Making Sense of Content Marketing

Making Sense of Content Marketing

Every self-proclaimed “marketing guru” has a content marketing plan to sell you, usually promising to grow your profits by leaps and bounds. It can be hard to cut through the hype and figure out just what content marketing is, let alone whether or not it’s a good approach for you and your business.

Simply put, content marketing means creating informative content that supports the products and services you offer. A home repair blog run by a construction company? That’s content marketing. A legal advice newsletter put out each month by a law firm? Content marketing. How-to workout videos produced by a local gym or trainer? That’s content marketing, too.

“Content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling,” say the experts at the Content Marketing Institute. “It is non-interruption marketing. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.”

In other words, effective content marketing gives people a reason to keep in touch with you and your business, and to keep them interested in your products and services. If customers become loyal to the content you produce, you can be fairly certain they’ll be loyal when it comes to making purchases.

What content marketing is not, however, is a surefire way to see exponential growth in the next six months, or year, etc. It’s also not easy to do well, and requires a serious investment of time and/or money in order to be effective.

“Content is…what informs, entertains and inspires us,” writes former publisher-turned-digital marketing consultant Greg Satell. “Very talented people devote their entire careers to learning how to do it effectively. So, if you’re merely looking to do some content marketing, you will most likely fail. Brands need to become publishers and that entails not only new activity, but new skills and a new perspective.”

This doesn’t mean that engaging in content marketing means changing your entire business — far from it, in fact. Your business and your brand are essential components of good content marketing. But approaching content marketing in a serious manner means adding an entirely new set of tasks to your work schedule (or to your budget, if you decide to hire outside help).

Many business owners find creating content — be it blogging, making videos, even writing books — rewarding in and of itself, and those businesses are most likely to meet with success when it comes to content marketing. Hiring others to produce content for your business can also be very effective, as long as you keep a clear head and have concrete goals and expectations in mind.

Above all else, content marketing is about establishing and maintaining relationships with your customers. If you don’t approach it in a serious, open and genuine manner, it won’t be worth the effort.


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