What is content marketing anyway? 

Content marketing is about creating content that puts your customer at the centre of everything you do

If you haven’t heard of content marketing, then you’re not alone. It may seem like another marketing buzzword, but its clear that in today’s consumer led marketplace, content marketing is here to stay.
So what is content marketing? Let’s start with a definition.
Content marketing is the art of creating and distributing content to attract an audience, turn that audience into potential customers, and eventually into customers and advocates of your brand. The content you create should address your potential customers’ problems and questions so that they can become educated consumers and grow to know, like and trust your business enough to buy from you.
In short, content marketing is about creating content that puts your customer at the centre of everything you do.

Changing consumer behaviour

Think about yourself as a consumer. If you are buying anything of significant value you will probably do some form of online research. You will type your search into Google and start reading articles, watching videos and reading reviews. Importantly, you are doing all of this research before you know who you are buying from, and before you contact a business for the first time.
It’s not surprising that 70% of the buying decision is done online before your prospects decide to do business with you. Hence, it pays to create content that helps your potential customers to make a decision, as most people will do there homework online before they come knocking at your door. This is called the ‘moment of truth’ – when your potential customer decides if they are going to do business with you or not. This is why content marketing is so fundamentally important, as it’s about creating content that will help your customers make better decisions before they content you for the first time. This includes answering questions, providing solutions to problems, being open and transparent, and building up trust with your prospects.

Build trust by answering your customers questions

Before you rush off and start creating content, you need to give it some thought. It’s important to take your time to plan your content before you start creating anything. Don’t forget that your customers don’t want to hear about your products and services, they only care about their problems. A great place to start with your content is by answering your customers questions and problems. In turn, you will begin helping your customers when they are in research mode and weighing up their options about who they are going to buy from.
Building trust is so important in any relationship and once your prospects begin to trust you, they are far more likely to buy from you. An effective way to do this is to write informative blog articles and publish these articles on your website. You can also use social media as a tool to distribute your content to your audiences.
Writing blogs and publishing content on your website also helps your business to be found more easily in Google.
SEO – search engine optimisation – can be greatly improved when you start adding valuable content to your website. Potentially in quite a short period of time you will find that your pages begin to rank highly in Google. This means that when a customer types a search into Google, your articles will start coming up in the results and they will find you more easily.

How to implement content marketing in your business 

Now that you have a little background on content marketing and why its important, you now need to think about implementing it. It really comes down to you. It’s up to you to decide if you want to use content marketing in your own business and spend the time writing valuable content that appeals to your customers.
A brainstorming session is a good way to get ideas flowing and to kickstart your content marketing journey.
Plan your content in 3 easy steps:
  1. Write down all the questions your customers ask – Look back through all your enquires and answer every single question through your content.
  2. Create a plan – If you are just starting aim to write one blog article a week and build this up to 2-3 articles a week over time. Plan in advance and have some direction on what you are writing for the next month or so and book some time in your schedule every week to work on content.
  3. Get your content in front of people – Think about how you will get your content out to your audience. Make sure you have a blogging platform on your website. You can use social media and email to distribute content out to your audience.
So there you have it, that’s content marketing in a snapshot and hopefully you can see why it’s so important in business today. It’s not another marketing craze, but a really important part of the buying cycle and exactly how we should be communicating with our audience customers/prospects online. J
Don’t forget that content marketing is all about listening to your customers questions and problems and communicating in a way that puts them at the centre of your content. 

Your Turn

  1. How will you take content marketing forward in your business?
  2. Do you have a burning question about content marketing?
Join the conversation on Twitter.
For more information on content marketing, including workshops in your area, check out the Content Marketing Academy
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Chris Marr is a content marketer, blogger and podcaster. He's the founder of the Content Marketing Academy and helps businesses to embrace content marketing strategies and improve their communication.