If traditional marketing isn’t dead yet, it’s almost there. Year after year marketing strategies such as direct mail and billboard ads provide less of a return. And for good reason – consumers have many more options and information to use when it comes to making purchasing decisions. 

Content Marketing Defined

So, what is content marketing? It’s a marketing technique that began to gain popularity in the 1990’s when the internet started to take off. It revolves around creating content that your target audience deems valuable, promoting it to them, and driving them to act in a way that is profitable to your business.

What makes this such a powerful marketing strategy is twofold. First, with the internet, it’s incredibly easy to scale a content marketing campaign and reach hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people. Second, by offering valuable information to your target audience, you build their trust and they’ll eventually reward you with their loyalty. This is a basic social psychology law known as the reciprocity principle. It says that we feel obligated to repay others when we receive something from them.

Example: You give your neighbor a cup of sugar, he feels obligated to return the favor.

Content Marketing Examples

Many people hear “content marketing” and automatically think “blogging”. Well, that’s one form of content marketing and arguably the most popular. However, there’s many different mediums which you can use to launch your marketing campaign. Here are the top four…

  1. Blogging: Blogs are often the “heart” of the content marketing machine. They can serve as the home for all other methods. The best part about blogging is that you own and control everything. They’re simple to set up and can be easily integrated into your current website. Integrating it into your site gives you the ability to track potential leads and guide them to your marketing funnel.
  2. Infographics: As one of the best mediums for visually representing data, infographics can be an incredibly powerful content marketing tool. Why? They give the reader the ability to use that same image on their site with an attribution link back to your website. This not only brings in referral traffic but also helps build your site’s SEO.
  3. Video: Much like infographics, the power behind what makes video powerful is that it’s a visual medium. If you’re thinking to yourself, “I have no experience making videos,” don’t worry. You don’t need to be an expert videographer or editor. As long as you have a phone with a camera, that’ll do. Here’s some great ideas for video content to get you started.
  4. Guides: Now more than ever, when people are searching for information, they are bombarded with solutions. In order for your content to “win” them over, it’s important that it’s the most valuable. To do so, you can create an ultimate guide that walks the reader through everything they need to solve their problem from A to Z. Businesses such as HubSpot and MailChimp are well known for their informative guides and resources.

How Can You Use It?

Now the important part – how can you leverage content marketing to grow your business? It’s simple, really.

First, start with your goals. What are you trying to accomplish? Do you want readers to subscribe to your emails list, fill out a form, or call you? Don’t expect them to immediately buy your product after engaging with the content you create. Rather, use content marketing as a way to onboard them as a lead and get them into your marketing funnel.

Second, determine your strategy. Who is your audience and what form of content would work best for the goal you want them to complete. Let’s say you’re a restaurant. You probably would choose creating a video over a blog post since you’ll want your target audience to see the delicious meals you create.

Third: create your content. Detail is key when creating content. You want to put your best foot forward so don’t take any shortcuts. If you’re unable to create the content yourself, there are freelancers out there to help. Here are a few places to find them:

  • Elance.com – Great for finding all types of freelancers.
  • Freelancer.com – A secondary source for finding all types of freelancers.
  • Behance.net – One of the best places to find high quality designers.
  • Problogger.com – A great platform to help find writers.

Lastly, promote like crazy! The reason many people fail with their content marketing efforts is because they don’t promote their work. You should spend just as much time (if not more) marketing the content you created as you did making it.

Conclusion

Content marketing, when used correctly, can be a powerful marketing strategy. It isn’t necessarily one “technique” but rather it’s the culmination of various digital marketing strategies: blogging, social media marketing, SEO, etc. for a unified, profitable goal.

Still unsure as to how you can utilize content marketing to grow your business? Check out this explainer video we made…

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