To many marketers, online and traditional, content marketing is something new… something they don’t quite understand. To kick off this post, I’d like to quote two different resources on what content marketing is:
Content marketing is an umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation and sharing of content in order to attract, acquire and engage clearly defined and understood current and potential consumer bases with the objective of driving profitable customer action. Content marketing subscribes to the notion that delivering information to prospects and customers drives profitable consumer action. Content marketing has benefits in terms of retaining reader attention and improving brand loyalty. — Wikipedia
Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action. — Content Marketing Institute
The reason I wanted to quote those two resources is because they can say it much better than I can and reading them both really hits the point home. Content marking is the creation and sharing of content in order to attract a specific target audience and move them through the sales funnel instead of interrupting them and trying to persuade them to come to your site and buy from you.
So, the next question is, how is content marketing different than SEO? Well, SEO is the art of optimizing a website for the search engines to help drive traffic via organic search. SEO is a form of content marketing as it places your brand and your content in front of potential customers as they search for products or services that you may offer.
In addition to SEO, content marketing can also include blogging, guest blogging, writing and distributing online press releases, publishing white papers and eBooks, and sharing documents and PowerPoint presentations via document sharing sites. You can also through infographic marketing in there, however, in my opinion, infographics are far overused these days.
Now that you know what content marketing is, it is important to understand that you need to have a well thought out content marketing strategy before you start creating and publishing your content. If you don’t you, there’s a high probability that you won’t see as much value from your activities when compared to someone who strategically puts a plan of action together.
To build your strategy, you need to have specific personas defined that you will target through your creation. You also need to know what the content is for. Is it to solely attract links and shares? Or is it to help drive potential customers to your site to introduce them to your brand and help them begin the journey of becoming a paying customer? You also need to have an editorial calendar and publishing schedule that you HAVE to live by. You should publish content pieces that build on each other and help drive momentum for your brand. When you take all of these and mash them together, you will have a well thought out plan and be able to execute it.
We will get more into the strategy side of things in future posts, but for this one, we will call complete. Please leave your thoughts and opinions below.