What is Content Marketing?

Mar 10, 2016 | 3 Minute Read

Ever noticed how while going down a familiar road for the hundredth time, you sometimes zone out and lose track of time? Happens with all of us.

We humans are an adaptive lot. Whatever we start enthralls us and captures our attention, until we have repeated the exercise to the point where we become used to it. From then on, the task simply becomes routine, and what once took a lot of effort is now being done with a fraction of our attention (even though it is ill-advised).

This fundamental human trait has a big impact on marketing. Just like people become habituated to doing something without paying as much attention, they can also learn to tune out marketing messages that are not relevant to them. We can zip through magazines and newspapers without even looking at the ads, close pop-ups on websites as soon as they open, and skip commercials on TV with a DVR. The advent of the internet age has only speeded up this process.

Enter Content Marketing

Unlike traditional advertising which focuses on reminding an audience how great a product/service is as many as times as possible, content marketing is all about offering timely, relevant and interesting material which adds value to a person's life in some large or small way.

The idea here is to found and develop a relationship with our prospects using valuable information. Content marketing shifts our focus from constantly trying to sell to a prospect to constantly trying to help them out with our expertise and stay on top of their minds. Ultimately, when a person comes across an issue your product/service solves, they will most likely reward you with their business, trust and loyalty.

How to Use Content Marketing Like a Pro

Brands the world over are embracing content marketing, and marketing big-wigs like Seth Godin are already calling it the future, all for a very simple reason - it works! Here are a few content formats that are proven winners...

Your website: The standard website still remains one of the best mediums of offering high quality content to your visitors. At the heart of content marketing lie great stories. Your prospects want to know they are dealing with another person at the other end, not an overbearing corporate entity. Use your website to tell your tale, how you got started, what challenges you overcame and why you do what you do.

Blog posts: Are essentially informal articles on topics that revolve around your business. You can use these to showcase your expertise and educate your prospects and clients on how to solve issues, and entertain them with interesting stories.

Infographics: With attention spans shortening, more visual forms of content are gaining popularity. Infographics are simply posts that use graphics to illustrate points. Usually these depict statistics and facts in a visually appealing way.

Videos: If a picture speaks a thousand words, then a video speaks a million. You can use video marketing to let your employees share their thoughts, show all the different ways your products can be used, or simply to share interesting facts that concern your industry and how you plan to help.

Social media: Nothing can give you an up close and personal look at your prospects like social media! Not only can you generate a lot of buzz for your brand up there, but also build an audience fast, and share your ideas with them.

These are a few of the formats that have gained considerable popularity as content marketing vehicles. Remember, your emphasis should always be on building relationships, and not trying to sell. While content marketing may have generated a lot of fanfare for focusing on helping people, fact is the best in the marketing and sales world have always understood and practiced this!