The marketplace we live and work in today is radically different from the one in which many of us started. Salespeople and store employees used to be the experts, and brands and businesses used to spend advertising dollars to find prospects who needed their services. Now things are different, Marketing is mostly focused on online technologies and presence.

If you’re interested in marketing your business online (and who isn’t at this point?), you can’t escape hearing about content marketing. It’s everywhere you look or listen. Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. Content isn’t ‘stuff we write to rank higher’ or ‘infographics’ or ‘long-form articles.’ Content is anything that communicates a message to the audience. Anything.

In other words, it’s the marketing of a business or brand through the sharing of educational, entertaining, or insightful information that will ultimately help readers improve their lives. This may be in the form of a change in personal behavior or, as most marketers hope, it could be in the form of a purchase decision. It’s not about forcing a sales pitch at people, but helping them move towards the best course of action. Content marketing is also defined as a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” It is used across the customer journey and customer life cycle but doesn’t start nor end with the customer in the strict sense. Internal customers are crucial in an integrated approach as well. Content marketing further serves several business functions in a consistent, integrated and continuous way. It looks at the customer from a connected and customer-centric perspective and takes into account the content requirements of anyone serving and engaging prospects and customers.

When you develop a content strategy, there are some key things to consider:

  • Who you’re creating it for
  • The problem it’s going to solve for that audience
  • How it will be unique
  • The formats you’ll focus on
  • The channels where it will be published
  • How you will schedule and manage creation and publication

Buyers are self-directed and content can help satisfy their quest for answers and enable you to direct them to solutions for their business problems. The team at TopRank Marketing are experts in helping businesses like yours determine how to take your audience from prospects to buyers. Content marketing creates signals across the web that build credibility and authority with your audience. In addition to the many Search Engine Optimization benefits of content marketing, it can be used as a means to connect on a level with your customers that other digital marketing can’t. t doesn’t matter if you’re new to content marketing, have an in-house team or have worked with content marketing agencies in the past, every company is at a different stage in their content marketing maturity. Understanding where you fit into the content marketing maturity model will help you understand how to align your strategy to be more effective – for customers and for your business.

Llike planets, as you build up the mass of content around you, your website grows, and your gravitational pull becomes stronger. More content, keywords, and inbound links pulls more people your way. Content becomes your magnet. If you’re an experienced marketer, your target may have changed. Do you want to target a new group of people or expand your current target market? Do you want to keep the same target audience? Revisiting your audience parameters by conducting market research each year is crucial to growing your audience. Have a system in place where you can manage your content. A few vital parts of content management include content creation, content publication, and content analytics. Most people start out with blog posts, but if you want to venture out and try producing other content pieces, consider which ones you want to make. For instance, if you’ve been doing weekly blog posts for the past year, creating an ebook that distills all your blog posts into one ultimate guide would be a one way to offer information in a different format.

Infographics can organize and visualize data in a more compelling way than words alone. These are great content formats to use if you’re trying to share a lot of data in a way that is clear and easy to understand.

Once you’ve been regularly publishing content on your own site for a while, it might be time to start thinking about distributing your content on other sites. This could entail a few things:

  1. Publishing website content on social media sites, such as LinkedIn
  2. Repurposing content into new formats and publishing them on your blog or social media sites
  3. Creating original content specifically for external sites, such as Medium