What is content marketing?

Content marketingContent marketing is one of the biggest marketing buzzwords of 2015, with more marketing departments planning to invest in this strategic approach than any other marketing tactic.

But it’s not just about creating and distributing content: churning out low-quality content won’t do your business any favours. It’s important to invest in creating valuable and relevant content that your identified customers and prospects will want to read, and keep reading. Your content is the voice of your business – it should reflect your values, demonstrate your expertise and help build trust in your brand.

Achieve your business objectives

Content marketing can be incredibly effective, but you will only get results if you start with clear goals in mind. Successful content marketing involves creating valuable and useful content designed to achieve marketing goals. Common objectives for content include establishing your firm as experts in your field, raising awareness of your business and attracting new customers, plus maintaining existing customer relationships.

Content is the key to traffic

Although content marketing is different to search engine optimisation, it can be extremely beneficial for increasing your search rankings and generating more traffic. In fact, Google are increasingly placing emphasis on high quality content, and Google’s Matt Cutts has stressed that businesses should focus on creating “a great site…that users love.”

The benefits of content marketing on web traffic have been widely reported, for example, businesses that blog more than 15 times a month get five times more web traffic than those that don’t blog at all (source: Hubspot). Another content marketing study saw increases in web traffic, search rankings and social media following.

How to get started with content marketing

  1. Review your existing content.

First things first, review all your existing web content and update or remove anything that’s out of date or not helping you with your content marketing objectives.

Before you start creating new content, check that your website content, such as your landing pages and ‘about us’ page, are as good as they can be.

  1. Plan new content.

Now you’re ready to start planning new content. Planning a mix of content in an editorial calendar should help you achieve a good balance of material and can help you check your content is working towards your goals.

The content that’s right for your brand will be determined by your objectives and audience. Your content could include everything from blog posts, to news articles or video content, depending on the nature of your business and the content that appeals to your target audience.

  1. Create a strategy for sharing content.

There’s no point investing in content if no one reads it, so use social media and email to distribute and share your content with a wider audience.

It’s also useful to look for ways content can be reused or repurposed. For example, this blog post is derived from a presentation that was originally presented at the British Library, then shared on Slideshare.

  1. Measure and optimise.

Regularly check how your content is performing and what is resonating with your audience: check the hits, click-throughs, retweets, comments, and Google bounce rate. Keep tweaking your content based on your analytics and you should start seeing positive results.

If you follow these steps to plan your content marketing, you should be able to attract and retain an interested and engaged target market, which ultimately will lead to increased success for your business.