More than just a buzz-word and a market trend, content marketing is a crucial aspect of any successful marketing and branding strategy. But why? More than just a buzz-word and a market trend, content marketing is a crucial aspect of any successful marketing and branding strategy. But why? Well, the truth is that in our predominantly fast-paced digital world, new information is constantly circulating, endlessly flooding users’ social channels in the form of ads, deals, and promotions. And unfortunately, most of what goes around is hardly worth checking out: quality gets overseen for the sake of quantity and time. As a result, the value of good content is often disregarded, and this is a big mistake. Content marketing goes beyond entertainment. It is the strategical creation and distribution of information through a combination of text, image, and video that is both engaging and informational to the brand’s target audience. Effective content marketing is often a high-quality mix of pictures (or videos) and words that speak to the customers and redirect them back to the brand. Thanks to social media, content marketing has become more accessible, and thus growingly effective in driving leads and sales. However, quality is a must. Marketers in charge of content need to understand the importance of creating the right mix of images and words to deliver information that is consistent with the brand’s image. For instance, communicating solely through text on social media will hardly get you seen – people need a visual cue that will capture their immediate attention and invite them to stop and absorb what they are seeing. On the other hand, good writing speaks when images can’t. The right combination of words will determine how your message is received and interpreted. Now, efficient content marketing integrates the value of good text with the right choice of imagery into a solid strategy to deliver targeted information that is relevant and informative, but also entertaining. It is successful in generating long-term results, and research shows that conversion rates are nearly 6x higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters (2.9% vs 0.5%). In other words, when effectively implemented, content marketing… 1.    Establishes credibility and trust with consumers Decision makers prefer to feel informed before taking action. Many prospective buyers, for example, tend to research products and services online before buying, and recent surveys show that the information they read online heavily influences their purchasing decision. Companies that have a solid content marketing strategy can provide useful information that is relevant for their market. At the same time, consistently releasing high-quality content creates reliability: it showcases your business’ expertise and strengthens your brand image. In the end, a resourceful brand can develop a more direct connection with its audience and entice them to return. 2.    Gets you found through SEO and keywords A key aspect of effective content marketing is in adapting to the constant changes and adopting the trends. Content marketers must have a good understanding of search engine optimization and how to take advantage of the algorithms that determine the results of a Google search. By publishing fresh, original, high-quality articles that employ a decent number of keywords, you increase your brand’s prominence and reach. 3.    Puts you on top An increasing number of SMBs (small and mid-sized businesses) are turning their attention to content marketing, but a good majority does not implement it efficiently. Recent surveys have shown that many marketing professionals acknowledge the relevance of content, but do not have an established strategy that fully integrates it with their overall marketing plan. This means that, by adopting a well-defined, clear approach to content marketing, your company is also stepping up its game against its competitors. More importantly, it defines and differentiates your brand as resourceful and credible to the eye of the consumer. 4.    Has long-lasting results There are so many channels to communication today – from social media to websites, blogs, and even print material – that there are no limits to content’s potential reach. But more important than capturing the audience attention is establishing and maintaining a connection between them and your brand. High-quality content endures, and its results are clearly seen over time: an active social media account that posts regular, superior, and consistent content is more likely to attract visitors and entice them to keep exploring. In the long-term, it generates consumer loyalty by continually inviting the audience back. And, truth be told, successful brands owe quite a lot to the strength of their customer-brand relationship.  
  So, well-crafted content can boost your online presence, improve your performance on search results pages, drive traffic to your website, and put you ahead of the competition. And when it is successful, it establishes long-lasting brand name credibility. Even so, it is important to keep in mind that content marketing is only effective if it is consistent: high-quality work is rarer and thus distinguishable to the intrusive nonsense around social media. What most people don’t know, however, is that crafting valuable and relevant content isn’t exactly easy: it requires creative thinking and a wide knowledge of elements such as SEO. When crafting your optimized company’s content strategy, keep the following factors in mind: Strategy: content marketing is a strategic type of approach. It goes beyond having ideas and a social media account: your brand needs an established, clear notion of what it is looking to accomplish and how to support those goals with the content you post. Determine if you want to increase awareness, drive traffic to your website, or boost sales, and then what type of content will achieve that more effectively. Audience: Your brand needs to know who it is speaking to, so it can more effectively tailor its content strategy to resonate with the right prospective customers. When defining your audience, go beyond demographics: what are the interests, wants, and needs of your target? What type of language are they more likely to respond to? How can your company benefit them? Craft your content wisely, so that it carries more meaning to the type of people you are looking to reach. Value, Relevance, Consistence: The power of these three, especially when combined, could not be overstated. The people who view the content you post do not want to feel like their time is being wasted. Content that resonates with their values, addresses interests, and unwaveringly delivers the tone and style that match your brand personality will be worth their while. When effectively combined, valuable, relevant, and consistent content will, over time, make your brand easily recognizable. In the end of the day, your content marketing strategy must be well-planned, speak to a clearly-defined audience, implement a good mix of informative, but entertaining, visuals and text, and remain consistent. A successful content strategy is well-implemented throughout your brand’s different social channels and measurable so that it can continuously improve. It gives your brand the opportunity to establish credibility and create a positive association toward your brand that will boost profitable and long-lasting customer engagement.  
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