Let’s cut right to the chase: Content marketing is any piece of information that pushes a prospect toward a sales decision without overtly selling. That means it’s not an ad, it’s not a hard sell. Instead, it’s impartial(ish) information that nudges a prospect further down your sales funnel. That content itself can come in dozens of different forms, which might include:

  • Email newsletters
  • Blog posts
  • Videos
  • Social media updates
  • White papers
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars

That’s a lot of choices, isn’t it? And it’s barely scratching the surface; creative types are coming up with more and more ideas every day. How do you know which tactic is right for you? You need to take into account loads of factors, including:

  • The demographics of your audience (age, gender, B2B or B2C, etc.)
  • The psychographics of your audience (what motivates them?)
  • Stage of the selling cycle (first introduction or just before the close?)
  • The type of information you’re conveying

But again, these are the tactics of content marketing. What truly differentiates it from more traditional forms of marketing is that it sells without selling. Content marketing answers a question. For instance, this blog post was written around a question one of our clients asked: “I keep hearing about content marketing and I think I know what it is, but everyone keeps saying different things.” Lorraine took the call, explained it to him, and through no further action was able to have him say, “Oh! That’s what I thought. Now, can you help me with that?”

Granted, not all conversations go quite this smoothly. It can take heaps of content to convert someone depending on the sales cycle, cost and complexity of the purchase and so on. But by answering those questions honestly, you’re showing people that you know what you’re doing. Sometimes, you’re showing them you have their best interests at heart, even if they don’t wind up hiring you, like explaining when you want a widget and when you want a doohickey, even if you only sell doohickeys. Not only do you establish yourself as a quality source of information about widgets, when they do need a doohickey, they’ll remember. Even if they don’t, you saved yourself from qualifying a sales lead who never would have bought from you anyway.

Remember, content marketing isn’t a thing, it’s a strategy that affects the things you do. Carry that through to all aspects of your business, and great things can happen.

What else did you always want to know about marketing but were afraid to ask?