Promoting and advertising are important parts of running a business. Together they create a pathway to advance the visibility of your business and secure new clients. One of the newer and most proven methods being used by businesses is content marketing. But what is content marketing? In this article, we will discuss the basics of it, the advantages of using it, and how it can be used for your specific business.

Content marketing is the marriage between brand purpose and what customers want. Four words to consider in reference to content marketing are awareness, interest, consideration, and decision. Think of those as the four steps your content should walk readers through. The last being the decision to purchase.

Let’s start with a basic definition:

Content marketing is a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material. It creates a buzz, but at the same time, is not overly promotional. The material stimulates interest in its products or services. Examples include: videos, blogs, social media posts, customer reviews, video logs, newsletters, and emails.

The content is focused, relevant and provides valuable information. The goal of this type of marketing is to transform potential customers into actual customers. You want to engage potential customers with information that they didn’t know, or information that fixes a problem. For example, if you offer a Business Coaching service, you could publish a list of the most common mistakes made by new business owners. This would:

  1. Establish you as a someone who knows about business.
  2. Provide readers with information that they did not previously know.
  3. Serve the purpose of advertising your business.

Good content should do the following:

Boost Leads and conversation. Good content should be engaging enough to spark a discussion. If you are using social media as a vehicle for your marketing, engagement is a large part of successful social media campaigns. The content you post should draw readers to ask a question, make a conclusion, or just comment in general. Good examples of this would be sharing little known facts about your industry.  Or sharing an anecdote of what can happen when potential customers don’t use the right protocol. Thus establishing yourself as an expert, but being organic enough to make people feel comfortable to comment.

Increase Visibility and competitive advantage. When you’re starting a new business visibility is everything. It’s a numbers game and you need to get in front of as many eyes as possible. The more visible you are, the bigger advantage you have over competitors. For every business, there is a large audience. But for every large audience, there are hundreds or even thousands of businesses fighting for consumers. Good content increases share-ability and potential customers. However, no one will share your content if it’s not directly relevant or useful.

Build your audience. If your content is good enough, people will seek to follow you on social media. That being said, don’t be that company that posts positive quotes every day just to get likes and engagement. If consumers feel like they really take something away from your content they are more likely to follow. If you opt to post content daily, aim for a healthy balance of information, behind the scenes, reviews, and light promotional content.

Drive website traffic. We established earlier that some content will be on the website, but much of the content you distribute will be to get people to come to your website. Content Marketing is an introduction, elevator pitch, and a first date. It gets people interested enough to take a closer look and visit your website. The best content will increase interest and end with an overt call to action which leads people to your website.

For example, if you’re a photographer, ideal content for this may be two side by side images of the same photo, one edited correctly, and another that looks decent but is not edited correctly. Explain the difference and direct the reader to your site. Again, establishing yourself as an expert, while displaying content that makes sense and is relevant for your business.

Keep Traffic on Your Website. Content Marketing can also be used within your website. Content on the website is great because it’s a space totally focused on your business, unlike on social media where users can easily scroll past your post. The easiest way to implement content marketing into your website is through a blog, vlog or even a podcast. Not only can these media be shared on social media, but they give you the opportunity to distribute longer content. Blogs are a great way to tell your business’ story. You can talk about products, interview customers, and the list goes on. The same applies to podcast and vlogs.

To conclude, Content Marketing in the new wave of creating awareness for one’s business. When done correctly, it can increase followers, shares, and most importantly business leads. The most critical pieces to remember are that Content Marketing is not overly promotional, and should always provide useful and relevant information.

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