The idea of content marketing is to attract and retain customers by creating and sharing relevant and valuable content. Basically, content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without the hard sell of other more traditional marketing tactics.

Content marketing works best when visitors get value without having to give anything in return—other than their time and attention. That time and attention is what you want, because it’s a great starting point for a relationship with your brand. Content marketing primarily focuses on building the relationship, not the hard sell.

Types of content that typically form a content marketing strategy include:content-marketing-2

  • Blog posts
  • Guest blog posts
  • E-books
  • Email newsletters
  • Online PowerPoint presentations
  • Podcasts
  • Online videos
  • Social media posts
  • Webinars
  • White papers

    Regardless of what type of marketing tactics you use, content marketing should be part of your integrated digital marketing strategy, not something separate. Quality content is part of all many forms of digital marketing:

Social media marketing: Content strategy comes before your social media strategy.

  • SEO: Search engines reward businesses that publish quality, consistent content.
  • PPC: For PPC to work, you need great content behind it.

A recent Forbes article on Content marketing predicted that content marketing will be the most critical piece of an inbound marketing strategy in 2014.

“While consumers continue to tune out traditional, intrusive marketing communications, they increasingly crave the type of genuine, customer-focused information that content marketing delivers.”

SEO is one of the most critical factors for all business and a great way to increase your organic rankings is to have a website that has regularly updated content that is appealing to your target audience. The continual stream of new content is great for your SEO program

A recent article published on Enterpreneur.com shared six key principles that should be core to your content marketing strategy:

  1. Fulfill a need. Your content should answer some unmet need or question for your customer. It needs to be useful in some way to the customer, over and above what you can offer as a product or service.
  2. Stay consistent. The great hallmark of a successful publisher is consistency. Whatever you commit to in your content marketing, you must consistently deliver.
  3. Be human.. Find your voice and share it.
  4. Have a point of view. Don't be afraid to take sides on matters that can position you and your company as an expert.
  5. Step away from the sales-speak. The more you talk about yourself, the less people will share and spread your story. It's that simple.
  6. Be the best of the breed. Although you can't get there right away, you want your content to be best of breed. This means what you are distributing is the very best of what is available in your particular content niche