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What is Content Marketing?

Those who are in the know say that 2013 was the year of content marketing, and that’s as maybe, but what exactly is content marketing? We’ll discuss what is meant by that phrase and explain why 2013 was so prominent for this form of product and service promotion and what 2014 has in store also.

Put in fairly broad terms, content marketing is any form of marketing that is made up of either the creation or sharing of content and/or media with the purpose of attracting new clients or followers.

There are a wide variety of ways in which to present this information and these include the following:

•             ‘How to’ guides

•             Videos

•             Slides

•             Infographics

•             E-books

•             White Papers

•             Articles

And this list is always being added to, because that is the nature of this area of marketing.

Not just sales

As well as the myriad of types of ways that content marketing can be presented, it also differs from traditional marketing in that it does not generally focus on the sales aspect of the interaction. Content marketing is more about the act of engaging with the potential customer and building up a relationship over time.

The long game 

Instead of looking for that quick fix solution of a few ad-hoc sales here and there, content marketing is all about playing the long game. This involves a number of interactions that create a trust relationship and eventually may or may not lead to a sales transaction.

Research

By using the aforementioned techniques, as well as social media, campaign strategies that are based on content marketing have proved to yield are far higher set of loyal customers who remain that way provided the business continue their engagement of the client in question.

An example

One form of content marketing makes use of Meta tags in the body of work and these are then picked up by search engines such as Google to help with related search results. These not only help with promoting the respective client’s website when someone is looking for a similar business type, but they also are vital for when competing against a rival company that already uses this technique.

The future of content marketing – image tags

Whilst it is true that the written word will always remain a part of social media and content marketing, images are the next big thing, and in fact they are already here. Just look at Vine, Pinterest and you will see that the big boys of industry seem to have done away with the words and fallen in love with slides and video clips in 2014. This is probably due to the Smartphone and tablet craze that seems to be here to stay. These visual treats are picked up by way of image tags in the text rather than pixel-level recognition systems, but who knows if this will switch in the near future?

URL friendly pages

Also known as SEO-friendly URL’s these are pretty popular today and are in place to have a positive effect on that page’s Google ranking. The search engine crawler prefers these pages and as a result, they are more likely to be found in comparison to a similar page bereft of a URL.

The actual content

So let’s go back to what is actually meant by the ‘content’ part of content marketing and why it is so important? When a potential customer finds your website or blog, how does he make the decision to hang around or not? He may well have been brought to your page by way of SEO friendly content, but will this be enough to keep him entertained? Well, the answer is no, because he doesn’t care about how clever your Meta tags or URL friendly pages are, he wants something to engage him. And this is why any business which is interested in converting the web page hits into actual sales should listen up. Ensure that your articles and blog posts are not only well written and free of mistakes, but they should also be entertaining and relevant.

An analogy

Try to think about content marketing as a sign post that brings people from far and wide to visit a fabulous shop. And when they get there, the shop is empty, so what happens next? Ensure that your ‘shop’ has even more interesting products on offer and they may just stay long enough to buy something.

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