Content marketing is a type of marketing that offers free information in order to build an audience. This free information isn’t promotional but helps the reader solve a problem or answer a question. Then, when they need to buy a product they naturally come to you, the content provider.
This is how I tend to describe content marketing:
“Content is simply telling stories that attract and engage an audience and marketing is making that audience do something, together this is content marketing.” … Steve Cartwright
Why Content Marketing Is Important
Content marketing is important for a few reasons. First of all, there is an abundance of free stuff out there. Everyone from huge retailers to small ecommerce shops offers something for free to get people in the door. As an online marketer, you need to do this as well.
The goal of content marketing is to build a relationship with your audience. It’s important because it’s through this relationship that your audience sees you as an authority and trusts you, and this is what leads to sales in the long run.
Content Marketing Best Practices
Narrow Your Focus. Give your audience content that focuses on very specific problems and topics. There is a great deal of general content available online but you’ll get more readers if you offer something specific and unique.
Don’t Promote. The purpose of your content is to attract and engage your audience, not to promote yourself. In fact, you shouldn’t actively promote yourself. This isn’t what people are looking for. The whole point of content marketing is to offer something for free that’s high quality. I tend to use call to actions outside of the main content to help with the marketing activities, however the content remain more or less promotion free.
Listen to Your Audience. Monitor the results of your content marketing. Which blog posts get read the most? Which videos have the most views? Which content is ignored? Monitoring tells you what content your audience likes so you can give them more of it.
Mix It Up. Don’t stick to just one content format or channel. Try creating not only text based content such as articles and blog posts, but also videos, audios, infographics, eBooks and so on.