What is Content Marketing and Why Does Your Business Need It?

“In the digital age, every business is in the publishing industry.”

That’s a quote from a recent Huffington Post article, and it says so much about content marketing that for us it’s something of a mantra when we discuss strategy with new clients. We’ve written, tweeted, posted and pinned for businesses that sell everything from condos to sex toys (yes, you read that right), and our results have proven it’s true. If you want your business to succeed in the digital age, you can’t just produce your product – you have to produce high-quality content too.

For us, this view of content marketing is second nature, but for business owners who are new to the concept, it’s often hard to understand just how important content marketing is in determining a company’s success, both online and off. We’re always looking for relatable ways to explain this importance to our clients, and this week we stumbled upon an incredibly informative article from CIO.com that does just that.

We loved the entire article, but there’s one gem inside it that we knew we had to share – a section that outlines some pretty creative ways to ensure content marketing success:

There’s a thin, but important, line between success and failure in content marketing. To help you find that line, our experts offer these 11 tips to put you on the right path.

  • Ask yourself some key questions, Kuenn says: Why are you creating a particular piece of content? Who’s the intended audience? What’s your brand’s voice? What types of content should you create for your audience? Finally, what does success look like?
  • Think like a publisher, Fasser says. Build an editorial calendar that details who’s writing what; assigns deadlines, lists the focus keywords for each particular piece of content, notes how the content ties into your overall SEO program, identifies the problems customers have that the content addresses, and so on. “If you don’t nail all that down, you end up developing content just to develop content,” he warns.Text Content on colorful wooden cubes
  • Act as a resource to prospects and customers. “If you can bring someone into your site who is actively looking for a solution to a problem, and you can solve it for them in an in-depth way through content, you’ll have higher-quality visitors to your site who tend to convert more,” Fasser says.
  • Use social media to syndicate your content. “When you develop high-quality content and share it through social channels, others interested in the topic will likely connect with you,” Fasser says. “That’s super important, because the more you can grow your social networks, the bigger the potential audience you’ll have for new content.”
  • Establish benchmarks as you begin a content marketing program. That way you’ll know if the efforts are paying off down the road. Among the things to track are the number of new visitors to your site from a particular piece of content, the number of page views and leads generated from that content and how often the content has been liked or shared on social media, Fasser says.
  • When brainstorming content, get people from across departments together in a room and get a dialogue going, Kuenn says. Find out what questions customers ask them the most… read more on What Is Content Marketing, and Why Does Your Business Need It?

Dedicated content marketing experts (that’s us!) will take care of many of these tasks for clients, but business owners can make a huge contribution by following that last suggestion. After all, you know your business better than anyone else, and you know what your customers want and need. If you want to make your content as relevant as possible (and obviously you do) you should ask employees from every branch of your company what concerns and questions your customers bring to them.

Why? Because your customers are probably looking for answers to the same questions online. Build your web copy, blog posts and articles around these questions and you’ll earn major traffic while establishing yourself as an industry expert.

So consider this your weekly homework: poll your employees and create a list of common customer inquiries. Then compile the questions in a spreadsheet for your content marketing manager. The more work you do for your content, the more your content will work for you.

Are your customers asking some crazy questions? Share the hilarity in a comment below.

4 thoughts on “What is Content Marketing and Why Does Your Business Need It?

  1. A good survey and also a good indication of the sort of things that content marketing *should* consist of. Unfortunately for most clients and far too many agencies it looks nothing like that. Clients have little idea of what the term means, and thus need an agency or consultant to tell them and guide them to a strategy. Sadly far too many agencies grabbed “content marketing” as a scalable task they could charge for when cheap and nasty link building got nuked, and they don’t understand it either. Far too much scattergun tactics with no cohesion, no planning, and no end result. And don’t get me started about the appalling quality of much of the “writing” that gets done under this banner.

    I’ll bookmark this and point confused clients at it as one of the clearer indications of what they should be doing.

    1. Great feedback, thanks for your comment. We agree – content marketing seems to be the one thing (other than SEO) that agencies and individual business owners get wrong. Either they neglect it entirely, or go about content marketing like it’s still 2007 and Google’s not going to be able to tell what they’re doing.

      We definitely feel your pain re: “don’t get me started about the appalling quality of the content”, too. We’ve seen some painfully bad attempts at content marketing over the years, on both this blog and elsewhere.

       

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name *