Understanding Content Marketing

Content Marketing means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell; in other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you.

If you’re interested in marketing your business online (and who isn’t at this point), you can’t escape hearing about content marketing. It’s everywhere you look. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if you, as a businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers,  ultimately you will be rewarded with customer business and loyalty.

Content marketing is being used by some of the greatest marketing and business organizations in the world, including P&G, Apple, Gucci and Coke. It’s also developed and executed by small businesses and one-person shops around the globe. Why? Because it works.

  1. People don’t want advertising when making purchasing decisions, they want valuable information.

  2. It’s content that spreads via social networks, generating powerful word-of-mouth exposure for savvy content marketers.
  3. It’s content that people desire and seek out, and it’s great content that Google wants to rank well in the search results so those people can find your business.
  4. Content is the best way to achieve what advertising is supposed to achieve, but doesn’t do so well online — to get people to know, like, and trust your brand.

There are many ways to market with content: blogging, video tutorials, slide presentations, email newsletters, white papers, webinars, free reports . . . and yet most people around the world, and also Armenia, are confused about the entire concept. So, iTechnology.am is putting together multi-part tutorial that lays out the basics in plain language so our tech readers in Armenia will hopefully understand and embrace content as their primary marketing tool.

Here are  four reasons to get start NOW:

1. Content drives PR

Marketing author David Meerman Scott famously wrote, “Nobody cares about your products.” With few exceptions, he’s right. Unless you  are launching Google+, the press is unlikely to have much interest in version 2.1.2 of your widget. But the media does care  about what interests your audience. After all, your buyers are their readers. Your ability to create fresh content around prospects’ needs has become more valuable to your PR efforts than a product announcement. I’ve seen it first hand: When we announce a new product,  a handful of our “insider” bloggers and trade publications may mention it;  but if we publish an infographic or e-book, the blogosphere lights up. (How times have changed in public relations.)

2. Content fuels social media

Without content, social media is a sports car with an empty gas tank:  All show, no go. If you want to “solve” social, start with the content you have and work backwards toward the channel. For example, let’s pretend your company produces, say, a fish tank that never needs cleaning and you decide to produce a video all about the hassles of tank cleaning. Obviously, the video would be shared on YouTube and Vimeo. But you can pull out quotable lines for Twitter or create a transcription for your website (SEO value), tell the “behind the scenes” story on your blog, or turn the lesson into an e-book (ideal for SlideShare and email campaigns). In other words, start with the content, and then back into the channel. Your e-books, lists, infographics, blog posts, PR hits, and videos all add up to the most precious social media resource — something worth sharing.

3. Content creates sales opportunity

Sales reps are always looking for a good “excuse” to reach out to prospects. There is no better justification for an impromptu email or phone call than to spontaneously share a cool, new infographic or resource the rep created specifically for the target’s industry.

4. Content wows your SEO

Keyword-rich content and inbound links have historically been the one-two punch of good SEO strategies.  And while they still matter, the release of Google’s Panda initiative, which awards better search rankings to higher quality content, raised the stakes for content marketing. As SEOmoz CEO Rand Fishkin says in this must-view video, SEO now requires “content that makes everyone who sees it want to share it and say, ‘Wow!’”

This post is also available in: Armenian