So you want to know a little more about Content Marketing? Fair enough! It’s one of the foundations of online marketing strategies implemented by small business (and large) across the world. Why? Because it’s impact can be felt across not just one, but several of a business’s online channels including website, YouTube, social, etc – as well as non-owned media. That’s why we have compiled the Beginners Guide to Content Marketing, to allow you a strong foundation of knowledge in understanding the importance and opportunity it presents.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is all about telling a story, and can be both offline and online.

Online, content marketing takes many forms from eBooks to social media, infographics to video. Content marketing can be used to engage, persuade and create loyal followers and customers through demonstration of expertise, knowledge, and providing informative and engaging content. It can also be used to drive an audience from offline to online channels and vice versa – for example, using social media to drive awareness to an offline event.

It is also incredible important.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, their answer to the ultimate “What is Content Marketing” question is;

“Content marketing’s purpose is to attract and retain customers by consistently creating and curating relevant and valuable content with the intention of changing or enhancing consumer behavior. It is an ongoing process that is best integrated into your overall marketing strategy, and it focuses on owning media, not renting it.”

The difference between inbound marketing and content marketing

Content marketing can be clearly classified as a subset of inbound marketing, it is just one element of a wider inbound marketing strategy.  Inbound marketing’s primary strategy is to nurture prospects through from stranger to purchaser to promoter, content marketing is leveraged within this strategy to engage and retain said prospects and customers.

Blogging: The Heart of Content Marketing

It would be remiss of us to not delve a little further into blogs as a key component of content marketing in this Beginners Guide to Content Marketing. Blogs kick started content marketing, and they continue to be at it’s heart. Blogging allows marketers to convey as little or as much content as they wish to website visitors and can support wider marketing strategies such as search engine optimisation, inbound marketing, email marketing, and much more. Blogs have become an expected component of business websites now, regardless of topic, and allow the opportunity to convert website visitors to purchasers.

Why Content is so Important?

Whilst we have written an extensive article as to why quality content is so important, let us take this opportunity to allow Josh from Forbes to answer this one for us –

“First you need to understand the four steps of the typical buying cycle:

  1. Awareness.
  2. Research.
  3. Consideration.
  4. Buy.

Traditional advertising and marketing is great when it comes to the second two steps, but after that it tends to trail off. Content marketing taps into the first two stages of the buying process by raising awareness of solutions and educating consumers about a product they may have never considered before….

The return on investment for content marketing can be phenomenal….It provides additional content for social media marketing and contributes to SEO efforts by generating natural inbound links and building up good content on your website that gets found in search engines.

In fact, for many companies the bulk of their SEO efforts should be focused on content marketing.”

Content Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation

Let’s face it, almost anyone can string a few words together and compile some form of article for internet consumption. Preparing a video takes a bit more savvy, but with the likes of Promo, Lumen5 and InVideo increasing the easy, affordability and accessibility the volume of these is also exploding. The ultimate challenge is to create content that is not only engaging, informative and relevant to your business, but also that incorporates keywords that your business wants to rank for. An effective piece of content for search engine optimisation needs to;

  • Include relevant and prospect-bearing keywords
  • Cross reference internal and external relevant websites and articles
  • Relies on the website to be updated regularly
  • Contains – and is held within a website – that is optimised in other SEO aspects such as performance, image optimisation, file minification, meta data and more.

What every content marketer should aspire towards is having credible, high quality and relevant backlinks to the content that you have created. There is no greater reward for others recognising the quality of your content.

A Few Final Thoughts

In this Beginners Guide to Content Marketing, we hope that we have clearly outlined that content marketing is a vital element of generating traffic for your website and optimising your search engine ranking performance. It’s important to ensure that your content is engaging, informative and relevant to the product and/or service you are offering. For instance, it would make absolutely ZERO sense for us to include an article on this website about whether your weight loss journey should start with a very low calorie diet. This is article would be relevant and traffic-generating for a website that specialises in supporting weight loss and healthy lifestyles. Always have your target customer in mind when preparing your content, understand your wider marketing strategy, and ensure your content helps deliver on primary objectives.