What is Content Marketing and How to Start?
by Robert McNicholas on November, 23 2018
What is content marketing? Here’s a hint: you’re reading some right now.
Content marketing is basically what it sounds like: content + marketing. It’s the words, images, and other media you use to connect with your online audience.
Anything you post on social media, write about on your business blog, or feature on your website is a form of content marketing.In this post, we’ll discuss how content marketing can get off to a good start. We’ll also talk about common content marketing practices—good, bad, and ugly.
Where to Start Your Content Marketing
For the best results, create a persona for your audience before you launch your actual content generation plans. If you’re not sure where to start, mentally review your customers.
Who is your biggest consumer or your most loyal fan? Make up a composite person, and write for them.
For example, as I write this post, I’m imagining a small-business owner or manager who is educated, motivated, and curious about new technology.
He or she may not be comfortable with all aspects of IT, but there’s a desire to learn more and a familiarity with the basics. (How do small businesses use IT? Find out here.)
Once you have a composite person in mind, talk to them through your content. Include things that they will find interesting and useful.
Entertain them, educate them, and above all, connect with them. Although content marketing is marketing, it’s not sales. While some selling/self-promoting is okay, try not to hit it too heavily or too often.
Best (and Worst) Content Marketing Practices
There are definite good and bad practices with content marketing. The basics still apply: be honest, be customer-centric, and be click-worthy. (What is click-worthy? An article, post, or other piece of content that grabs people’s attention and makes them want to find out more.)
Creating a steady stream of new content can seem daunting. If hiring a content developer isn’t an option, remember these content marketing rules:
The best practice is to create your own fresh, valuable, and engaging content.
A good practice is to supplement your fresh content with curated and properly linked collections of industry-relevant information. (For my imaginary businessperson, I might include a blog post listing four or five top sites for content marketing advice.) Don’t copy the information and present it as your own; just summarize why you like it and tell them where to find it.
An acceptable practice is to link to other sites for more information. You can also, with permission, republish other people’s articles or posts on your site—but only with their permission. Again, don’t claim it as your own. Use this approach sparingly; your customers will still get the benefit of the information, but there’s nothing linking it back to you.
A bad practice is to copy other people’s content and pretend it’s yours. Don’t do it. Search engines frown on it, and it makes your company look cheap and dishonest.
Content marketing is a great way to connect with your audience. Done properly, it makes your business a relatable, trusted source for information.Techsperts is available to help you with all your computing needs. Feel free to set up an appointment to discuss our managed IT services and other offerings.