The term “content marketing” gets thrown around quite a lot these days. To a certain degree, it’s a self explanatory term. Most people can figure out that it means to market something through content. But what exactly does that mean? What exactly is content and how does it help a business?

The concept of content marketing aims to increase sales and help a business grow mainly by educating potential customers and building trust among an audience. If you look around, you’ll find several other more complex definitions, but that’s the basic idea. The business generates content and distributes it to an audience, the audience gets something valuable from the content and hopefully becomes a client of the business. Repeat until you achieve desired results.

How does this work though? Or perhaps more importantly, why does this work? How do you make more sales by actually avoiding making a sales pitch and just giving the customer information? Let’s look at a few of the reasons why this type of marketing not only works, but often works better than traditional forms of advertising.

People look up to an authority – By consistently producing and distributing informative and real content, a company is seen as honest and transparent. They build a sort of rapport with their audience and become a trusted authority on the subject(s) of their content.

Authority draws loyalty – When a company is seen as an authority in their field and has demonstrated that they are willing to share real and valuable information instead of just sales schtick, it creates a loyalty among their audience. If the audience trusts the information they are receiving, when they decide to buy a product or service, they will go to the company they trust. They won’t even think about looking for an alternative.

Perception of approachability – By producing and distributing content that is based on information rather than a constant sales pitch, a company is instantly seen as more approachable. Advertising is seen as a one way proposition. It is outgoing and shows no real concern for the audience. True content is seen as bidirectional. The company is not trying to sell something, but trying to give something to the audience. This has a completely different effect.

Freedom to decide – Content can be geared towards nudging a consumer in one direction or another, but unlike traditional forms of hard sell advertising, the consumer is not left feeling like he’s being forced into doing something. Instead of feeling like someone is pulling the wool over their eyes to try to get them to buy something, they feel as if they have come away more educated and able to make their own decision freely and wisely. This has a very big effect on the consumer’s confidence.

How do you feel after reading this article? Do you know a little bit more about marketing now? Do you think you’ll be able to make a more informed decision sometime in the future? Do you see what I did there?