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Should You Believe The Content Marketing Hype?

If you listen to content marketing advocates, they say it is the most effective “white hat” (i.e., ethical) method of drawing visitors to your company website. It is...

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Simon Crompton, freelance Journalist and Entrepreneur
Photo: Simon Crompton, freelance Journalist and Entrepreneur; Source: Courtesy Photo

If you listen to content marketing advocates, they say it is the most effective “white hat” (i.e., ethical) method of drawing visitors to your company website.

It is argued that sharing free content, as a part of your marketing strategy, positions you as an expert while providing value to potential customers without asking for anything, immediately, in return.

However, what is often left unsaid is this: it takes serious effort to make content marketing work for your business. Company blogs need to be updated regularly and email newsletters need to be created and sent.

With the effort involved, and long-term investment, it’s not surprising that much of what is called content marketing simply ends up as spam.

 

 

Content Marketing Truths

The basis for content marketing is the understanding of what your customers need. Then you must fulfill their needs in an informative and compelling manner. Content must be engaging to promote further discussions and interest.

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Content marketing’s purpose is to attract and retain customers by consistently creating and curating relevant and valuable content with the intention of changing or enhancing consumer behavior. It is an ongoing process that is best integrated into your overall marketing strategy, and it focuses on owning media, not renting it.” (Source: Content Marketing Institute)

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There are a number of ways you can market content effectively. One of the reasons content marketing is effective is because it is not intrusive or pushy. Published information is educational in nature and you aren’t asking for much, if anything, in return. You can expect people to be receptive to this type of marketing because they don’t feel threatened.

 

Getting Started With Content Marketing

Blogging is a very effective content marketing tactic — likely the easiest way to get started with content marketing. Indeed, Heidi Cohen at the Social Media Examiner, goes so far as to argue that “blogs are your home base” and should be “at the center of your content marketing system.” There is some merit in her argument.

For example, any posts you share on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook are at the mercy of third-party platforms. Your company blog is yours and you can distribute it how you like – even using RSS feeds and social sharing tools to draw more visitors.

By introducing a blog on your site that is focused on the industry (and not your place in it) you can garner support from the community. If blog posts are informative and helpful, you will quickly make a name for yourself as a credible expert in the field. This expertise is essential to your overall brand strategy, as well.

One look on the Internet and you’ll learn how this approach is widely used. For example, e-commerce sites like Dip ‘N Dive, a scuba and diving equipment retailer is one of hundreds of diving retailers on the web. To set itself apart in a cluttered space, the company’s diving blog is regularly updated to inform readers about diving as a hobby. The blog includes information on what kind of diving equipment to use, where the best dive spots are located and how to begin diving.

However, there’s an important note of caution when taking this approach.

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