What is Content Marketing?
Content Marketing is quite simply the use of online material – articles, blogs etc – to market your business, your products or your services. It involves the creation, publication and distribution of this material to new audiences to generate more visits, or traffic as it’s known in the industry, to your website.
Gone are the days when merely placing adverts in the newspapers, local directories and – if you were lucky enough to have the budget that stretched to it – on the television was sufficient to generate sales.
In these times of the digital revolution, the way we interact with and buy from businesses has changed and today’s consumer demands and expects more: they are no longer satisfied with simply being ‘sold to’. They want to be informed, entertained and have a relationship with the brands they engage with.
Competition is fierce, so it is vital that your content marketing ticks all three of these boxes if you want to keep your existing customers and to attract new ones to your website
Content Marketing is not necessarily about direct sales; it’s about creating that relationship with customers, fostering it and making sure that your company is the one they’ll do business with in the future.
So it’s no longer a case of merely ensuring your website describes your products and services – although clearly it’s essential that this is done well – but that your content does more than that, such as answering questions, inspiring interest and showcasing the benefits of what you do to those people who don’t even know they need what you’re selling yet.
A Brief History of Content Marketing
Content Marketing in a digital context is of course a modern phenomenon however the principles of content marketing, as described above, have been around for a surprisingly long time.
Perhaps the best-known example is the Michelin Guide; originally published in 1900, there were 35,000 copies of that first edition given away for free and it contained travel tips, car maintenance and accommodation recommendations, combining practical advice and suggestions that might be of interest to travellers.
Giving rise to the phrase ‘soap opera’, Proctor and Gamble famously broadcast a radio serial drama in 1933. Aimed at adult women, the drama incorporated marketing messages to encourage purchase of the sponsoring soap powder, Oxydol...
Why is Content Marketing Important?
On a very basic level, failing to invest in content marketing automatically puts you behind your competitors. Rather than being a separate entity, effective content marketing underpins all other aspects of marketing:
- Search Engine Optimisation – or SEO – needs quality content to ensure that customers can find your website in the first place. Search engines, such as Google, prioritise websites with consistent, high-quality content over those that don’t.
- Paid Online Advertising – often referred to as PPC, or Pay Per Click – requires attractive, relevant content to capture the attention of your target audience and bring them to your website. If you’re paying for advertising, you need it to be as effective as possible to get the best value and return on your investment.
- Social Media Marketing – the latest data tells us that in the UK there are 42 million social media users. This includes platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. When we’ve created content for you, we’ll publish and promote it on the social media that your target audience uses, gaining you access to this vast market of potential customers.
Attracts and Engages Your Audience – with so many businesses and brands out there, it’s getting increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd. High quality content provides material that people want to read, share and respond to.
When part of a Content Marketing Strategy, which is what we offer here at Dandelion Marketing, it can be used not only to retain your current customer base but also to help you identify and target new customers. We help you to work out who they are, and we’ll design, create and publish content specifically aimed at getting those people interested in what you do and why they should use your business.
Two key elements of successful content marketing are consistency and quality. Consistency is necessary to maintain the level of your audience’s interest; once you’ve got their attention it’s vital to keep this up so by regularly publishing material, you ensure that they stay receptive to your brand.
By keeping your content fresh, you also appease the internet search engines, which favour websites that are consistently and regularly updated with new material.
Quality must equally not be underestimated: there is a lot of information out there and people are time-poor, so they are rightly choosy about what they’ll spend their time looking at on the internet - simply churning out any old material for the sake of it, a common tactic of many digital marketing agencies unfortunately, is not enough.
But if your content is well-written and based on what your audience wants to read, that’s half the battle won. The more useful and valuable the information on your website, the higher the search engines will rank your website – it's as simple as that.
Here at Dandelion Marketing, we have a professional, published writer who specialises in digital marketing to guarantee your content is what your customers want to read, published in places they can find it.