Content marketing is an important component of a successful marketing strategy for any business. Regardless of your industry, a well-thought out content marketing strategy can help to grow your audience, encourage customer loyalty and even increase sales. If you’re considering implementing a dedicated content marketing strategy for your business, or looking to supercharge your existing one, understanding what content marketing is can help. Let’s take an in-depth look at content marketing.

Content Marketing: A Specialized Version of Inbound Marketing

Before we can understand what content marketing is, we’ll have to take a look at inbound marketing. Why? According to a survey by Hubspot, most marketers believed that content marketing is a “subset of inbound marketing.” Inbound marketing is defined as a technique used to draw customers to your business, and involves the use of content marketing, social media marketing, and search engine optimization. The goal of inbound marketing is basically the same as content marketing — to add value to lives of customers and give them all the information they need to make a purchase decision.

Content marketing is a specialized version of inbound marketing, and deals specifically with information. Unlike other forms of marketing, content marketing has no sales pitch, no underlying psychological triggers and no strong call-to-actions. Instead, content marketing relies on the basic human truth that once you can provide engaging, informative and insightful information about things that your target market is interested in, they’ll be begin to see you as a thought leader and eventually become customers. Sharing information that is helpful to your customers will never put you in a bad spot. Your goal is to help them make the next best choice for themselves, and content marketing gives them information to help them make a decision.

Because of the long-term strategy involved in content marketing, many businesses may make the mistake of pumping all their money into more aggressive marketing strategies. They may reason that content marketing doesn’t have much ROI. But much like building a house, content marketing is the foundation of any good marketing strategy. Content marketing builds trust, and positions your brand as a source of good information, something that is invaluable in today’s digital landscape. The effects of content marketing are compounded.

For example, if you run a business that supplies men’s facial hair care products your content marketing would revolve around producing content that your clients would like. Things like the importance of using conditioner on their beards, simple tips for taming their facial hair and even ideas night-time routines would resonate with them. You could even go a bit further and providing information about other things they may be interested in that are only tangentially related to your business, like camping, outdoors activities and motorcars. With content marketing, you can never be short of topics to talk about.

Now with all of this in mind, it begs the question “What are some components of content marketing?” Let’s take a look at some types of content marketing, and how you can use them to your business’ advantage.

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The Four Most Common Kinds of Content Marketing

The four most common kinds of content marketing are blogs, email, ebooks and most recently, video. These four kinds of content form the basis of almost every content marketing plan, and you can’t go wrong with implementing them.

  • Blogs. Blog posts are the original content marketing assets. Now, they have risen to popularity and almost every business’ website has one, and even individuals are creating their own blogs. Producing weekly blog content on topics of interest to your audience is a great addition to any content marketing strategy. Bonus points if you promote this content heavily on social media.

  • Email. Email is another content marketing asset that has been around for a while. Like blogs, emails are very effective in providing insightful information to your audience. Building an email list is one of the best things you should be doing for your business right now. Unlike blog posts, be sure to keep your emails succinct and punchy.

  • Ebooks. If you’re selling a product or service that is expensive, difficult to understand or in a highly technical field, then ebooks are the content marketing asset that you need. Many businesses use ebooks to do two things. One, they get interested people on their email list by giving them the ebook free in exchange for their email addresses. And two, they use them to give their audience more information to help them make a decision.

  • Video. With more than 80% of the content consumed online globally slated to be video, it’s high time to start adopting it as part of your content marketing strategy. You can use videos to showcase a fun, more engaging side of your business or brand, or you can use them to disperse information that otherwise would be boring. Here at Business Wilderness, we used videos as part of a content marketing strategy for our client Speedlancer, which you can watch here. Clearly, you have a multitude of angles to choose from when using video in content marketing.

By combining these four kinds of content marketing, you’re giving your business the solid foundation it needs to attract more potential customers, and guide them to a purchase decision.

To build a good content marketing strategy, you need a clear idea of who your target audience is. You’ll also need to decipher the kind of content that will resonate with them most (whether blogs, emails, ebooks or videos) as well as the topics that they would love to learn more about. Much of this information can only be gained by analyzing the data that you have available, combined with in-depth research.

Here at Business Wilderness, we help our clients create and execute content marketing strategies that help them to insightfully connect with their target audience and add value to their lives. These people then go on to become loyal customers of the brands we work with.