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Content Marketing- An Important Part of Your Online Marketing Mix

Things change fast online. This includes how to best market your business, attract new customers and build brand loyalty. A successful online marketing strategy should include a variety of tactics such as Search Engine Optimization, email campaigns and online advertising. As soon as you think you have all of your bases covered, a new type of marketing emerges. This is just how things work. Over the past year or so, the new tactic that has been generating buzz around the web is content marketing.

Content marketing is a term that describes the creation, promotion and sharing of online content. The main goal of creating this content is to engage current customers/clients and reach your potential customer base. The idea behind content marketing is that delivering this high quality, timely and valuable information to prospects and customers will build your business's reputation as a industry leader, keep your customers' attention and ultimately influence sales.  

Businesses who choose to engage in content marketing do so to reach a variety of business goals. Marketers may use content marketing as a means to gain thought leadership, generate leads, increase sales, build brand loyalty and improve customer retention. However, businesses need to be careful on how they approach content marketing. The purpose of content marketing is not to simply ramble on about the business's products and services but to educate and inform its customer base. The ultimate goal is to become a thought leader and industry expert in the eyes of your target market. This will hopefully lead to  customers trusting you enough to do business with you or opting in to recieve your future content via email or other means. Customers like to engage businesses that are knowledgable.

Content marketing works because it is non-intrusive, which consumers demand nowadays. Most, if not all, intrusive marketing is often times ignored by consumers. Think of how many consumers now DVR favorite TV shows and fast forward the commericals. Or how many people simply ignore banners ads on the web. People are getting wiser and more resistant to this type of advertising. This is what makes content marketing so different.

Content marketing is not a quick fix.

Businesses should have a sound strategy and goals in place before starting a content marketing campaign. It takes organization, time, and effort to make content marketing work. The most difficult, but not impossible, part of content marketing is developing the actual content. Some businesses choose to develop this content on their own or use a custom content provider. The decision ultimately comes down to whether or not you have the time and resources to develop this content on your own. Either choice is a viable option. it is also essential to include various types of content in your strategy- from simple text content and white papers to video.

Ok, so what's next? Well- there has to be a strategy in place to promote this content and get it in front of your target audience. This can be achieved through optimization of the content, inclusion of sharing options, and the utilization of social channels.

  • If you’re going to create content, it is important that you optimize it so people searching for information about your product, service or industry can discover your content. Search engine optimization is too important to ignore when developing your content promotion strategy.
  • Let users interact and share your content. The more eyes that you reach, the better. Make it easy for users by including sharing and bookmarking options. It is easy to add sharing option buttons using services such as ShareThis.
  • Leverage your social media accounts to promote your new content. Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are great, but don't forget about the smaller, more niche social networks where your target market may be spending their time.

Businesses also need to ensure that the proper tracking is in place to measure the success of all content marketing efforts. Without any concrete data, it will be hard to gauge the results of all of your time and effort. This data is invaluable and can be used to make better content marketing decisions down the road.

Content marketing is an important piece of a business's marketing strategy.

Consumers are learning more and more to tune out the more intrusive forms of marketing such as commercials, magazine ads, and banner ads. Content marketing is a more non-intrusive way to gain the trust of your potential customers and keep the attention of your existing customer base. The notion is that once this trust is established, improved leads and sales will follow. There are tools and services available that can help you get started. It's not too late to leverage the power of high quality, timely online content that speaks to your customers. What are you waiting for?