What is Content Marketing?

If you’re a small business owner who’s been doing a little investigating about building an online presence for your business, no doubt you have heard the term “content marketing.” For the past couple of years, content marketing has been the “buzz word,” what all professional marketers know as a tactic that must be used in order to become visible online to potential leads and customers. It’s understandable that most people who are trying to have a website designed and make their presence known online don’t understand all of these concepts. If you’re asking yourself “What is content marketing?,” hopefully you will find the information below enlightening.

First, let’s define what content marketing actually is. Essentially, creating content that delivers value and is relevant to a small business’s target audience is critical; once content is created (in the form of website pages, articles, blogs, even videos or white papers) it is then distributed around the Internet for the purpose of compelling customers to take action. Content may be the written variety, or audio/video variety such as what you find on YouTube. The content you provide to potential leads and customers should be content they seek out and want to consume – not blatant advertising that most people these days want to avoid at all costs.

Does content marketing still seem a bit vague? Here is further clarification:

Content marketing may include the creation of webpages, books, infographics, podcasts, any method used to share valuable or useful information with those who need it. Most experienced online marketers will agree, the #1 secret of successful content marketing is adding value. Value can come in the form of the actual content on the page, ads, videos, anything that compels the person browsing your website to keep searching for more. Creating valuable content is easy, once you have figured out what your target audience wants, and give it to them!

Now that you have an idea of what content marketing is, you may wonder why it is so critical to the success of your small business. Understanding the buying cycle will help you see why creating quality content that delivers value is so important. Basically, here is what happens in the buying cycle:

The customer has a need for a product/service, then becomes aware that there are solutions to that need. Upon learning that there is a solution, potential customers will search the web in an effort to educate themselves, performing research before they buy. For instance, if someone is going to purchase a new television, he/she will research what is available, and which model is most suitable to his/her needs. At this point, price is considered as the person searching for the product compares vendors’ prices, shipping, terms, and other considerations. Finally, the customer makes a purchase after thorough research and consideration.

Can you see why you need to make your company the “authority” in your industry through exceptional content marketing? Ultimately, a good content marketing strategy will educate consumers about the solutions you provide, and raising awareness of solutions your audience may never have considered. Content can be shared via website pages, blog articles, social media, videos, downloadable brochures, even via email messages.

Now that you have a better idea of what content marketing is and how it works, it’s time to start creating!