Content marketing is the creation and distribution of media to consumers on the internet.
It is a practice that aims to:
- Improve the quality of content available online
- Help audiences find the products, services, and expertise for which they are looking
- Help products, services, and expertise find their appropriate audiences
- Improve the visibility of websites in major search engines
Content encompasses an astounding variety of consumable media, and disseminating that media through marketing requires knowledge of every digital marketing channel available.
Google Trends data shows us that content marketing sharply rose in importance around 2012 and has been steadily increasing since 2014.
It’s intimidating to increase your visibility as a website or business owner in today’s online world. But by building your understanding of content marketing from the basics, you can boost your ability to unite your marketing efforts and bring your content to the audiences who seek it.
The Meaning of “Content”
Content is anything that is consumable on the internet.
Any complete piece of media that you find on the internet can be considered digital content. There’s a long list of media that we call content, which means a content creator’s job requires an unusual breadth of skills. Some of the most common content pieces you’ll find include:
|Social Media Videos
Surprisingly, the list doesn’t end there. Businesses may ask content creators to go beyond the normal scope of content creation to make highly customized pieces of content. Custom content may use less popular media such as audio or print, or could combine popular media in unique ways.
However, it’s easier to think of the most common content as a part of the four main categories:
Text-based pieces of content that focus on providing information and value to consumers and search engines.
Visual media designed to enhance the user experience and allow information to be consumed faster and easier than information contained in text.
Advanced and thorough pieces of long-form content that provide top-level expertise on a topic or topics.
Moving images that improve the consumability of information by providing it through visual and auditory channels.
Once a content creator makes a piece of content, it needs a home. In most cases, that home will be the creator’s or his or her client’s website. From there, the content needs to reach the world, which requires effective content marketing.
The Meaning of “Content Marketing”
Content marketing is the science of creating and distributing content to the appropriate audience.
We defined it earlier, but the alternative definition above may be easier to digest. As a process that requires lots of experimentation, social aptitude, professional courtesy, technical knowledge, analytical ability, and financial management, content marketing is a far less tangible concept than content.
But that doesn’t mean it’s out of reach. Like content, understanding content marketing on a basic level enables webmasters, business owners, and marketers to change the direction and scope of the practice.
Content marketing is just a collection of approaches for the dissemination of content to which each marketer can apply his or her style and expertise. The most common approaches to content marketing include:
Search Engine Optimization
The SEO approach is built into quality content; that is, the easiest way to get your content to those who need it is to write thorough content with valuable information that search engines will pick up and rank highly.
Outreach by email is the process of sharing content with interested parties by writing an email to those parties and attaching a link or document for sharing. You can use this method to solicit guest posts or to get your content on popular, well-ranking websites.
Social outreach is the act of sharing content on popular social media channels; it can be done organically by using available free sharing tools, or it can be done using paid advertising now available on most social media platforms.
The influencer marketing approach uses manual or automated outreach to influential men and women who can promote your content to their followers. Influencers hold sway over their audiences and, when they endorse a product or service, have a significant impact on its success.
Content Distribution Platforms
Paid content distribution platforms use a pay-per-click approach to present your content to audiences who see sponsored links to your content on websites with similar content. You pay for impressions or clicks, but you get massive traffic – as long as you offer quality content.
Each approach requires the marketer to build a new set of skills. But following the mastery of each approach, the potential for content to reach new audiences increases substantially.
How to Get Started with Content Marketing
You can’t begin marketing content without first creating it. But to begin creating valuable content, you have to have a brand that backs it.
Before you dive into content creation, start with branding.
- Find out who your competitors are targeting and consider how you can appeal better to that audience and others.
- Think of adjectives that describe your persona or that of your company and stick to those adjectives when representing yourself or your organization.
- Record and use hard brand guidelines as a point from which you can jump off, but be ready to allow your brand to evolve.
Your brand guidelines will direct the topics your content covers, how those topics appeal to consumers, and what channels you can use to distribute your content.
Your branded business can begin content creation with or without a dedicated marketing team, but it requires a significant time commitment to accomplish.
Some of the most common and effective content published regularly on today’s websites includes:
- Service & Product Pages – Pages that describe in detail a service or product offered by you or your company.
- Blogs – Articles written to share information that does not have a direct marketing approach.
- Graphics – Visual media that shares information or acts as an advertisement for you or your business.
As long as you have a computer available, content creation is inherently free except for the hours required to complete it. Start creating content today and publish it on your website or social media channels to garner organic traffic and build your audience.
Your marketing experts at Leverage Marketing know how to build content from the ground up and take it to the audiences that are searching for it. Let us know if you need a hand in your content creation or marketing, or learn more from our content marketing service page (one of our countless pieces of valuable content)!