Content Marketing: What It Is and How You Can Use It

Content Strategy Marketing SEO
Chris Sharpe Chris Sharpe

What is Content Marketing?

Think back to the last time you had a question. How did you figure out the answer? Most people use Google or similar search engines to find their answers, which are displayed as links to countless forms of content. This doesn’t mean that every result in a search results page is an example of content marketing, though. So, what exactly is considered content marketing and how does it differ from regular marketing?

According to the Content Marketing Institute, 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.”

The key points to this definition are that the content must be valuable, relevant, and consistent. Plenty of websites feature products and services with descriptions, prices, and use cases, which is a necessary part of marketing and sales. But, the divide between standard marketing and content marketing comes when the stories, illustrations, and other content you are featuring is something that people turn to as a valuable resource or share with others.

Our reliance on digital resources has made content marketing one of the most prolific forms of marketing communication, and there are plenty of options to choose from if you are trying to join in.

Types of Content

  • Blog posts: This is what most people think of first when content marketing is mentioned, and for a good reason! According to Hubspot’s State of Inbound annual report, 60% of all marketers believe blogging is their top inbound strategy priority. A good blog should be easy to skim and contain valuable relevant information to its readers.
  • Long-form content: Long-form content provides the opportunity to go into greater detail on a specific topic than you would with just a standard blog post. One of the best examples of long-form content is the MOZ Beginners Guide to SEO. This is the type of content that, if executed correctly, can help establish you as an expert and become a go-to resource for your audience.
  • Case studies: People tend to trust products and processes that have been proven successful. A great way to illustrate this information is through case studies. This type of content can be especially useful for companies that sell services as they provide relatable problems with clear solutions.
  • White papers: Want to get down and dirty with describing a specific topic that may pose a problem and proposing a unique solution to said problem? A white paper may be just the thing you are looking for. White papers tend to be no shorter than 6 pages and offer content that is authoritative and persuasive. Unlike long-form content, these pieces should get granular with their information and typically require an email address or other information to access.
  • Infographic: Creating an infographic is a great way to illustrate data, key insights, and other information. A good infographic should be able to clearly convey your message while being visually appealing.
  • Videos: According to Small Business Trends, companies using video enjoy 41% more web traffic than those who don’t. Video marketing has become a content staple and can be a great medium for social media.

How to Make Content Work for You

In order to see positive results from your efforts, it is crucial to establish and implement a content marketing strategy. To do this, consider which topics you want to focus on as a company and how they help move the bottom line. Pick topics where you can provide unique and valuable insight, and your readers will be more likely to return to your website and become customers. It is important that you include a timeline in your strategy in order for your audience (and search engines) to recognize you as consistent and reliable.

Be sure to set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Acceptable, Realistic, and Time-bound) to measure the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy. The best way to determine if your content is doing the job is through careful analysis and evaluation. Make sure Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and any other analytics tools you utilize are set up correctly. Metrics like average time on page, bounce rate, and traffic source can help you better understand if your content is working.

Need Some Help?

If you want to start a content marketing program but need some help with building a solid strategy or setting up your tracking capabilities, contact us. Our passion is figuring out new ways to solve unique problems, and we would love to help you and your team.