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Content Marketing is the New Black

By Chris Elwell and Claire Schoen

"Content marketing has become central to digital marketing strategy. Its objective is simple: create genuinely useful or entertaining content for many specific niches of your target audience-not to overtly promote your business, but to build rapport and brand equity-and give it away for free."

– Scott Brinker, Conversion Science, Search Engine Land

Create good content. Become a ‘thought leader.’ Engage your customers. Sounds simple enough: just start blogging and tweeting and you’ll be widely quoted, shared on social networks, and respected in your industry in no time. Brand recognition will jump and unsolicited leads will start flowing.

The objective is simple. The execution isn’t.

Creating content is expensive. Distributing it is tricky. Unless you’ve already established yourself as a trusted, authoritative source, you may not have the name recognition to overcome the clutter of the blogosphere and social networks.

Working with a creation and marketing partner can help overcome some of these challenges. First, let’s look at the basics of successful content marketing.

Key Elements of Successful Content Marketing: Creation, Distribution, Trust

Creation: Creating credible content is difficult and expensive. Some of us just aren’t "rock stars," and most of us are too busy running our businesses to invest the time necessary to consistently create content that establishes thought leadership. In a recent survey, 3 out of 4 of marketing professionals said "creating original content" and having the "time to create original content" were their top content marketing challenges.

Content Marketing Challenges

The key is to create relevant and valuable content that positions your company and its brand favorably to users, encourages them to engage and moves them closer to becoming a lead.

As Andy Komack writes in Search Engine Land "Content, for content’s sake, is a waste of resources. Adding loads of content, such as glossaries and FAQ sections, may add page weight to a site and provide opportunities for cross-linking pages and themes together. But, there is little-to-no value created for users (i.e. prospects). Poorly-planned Resource Centers and White Papers also offer little value."

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Distribution: Thought leadership requires being noticed. Even great content can be like the tree that falls in the forest. If no one hears about it, has anything really happened? If you’re already creating some content, your reach is limited to the number of blog readers or e-mail list members, and the people who follow you on Twitter or "like" you on Facebook.

The challenge lies in extending your reach, casting a wider net to distribute your valuable content to new potential leads. Whether that’s done through social media, search marketing, third party syndication — or all of these methods, the objective is to get your great content in front of your target audience.

Trust: It can take years of smart blogging and sharing what you’ve learned before anyone recognizes your contribution. Unless you’ve already got a recognized brand, you need to continually produce authoritative, credible content in order to gain the trust of your audience.

Industry publications, blogs, and online news sites were the top choices when it comes to finding content to share.

Third Party Sources

How To Pick A Content Partner

Now that we’ve identified the key elements of successful content marketing, how does that apply to finding a good content partner? You’ll find the greatest success using a partner…

  • with access to an ample selection of professional editorial talent and a proven track record of producing quality content… on schedule.
  • that specializes in your industry. Educating your content partner is time consuming and unnecessarily expensive. An established, specialized service is more likely to be trusted within that industry.
  • with experience in creating content in multiple formats (e.g. white papers, e-books, webcasts) since the messages you’re communicating may be best communicated in multiple formats.
  • that offers turnkey service, from concept and creation through to audience development and distribution and
  • can host and syndicate your content if that’s what you choose. Look for flexibility, customization, and attention to your content and distribution needs.
  • with access to a large community of users in your industry. For example, this e-Solution Spotlight is focused on search and internet marketers, and distribution is on Search Engine Land, which attracts more than 750,000 monthly visitors…all professionals working in internet marketing
  • that provide you with examples and references of a solid, successful content marketing program.

Your objective is indeed simple — to connect with your target audience, with a message that resonates and engages. Having a good content partner in your corner will help you achieve that objective in the most cost-effective way possible.

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Chris Elwell is President of Third Door Media. Claire Schoen is Director of Digital Marketing Depot.

About This e-Solution Spotlight…
e-Solutions Spotlights are produced in association with sponsors by Third Door Media, publisher of Search Engine Land and Marketing Land. The opinions expressed are not those of the Search Engine Land editorial staff. Interested in being an e-Solution Spotlight sponsor? Contact us by filling out this form.