By Alex Clifford

Content marketing: a phrase that digital marketing people might throw at you. If they do SEO, PPC or any other kind of online marketing, they’ll probably tell you about it. There’s a huge swathe of information out there. But so much is fluff, waffle and manure. In 5 minutes, I want to tell you about content marketing. Completely unbiasedly.

But what is it? Why should you be using it? And what do you need to know? Here’s your 5 minute crash course.

What is content marketing?
Content marketing is about offering really useful information, to win trust and new customers. If you sell mobile phones online, you might have reviews on your site to help your visitors decide on the right phone. If you sell cots, it might be advice for pregnant mums.

Content marketing is about being there to help people. It is widely accepted as best practice, and shows very high return on investment (ROI).

Why should you care?
In short, content marketing is where digital marketing is headed.

Google is the hub of all information. Everyone asks it questions. Google wants to answer those questions well. So it puts the best, most credible answers at the top.

Once upon a time you could have paid an agency to magic you to the top of Google. But now, Google’s got better and your content is the most important thing.

Google (and your searchers) want high quality answers and information. Now, your business needs to offer that – if you want to naturally attract customers through your website.

Why will your digital marketing people bother you about it?
Some people are rubbing their hands with glee. According to Econsultancy 90% of marketers believe content marketing will become more important this year. With many companies wanting to outsource their content marketing, it adds up to zillions of pounds of work for them.

Some people are panicking. Some SEO companies were reliant on so-called ‘black-hat’ strategies. Which involved conning search engines to place you higher. Google has eliminated the power of these tactics, with their recent Panda and Penguin updates. So these SEO agencies have switched to content marketing because they’re in trouble.

Some agencies will have emphasised the importance of good content all along. They want you to follow best practice. They understand that you should help your customers first before giving them sales messages. Trust these guys’ advice.

What do you need to do?
First of all, understand that you need good content. Full stop.

Secondly, you’ll need to decide who’s doing it. If you’re a small business with a limited budget. It’s probably best to do it in house. If you haven’t got the time, you can bring in other people like agencies, designers and marketing staff. There’s a good infographic here on your options.

Thirdly you’ll need a content marketing strategy. I’m aware Graham can put this together for you.

Lastly, you’ll need to get on with it! Your potential customers are hungry for the great content you can deliver.

About the Author
Alex Clifford is Marketing Executive at Virally. Virally helps marketers track the ROI, and amplify their content marketing.


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