Content marketing is a misunderstood terminology. It has got nothing to do with conventional marketing where you keep on pushing your messages and then wait for response.
There is often some confusion regarding why you need content regularly and why it needs to be marketed through proper channels. Unlike your brick and mortar business, the game is totally different on the web. You cannot compete on the Internet on the strength of your money, market reach and off-line reputation. You need to have a presence, and you need to have a convincing presence, and only high-quality content gives you that presence.
On your website or your blog, you cannot directly communicate with your visitors unless you are constantly online and are using a webcam or a chat interface to talk to individual visitors (this is feasible, but only up to a certain point). Your web pages, and what they contain, become your representatives, your voice on your online presence. So your content helps you communicate.
But this is not the only reason you require ongoing content and subsequent content marketing. You also require content to
- Strengthen and establish your brand
- Generate traffic from social networking websites like Twitter and Facebook
- Improve your search engine rankings
- Establish yourself as an authority
- Keep your visitors/customers/clients informed
- Provide answers to the most common questions regarding your business
- Keep on communicating with your prospective and present customers and clients so that they remember you when they need the product or the service you provide
- Give your visitors a reason to visit your website or blog regularly
Why content marketing
After you start publishing on your website, people need to know about it. Since there are zillions of pages and blog posts on the Internet it is practically impossible to publish 50-60 odd web pages or blog posts and then expect the traffic to pour down from all over the Internet. Some people may have 500-600 web pages or blog posts, and some may even have thousands of them. So in terms of quantity and quality, you are in a constant competition on the Internet, and the good thing is you need to compete constantly. Why I say this is a good thing is because then everybody gets a chance to compete on the strength of his or her ability to produce and market high-quality content. This way, even while working from your basement, in your undergarments, you can compete with as big a company as Forbes by producing better content and marketing it properly.
In order to compete, along with publishing relevant information you also need to market it. You need to highlight it and promote it where people can see it. Here are a few things you can do in the effort of content marketing without spending much money:
- Search engine optimize your content: Although this comes under search marketing, basically it is content marketing. With the help of your content you are trying to promote your business on various search engines. If you are able to optimize your content, it is going to rank well on major and minor search engines and this can bring you tons of traffic. Choose the right keywords, pack your articles and blog posts with as much information as possible, and make them as helpful as possible.
- Write for other websites and blog posts: You can publish articles on article directories (although they are losing their charm over search engine rankings because there are 100s of such article directories). A better thing to do is write blog posts as guest blogger for reputed blogs. This might not be easy so first you will have to interact on the blogs and let the blog publishers become familiar with you. Many start-up companies use this content marketing tactic with great success by publishing blog posts on tech blogs like Mashable and TechCrunch.
- Maintain an active social media presence: This may include Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or YouTube. These days your website may get traffic from multiple sources and you need to maintain a vibrant presence over these places. Regularly interact with your friends and followers on social networking websites and generate content for social media websites like YouTube and Tumblr. Lots of content is shared and passed around using these platforms and you never know which of your links might go viral.
These are but a few ways you can carry out your content marketing effort. As mentioned above, content marketing is important for your business because first of all content is important for your business, and second, you need to make as many people aware of the existence of your content as possible.