Inbound Marketing Essentials: What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing requires creating valuable, engaging, relevant content that attracts a clearly defined audience, your target audience, with the goal of getting potential customers to act.

The key to successful content marketing is providing valuable content. Valuable content helps your target audience solve problems. It’s content that your target audience is looking for.

Why Content Marketing is Important for Your Business?

Here’s why content marketing is important for growing your business.

  1. Awareness. Your audience knows they have a problem. Content marketing lets them know there’s a solution. More importantly, it lets them know you have the solution.
  2. Solutions. If your audience thinks there’s a solution, they’re going to research it. If you have valuable content that solves the problem, you’ll attract them.
  3. Competition. When a potential customer finds a solution, he or she considers options. If you’ve been part of making them aware of and providing a solution, you’ll be considered a viable competitor.
  4. Sales. Your content has turned you into a likeable expert. People buy from likeable experts.

The Essence of Content Marketing

Your content marketing will not work unless you provide consistent value for your target audience. Valuable content generates leads and gives you instant authority. Potential customers skip content when it doesn’t add value. This holds true for traditional and content marketing.

Hollywood studios understood this long ago with the movie trailer concept. The viewer gets what he or she wants–an entertaining teaser about an upcoming movie. The studios get what they want, an engaged audience that wants more.

That’s content marketing.

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing takes many forms. Here are 5 common mediums for content marketing.

Websites or Blogs. All websites contain content. Good business websites contain content marketing. How can you tell the difference? If your content adds value, engages your target audience, and provides a call to action, it’s content marketing. Websites and blog posts that do not solve problems, primarily self promotes, and has no call to action cannot generate the leads necessary to produce sales.

Videos. Ad agencies have been interrupting your favorite TV shows for decades with videos that promote products and services. With a good content marketing video, your target audiences interrupts what he or she is doing to watch your video. Content marketing videos must add value. They take the form of social media videos, explainer videos, video tutorials, and demo videos. They can appear on YouTube, your website, Facebook, Instagram, or any place your target audience looks for value.

Live Video. Live video lets you interact with your target audience in ways marketing predecessors could only dream about. Numerous live streaming apps–Periscope, Facebook Live, AWeber, and more–allow you to broadcast live and interact with a live audience. All you need is a smartphone. And once the live video is finished, touch it up with a little editing or segment it and you have content for your blog or YouTube channel.

Graphics and Infographics. Graphics allow you to provide quick, attractive value. Infographics, vertically long, informative graphics, provide valuable information in a condensed form. People love sharing graphics and infographics. Pinterest has established itself as a social media power through graphics and infographics that drive website traffic. You can test out this form of content marketing with a variety of apps or hire an agency to create them for you. As with all content marketing, the key to a successful graphic or infographic is providing value.

Podcasts. Busy people do not have time to watch lengthy videos. They do have time to listen to a podcast while getting ready, while driving, or while exercising. A podcast gives you exposure to a completely different segment of your audience. It lets you to go in-depth and provide incredible value.
And when your target audience needs a solution to a problem that you, someone they’ve listened to for extended periods, can solve, they’ll consider it an honor to be your customer.