Does it seem as if everyone around you is talking about content marketing? From your web designer to the team you trust to do your marketing, everyone is telling you content marketing is important because it builds trust, helps you attract prospects and move up in search rankings.

One of the reasons it is getting so much attention are the subtle changes in the Google algorithm which make relevant content more visible.

While you can’t ignore SEO, good content marketing answer your customers’ questions, helping them understand  why you are the very best choice they can make.

What Is Content Marketing?

The short answer: Content marketing is information which moves a prospect through the sales cycle without overtly selling. It is not an ad and it is not in your face hard sales tactics.

It is relevant information presented in a fairly impartial manner designed to answer questions a prospect might have as they move through your sales funnel.

Creating lots of content will help establish you as a subject matter expert. Many of the people who read your blogs or download your content will never be customers, but that doesn’t mean that you have wasted time creating the content. They all know other people, and if you make it easy, they will share, like or tweet your content. And they may know someone who will be a customer.

Content marketing won’t make selling unnecessary, but prospects will come to the sales conversation more informed. They know a little bit about you, how you do business and why other’s hire you. They may have more specific questions which allow you to go deeper on the first conversation. After a preliminary sales conversation, content can be used as part of a follow up email to help close the loop.

Content comes in lots of different forms including :

  • Blog posts and newsletters
  • Surveys, white papers and ebooks
  • Photographs and infographics
  • Videos, podcasts and webinars
  • Social media updates

So, which is right for your business? It will depend on lots of factors including the demographics of your audience. If you work with engineers be prepared to offer lots of detailed reports, charts and graphs. For contractors or sales people who access most of their information on the go from a mobile device, keep it short, lots of headlines and one or two specific take aways.

Most content will be disposable. A blog post will get a few hundred views and then be buried in the sea of information. You can keep it alive by linking to it from another post or including it in your newsletter.

And the internet remembers. Every now and then you will have that one piece of content which continues to drive traffic month in and month out. When you see a blog post or picture which continues to generate traffic long after its publish date you know you have answered a question many people have. Look for ways to extend the content. Write another blog post on a similar topic and link back to it from the new post. Add a download or conversion form or convert the post into a longer white paper or ebook.

The bottom line? Create content which answers questions to build credibility and loyalty and the sales will follow.