editorial – It’s a biased opinion piece created by someone. Content marketing isn’t an impartial news piece; it’s created to get key messaging points across to the user.
  2. Marketing – This might be stating the obvious, but your goal is to market your product or service.  You might try to do it in an entertaining way, but your ultimate goal is to—in the end— to sell your product.
  3. Influential – Your ultimate goal is to have a have a powerful effect on people and what they think and do. You want them to think of you as a thought leader in your field or industry.
  4. Multi-Channel – You don’t create content to be on an isolated island. Once you create content, you want to spread it everywhere. You can start by posting something on your corporate blog, and you then might post excerpts on Facebook, Twitter, etc., to drive traffic to your blog page. If your content contains some interesting facts about your company or industry, you might shoot an e-mail over to a reporter you know in your industry. You’ll also want to make sure the content you posted is searchengine friendly so that people can find it through Google.
  5. Targeted – You want to create content that will appeal to your typical customers. If you’re a women’s jewelry designer, you’re not going to cover the latest release of the Ford F150 pickup truck. Instead, you’ll probably want to cover lifestyle, beauty, and other topics that interest your overall audience. If you run the marketing for Apple iPhone developer relations, you might want to cover the latest in programming and app marketing techniques.

Use of content marketing by both B2B and B2C companies has be growing over the last few years. 90% of marketers are now using the technique.  On average, businesses are now spending 33-39% of their marketing budget on content marketing.

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