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What is content marketing and are you getting it right

June 3, 2013

The term ‘content marketing’ has to be one of the most frequently-used marketing terms of recent years  - but what does it really mean? The best definition I’ve come across is from the Content Marketing Institute:

“... creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience, with the object of driving profitable customer action”.

I also rather liked this Tweet-sized definition from @robert_rose:“Traditional marketing and advertising is telling the world you’re a rock star. Content Marketing is showing the world that you are one.”

Content marketing is the opposite of traditional ‘interruption’ marketing. It’s about communicating information your target audience actually wants, rather than making every message a sales pitch. People get to know you and to trust your expertise, so that when they are ready to buy what you offer, they will buy it from you. 

So – are you getting it right? A few key questions:

Goals:Are you clear about what you want to achieve? Are your content marketing goals driven by your business goals?

Audience:  Do you know who you are trying to reach, and what sort of content they will find valuable? If you sell B2B, how many different people might be involved in any decision to purchase – how can you engage each of them with content that matches their needs?

Medium:What channels will be most effective at reaching your target audience? Is it more effective, for example, to post on your own blog – or might you be better finding guest blogging opportunities that will enable you to reach a new audience?

Content:How have you positioned your business – are you giving readers something they can’t get anywhere else? Does your content entertain, inspire, educate, convince (not necessarily all at once...)?

Planning and prioritising:Do you have a realistic plan that outlines and prioritises content ideas and publishing requirements - or do you just wait for inspiration to strike?

Results: Are you tracking your efforts, and measuring the results against the goals you set? How do you go about adapting what you’re doing, based on what you find?

And finally, always keep an eye on the competition. If they’re doing content marketing well, what do you need to do to be better?

Posted by Paul Latham
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