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Many throw around the term “content marketing”  nowadays, but do you want to know what is content marketing really about? Let’s take a step back.

The term “content” is so broad it’s impossible to give one exact definition of it. What you might consider content might be different from others. According to Top Rank Marketing, content is many things to different people and situations due to context. Fundamentally, content = information. Content = experience. Content = nothing specific.

What is content marketing – a definition by the industry.

Here is how some industry leaders define content:

  • “Content is high quality, useful information that conveys a story presented in a contextually relevant manner with the goal of soliciting an emotion or engagement.” – Heidi Cohen
  • “Information designed for consumption, seasoned for enjoyment, and packaged to share.” – Scott Hepburn
  • “Content is anything that adds value to the reader’s life.” – Avinash Kaushik
  • “Content is any communication in any medium that serves a purpose, whether it be to influence, educate, inform, warn, express one’s self or spark conversation within a given context.” – Joan Damico
  • “Could be spam, could be some technical writing on the back of a product, could be ad copy, etc. In marketing, what it should be is anything that creates brand advocacy, leads potential customers down the conversion path, or nurtures leads and current customers.” – Dan Bischoff
  • “Content isn’t ‘stuff we write to rank higher’ or ‘infographics’ or ‘long-form articles.’ Content is anything that communicates a message to the audience. Anything.” – Ian Lurie

Content can mean a lot of things but no matter how you choose to define it, content is something that offers value.

What is content marketing’s main ingredient: Quality Content!

In order for your content to rank in search engines, it has to be of high quality. The question “What is content marketing?” is tied to the question: What makes a high-quality piece of content? Most people think that quality content is measured by length, spelling, grammar, visual appeal, readability, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. However, this is only partly true.

Quality content answers real people’s questions. It’s what people want to digest because it helps them, keeps them entertained and teaches them how to do something or where to find something. It’s the kind of content that gets quoted, shared and linked to. The content that gets passed along through shares or sometimes, even word of mouth.

The thing about high-quality content is it’s subjective. That’s why many people don’t know how to create it. Plus, it takes time for you to see the results of your hard work. You may need to invest a lot of time and money when you are still starting to build your reputation but you’ll definitely be able to reap the rewards down the road.

Things to consider

There are still, however, aspects of quality content that you can control and improve.

  • Excessive ads – Too many ads is just plain annoying. And research, actually back this up:
    • 87% say there are more ads in general than 2-3 years ago
    • 91% of people say ads are more intrusive today than 2-3 years ago
    • 79% feel like they’re being tracked by retargeted ads
  • Load speed – The ideal load time for a webpage is a very short 3 seconds. Any more than that, you risk your visitors clicking away before your site gets fully loaded. Additionally, search engines prioritizes fast-loading sites over ones that are slow to load.
  • Broken links – If you publish content regularly, a broken link in one of your posts can make your audience view you in a negative light. And too many broken links will make them stop clicking your links altogether!
  • Wrong information – Before you publish anything, make sure you do research on the facts that you are putting out for all the world to see. One wrong information is all it takes to make people doubt you.

Content Marketing Defined

Content marketing is focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant content to attract a defined audience and to drive profitable customer action. What is content marketing – and what is it not? It’s not about promoting the products that you sell rather it is the sharing of good information to gain loyal customers.

“Content marketing is educational, not promotional.” – Michele Linn

Why Content Marketing Is Important

If you own a business, no matter what kind of business it is, you should include content marketing in your overall growth strategy.

Content Marketing is Common Practice

Everyone is doing it! Chances are, your competitors are also doing it so if you allow yourself to lag behind, you are going to lose a lot of potential clients. In fact, 90% of businesses are already using content marketing to generate inbound leads.

Don’t let yourself be left behind.

Content Marketing Drives Sales

According to a research by GroupM, 86% of buyers conduct non-branded search queries. If it’s your content that ranks high in search engines, more people are going to discover your brand. Additionally, an average person consumes 11.4 pieces of content before they actually buy something from that brand, according to Forrester. It is clear that consumers rely on content to help them make a purchasing decision.

Still not convinced? Here are more numbers:

  • Content marketing generates more than three times as many leads as traditional advertising methods. (Source)
  • Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing methods. (Source)
  • Small businesses that blog will grow 126% faster than small businesses that do not blog. (Source)
  • Companies that regularly update their blogs generate, on average, 55% more website visitors, 97% more inbound links, and 434% more indexed pages. (Source)

It is also the best way to build trust with your potential customers. 85% of internet users ignore paid ads and focus on organic search results. When making content, remember to educate not to make a sale. According to the Economist Group’s “Missing the Mark” report, 71% of readers say they were turned off by content that seems like a sales pitch.

Content Marketing Builds Brand Authority

Your content is the perfect way to show everybody that you are the best at what you do. Aside from building your authority in your industry, it is also a way to humanize your brand. Give your brand a voice and personality and not just make it a faceless profiteer that only wants money. Engage with your audience and make them feel like that are talking to a reliable person who is can solve whatever problem they may have.

“Your impact is measured not by what you do, but by what happens to other people when you do it.” – John Jantsch

How to Get Started with Content Marketing

Now, that we have established what content marketing is and why it is important for your business, we now discuss how to do content marketing the right way:

1. Research

Before anything else, do some research and know who your target audience is then cater to their needs. Audience research is a way of turning the spotlight from your stuff to your audience’s needs.

It is also important to do some research in your industry. Know its trends so you’ll have an idea where to start. You should also keep tabs on what your competitors are doing. Analyze what they are doing and integrate that to your strategy.

2. Strategize

Once you know who you want to reach with your content, it is now time to make a marketing plan. Determine what goals your brand wants to achieve and what role content will play in order to reach those goals and how you can use content to compliment your plans for other aspects of your business such as customer service, advertising, sales or promotions.

3. Create

Create content that resonates with your target audience and this will establish your authority in your industry. Aside from that, remember to show your brand’s “personality” in everything you publish. Be funny and stay on top of what’s currently trending so you can engage with more people.

There are tons of content types that you can do but here are some examples:

    • Blog post
    • Longform Content
    • Infographics
    • Video
    • Photos
    • Newsletters

4. Distribute

Publish your content in all of the platforms that you are in. Post articles on your blog and keep your social media profiles fresh and updated. What is content marketing’s most underrated phase: Distribution.

Remember to be consistent. If you decide to publish on your blog, have a regular schedule that never fails. A regular schedule is best for establishing familiarity with your readers. They won’t have to wonder when you are going to post a blog update because they already know about your schedule.

For startups, finding places where to post them is most important in the early phases, check out this post for the topic: If you want to place your startup, find out where to do it.

5. Monitor

And lastly, pay attention to your analytics. How are people interacting with your content? Is your website getting traffic? Did your search engine rankings improve? Are your posts in social media getting likes, comments or shares? Is your content being ignored?

Analyze how your content is performing. If it is doing well, make more content that is somewhat similar because you already know that it’s the kind that your audience responds to the most. If it is not doing well, figure out what’s wrong with it and make the necessary adjustments.

Keeping a close eye on your insights will help you improve your overall content strategy

What is content marketing’s biggest drawback: It is time consuming.

It is definitely a time consuming task to research topics, find the right audience and create it. Plus the outreach for distributing the content to external websites and blogs can eat up a lot of time as well.

But it is work that you can easily outsource and its not a recurring task: Once content exists, it will stay. And that’s what is content marketing’s biggest advantage: It is an inbound technique that yields great results with low maintenance.