New: The 2015 Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing

I would like to introduce you to the 2015 Content Marketing Guide by Murray Newlands and myself—and it’s the bible of content marketing you’ve been waiting for! While “content marketing” has a bevy of definitions, I always define it as, “the strategic creation and sharing of online content to achieve specific marketing objectives and business goals.” This calls for highly effective communicating, networking, engaging, inspiration, and ultimately dishing up value.

You need to match your content to what your audience wants—or at least what will make them act in the way you’d like. It’s not an advertisement, though. At the heart of content marketing is engaging customers a la Business2 Community’s recommendations and fostering relationships.

Even though content marketing seems like a new buzzword, it’s not actually new. It is a re-imagining of traditional marketing tactics with “engagement” at the core.

One Size Fits All

Both small businesses and enterprises can benefit from content marketing. Reinforcement is key, and engaging consumers happens when you share the “right” content on a regular basis (regardless of business size). Mix education with entertainment, target the best audience for that content, and you’ve found the equation to good content marketing.

There are many approaches, such as word of mouth, quality lead generation, creating smarter consumers, establishing authority, persuading consumer’s decision making, and helping with native advertising (as Business Insider reports, is soaring) which should be embraced, too.

The benefits of quality content marketing are nearly endless. They can include a stronger ROI, a better social media effect, “Youtility” (when content is informative, helpful, entertaining, or all three), but remember it all comes down to being at the right place at the right time. Content is king when managing the consumer buying cycle. You need to be selling the right thing when it’s in demand, whether that “thing” is content or a physical product.

Your Content Marketing Checklist

In the Content Marketing Guide, these checklist items are discussed in detail. However, as a “Cliff’s Notes” version:

  • Only share quality content
  • Never give up quality for quantity
  • Don’t neglect social media engagement
  • Show your personality
  • Avoid black hat tricks
  • Share content your audience wants or needs
  • Know what you are talking about

Keep in mind: there is no room for a sales pitch in content marketing. Another good tip is to document thoroughly via linking, which positions you as a thought leader who knows what they are talking about.

The First Steps

Ready to get started? Begin by outlining your objectives, then putting together your content marketing dream team. Understand your audience first, and then begin developing the actual content marketing goods. There will be some trial and error, but ultimately your content marketing should drive results.

And the residual effects? From better search engine optimization (SEO) via blogging to content curation and focusing on visual content, the possibilities are endless.

Find out what great content marketing can do for you—and your business—with this quintessential guide.