Curated Content's Blog

Content marketing articles from our agency

13

Sep 2011

Content Marketing 101

Posted by / in Blog, Content Strategy / 1 comment

Is the title alone, enough to make you run for the hills?

Stop Hesitate and Listen (wise words from the mouth of the entertaining musician, Vanilla Ice).  Because it’s not some new fangled technique that you didn’t learn, don’t know and can’t face getting your head around. It’s a pretty simple premise, really: use engaging content to attract and build an audience that has the potential to become your customer base.

The ‘content’ part of content marketing can involve a mix of articles, blogs, online magazines, edms, white papers, podcasts, infographics, data visualizations, video tutorials, image galleries – just about anything you can think of that comes under the heading of “content”.

The important thing to remember is that the content has to be relevant – it has to help and educate your audience in some way. And to do that, some of it might not even mention your actual business or service. For example, instead of publishing a blog detailing your exciting new clothing stock that has just arrived in time for spring, why not publish an article on upcoming trends for spring? You might not stock all of those clothing items considered trends, but you’ll attract someone searching for ‘clothing trends for spring’. It’s through that search, that a person might land on your site – and might discover your fabulous brand! (and your Spring range). And while yes, content marketing is a sophisticated SEO play, it’s much, much more.

Ok, we can hear the alarm bells from here. Oh sure, you understand the attractive qualities (like being known as an industry thought leader and all those  customer leads ready to convert) that high quality and relevant content can bring, but who has the ideas, budget and resourcing to create consistently engaging content that is up-to-date and relevant to your business and industry? As an ongoing concern that’s a considerable cost, right?

In some cases yes (and in those cases, the company can usually afford it so likes it that way), but in most cases, no.

Thanks to the massive amount of highly regarded content already in digital existence, as well as all that new content being published on the web somewhere in the world, every single minute of every day, there’s enough content to go around – and it’s your cost-efficient challenge to curate it (the key being: find it, organize it and share it).

Content curation enables you to have the very best content on the web right there at your fingertips. In fact, you’re probably already benefitting from some form of content curation already – you just didn’t know there was a name for it. Do you visit a webpage or use an app that aggregates content on things you’re interested in? That’s curation!

The thought of content curation can be a bit daunting, but with the right tools (many of them freely available on the web, some like Google Reader or Twitter lists, you might already be using) it’s not only simple, it’s fun. Once you start curating you’ll quickly discover enough content to update several times/day – but that in itself, can be hardcore.

We recommend a mix of unique content – that is, content you write yourself or commission to be written and published in amongst the content you curate.  Somewhere between two and five unique pieces of content published per week should do the trick nicely.

To truly understand the benefits of content marketing, it’s not a bad idea to look back at what your website was, now is, and then think about  what it needs to be.

Back in the day (oh, like less than three years ago) your website was a digital business card  outlining your product, services, pricing, location, team, testimonials, clients and hours of operation etc. You still need that, but you also need additional content. You need to demonstrate knowledge about your industry, factors affecting it, trends, ideas, innovations, tips, advice – you name it. Anything that makes me think you’re an expert who is up-to-date and on top of changing industry patterns, competitor trends, consumer demands – anything that could lead someone to reasonably consider your site a valuable resource. If that’s the outcome, then that’s content marketing doing its job.

Sure there’s a lot to take in, but content marketing is one of those great examples in life of something that sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is. So forget about heading for the hills, and start thinking about your content strategy and just how cool it will be to help and educate people.

 

*awesome image thanks to Kate Bingham-Burt @flickr

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