The term applies in print advertising, though content marketing has become easier and less expensive through email, online marketing and social networking websites.
For example, real estate companies have sent out newsletters to prospective homebuyers for decades. Now they have a wider reach and can send monthly newsletters by email at a fraction of the cost. These newsletters must contain current, engaging articles to keep homebuyers reading. They must also have a call to action, if the real estate agent hopes to earn the reader’s business.
Content Marketing Online
In the past, content marketing was a limited method of advertising. Print ads increase in cost with the amount of text or graphics, so packing an ad full of information can be prohibitively expensive. Printing and mailing directly to the reader added extra costs, as well. What e-commerce has done is made it easier than ever for online businesses to connect with current and prospective customers without having a huge marketing budget.
Information packaging can look a number of different ways for online distribution. An online marketer’s greatest hope is that their message will become viral, meaning readers will pass it around and recommend it to others, greatly increasing its exposure and the effect of the message.
Content used in online marketing comes in many different forms, but each piece has three things in common:
- It provides useful information
- It contains a marketing message
- It is search engine optimized and accessible to the company’s target market
Creating Killer Content
There are several ways to create content. The goal is to build a reputation as the company to turn to; as the top e-commerce solution for the consumer’s needs. It is important to engage the consumer without overwhelming them with too much information.
Be creative! Content marketing products come in a variety of formats:
- blog articles
- free e-books or reports
- mp3 recordings or transcripts of teleconferences
- webinars and podcasts
- white papers
- YouTube videos
The best information and marketing message is lost in a poorly produced product. Written documents must be free of errors, properly formatted and distributed in a format accessible to all readers, such as PDF. Ensure that audio/video products are clear and free of background noise. The top e-commerce provider in any given industry needs to radiate professionalism in every communication and piece of marketing material.
Creating products for content marketing isn’t every company’s strong suit. Save time by outsourcing these projects to writers and designers skilled in creating products. Guru.com and Elance.com offer a variety of talented writers, videographers and designers. When contracting out product needs to online professionals, review samples, ask for references and use escrow to ensure a successful outcome.
Each content marketing product should link back to the advertising company’s website or email. Use a logo to help build your brand with each new product.
Promoting Marketing Content Online
Depending on the type of product, a number of strategies can be used individually or together to increase exposure. Email marketing requires the ongoing generation and distribution of content, as readers come to expect and rely on receiving the message at a certain date or time. Creating content for article banks or YouTube is more flexible, as the company can submit articles or videos at their leisure. Update blogs regularly to keep readers’ interest.
Simply getting the content online is not enough, though. Linking to the content through social networking sites such Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn allows the content to become viral as users are more likely to forward the information to others.
Keeping Content Fresh
To reduce the burden of constantly generating new content, try repackaging information in ways accessible to different audiences. For example, transcribe a teleconference, convert it to an e-book, then break it down into several articles or blog entries.
Providing a steady stream of useful information helps top e-commerce companies retain customers, build a professional reputation, showcase leadership, and attract new clients.
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