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What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing

Content marketing, in a basic sense, is quite an easy concept to understand – it is about promoting yourself, your products or services by giving something, in the form of content.

That is, content marketing is about providing some form of information or entertainment, by a variety of methods, without necessarily explicitly and directly advertising.

Content marketing, as opposed to traditional forms of marketing, is about raising your profile, or your brand’s profile, by actually providing an audience with something they want, and showing you have more to offer.

Traditional ads – we’re over them!

I don’t know about you, but I am absolutely tired of being bombarded by advertising.

Recently I drove into a garage to fill my car, and to my displeasure there was a TV screen over the bowser blasting ads at me while I filled my car. Even those five minutes of just standing still filling my car had to be filled with companies shouting at me! When I paid for my fuel, I told the proprietor in no uncertain terms that I would not be returning to fill my car there again, and why.

In the same way, when I watch commercial television, there is almost nothing about any ad I see that makes me want to pay attention. More often than not I will record a show on my PVR rather than watch it live, so I can skip the ads when I do watch it.

And like so may people, I use an ad blocker on my web browser.

Traditional advertising, in a nutshell, is a ‘spay-and-pray’ methodology, and not easy to target to relevant or interested audiences.

Content marketing is strategic

Content marketing is a strategic approach in which valuable, relevant, and consistent content is produced to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.

The aim is to attract and retain customers by consistently publishing relevant and valuable content with the intention of informing prospective customers – without a sales pitch.

Compared with traditional advertising, it is non-intrusive – and instead of simply pitching your products or services, provides information that is helpful to your prospect.

In other words, instead of saying ‘buy my product or service’ you provide quality information to people who may be prospective customers – subtly promoting your products and services by establishing trust in your expertise.

Common types of content marketing

Any method of providing value that is appropriate for your message can be used – videos, blogs, articles, case studies, how-to articles and reviews are all common examples.

Obviously the most prevalent form of content marketing delivery today is via the Internet, through web sites, blogs and other forms of content publishers such as YouTube.

Advertising has changed. Now it isn’t being used so much to directly pitch, but instead is used to attract readers and viewers to content.

Don’t believe the hype – print content marketing is still a real option

Content marketing via print is also a method of delivery that should not be ignored. Believe it or not, the common catch cry in the media that ‘print is dead’ is proving not to be true. Instead, print media is going through a process of reinvention and refocusing.

I have been the editor of a B2B print magazine and web site since 2007. In that time, we have seen print ad revenue drop by about 50% overall, but an increase in online advertising. But the fact is, during that period print ad revenue dropped to as low as 30%, but is now rising, albeit slowly.

And where is the increase in print revenue come from? Paid content marketing.

The secret of B2B print publishing is that it has always been content marketing – and targeted at a specific subscriber base. Those companies that advertise, or provide content, therefore know that they have a targeted audience already established when they publish this way.

Other ways many companies are using print is by developing their own custom print publication – much like the magazine you see in your airline seat pocket.

Quality of content is important

Whatever method of delivery you choose, the quality and relevance of the content itself is the most important thing. Make sure you are giving your readers something of value.

As editor of a publication and web site publishing content marketing material, my main focus is on making sure the content is good enough to inform and engage my readership, providing up-to-date and relevant information in their field of interest. Whatever method you choose to publish your content, quality and relevance is key to establishing trust with your market.

Creating the content

The problem for many individuals and organisations is that while they may have subject-matter expertise, they often lack the expertise in presenting it as content. Engaging an experienced professional writer is a good option, for many reasons.

Contact me

If you would like a quote for my content marketing writing services, please visit my contact page.