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Content Marketing - Understanding the Why and How

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What is content marketing? Content marketing is using relevant and valuable information to attract potential customers to you. This information will not only attract but, if done correctly, will engage your target audience and drive profitable action to your business.

I'm always amazed at the looks and responses I get when I'm speaking to a client and I explain to them they need more content. I'm then almost always questioned "why?"

Think of content as a way of interacting and communicating with your customers without selling.

Need proof it works? Think of an article you read that captured your attention and really engaged you. Did you look to see who the writer was? Were you interested in the company that they worked for and the products or services that they offered? If they were using the skills of content marketing, I can almost guarantee you did.

A great article can market your product or service in a way that the consumer is not interrupted. You are using that article to educate your consumer and create an awareness on information that is important to them. This makes your potential buyer more intelligent.

A successful content marketing strategy will deliver consistent valuable information to your target market, when this strategy works you turn the consumers you have targeted into buyers.

Look, it's no secret that consumers are tired of traditional marketing. This is why you see a rush to social media and permission based marketing rather than intrusive marketing that doesn't allow consumers to make the choice of when they want to be marketed to. Why do you think consumers skip commercials, tear out magazine advertisements, and turn on online ad blockers? Because they are taking back control and they will decide when they want to be marketed to.

As a business, you have to be smarter in your marketing efforts and this includes writing content that is not only interesting but relevant and valuable to the market you are targeting.

How do you know if your content is marketing for you? It's easy really. Answer the following questions when reviewing your content or use them as a guideline when creating new content.

  • Is it targeting a specific market? If not the content will be too broad to attract a targeted audience.
  • Is your content informative, relevant and valuable to those you are targeting? Or is it just a sales pitch?
  • Does it educate your target audience about your industry without being too sales oriented and pushing just your products or services?
  • Does your message include a subtle marketing message that grabs the reader’s attention and gets them interested in what you offer? The key is the marketing message must create an interest and a desire for what you have to offer without trying to close a sale. Think of it as leaving a faint fingerprint on the mind of the consumer who is reading.
  • Does it leave the reader wanting more?
  • Does it stir emotion within the reader and inspire action?

If you answered “yes” to the above questions, you have a good piece of content that you can use to market the products or services that you offer. If you were unable to answer “yes” to all of the questions you will want to tweak your content until you can.

You can use content marketing in all areas of your marketing including print, media, events and online. You want to make sure that your website has content that markets to your audience. You also want to make sure that if you have a blog, you are also using it for content marketing. Content marketing is valuable and often leaves a longer impression than any other method of marketing.

Related Video
Brian Price, executive director of marketing
Ian Schafer on user-generated content

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