What is Content Marketing?

There’s something about the term “content marketing” that makes it harder for businesses to grasp. Unlike target marketing or viral marketing – both fairly self-explanatory ­– content marketing exists on a generic-sounding plane that defies immediate understanding.

In this piece, not only will we define it, we’ll also share tips on how to successfully develop your own content marketing strategy. As you’ll see, it’s more exciting than it sounds.

Intel, insights and information

Content marketing is founded on the belief that consistently sharing useful information (i.e. “content”) with a specific target market will eventually win its business.

Content is a catch-all term that incudes white papers, videos, blogs, social media posts, briefs – anything that can be used to educate consumers without hard selling. For an auto parts chain, this may be a series of videos covering routine maintenance. For a nutritionist, it may be an infographic on recommended daily allowances.

Because it’s far less expensive to push content out and connect with consumers in the digital world, content marketing is almost exclusively an online phenomenon.

A 3-step plan for building a content marketing strategy

1. Define your target

Successful content marketers know exactly who they want to reach. Create a profile of your target that details gender, age, education, hobbies, familial connections and other traits. If you have more than one segment, create a profile for each.

Convince and Convert does an excellent job of outlining how to go about this.

2. Create content your target will value

Profiles in hand, think about content that would interest each target. It should relate to your business and be delivered in a manner that fits the audience. For example, let’s say you sell baby food and you want to target young mothers and grandparents with helpful information about food allergies.

For your first group, young mothers, you might consider short videos on YouTube that can be accessed and viewed on the go. For the second group, grandparents, downloadable infographics on your business website might be more appropriate.

Remember, the point is not to hard sell but to build an ongoing rapport between your business and your target. So when they’re ready to buy, they’ll buy from you, the expert.

3. Develop a schedule and stick to it

A consistent effort is required for content marketing to “sink in.” Think like a publisher and develop a schedule that outlines what content you’ll push out over the next six months.

It may be a video a month on YouTube or a blog post on your business website every week. Publish often enough to keep your target engaged, but not so often that it compromises the quality of the content you’re delivering. Whatever you choose, don’t give up just because you’re not getting immediate results. Content marketing takes time.

Once you understand content marketing and how to implement it, you’ll learn that it can add a whole new dimension to your marketing efforts. And that’s exciting.

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