Content and marketing are officially married and have arrived in a big stretch limo to “Main Street” to celebrate. There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t hear about, talk about and discuss content marketing.
Econsultancy, in partnership with Adobe, reports the top key digital trend for 2013  will be:
“. . .the year of creating, optimizing and marketing great content, spread through social channels and consumed everywhere.”
But, what exactly are we talking about here?
Content is simply valuable, relevant and helpful information that we share. It is not a new idea. Remember when traditional media content transformed our world with television, cable, radio, newspapers and magazines? We still have that, plus we are now authors and publishers – publishing information on websites, blogs, videos, podcasts, emarketing, ebooks, books and social media.
Effective marketing is impossible without solid, strong content today. Great content allows us to stand out, get noticed and defines our expertise and professionalism, no matter what that is.
The content marketing Institute defines content marketing as the marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content  to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
Content marketing is actually not salesy up front. It is designed to get people to take notice and take action, to click, forward, share, link, include, reference, comment, email, pick up a phone, go meet in person, discuss. The salesy part comes, but later.
Roper Public Affairs  reports 80% of business decision makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement and 70% say content marketing makes them feel closer to the sponsoring company. These statistics and findings confirm just how much content marketing is influencing people.
Traditional media content is still very much in play. In fact, according to Brian Solis, T.V. is a major factor and catalyst for search . People are accessing and, as he puts it, are multi-screening information while they are watching T.V.
The top B2C content marketing tactics we are using, according to the 2013 Content Marketing Research Report , are:
- Social Media – 84%
- Articles on your website – 84%
- Newsletters – 78%
- Video – 70%
- Blogs – 69%
- In-person events – 63%
This is what people are doing and what they are using to find, engage and build community. This is where people are congregating, socializing and making contact, becoming known for what they do, how they can solve problems and yes – sell.
Content marketing is our best strategy to help solve problems, pain and to offer our solutions. Content marketing helps us help others. Getting serious about having a dedicated, thoughtful content marketing plan and strategy can and will accelerate your success and advancement.
Here are some keys to creating your content marketing plan and strategy:
- Decide on what content and expertise you want to be known for.
- Laser focus in on your target market.
- Select the best media mix, that you are most excited about using, that your customers and community are using too.
- Create quarterly content goals for what you want to talk about and what media’s you will use.
- Be consistent, dedicated and professional.
- Monitor what is working and why it’s working.
How exciting are these times, where we have so many ways to articulate and communicate our personalities, intelligence and spirit to serve and help others, which it turns out – helps us even more?
There’s no magic wand, fairy dust or cliff notes to successful content marketing. It’s a commitment we make each day to do it.
By having the right plan, mix and strategy that fits us and organically grows our reach and reputation, we can see our content marketing impact grow with each article, podcast, video or Facebook post we create and publish.
Limo  Photo via Shutterstock