(Hint: the Answer is Not “Absolutely Nothing”)

Last month, I wrote about creating a strategy for your content. And last year I wrote about how the keys to writing effective content and ways to avoid writing awful content, plus I shared 21 prompts for coming up with content.

But let’s back up a minute – you’ve got the strategy and the how-tos, but what is content marketing, and why should you do it?

So… what is content marketing?

Content marketing is basically a way of marketing your business through the use of content. Okay, that’s a redundant definition. So let me give you some examples of what it is.

  • A chiropractor puts up a series of videos on her website all about good posture along with 10 exercise people can do to keep their spine in line.
  • A hair stylist posts a video on Facebook on how to blow-dry your own hair to make it look as good as when you get it done at the salon.
  • A payroll account specialist sends out a monthly email newsletter with tips on human resources and changes in the tax code that affect payroll and corporate taxes.
  • A mortgage lender has an ebook and checklist about what to do in the 5 years, 3 years, 1 year leading up to application for a mortgage to improve credit.

The “content” of content marketing could be:

  • Blog posts
  • Articles
  • Email newsletters
  • Ebooks
  • Printed books
  • White papers/special reports
  • Podcasts
  • Audio files
  • Webinars
  • Videos
  • Etc.

The content you share should be free or should ask for nothing more than a name and email address. You’re not asking for the sale; you’re building a relationship.

It’s a chance to show the world you’re the go-to person in your field

Content marketing allows you to educate your prospective customers. Let me tell you that you know way more than you think you do. By sharing what you know, you’ll position yourself as an expert in your industry.

Don’t know what to share? Start with the basics. I guarantee that the things you take for granted in your business are the things that the average Joe knows nothing about.

  • Financial planners: not everyone knows what a “529” is.
  • Accountants: not every business owner knows that they need to pay quarterly taxes.
  • Health insurance brokers: I bet there are people in this country who have never even heard of the Affordable Care Act. Maybe they live under a rock, but I promise you they exist.

“But I don’t want to give the milk away for free!”

Sometimes it feels like, well, if I give away all my information, then why would anyone pay to work with me? They’ll just do it all themselves.

I can see where that thinking comes from, but let me persuade you to change your mindset.

First off, remember that there are some situations where it doesn’t matter how much information you have, you will always need an expert and/or someone licensed in their field to get the results you want. You can read every book and blog post on massage techniques out there, but you’ll still want to hire a licensed massage therapist to work out the kinks in your neck.

Also, it’s this very generosity of sharing your experience and expertise with your prospective customers that makes content marketing work as well as it does. By giving information that will make their lives better, you’re helping establish trust. You’re also letting them know that you’re aware of their problems – and that you know how to fix them.

So… what is it good for?

It’s good for getting more customers and making more money! Content marketing, a term that’s sometimes used interchangeably with “inbound marketing,” is a long-term marketing strategy that ultimately saves you money on a cost-per-lead basis.

Brown chess pieces lined up on a black and white chess board

Still not convinced that content marketing is right for you?

First, check out these stats:

  • The average cost to generate a lead is lower via inbound marketing ($143) compared to outbound marketing ($373). [Source: CMO Council]
  • Content marketing produces three times more leads per dollar. [Source: Kapost]
  • Interesting content is a major reason people follow brands on social media. [Source: Social Media Strategies Summit]

And last but not least, it’s important to remember Google. Google wants your website and the content you provide to be interesting, relevant and high in quality. The idea is that people want to see interesting, relevant and high-quality content, so Google rewards it by placing it higher in the search results.

It makes Google happy. And don’t we all want to keep Google happy?

Learn more about content marketing

There’s a ton of info online if you want to read up; I recommend you start with the Content Marketing Institute.

If you want to skip that part and you’re after some tailored-to-you strategy, advice and content instead, contact me. I’d love to speak with you.