If you’ve been anywhere near the internet in the last few years, you’ve probably heard the term “content marketing.” Over time, it’s become an industry all its own, like social media before it, with marketing experts from every corner of the web preaching its benefits.

But with so much information available on the topic, and so many different approaches, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. What, exactly, is content marketing? And does it make sense for your business?

So What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing means: marketing focused on creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted audience online. Easy, right?

This isn’t anything new, really. Businesses have been using content like free reports, newsletters and white papers to market their businesses for years. Only now, most of it lives online.

Two common types of content marketing are:

  • Branded Content – or content that’s delivered by your company, such as a company blog, YouTube videos, email newsletters, white papers, etc.
  • Sponsored Content – also known as “native advertising,” is a type of marketing where you create content that looks like it belongs on a news site (i.e. the New York Times, MassLive, etc) but in actuality it is paid for and promotes your brand.

So what makes valuable content? It has to be relevant to your audience’s concerns or interests; otherwise it won’t hold their attention. It should strive to inform or entertain. While it should relate to your business, the end goal isn’t to sell something right away. It’s more about providing a useful resource for your customers – added value above and beyond your products or services.

Now, is it right for you?

Question 1: Do you need to educate customers?

Here are a few reasons you may need to teach customers more about your product, service or industry:

  • You’ve brought something new to the market
  • You’ve upgraded an old product or service
  • Customers have questions about using your product or service
  • Customers don’t clearly understand its benefits
  • You can help them use it more effectively
  • There’s a common misconception about what you do

Are these things that your business has done or wants to be doing? If the answer is yes, then content marketing might be a solution to your needs.

Question 2: Do you need to build your brand?

If you’ve been looking to build your brand, content marketing can help in a few ways:

  • Awareness – useful content creates awareness – search engines love it, and social media lives on it
  • Authority – content builds trust by positioning you as an authority or expert in your field
  • Engagement – valuable content keeps customers engaged and coming back for more
  • Loyalty – the more valuable the content you produce, the greater customer loyalty you’ll enjoy

Luckily, you don’t have to go it alone. MassLive can help research and develop content that fits your brand, audience and goals. By outsourcing content creation, you reap the benefits while staying focused on doing what you do best – running your business.