Your guide to content marketing (in under 500 words).

Your guide to content marketing (in under 500 words).

October 22nd, 2012

These days, it seems like you can’t even open an article online without hearing the importance of content marketing being mentioned. But what is content marketing really, and why is everyone online obsessing about how important this new strategy is for digital marketers?

According to Sujan Patel, content marketing involves two primary objectives:

  • Publishing high-quality, non-product content, and
  • Using this content to build relationships with your customer base.

Put simply, when you go to the trouble of releasing high-value information products for free, you both expand the reach of your brand’s name (as a result of the viral sharing that often occurs with free, high-value pieces) and improve your customers’ perception of you as a leader within your industry. These types of content can include:

  • Downloadable ebooks, guides, or “manifestos”
  • Case studies and white papers
  • Infographics and instructographics
  • Youtube videos
  • Extensive (2,000+ word), high-value blog posts

According to Patel,

Content marketing isn’t new. The principles that make this technique so successful are the same things that have made websites, and, indeed, businesses in general—successful from the earliest days of the Web. It’s not exactly a new market innovation to say that delivering good content will help you to form stronger connections with potential customers. That’s pretty much what every white-hat Web expert has been saying since the dawn of the Internet.

But what is new is that content marketing is increasingly becoming one of the only strategies to produce consistently good results in the face of widespread search engine algorithm changes.

The article claims that inbound marketing techniques like content marketing can bring about the same results as outbound marketing techniques (such as sending direct mail pieces or purchasing TV advertising spots) for substantially less time and effort.

The recent Google Penguin and Panda updates have pushed content marketing to the forefront of good SEO practices. Many websites are shifting gears into a content marketing-driven SEO plan, while other high-quality, high-production content sites are miles ahead.

So where does your website stand? Have you implemented a successful content marketing strategy, or are you just getting started? What bumps in the road have you encountered along the way? Let us know in the comments.

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