What is content marketing writing?
One of the most popular types of marketing writing right now is called content marketing writing. It’s not obvious what that actually means, so let’s dig in.
First, just a general definition. Content marketing writing is considered “inbound marketing.” That means potential customers are going to a company for content, like visiting a blog or social media page. In comparison, “outbound marketing” is a company reaching out to customers, such as via emails, commercials, and so on.
I’m sure you know every business has a website—or at least they should. Also, most large companies also have blog or news page to post information about the company, its products, and its services. Some companies just post general information, press releases, or static links to how to learn more about products and services. Smart companies do more than that and have blogs with not just information about the company’s products and services, but in-depth articles about the technology they sell, experts who know all about the technology, and pros and cons of different aspects of technology the company works with. This in-depth content is what is called “content marketing.” The goal of these types of posts is not just to simply make potential customers aware of specific goods and services, the goal is to establish the company as THE go-to expert for these goods and services.
The goals of content marketing are:
Draws new customers to the company’s website or social media, creating awareness of the company and its goods and services
Entices people to buy the company’s goods or services
Creates fans of the company’s goods are services—fans who share posts with others
Let’s think of some examples. Let’s say a company sells a new telecommunications device that other companies can use to streamline their internal network traffic. The company will of course post information about that product, why it’s awesome, and why people should buy it. But if they also have a content marketing strategy, they’ll also post a bunch of articles about the technology itself. The articles will talk about where the technology comes from, what technology it replaces, all of the benefits to companies that switch to this new type of technology, how much time and money companies save when they switch to this technology, go over the pros and cons of the previous technology vs. this new technology. When people search online for this new technology, chances are they’ll come across some of these articles, read them, and think “hmmm, this company knows its stuff.” They might then click around on the website, find the company’s products, and decide to purchase the product using the new technology.
That’s why content marketing is an outstanding technique for companies to use on their websites. It can also be used for any topic, not just technology. Another example could be women’s running shoes. Let’s say a shoe company comes up with some new arch support that makes women’s running shoes more comfortable and less likely to cause foot pain. That company can start posting articles about women’s running in general. How do you select the best type of running shoe? How does arch support affect running injuries? How about an article that compares features of different popular running shoes with pros and cons of each? Or maybe how to try out running shoes at a store to ensure a good fit (like walking up and down a slope). I don’t know anything about running so I’m totally making all that up. But again, a person who comes across these articles sees a link to the shoes with the new arch support, and because of the useful information provided in the blog posts, decides to buy a pair of shoes. The idea is to post articles people will search for related to your brand or your products to set your company up as an industry leader and a go-to blog for information about women who run.
Most of these articles/blog posts are written in magazine style. The introductory paragraph is catchy to draw readers in, then proceeds to weave a story using interviews, real-life examples, and other elements you see in magazines. The difference is, because the article was written with the intent of ultimately selling a good or service, the articles are not considered journalism. They’re considered marketing.
In addition to just writing great articles, content marketing writers must also include keywords people will likely search for about each particular topic. This is called “search engine optimization,” or SEO, and is a critical piece of content marketing (and general website design. It’s harder than it sounds. Blog posts peppered with relevant keywords often sound unnatural and stilted, so it’s an art to incorporate words and phrases naturally into an article.
A secondary goal of content marketing is to entice readers to sign up for a newsletter, follow a company on social media, or take other action so you can keep in touch with them and eventually sell them something. Email marketing is a whole different topic we’ll discuss later, but if a company’s content marketing is good and it’s a topic a reader really cares about, well-crafted articles will tempt potential customers to sign up for a mailing list to be notified about future content with similar information.
Content marketing is a really hot trend right now, both in the corporate and freelance worlds. There’s even a national organization devoted to content marketing, called the Content Marketing Association. Check it out if you’re interested in learning more about this field. Also look for examples of good content marketing about subjects that interest you.
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