Before we get into how to benefit from content marketing, let’s first talk about what content is. It is any kind of information or experience that a user finds value in. Content marketing is creating and sharing that valuable content in a way that will appeal to your target audience.
Although content marketing has become very important in the past few years, it really isn’t anything new. In fact, it’s been around for about 120 years. In 1895, John Deer’s The Furrow was published, and is considered to be the unofficial start of brand publications. This was a quarterly magazine that included advertisements, but focused on articles and farming advice to educate the reader rather than trying to sell them something. Since then, content marketing has taken on new forms and has expanded to virtually every industry. Some of the most common examples of content marketing include:
• Blogs – Blogs can be used as great content on their own, but also as a way to push your other information out there. If you’ve created an infographic, podcast, video, ebook, or any other kind of material, write a blog post about it.
• Social Media – Social media networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are the single most important factor of a content marketing strategy. Successfully utilizing these platforms can extend your brand’s visibility and help you deliver your content to a larger audience.
• Infographics – these are the most shared and viewed type of content. They can be a very powerful way to get a lot of information across in an easy-to-read format.
• Podcasts – Podcasts are one of the easiest types of content to create. All you need is a decent microphone and basic knowledge of recording software.
• Videos – The great thing about video is it can be used with any type of content. It’s perfect for adding some personality and character.
• Ebooks – Ebooks are a good way to generate leads and to share a bit of your knowledge with other people. Have your visitors fill out a simple form with some basic contact information in exchange for the Ebook and you’ve got a new lead.
• How-To Guides – Want to really show your knowledge on a subject? Teach your readers something.
This can all seem like a lot of work, so you may be asking, “What’s the value behind this content marketing stuff?”
By linking your content to other pieces of information, you can get visitors to spend more time on your site viewing and interacting with material you’ve created. Another benefit is if you update your site with really great, frequent content, it will improve your search rankings. Using the right keywords for the different pieces of content will help you appear on the first page of results when prospective clients search for you.
The one thing that all good content has in common is value. If your visitors don’t find value in what you have to offer, they aren’t going to use or share it. You want to offer your customers something they can’t get anywhere else. Content marketing is a great way to show your customers that you know what you’re talking about, and by simply providing information that your customers are looking for, you have already begun to service your client’s needs.
In the end, if you want to stand out, you’ve got to create something worth sharing.