What is content marketing, and why should you care?

I’m speaking in Las Vegas this weekend at the International Esthetics, Cosmetics and Spa Conference (IECSC). The topic is Creating Your Brand Story Through Content Marketing & PR. Although the subject of content marketing is ‘near and dear’ to my heart, I must admit I have my doubts the topic will be a room-filler next to sexier topics like “Double Your Sales Overnight with These Surefire Marketing Tactics.”

So what is content marketing, and why should you care?

Content is fuel for the marketing engine. A content marketing strategy focuses on creating and distributing valuable content to attract and retain clients. The idea central to content marketing is that a brand must give something valuable to get something valuable in return. Examples of content include press releases, blogs, social media posts, podcasts, photo galleries, videos, infographics, case studies, magazine articles, e-newsletters and whitepapers.

Benefits of a thoughtful content marketing strategy include:

• Creating a compelling brand story that generates interest while building trust

• Driving website traffic, generating leads and increasing client loyalty

• Improving communications and building relationships with clients and prospects

• Personal authority and a human presence is becoming even more important in the sales process. (Personal brands are perceived as more trustworthy and approachable.)

Getting Started

Align your content with your mission statement.
The best content marketing should be based on a clear, evolved marketing strategy, and that strategy must go to the core of your business’s values and goals. In other words, your strategy needs to be aligned with your business’s mission statement.
Rally the Troops.
Developing and distributing content on a regular basis can be daunting task. Make sure everyone in your company understands the value of your content strategy.

Understand Your Audience.
The content's main focus is on the needs of your prospects and customers. In the words of Tom Fishburne, Marketoonist, “The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing. If you have to force your audience to see the value in the content, or hard sell it, it won’t work. Build content around a takeaway for the audience.”

This phrase is commonly heard among web developers, marketing consultants and SEO experts: CONTENT IS KING. That royalty is well-earned, and the trajectory your business takes if your content is strong will be the proof.