One of the most interesting things about online marketing is the fact there are so many buzzwords being used by marketers that become more confusing the more they are used.
For example, the phrase “growth hacking” is all the rage in online marketing forums and at influential blogs. A lot of people use that word. Unfortunately, for the life of me, regardless of how many times I come across that phrase, I’m no closer to a definitive meaning.
Sadly, the world of online marketing is filled with such buzzwords, and one of those buzzwords is “content marketing.” If you’re not careful, you might end up engaged in what you thought was content marketing, only to end up with disappointing results.
This is due to the fact that so many terms are so overused that they mean different things to different people. It’s as if they become purely subjective.
I want to cut through the fog of confusion in this post by laying down some objective elements that most marketers can agree on when it comes to content marketing.
Focus on your purpose or the content you’re producing
If you really want an objective guidepost for content marketing, focus on your purpose for producing content.
As you probably already know, there are over two million pieces of original content produced on the internet every single day. No, I’m not talking about two million shares of content.
I’m talking two million unique pieces of content being produced every single day and shared on social media, posted on blogs, and dozens of other places on the internet.
People produce that huge bulk of content with many different purposes in mind. Some just want to stuff their websites with content. They just want their websites to look busy.
Others are looking to use content to establish some level of branding credibility and authority. In between these two points lie many different motivations and objectives.
If you want to truly get to the heart of the question “what is content marketing?” pay attention to the following purposes.
Content marketing helps you build a solid online brand
No less than the head honcho of search engine giant, Google, has repeatedly said that the future of online marketing, at least when it comes to search engines, involves brand building.
If you want your content to be found easily through Google and other search engines, you best build an online brand sooner rather than later. In fact, given the rate at which Google’s algorithm continues to evolve, it is becoming clear that the name of the search game is all about building a solid online entity, and this, of course, requires a brand.
When you produce high-quality content, you are letting readers know that, at the very least, you know what you’re talking about. You also tie this level of credibility and authority to a specific brand persona on the internet. This enables you to distinguish your value proposition from your competitors.
Build strategic niche alliances
It doesn’t matter which industry you’re in, you will always have too much competition. This is especially challenging if you have just started out.
However, you can get a competitive advantage by investing in high-quality content that quickly establishes your niche credibility among the existing players in your niche.
People can tell just by reading your content that you, at the very least, know what you’re talking about and are serious about delivering solid value to the lives of people who visit your website. Not surprisingly, other like minded players in your niche will want to be associated with you.
I know it sounds crazy, but competitors actually like to reach out to other credible players in their niche to create strategic business alliances. It’s not a question of win or lose. It’s not a question of their slice of the pie getting bigger at your expense.
Many of these players are smart enough to understand there is such a thing as a win-win situation. If you establish yourself through effective content marketing as a solid and reputable source of niche information, all sorts of strategic niche alliance opportunities can open up to you.
What forms do these alliances take? Well, at the very least, you can get invited to trade conventions or online groups. You could also be asked to participate in link roundups or industry publications.
There is no limit to the wide range of shapes and forms these niche alliances take. What they all have in common is the fact that people who care about their industry are always on the lookout for credible sources of information they can ally with. Be one of those strategic allies.
Proper content alliances help you get highly targeted niche eyeballs
It’s very easy to think that trying to get strategic niche alliances going is a tremendous waste of time. After all, it takes quite a bit of time, effort and sustained outreach to achieve any kind of traction as far as niche alliances are concerned. The good news is, with solid content, you make things so much easier for yourself.
Your content would enable you to not only create industry alliances, but these alliances can take the form of guest blog posts. You publish unique content on third party websites in your niche.
These websites then send targeted eyeballs to your website. It’s a win-win situation. They get free content, while you get highly filtered audience members who are actually interested in what you’re talking about.
If you get the right kind of eyeballs, you can convert your website traffic at a very high rate. Whether you are looking for new mailing list members, sales, software downloads, or ad clicks, your conversion rate will only benefit if your content and brand are put in front of highly targeted and highly motivated eyeballs. Strategic content alliances enable you to reach such audiences.
The bottom line
Content marketing enables you to shape your brand’s overall value proposition and narrative on the internet.
This means you are able to speak to certain values that your target audience or competitors subscribe to. This ensures that your brand is taken more seriously. It’s not just another Johnny come lately, it’s not just another also-ran. It will be treated with the respect and importance it deserves.
And the key to all of this is solid, high-value content. This is the essence of truly effective content marketing.
Everything else would flow from this. In fact, simply driving traffic is just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re serious about content marketing, you have to drill down and focus on delivering solid value to the right people.
Take the time to formulate your strategy and create high-value and engaging content.
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