First, what content are we talking about in this method? Content can take many forms:
With these in mind, Content Marketing is a strategy with tactics that drive traffic to sites and social media by publishing content on a regular basis. Social media is a topic unto itself, but it should be clear that content and social go hand-in-hand. Together they are one-two punch where you publish material for a niche audience, and build dialog with them consistently.
What content marketing is not
The purpose of any such content is NOT to advertise or self-promote, at least not directly. A marketing video or commercial does not make up part of a content marketing campaign. Instead of pitching your prospects a product or service, you are creating an audience for content that appeals to their need for information, entertainment and expert education.
An example of what Content Marketing is not, is “creating a viral video.” Content can go viral, but it can’t be made to go viral and 99.99% of the time this is completely out of the control of the small to medium business. There is an ephemeral, voodoo nature as to why content goes viral, and the Fortune 100 have thrown millions at this effort, only to fail, scratching their heads.
Content Marketing Strategy
The strategy behind a content marketing effort should, in its purest form, be about providing real, informative or entertaining material that visitors will really want to experience regularly. Two solid approaches are A) sharing expertise on a niche subject, and B) creating entertaining serial niche content.
It’s paramount to establish a niche, and dig into that niche strongly with detailed expertise. This begs for research to discover a hole to fill in the topical conversation that few are talking about. One should cover the basics, but also determine what questions haven’t been asked or answered. Don’t be afraid to put questions out there in your field and create a dialog with commenters.
It’s also critical to maintain a regular presence in the marketplace, so that your brand is consistently associated with the quality of content you publish. Thought leadership is not as simple as creating one great piece demonstrating command of a topic. Leadership requires a longer term commitment. Study what others are posting about in your space, curate links and form relationships with other bloggers where possible. Always give credit where credit is due.
A holistic content marketing strategy will consider the following steps:
Content marketing with social media is relatively new, but is maturing quickly into one of the most powerful strategies a business can employ to reach an audience.
While there is a lot to absorb at today’s rate of change, don’t fall prey to over-analysis paralysis. Our advice is to begin today, start small and grow steadily, get help where you need it, and be consistent with your efforts to grow your business.