Basically, it’s all about using information to help people understand and solve their problems – usually with your product or service. And it works.
But note the words creating and distributing. Content marketing isn’t just writing blogs and hitting publish – although that’s a core part of it. It’s also about sharing that content – a hot topic at Content Marketing World 2016.
It’s not easy though. Getting your content noticed can be tough. And sometimes you don’t have the time, knowledge, or budget to create content about everything. That’s where sharing relevant content that isn’t necessarily your own comes into play.
Content marketing can broadly be split in two: content creation and content curation (sharing content).
What’s the difference between content curation and creation?
There’s some fantastic content out there, created by people at the peak of their industry providing in-depth insight into issues your audience cares about. Sharing that content with your audience makes sense. This is content curation.
But you’re also an expert at what you do, and you can provide valuable insights that can help your audience solve their problems and build trust with your own brand. That’s where content creation comes in.
Curation and creation are important ways of building trust, so knowing their value and striking a good balance between them is essential.
The benefits of sharing content
Social media is a powerful thing, especially when it’s used to share things with the world at large. And there are a few specific upsides of consistently sharing high-quality content with your audience.
1. Builds trust and authority
We can probably all agree it’s bad to only talk about yourself on social media. The Rule of Thirds and the 80/20 rule are just a couple of frameworks that have been developed to help you keep content varied. (Although how often you should post is another story.)
By varying the content you share and making sure it’s helpful, your audience sees it’s not all about you. You also show that you’re a reliable source of information, boosting your own credibility.
2. Provides context and a filter
There’s a lot of information out there. Trying to find relevant, high-quality content can be a bit daunting for people. Not to mention time-consuming.
If you’re sharing content on social media you’re providing a filter, as well as adding some context to the information, which can help it be better understood. If you’re sharing content that is consistently good (which it should be!), you’ll become a trusted source of information. And when you do share your own content, it’ll be seen as coming from a trusted source.
3. It helps SEO
Gone are the days of stuffing content with keywords to rank on Google – good content is now important. If you’re building authority on social media channels, sharing the best content and engaging your audience, it makes sense your social profiles will begin to turn up in search results.
And with AdBlockers on the rise and trust in adverts falling in general, content marketing continues to play a big role in being found and trusted.
4. Drives value and helps people learn
Content marketing is all about giving people the information they need to solve their problems. Simply creating content means you might not be able to provide your audience with the best answers.
Curation opens up the expertise of everyone in your industry, meaning you can share content from others that provides information you can’t. This compliments your own creation efforts and builds trust and authority – one of the key benefits of content curation.
The benefits of creating content
The advantages of creating your own content are huge. Here are some of the best.
1. Proves you know what you’re talking about
Anyone can make a website and claim to be an expert. Actually writing about something, making videos that explain key issues, or putting time into a SlideShare presentation proves you’re an expert.
And much like content curation, varied content helps engage your audience. Just make sure you deliver value and help people solve their problems with your content.
2. Helps answer questions
A foolproof way of delivering value and proving you know what you’re doing is answering questions. Good content should answer questions your audience often struggles with, as well as anticipating questions they might ask in the future. But you should never try and sell to your audience through your content – you’ll only put them off.
By pre-emptively answering questions you deliver a whole load of value and build a strong reputation as trusted source of information.
3. Opens up a discussion with your audience
To answer questions, you need to talk with your audience. Creating content drives engagement and invites people to interact with you, opening up chances for discussion.
This is where you can continue building trust with your audience and find out what their real problems are. The more you know what troubles your audience, the more you know how you can help them through your content and products.
4. Builds your brand and adds a human touch
The internet can be pretty faceless. But when you’re creating content you have the chance to share your brand personality and voice, injecting an element of humanity into your online presence.
This also makes you more approachable to people. I mean think about it, who would you rather buy a product or service from – the toneless company or the one that you relate to?
Things to bear in mind when creating content
Creating content is half the battle. Once you’ve got it, you need to promote your content and get it out to the world. Some methods of content promotion are better than others, but a guaranteed social media reach will always get you some great results.
Content can’t be all about you. You need to show people what you can do for them. Look at examples of good content and the companies creating it, then try and emulate the basic principles.
Skyscraper content is a good framework for creating excellent content. It takes the basic idea of answering questions and supercharges it with research and data to wow your audience.
Just remember to strike a balance between creating content and sharing it with the world, and sharing content from other people. Your audience will thank you for it.
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