Content marketing is the act of distributing relevant content to attract and retain customers in a consistent and relevant manner. This valuable content is produced with the specific intention of changing consumer behavior.
Content should always be produced in conjunction with predetermined goals and strategic plans specifically laid out for a very real purpose. You can’t just simply write a few articles about your products. An assessment of what your potential customers want should be the very bulk of the strategic plan.
Some key points to consider when developing content and a content strategic plan:
- Should be an ongoing process that is integrated in the overall marketing strategy
- Should focus on owning new media not renting it out
- Should be non-interruptive in nature
- Should leave a visitor more intelligent when they exit your site
- Should reward with business and loyalty (if done properly)
Content Should Be Part of All Marketing Forms
Whether you publish mainly blogs or full-blown marketing campaigns – content is the fundamental aspect of every form of “new age” marketing (don’t believe us? Ask Seth…). Think about all the typical forms of new media today:
- Social marketing cannot be executed without first publishing the content that is to be shared
- SEO: you won’t rank for keywords without tying them in with your content
- PR: revolves around addressing issues customers truly care about through mass messaging
- PPC: you can’t direct traffic to a website that doesn’t address anything related to the ad content (high bounce rate anyone?)
- Inbound: content is the essential goal of inbound marketing — nurturing visitors through the sales funnel by giving visitors content they need
As you can see, the fundamental components of new marketing have (essentially) always been dependent on content. In the new age of content marketing, it is required to be better targeted and have a specific purpose.
Recommended for YouWebcast: A Week in the Life of an Agile Creative Team
So, Are You Content With Your Content?
You get that content is the present and future of internet marketing. But if you’re busy, well, running your company – how does one improve his or her content marketing?
Well, Good content is difficult to come by. Content is what separates the OK, good and excellent content in both the customers’ minds as well as search engine indexes (let’s not talk about the bad). So to start you should:
- Start with content strategy: don’t just wake up one day and blog about something semi-related to your business. Choose keywords to rank for and set up a blogging calendar. Maybe enlist some help from freelancers or interns to help produce content in consistent way.
- Write for both User Experience and SEO: keep content fresh and insightful for users. Creating a good customer experience helps them move along the predestined path you have laid out for them (this is known as a content/CTA map). Keywords will increase your organic ranking, but getting visitors and authority sources to link back to your content is the best way to increase your rank in the SERPs. The only way to attract these authority sources is to provide awe-inspiring content.
- Produce with the end in mind: Don’t just shovel out content to get links, understand that links help you SERP position, which helps get you noticed. Once you’re noticed it should be relevant to the visitor…(and so on, and so forth).
Content. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it (and they’re not). Creating content should be a part of building your business from the very get-go… as it does directly lead to a bigger pipeline and eventually more sales.
Your content will need to be refined over time as you study analytics, find better conversion paths and consumer behavior patterns. So, technically you should NEVER be content with your content.