What is Content Marketing?
Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking it’s some crazy, complex marketing tactic that can only be performed by marketing agencies. It’s not.
If you take a few minutes to examine the marketing noise around you (sponsored ads on Facebook, television commercials, product displays at the grocery store, posters hanging at your kid’s school, etc.), you’ll realize all that noise has something in common: it wants you to take action.
What separates content marketing from all the marketing noise is its ability to distribute valuable, relevant content to defined audiences. I’m into fishing, so I’ll use a fishing analogy here. If I’m going to fish for trout, I’m going to pack my gear and schedule my day completely around trout. Here’s what I know about trout:
- Trout season starts in the spring and runs through Labor Day
Trout like clean, cold water streams and structure (places to hide)
- Trout like insects and tiny fish
- Trout are most active at dawn and dusk
When it’s time for me to select my rod and bait, again, I’m going to choose gear specific to trout. So, I’ll use an ultra light combo and spinners.
By taking the time to define your audience or fish, you learn more about their behaviors and preferences, which helps you know what content, or bait, to use and when and where to use it. We use a five-phase approach when building strategies.
So, Why Do You Need a Content Marketing Strategy?
To catch fish, right? A strong content marketing strategy generates qualified leads on a predictable, scalable, and cost-effective basis. This allows you to plan your year and evolve your strategy as your organization grows.
- Qualified leads allow my sales team to have productive conversations
- Predictability allows my scheduler to forecast project traffic
- Scalability helps my directors grow their departments in a sustainable way
- Cost-effectiveness helps my VP allocate resources appropriately
And, for the team executing the content marketing (writers, designers, developers, marketers, etc.), a strategy is essential before any work begins.
I often use the term “pair of glasses” with my colleagues. A content marketing strategy helps me put the right pair of glasses on for every product. I know to whom I’m speaking, what words to use when to speak them, what visuals to bring, and where to meet them.
SEO & Digital Content
Engaging, targeted content is only the beginning for digital content marketing. If your content is going to thrive online it must be optimized. Here are some fundamentals to get you started:
- Conduct an SEO keyword search and apply your findings
- Incorporate design elements, like video and images, and format styles directly into your content. Don’t let design be an afterthought
- Use link building to improve visibility and provide credibility
- Make sure your website is responsive across all devices
- Leverage social media