Digital Marketing 101: Content Marketing

Think you know everything about content marketing? Maybe not. Here’s what you need to know!

Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That

You are both smarter and more impatient than any consumer in history. While browsing online, you deftly filter out ads of no immediate relevance—an increasingly automatic behavior. You almost always skip those YouTube pre-rolls if you don’t already have an ad blocker installed. You probably pay $7.99 a month so that you can binge watch two seasons of House of Cards in a single sitting, one uninterrupted episode after another.

With online users becoming savvier and the growing popularity of DVRs and Netflix accounts, sellers can no longer command the attention of audiences through an array of one-way advertisements. Rather than pushing information in front of people via traditional channels, companies must now attract and earn their attention. When consumers turn to the internet with questions or problems, you need to be there already, providing the answers and solutions through valuable content.

What Is Content Marketing? 

Content marketing is the creation and distribution of educational, compelling, or otherwise valuable content. Your goal is to attract new customers and retain current ones through consistent engagement that makes them smarter, happier, or in some way better off. This may include blog posts, articles, videos, case studies, white papers, and more.

By consistently providing valuable content, you can establish your brand as a trusted source of information—a reputation that will be associated with your products and services. Because today’s consumers head straight to the internet when looking for answers, this reputation will allow you to capture new clients during their search. Furthermore, a steady stream of quality content will drive search engine optimization (SEO), leading to better page rankings on Google.

How Do I Get Started?

Understand Your Customer
The very first step is to understand your customer’s situation truly. What kinds of questions or problems may she have? You are writing for a specific audience with a unique set of concerns. Don’t try to satisfy everyone. Rather, make a clear group of people insanely happy.

Know Where Your Customer Lives
Just because a digital channel exists does not mean that you should be on it. If you’re a fashion e-commerce company, you are more likely to find your customers on Pinterest than LinkedIn. Likewise, if you’re marketing automation software to B2B companies, why are you pinning cats?

Keep It Fresh
Content, like much of what occupies your refrigerator, can go stale. To establish your brand as a thought leader in tech or a trendsetter in fashion, consistently create or curate new material. In addition to staying current, a steady stream of new content provides for a continuous dialogue with your constituents, an important part of customer retention.

Decide What Success Looks Like
You can’t improve what doesn’t get measured. Choose a metric based on your goals and set a target. These can include site traffic, sales, lead quality, social media shares, direct sales, etc. Track changes and adjust to improve your content marketing efforts.

Final Thoughts

The best content marketing compels the audience to do something with it. Share with friends. Pin to a recipes board. Leave a comment with a personal story. Rather than forcing your audience to listen (damn pre-rolls), make it so that they can’t help but talk about you.

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