What Is Content Marketing, And Why Do I Need It?

Content Marketing is KingYou’ve probably heard these buzzwords a hundred times: outbound marketing, inbound marketing, and content marketing. What do they really mean, though? And how do they affect your brand, in particular?

Well, when we talk about these concepts, it’s important to look at them through a marketing lens. So, let’s start with the definitions of each.

WordStream defines “outbound marketing” by its activities, which include cold-calling, direct mail, radio, TV ads, sales flyers, email spam, telemarketing, traditional advertising, and business networking. Through this method, you capture customers’ attention by finding them and sending them messages wherever they hang out.

Alternately, according to Wikipedia, “inbound marketing” is all about the activities that bring visitors in (rather than going out to grab prospects’ attention). An organization can promote itself through blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, newsletters, whitepapers, SEO, and social media marketing.

Within this realm, Wikipedia sees “content marketing” as focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience and, ultimately, drive a profitable customer action. Effective content marketing involves the creation and sharing of media in order to capture and keep buyers’ attention.

In other words, it’s all about publishing content that pulls customers in. Unlike traditional marketing efforts, which “push” an advertising message out, content marketing is designed to bring potential buyers to you by piquing interest in what you’ve created and shared.

According to Liam Fisher at Builtvisible, content marketing “has the capacity to resonate more powerfully with your customers because it’s carefully tailored to their needs and interests. It’s a way of conveying your brand’s personality and offering without being overtly promotional, which can go a long way toward building brand trust amongst your audience.”

Content marketing specialist Sarah Smith explains that “people want good content that helps them make good decisions, but they don’t like being sold. … A Roper Survey of business decision makers found that 80% prefer to get information about a prospective purchase from articles instead of advertising.”

It’s not just customers that appreciate great content. Search engines like it, too! Often, the best time to reach a prospective customer is when they’re Googling the answer to their problem and your content pops up. Smith advises that “publishing fresh articles, and updating your existing content, will help you maintain a strong showing on search engine results pages and keep people coming back to your site.”

Leveraging Your Content Marketing

Of course, the keys to creating great content lie in research, planning, strategy, and crafting strong calls to action. Fisher notes, “If you’ve gone to great lengths to understand your audience, and have clearly set out how exactly your creative ideas connect with them and your business goals, you’ll have the best possible chance of success.”

If you want to learn more about content marketing, be sure to check out the Content Marketing Institute, which is an authoritative resource.

We, here at CRM Switch, can help, also. Over the years, we’ve had numerous clients ask us if we could help them with content marketing. (Very few mid-sized companies have the time or resources to both act as a subject matter expert and write compelling copy as well.) So, to that end, we’ve added content development services with a dedicated content team.

Whether you’re a die-hard DIYer or a company that would rather enlist the help of a tactical team, it’s time to jump on the content marketing bandwagon. Start by finding ways to add value for your target audience. Then, listen to how readers respond and give them more content that suits their unique needs.

As LinkedIn exec Jonathan Lister states, “In time, you’ll find real value in your investment through the engagement you see, the relationships you built, the amplification of your messages and ultimately, the impact on your revenue.”

About the Author

Sarah Daniels

Sarah Daniels is a bona fide “word nerd,” with a certificate in professional publishing from Stanford University and a master’s degree in professional writing from the University of Southern California. Over the past 15 years, she has created advertising initiatives, campaigns, and copy that have run the gamut—from taglines to textbooks—for established companies, start-up concepts, and creative agencies.

Today, Sarah leads a Content Development team of writers, editors, and publishing experts at CRM Switch in order to help product- and service-based businesses use targeted messaging to drive sales, bolster leads, boost engagement, improve retention, and enhance positive sentiment.