As you’re setting up your online presence, you’ve probably checked a few things off of your list of goals. Your website is set up. It’s streamlined and easy to navigate. You have processes in place to take care of day-to-day tasks and handling emergencies. You have social media pages, and you’re running several paid marketing campaigns.

However, PageFair reports that roughly 600 million devices around the world are using ad-blocking software. And when the users are not blocking ads, they’re ignoring them. Bannersnack says that more than half of internet users don’t click on banner ads because they’re suspicious of them. Millenials are even more likely to turn a blind eye to online advertising, according to e-Marketer.

To prevent your business from being overlooked, you need to craft your message in a different way. Content marketing allows you to stand out by giving those in your target audience exactly what they’re looking for. What is content marketing? It’s a method of consistently generating and distributing valuable content to your audience.

The Benefits of Content Marketing

Your target customers probably surf the internet on a daily basis. Many of them don’t start by looking for products that will solve their problems; they start by seeking information that will help them begin to understand possible solutions. If you’re consistently appearing as the authority that delivers relevant, valuable information, your brand will start to develop a relationship with those individuals. Over time, they may become your most loyal clients.

Content marketing makes you more visible. You build brand awareness as you regularly publish fresh material. People begin to associate your brand with the solutions they’re looking for. When it comes time for them to spend their money, do you think that they’ll give it to a name they recognise or a name they’ve never heard?

Moreover, when you reliably put your knowledge out there, you become seen as an expert in your field. Potential clients will look up to you as an authority – and with more authority, you’ll be able to differentiate from others and secure more customers.

Publishing content as part of your marketing strategy helps people connect with you. You don’t have to broadcast promotional information to get people to buy from you. Instead, consider telling stories, sharing insights, and giving advice.

According to Psychology Today, emotions influence what people buy; Harvard Business Review reiterates that connecting with your customers is one of the best strategies for growth – content marketing is what helps you gain genuine respect and trust from your potential customers, and turn them into real ones.

Content Marketing Platforms

The good news is that you don’t need much resources to add the content dimension to your marketing mix. You’ll need someone to write it, and you’ll need a platform on which to publish it. It’s best to deliver content in different formats on different platforms that resonate with various types of people. The writing part can be done by you or your team, as well as freelance copywriters – let’s look at the platform aspect.

  • Using a site like YouTube or Vimeo allows you to connect with your audience using video. When your viewers can see and hear you, they feel like you’re talking directly to them. You can use video to deliver webinars, mini courses, news, entertaining content, and much more.
  • Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter help you engage with your followers. You publish and share the content, and get real-time feedback in the form of comments, likes, shares, and retweets. You can then sell to them directly on the same network by using specialized solutions such as Shopify’s FB integration.
  • You can also share your content on other high-authority websites through guest posting. In this case it’s important to consider the level of visibility your content gets when it’s published and set the terms in advance – does your piece get featured on the receiving website’s front page? In the blog posts feed? On social media accounts?
  • Digital display platforms like Slideshare can draw attention to a resource on your website with user-friendly slideshows. Email subscription management tools let you customise your subject matter for leads that are already interested in what you have to say.

It’s worth bearing in mind that many content marketing platforms seamlessly integrate with website engines and e-commerce software, which means you can link your content directly to your products and services to capitalise on consumer interest while it’s high.

How to Make Content Marketing Work

People can sense a sales pitch from a mile away, so it’s important to come up with content that balances information, inspiration and connection. Some of your content may be promotional. However, nowadays people are rarely going to buy from you without knowing something about you first. Therefore, a large portion of your content should answer questions that people are asking before they even consider buying your product or service. Here are other aspects to take into account when producing great content:

  • It is important to understand your target audience – their context, their needs and their preferences. This should influence the substance as well as the tone of your content.
  • When it comes to sustainable content marketing, quality usually trumps quantity. An in-depth 2,000-word article will tend to bring better results than a vague 300-word piece, both in terms of reader engagement and search engine rankings.
  • To outrank your competition, use their content as a springboard for your own. Make your information more extensive, research it better and deliver it in a more organised manner, and you’ll rise up as the authority.
  • In school, you’ve learned that plagiarising is not nice. The same of course goes for content marketing: unless you clearly indicate that an article is a repost, or use proper quoting in case of chunks pieces of text, trying to repurpose somebody else’s content as your own will only damage your reputation in the long run – which defeats the entire purpose of content marketing.

Over to You

Creating and distributing awesome content might be one of the smartest strategies a website owner could employ today – if done right, it will not only help you create a loyal audience and convert them into customers and genuinely love your brand – but also avoid hitting the wall of distrust and indifference associated with more “pushy” tactics such as pay per click advertising, banners or advertorials.

Have you had experience with content marketing? Got questions you’d like to solve? Let us know in the comments section below:

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