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What is content marketing?

By December 20, 2016No Comments

Content Marketing has been touted as one of the best new channels for client acquisition, brand awareness, and networking in the new Social Media Age. Everyone knows they should be producing more ‘content’ to reach new audiences, but there still remain a lot of confusion about what content marketing actually is for different size businesses. The goal of this article is to help you understand the essence of content marketing and how existing businesses can leverage it to their advantage without breaking the bank.

So, what is content marketing?

Content marketing is the creation, curation, and distribution of valuable content for a specific audience.

What does this mean for a small business?

You know your audience, whether they be your current customers or a picture of your ideal customer. You also know what you typically talk to those customers about. You answer questions, provide recommendations, and even craft products to meet their needs. Think of your content marketing as capturing that value and translating it to a digital media environment to benefit as many potential customers as possible while filling your marketing funnel with new prospects.

But I don’t have time to create a bunch of new content.

Neither do I. Or maybe I do. I really should be working on something else right now. The point is, I like to produce materials that answer my clients questions. Every time I finish a web project, my clients ask about where to find photos for their site without breaking the law. So, I produced a blog post about that. That blog post can be useful to many people outside my client list as well, so I put it on social media and work to make sure the post is optimized for search engines as well. This ultimately saves me time, not answering the same question repeatedly and results in a  valuable piece of content.

What kind of content performs well?

One of the reasons for this post was an excellent checklist from Rand Fishkin to help you understand what successful content looks like. Here is his checklist:

  • One-of-a-kind – Are these new, unique words or pictures that have not existed before?
  • Relevant – Does that content match what people are actually looking for in their search?
  • Helpful – Is the content actually usable/actionable information?
  • Uniquely Valuable – Could this information be found elsewhere?
  • Great User Experience – Is the content enjoyable and easy to read?

If your content meets one or more of those items, you should be in good shape!

What kinds of content should I produce?

Content can be many formats. Don’t feel bound by the typical blog posting format you see here. Many things can be considered for a content strategy. Do keep in mind that different content formats perform differently on social media. Images and videos outperform text articles in social media consistently, while search engines love to see keyword rich content to show you in their results. Here is a list of possible content formats to get you thinking about what you might be able to produce.

  • Curated Links
  • Articles
  • Display Ads
  • Testimonials
  • White Papers/Guides
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Webinars
  • Comparison Charts
  • Apps
  • Events
  • Images/Galleries
  • FAQ
  • Chats
  • Email
  • Quotes

Conclusion: Consistency is Key

You are either overwhelmed or excited about the possibilities at this point. In either case, remember that consistency is key. That means whether you are posting once a week or twenty times a week, choose a pace that you are certain to maintain. This will help you develop an audience and, over time, quite a library of valuable content to engage your potential customers.

Good luck and let us know if we can help you on your way.

Scott Bothel

I'm a digital marketing consultant living and working in the Greater Seattle area. My passion is to help small businesses leverage web marketing to accomplish great things!