Confused about content marketing? Here is what you need to know.

Many new businesses have found content marketing strategies indispensable these days, but what is a content marketing strategy?
At its core, content marketing is the creation and distributing of online material that will attract the attention of a prospect. The keyword in the message is the word “Attract.” Therefore, content marketing is not promotional, it is the inverse, since promotions are often unwanted and therefore tend to “Repel” prospects and not attract them.

By design, content marketing exists to help the prospect come to know, like and trust you. Once the prospects trust you, they may come to buy from you but generally not before. Therefore, the content you develop is intended to create a kind of internet gravity to draw prospects to you so they will like and trust your brand. That seems simple enough, just produce quality content, but the devil is in the details as they say.

First off, content marketing efforts require time to pay dividends. You can’t produce a few pieces of content and wait for prospects to find you. Time is required to build up enough content and consistency of new material is necessary to create enough gravity. By delivering content that conforms to Google’s search rules, you make it easier for search engines to rank your content and therefore allow the prospect to find you.

Second, in most cases, your content needs to be designed with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind. Principle among SEO tendons is finding the best keywords to use in your content. Specifically, you want to find long tail keywords where you can carve out a niche with enough monthly searches but not too much competition like we explained in 13 Steps to Find your Profitable Niche for Free Using Long-Tail Keywords.

In addition to choosing the right keywords, your SEO strategy requires links to generate traffic. Internal links when followed take the prospect to another one of your pages while external links are inbound links from other sites to a page on your site.

The two things that encourage a person to explore a link are the headlines and the associated image. Headlines need to include emotional and power words to be most effective. I, personally, like the free headline analyze tool offered by CoSchedule Headline Analyzer that ranks your headline along several dimensions. Images are not searchable by search engines so be sure to include relevant long-tail keywords in the Alt Text field.

Finally, is deciding what kind of content to provide. But that will come in a later series of posts.

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