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 key word here is “valuable.” It’s what changes this definition from one that could describe almost any form of advertising or marketing. You can tell if a piece of content is the sort that could be part of a content marketing campaign if people seek it out, if people want to consume it, rather than avoiding it.
Perhaps more important than understand what content marketing is, is understanding why content marketing is important to your business.
First we need to understand the four steps of the buying cycle:
Awareness. Prior to awareness a customer may have a need, but they are not aware there is a solution.
Research. Once a customer is aware there is a solution, they will perform research to educate themselves. For example, a car buyer will try to find out what different types of cars exist, and which one will fit their needs.
Consideration. At this point the customer starts comparing different products from different vendors to make sure they’re getting a high quality product at a fair price.
Buy. Finally, the customer makes their decision and moves forward with the transaction.
Content marketing also provides additional benefits in that it supports other digital marketing channels. Content marketing provides additional content for social media marketing and contributes to SEO efforts by generating natural inbound links and building up good content on your website that gets found in search engines. In fact, for many companies the bulk of their SEO efforts should be focused on content marketing.
Having captured potential customers’ interest, your biggest priority is to continually reinforce the connection between them and your company. Content marketing has an especially long-lasting effect as high-quality content entices users to continue reading, clicking and exploring. A website that has been properly outfitted with good content can potentially generate traffic over the course of months or even years. In addition, Google rewards websites that feature good content with improved rankings in search results.
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