You have a strong, well-defined brand identity that suits your company's values and serves the image you wish to portray. Your products and services are valuable, well-researched and carefully aimed at a specific audience.
You have all the pieces in place to succeed in your business venture, so there is no better time to begin a successful content marketing campaign to attract a potential client base to your company, your brand and your products.
What is Content Marketing
The Content Marketing Institute has put together a fantastic definition that I will borrow here: To engage in content marketing is to create and distribute "relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience, with the objective of driving profitable customer action."
In other words, content marketing is the act of communicating with your target audience in a way that does not involve selling to them directly. Rather than pitching your audience on your products and services, you are providing them with informative content that allows them to decide for themselves that your products and services are exactly what they are looking for. Content marketing represents an invaluable opportunity to educate and inform your potential client and customer base, allowing for a more engaged and intelligent interaction with your brand.
Forms of Content Marketing
Content marketing is composed of many aspects, and in a successful content marketing campaign, these various parts of the campaign work together to engage your target audience. Content marketing can take the form of blogs, social media strategies, e-books, whitepapers, case studies, newsletters, reports, custom publications, podcasts, videos, webinars and infographics.
The most successful content marketing campaigns involve several of these forms, all working together in tandem to communicate a consistent message to your audience. Members of your target audience will each engage with your brand in a variety of different arenas, so using several different forms and techniques ensures that your content marketing strategy reaches the widest possible audience.
It is also advised to tailor your content and corporate message subtly, depending on the form that the message is being delivered, to more successfully and accurately target the needs of certain constituents of your audience. For example, you may find that you fine-tune your blog content slightly to appeal to a specific online community, such as mommy bloggers, whereas the content you present via social media may be designed for younger, single professionals.
Effective Content Marketing
The key to an effective content marketing strategy is to make sure that the content you produce will engage your audience, will be valuable to them and will ultimately increase their ability to intelligently interact with your brand and the products and services that you offer through it. The content that you offer should be easy to read, relevant to the interests of your audience, and provide them with valuable information that they are actively looking for. Well-written, thoughtful and well-placed content is essential to the success of your content marketing campaign.
Content Marketing as a Call to Action
Content marketing is essentially about ideas. Your brand, your company and the products and services that you offer are essentially extensions of that idea.
The content that you create and offer to your target audience should engage with the ideas that fuel your company's mandate and products. Always keep in mind that the end goal of any content marketing is to spur your target audience to action.
You have a unique opportunity through content marketing to communicate your company's vision to your target audience. The more that your audience learns about the concepts behind your products and services, the ideas that inform your corporate mandate, they should be all the more inspired to engage with those ideas.
The Practical Benefits of Content Marketing
Many of the quantifiable, palpable benefits of content marketing are laid out beautifully in this infographic (which is a fine piece of content marketing in itself). First and foremost, content marketing drastically increases your brand's visibility. Having a blog on your company's website will increase your traffic 55 percent. Even more impressive, the number of inbound links you will get will increase by 97 percent.
Your brand, and your brand's message, is also given a much wider reach via content marketing. A blog with regularly updated content will give your site 97-percent more indexed links and a staggering 434-percent more indexed pages, increasing your Google page rank and SEO profile very positively.
Perhaps even more importantly, content marketing campaigns have a tangible impact on the way that your target audience behaves. Sixty percent of Facebook and Twitter users are more likely to recommend a brand that they follow on social media. Sixty-seven percent of Twitter users are more likely to buy from brands that they follow, and blogs are shown to influence purchasing decisions 63 percent more than magazines.
Content marketing is an invaluable tool when it comes to not only influencing the way that your target audience perceives your brand, but also in the way that they then choose to interact with your products and services. With a thoughtful, well-executed content marketing strategy built on high-quality content, your brand and your business will succeed online.
About the author: Matt Goulart is the founder of and lead consultant at Webstar Content, and can be reached at Matt@webstarcontent.com.