An Introduction to Content Marketing

Wednesday 17th, February 2016

Everyone talks about Content Marketing these days. What is it about really?

Content Marketing basically is about creating and sharing content – content that is consistent, relevant and valuable – in order to attract prospects who can be converted into customers.

The Content Marketing Institute defines Content Marketing like this – “Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

The aim of this whole exercise is to attract and retain customers, but without overtly selling to them. The way to do this is to produce great content that is relevant both to the business as well as to its customers – content that the customers will find interesting.

This is an important aspect of marketing in the digital age. An integral part of a business’s marketing strategy, it is all about engaging with your customers without actually selling to them.

Who does Content Marketing?

Just about everybody – big and small. Biggies like P&G and Microsoft. And small businesses and one-man shows the world over.

How is this content different from Advertising material?

People are sent marketing communication mail all the time – but the content that we are talking about here is different. It does not sell you anything directly. It is relevant and valuable. The difference here is that where people usually junk advertising material, good content draws them. Because it adds value to their lives in some way.

So what are the types of Content Marketing Material?

  • Webpages

Website pages are usually about the company, the services or the products they offer, where you can avail of it, etc. But apart from this kind of information, there are other webpages – such as blogs and case studies – now these are a totally different ball game. Case Studies will tell you how a company’s products or services helped solve a problem for a customer. It is not about directly telling the audience how their products can help you. It is showing you how they helped someone else – hoping that these prospects are intrigued enough to know more, or better yet, sample the wares.

Blogs are another kind of content marketing that works great – interesting topics are covered here. Topics that would be of interest to a prospective customer.

Infographics.  

These are very popular these days. They are visual representations of statistics and information. The use of graphs or charts along with images makes the information easy to consume. Infographics are very popular on Social Media particularly and they are shared among various audiences. A good infographic involves a lot of planning first. Like any piece of good content, it takes a lot of research – and great copy as well as design.  Infographics work great on platforms like Pinterest – where visual content rules.

Videos and Podcasts

Videos are great ways to present content to audiences. It is said that where a picture paints a thousand words, videos paint over a million! Very effective and engaging, videos attract the most number of visitors to them. But the key is to capture the audience attention within the first ten seconds. Fail, and you have lost them! Podcasts are yet another content marketing method. Some people don’t venture into these areas thinking they are expensive to make and market. But they are well worth the investment – and with falling prices, very affordable.

Content Marketing is an important part of the overall inbound marketing efforts of a business.  It takes time – takes effort – but it is certainly worth all the investment.

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