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What is content marketing and why is it so important?

4-minute read

When an entrepreneur builds a new website, starts using social media or creates a blog, we always get the same question: “What should I talk about?”

Creating good content is a challenge for many entrepreneurs who aren’t used to talking about their business or industry in a public forum. So what is content marketing and how do you do it?

It’s all about creating great content as a highly effective way to find new customers and retain the ones you have. Entertaining email newsletters, insightful blog posts, how-to videos and other online content help you to build an audience and position yourself as an expert in your field.

People filtering out traditional ads

That’s especially important at a time when consumers are becoming increasingly adept at tuning out advertising messages both in the traditional media and online.

And that brings us back to the question of what you should talk about in your content.

A good place to start is to think about the challenges your customers ask you about every day. What are the questions you hear again and again? How do you respond? This can be the basis for a series of blog posts, how-to videos or a short eBook.

Pull back the curtain on your business

You can also pull back the curtain and talk about what’s happening inside your business. Talk about your wins but also be honest about the issues you’re grappling with and how you’re striving to improve for the benefit of your customers. You can also promote the charities you and your staff are supporting in your community.

You might also want to zoom out and discuss some of the big challenges that your industry is facing. It’s all grist for your content mill.

Let’s face it—we collectively have very short attention spans when it comes to the Internet. So you don’t always have to generate a high-production video or an 800-word article to get the job done. Often, a photo with a caption, a quick hit on your blog, a tweet or Facebook update will do.

Knowing your audience and their habits will help you to create the right content.

Reduce, re-use, recycle

There is a huge amount of content being created on the Internet every day. Some of it relates to your business, so why not tap into it?

Sharing good content from others can be just as powerful as creating your own. So if you find a good LinkedIn post, share it and add it to your Google+ page.

You should also go through your archives looking for material you can use. Is there an article you wrote for the local paper or a video you made for a presentation? You can reuse these online.

Make a content calendar

Still having trouble scheduling content creation into your day?

A content calendar can help. Pick regular dates on your calendar when you will be adding certain types of content and stick to it. It will help you and your team determine how often you should be posting content and keep you disciplined in doing the work.

Another frequently asked question is: Should I post on a regular schedule, such as once a week, or should I post as often as possible?

It’s important to be consistent

Well, there is no one answer to that. But certainly being consistent trumps communicating too often, (or more likely) too infrequently. It’s important to make sure you stay active in your channels. Don’t suddenly abandon your audience simply because you get busy or, worse, bored.

No one can create stellar content all the time. You may get out of the blocks fast and create a lot of messages over a short period of time. But remember, it’s a marathon not a sprint and you will get tired.

I have faced it with my own blog where my pace has slowed in terms of volume. But I do try to post at least a few times a month and stay super active in the social media space to keep the lines of communication open with my audience.

With a little bit of organization and imagination, you’ll find content marketing is well worth your time and effort.

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