A few weeks ago we have started a new section within SEOchat called “Content marketing“. This article is a quick intro into that forum.
Content marketing is the practice of creating informational and creative material that is relevant and interesting to potential customers (as well as people who can influence your potential customers) with the aim of drawing loyalty and future business from them. It is not direct sales.
It is a quickly growing and targeted method of marketing that is replacing some of the outdated traditional methods that businesses are finding decreasing success with.
The Art of Content Marketing
Those who effectively content market are able to engage their readers and leave them wanting to come back again and again for more. This drives brand recognition and understanding of the company and shows that that, regardless of what product it sells, it has something to offer them. They create something that is interesting in and of itself, regardless of what it may also be promoting.
Good content writers make the customers want to continue reading and good content marketers leave them wanting more.
Most content marketing involves educating the customer in some way. Many big name brands use educating their consumer base to draw people to their sites and improve the public’s understanding of what their company is, what it provides, and what it can do for them.
Some of the biggest uses of this type of marketing are IBM’s “Cityone” game that boasts thousands of players from all around the world, General Electric’s “Ecomagination” that inspires people to contribute and learn about the latest environmental innovations, and Google’s “Zero Moment of Truth” that describes the behavior and habits of customers just before they make the decision to buy something.
The Benefit Of More Information
The world is changing from an economy where merely seeing a flash of an advertisement out of the corner of one’s eye will implant that idea in their head. Consumers are being bombarded with those kinds of ads everywhere they look and are quickly learning to tune them out altogether.
Content marketing is becoming essential for businesses to bring in customers who actually want to come back time and time again. They successfully work around the overwhelmed consumer base’s natural inclination to tune out anything that hints at being an advertisement and directly target something that no one can effectively resist – that which actually interests them.
Bringing Your Content In Front of Audience
Simply creating good content is not enough. It’s the combination of all sorts of promotion that creates the first wave of exposure (that ideally will fuel itself at some point and will start driving continuous exposure on its own). Making your content findable is still essential:
- Go to high-profile publishers (and possibly automate that). Services like Outbrain and Nrelate bring your content to the highest quality publishers but putting links to your site in “Related” or “Further reading” sections below the high-traffic articles.
- Pay for social media spread (all major social media sites have advertising models that give more exposure to your content through sending more views to your shares: Facebook ads, Twitter ads, StumbleUpon paid discovery, etc). If you have time, you can also try tools like Viral Content Buzz where you don’t really pay for anything but can put your content in front of people who are eager to spread a word
- Contemporary link building still works but it has evolved a lot: here’s a new way to use directories (Best Web Directories Post Panda/Penguin); here’s a new way to use blog commenting (Use Blog Commenting to Get Valuable Backlinks and Traffic); here’s how to do guest blogging properly (The Only Benefit of Guest Blogging that Matters (with Case Studies)) – all of those are geared towards drawing important people to your content before it starts promoting itself.
As more and more companies turn to innovative and fresh ways of integrating their products and brands into something that people actually want to see, the demand for not just good, but excellent content marketing becomes increasingly important for smaller companies as well.
Good content writing on a website can cause a reader not only to come back, but to share good or interesting information with friends who may, in turn, continue sharing with others. A single reader can turn into hundreds of others from around the world that are now introduced to your company. If your content is truly captivating, they may share it with hundreds more each, creating exactly the kind of advertising that every company wants, but can no longer achieve with banner ads and pop ups.