Content marketing is an internet marketing strategy that helps to grow your audience – and therefore your business – by providing good quality, regular content for free. This is usually done by means of a blog, and is one of the best ways there is to increase your audience.
By posting authoritative content to your website (on your blog), you will become seen as an expert in your arena, meaning people are more likely to trust you and, crucially, buy from you. Many business owners are hesitant to share such valuable information for free, but one way to look at it is this: your audience will be thinking, “wow, if the free content is this good, how awesome must the paid stuff be?”
Content marketing isn’t just about writing as many articles on a topic as you can and posting them all over your blog and the rest of the internet. The focus of content marketing is not quantity, but quality. You should be creating content that can actually help people.
SEO is a means of making your website rank highly in search engine results, in order that people can find your website when they search for whatever it is you sell. So, naturally, SEO relies heavily on adhering to rules set by search engines (Google, Bing, etc.), while content marketing can exist outside the realms of search engine results – because content marketing relies on word of your business spreading virally and socially, by people sharing your valuable free content widely across a multitude of online platforms.
This is something that can happen regardless of whether your website appears in search engine results or not – although of course, people will have to find your valuable free content before they can share it with the rest of the world, and in that respect SEO can work in tandem with a solid content marketing strategy.
Technically, email marketing is a form of content marketing, because you’re providing free, useful information to your audience. But where content marketing is more about building up your audience by creating a solid base of authoritative content that’s easily available to the public, an email marketing strategy is where you go even deeper with the people who are already your fans. Email marketing is about forming a deeper bond with your audience, and is the most likely place to score actual paying customers.
Building your audience with a strong content marketing strategy will not necessarily grow your business – you need to actually convert those readers into paying customers, and that’s where your email marketing campaign comes in. People who enjoy the free content on your blog are more likely to sign up to your email newsletter, which is a great place to target specific sales pitches – because you’ve got a captive audience that is already interested in what you do (they signed up, after all!).
Remember: content marketing is about creating engaging, good quality content that people will want to share. It’s about helping people and building their trust in you, so that they will ultimately become your biggest fans, and spread the word of your business and buy your products and services.