What Is Content Marketing and How Does It Help My Business?

Scrolling through news feeds on computer screens is how the modern age consumes its news and information. If you think about it, the internet has become something of a miracle machine that answers any question you may have, whether it’s how to start a windowsill garden, find the nearest car shop, tips for engaging in small talk at a cocktail party, or calculating the square root of 189,576.

Businesses are a major contributor to this “flood” of content. With the ease of accessibility and low cost, businesses are turning to the digital frontier to market their brands; and getting noticed online means creating content in the form of blog posts, videos, newsletters, infographics, white papers and ebooks.

But you might be asking, “how do I get my content to stand out when there’s already so much content already? How am I supposed to compete with mega brands and their millions-of-dollars budgets in the same space? How do I even get noticed?”

This is where content marketing comes in. But what is content marketing exactly?

 What Is Content Marketing?

The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing 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.”

I like to think of content marketing as the answer to questions potential customers pose online. You can build a relationship with visitors who express interest in the types of products or services you offer. It’s about publishing and promoting content your target audience finds valuable, in the formats they respond to best from blogs to newsletters to video.

Let me say that again, content your target audience finds valuable. Like any other marketing campaign, this is about targeting a specific type of person who is most likely to do business with you. For our client Visit Rogers, it’s about reaching families who live within the Mid-South region who might take a weekend trip to the city. For Bank of Little Rock Mortgage, it’s homebuyers and homeowners in their branch areas. For Travel Nurse across America, it’s nurses open to traveling the country for temporary work positions.

Researching your target audience and experimenting with different content formats is imperative to running a good content marketing practice.

What Does It Do For My Business?

Content marketing is about establishing yourself as a thought leader with current and prospective customers. By providing consistent, valuable content, you establish yourself as a source of expertise in your field. Then customers and potential customers come to you for information instead of your competitors for online information.

As visitors continue to visit and revisit your content, they are more likely to share it (and your brand) via social media, which adds credibility to your thought leadership.

[Tweet “Providing consistent, valuable content, establishes yourself as a source of expertise in your field.”]

How Do I Know It Works?

But how do you measure the effectiveness of content marketing? This is where digital marketing analytics come in handy. Today’s analytics tools track how many people click into your content and where they come from (such as social media, search engines or another site). You can see what kinds of content and formats receive the best response and you can better focus your content to resonate with your target audience.

While there may be a huge amount of information already on the web, it’s important you contribute to it. Be there to answer the questions your target audience is asking. If you’re not publishing content and showing your industry expertise, someone else will reach your target audience.

If you’re interested in learning more about content marketing and seeing it in action, subscribe to our Think Fast Newsletter.

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Author John Mark Adkison

John Mark Adkison performs his job like a seasoned professional, despite the fact that he’s just a few years into his marketing career. After a successful internship at Thoma, John Mark impressed enough to be recruited as a paid staffer upon graduation, where now his duties are numerous, including running the firm’s growing inbound marketing program.

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