Content marketing is not an invention that started just when the internet took off. The truth is content marketing has been around in various forms since the beginning of marketing and advertising. You’ve seen content marketing in commercials, television shows, movies, and even in magazines via “advertorials.”
Essentially, content marketing is simply creating and distributing valuable, relevant, attractive, and consistent content to your very specific audience with the goal of persuading those who consume the content to act on your calls to action.
What’s powerful and special about content marketing today is that you can distribute content marketing materials online basically for free. You don’t have to pay money for an advertorial or even pay to promote your posts if you don’t want to. Using content to get information to your audience is a long-term strategy that may include expenditures on content, but it doesn’t have to include any advertising at all because of the power of the internet.
A few examples of content marketing, as mentioned previously, are:
- Email Autoresponder Messages
- Videos and Webinars
- Case Studies and Interviews
- eBooks, eReports, and White Papers
- Checklists and Cheat Sheets
- Social Media Posts and Updates
- Infographics, GIFS, Memes, and Images
Your job when using content to market is to understand your ideal customers’ buying cycle. The basic buying cycle includes awareness, consideration, and decision. However, most marketers like to add more to the buying journey because there are many steps in each of the three basic steps of the buying cycle.
For example, they may list the buying cycle as awareness, research, consideration, purchasing, and retention instead. However, you decide how to define your customer’s buying journey. The more specific you are about where they are in their decision-making process or buying journey, the more targeted and effective your content marketing efforts will be.
When you endeavor to practice effective content marketing, you will create and distribute content that matches your goals that you set for each piece of content based on where the customer is in the buying journey. Having this knowledge about your audience and your products will make your content marketing efforts more effective.
Some examples of content marketing goals include:
- Increasing brand awareness
- Increasing solution awareness and knowledge
- Driving targeted traffic to your website
- Building your email list with interested members
- Generating more sales
- Converting more leads to customers
- Drive upselling
- Improving retention
- And more
You’ll determine the goal for the piece of content, and you’ll note the ideal audience you want to target and where they are in their buying cycle before you even start creating the titles, adding keywords, and developing the content. Finally, you’ll need to know where to distribute the content. That will again depend on the goals you’ve set for the content, as well as who the content is meant for based on their buying journey.