What is content marketing?

More and more, content marketing is becoming an essential part of brand promotion. But what do you know about how it works? What is content marketing able to do for you? Content marketing is creating media, called content, in order to promote your brand. Content can be anything from a blog to a video to an infographic. The use of content marketing to draw in potential customers is becoming increasingly important in businesses and other organizations. Here are some basic questions to ask, to help you raise your content marketing IQ.

How is content marketing different from social media marketing?

Until recently, social media marketing was one of the dominant inbound marketing forms: using Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and other social channels to promote your brand. But gradually there’s been a shift from social media marketing to content marketing. Are they just different buzzwords that mean the same thing? What is content marketing able to do that social media marketing isn’t?

With social media marketing, you’re limited by the rules and restrictions governing the social media platforms on which you choose to promote. The most obvious restriction is Twitter’s 140-character limit for each post. But on any social media site, what you post is subject to their formatting, their terms and conditions, and a variety of other restrictions on where and how you can post your content. With content marketing, you’re posting your content to your own website, so the sky’s the limit. You can publish content in any format you want, of any length you want, from graphics to ebooks. This allows you better control over how you choose to promote your brand.

How many steps are there in the life cycle of a content marketing plan?

The freedom that content marketing on your own website offers makes the entire process easier to handle, right? Simply create the content and wait for your audience to find you. But there’s much more to the process than that. A successful content marketing plan must be considered in the broader context of how it’s going to be used and to whom it’s targeted. There’s an entire life cycle of a content marketing plan, the end result of which is to create even more successful content the next time.

There are seven steps in the life cycle of content marketing. They are:

  1. Goals. What do you ultimately hope to accomplish with this content?
  2. Plan. Who is your target audience? What kind of content are they looking for?
  3. Editorial Calendar. Establish a schedule for the content you plan to produce over the coming weeks.
  4. Produce. Create your content.
  5. Publish. Decide where to post your content and where to publicize it in order best to reach your target audience.
  6. Engage. Establish communication with your audience. Listen to what they think of your content and respond to their questions.
  7. Measure. What is content marketing doing for you? Did your content have the effect you intended? Based on the reactions of your audience, what should you do differently next time to help you better achieve your goals?

Once you have these questions answered, its time to put your content marketing plan into action!