What is Content Marketing?

There is no denying that content marketing has taken over. More and more companies of all sizes and budgets are caring more about what they say, how they say it and to whom they say it.

But what is content marketing really? Many of my clients come to me and know they need to put out content but most aren’t really sure where to start. Some still need to be convinced.

There are many definitions about what content marketing is but simplified it’s a frame of reference shift from selling to informing and educating. It’s about creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to your audience. The goal is to drive consumer choices, educate and inform, and compel your audience to action.

Instead of a focusing on selling and pitching your products and services, you’re helping to make your audience more intelligent and more informed, and in turn, your audience rewards you with their business and brand loyalty. You end up becoming a trusted go-to source for information and the by-product of that is selling your products and services.

Many of my small business clients come to me lamenting the fact that they don’t have great stories to tell. Granted, nonprofit organizations have a wealth of readily available stories and content, often more so than businesses but the stories are still there. Often it’s just a matter of brainstorming ideas and having a solid strategy.

Developing a solid content strategy is the first-step. From a simple starting strategy to something more complex, the below gives you the basics.

Audience-Focused – Remember your content is about your audience and not about you. Think about relationship building. If all you did was talk about yourself, how far would you get in developing good relationships? Not very far usually. Define who your audience segments are and what they need to know about your industry or even information that effects their decision making.

Your brand story – Most people don’t know your industry like you do. Whether you know it or not, you have many stories to tell. This phase of your strategy will help you determine what stories to tell. What kinds of information help to educate your audience about your industry and will help educate them in their decision making process. Remember you want to be their go-to resource. You also want your audience to feel a personal connection with your brand. You are relationship building through your content.

Content marketing strategies – Now that you know your audience and what stories to tell, you need to determine the best and most beneficial and appropriate means to distribute this information. This isn’t a one-shot deal. Just like the other marketing strategies you choose, your content marketing strategies should be multi-pronged. You should choose a mix of strategies and evaluate what works and what doesn’t. Some avenues may reach one audience segment while others connect differently with other groups.

Most people don’t know your industry like you do. Whether you know it or not, you have many stories to tell.