The term “content marketing” gets thrown around quite a bit in businesses these days. You feel like you should know its meaning, but you don’t — and you’re certainly not alone. According to the Content Marketing Institute: “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Okay… but what does that mean?
It means that content marketing is the type of marketing that creates and distributes valuable information — information that people will actually seek out. As a business, using content marketing as a long-term strategy means building lasting relationships with your audience by providing high-quality content that is consistently relevant to them.
This type of marketing, if done right, creates customer loyalty, meaning when potential buyers are ready to make a purchasing decision, they are already considering your product or service.
The value of content marketing to your business
By understanding the four steps of the customer buying cycle, and where content marketing fits in, you can more easily see its value. The four steps are:
- Awareness – The customer may have a need or a problem, but they are not aware of the solution. Or the customer may not know they have a problem at all, and you inform them that there is a better way to get something done.
- Research – Now aware of the potential solution, the potential customer starts to research options.
- Consideration – Your potential customer begins comparing products/services to solve their problem.
- Purchase – The customer makes a purchasing decision.
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Where traditional advertising and marketing address the second two steps (consideration and purchase), content marketing is intended to address the first two steps (awareness and research); allowing potential customers to:
- Find helpful, valuable information about your company and product
- See the value in what your company offers
- Be ready to engage with your organization when they are ready to buy