In the past few years, content marketing has exploded and has quickly become one of the main pillars of a solid marketing strategy. Instead of interrupting a customer's experience, content marketing actually provides value to the consumer. For a startup, the importance of providing content marketing cannot be overstated. With so many businesses and websites popping up on a daily basis, you can no longer have the mentality of “if you build it they will come.” Today’s world is more customer-focused than ever before so if you want to build an audience you need to give them what they want - content. As a startup, content marketing allows you to attract and retain the right audience.   What is Content Marketing? Many businesses have moved away from traditional ads, which isn't surprising since fewer than 25 percent of consumers trust ads. Instead, they have focused their attention on content marketing. Essentially, it is a strategy whereby you create and publish information to build meaningful relationships with your audience. Content includes, among other things:
  • Blog posts
  • Podcasts
  • White papers and guides
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Tutorials
  • FAQs
  Benefits of Content Marketing There are a number of reasons businesses have turned to content to attract and keep customers but ultimately this strategy attracts more people than traditional ads because it:
  • Gets shared – Social media has quickly become the top way consumers find out about new brands, products and information. The better the content, the more likely people will be to share it with their friends and family. Considering 92 percent of consumers trust peer recommendations, these social shares can drastically improve the way potential customers view your brand.
  • Boosts your SEO - Each blog post means another page for search engines to index. This means that you have more opportunities to connect with your target audience.
  • Increases traffic - If you create different types of content you will reach different audiences that a blog post or infographic might not reach thus creating more traffic sources for your site.
  Content Marketing How-To There's no secret technique to content marketing. It simply takes a lot of time and energy to produce valuable content on a consistent basis. However, if you're willing to put in the time you will absolutely see results. If you want to get the most out of your content these steps should help you on your path.
  • Have a Plan – Before you type your first word the first thing you need to do is create some goals. What exactly do you want to accomplish with your content? Is it page views, sales, engagement? Once you have clear goals, you'll find it is much easier to produce content that has a consistent tone, voice and message. Set up a content calendar for yourself and aim to post at least twice a week. While most marketers support the more is better theory, if the content you churn out daily is subpar you'll end up losing views. What matters is quality and consistency. Your audience wants to know when you produce new content so stick to a schedule you can follow.
  • Solve a Problem – You should approach every piece of content you create like a startup. Each piece of content you produce should address a problem and then solve said problem. One of the best ways to come up with content ideas is to study your audience. Where are they struggling, what do they want to know? Use content from other brands and see if you can provide the information from a different angle.
  • Tell Stories – You might have the most groundbreaking information in the world, but the average person will either navigate away or forget about your article if it's too dry. Instead, try to tell a story as it will engage people and help them retain readers.
  • Choose the Right Format – You don't need to follow a standard essay format when creating content and you really shouldn't. Not everyone consumes content the same way so you need to find the right format that will attract your target demographic. You can use anything from standard lists to videos.
Keep Creating The best content marketers understand that the key to a successful strategy is to never give up. There's no easy way to go viral and many posts that do go viral do so by chance. Still, as you gain more experience your success rate will improve as you refine your skills. So, don't let past failures get you down, learn from them and move on.