You’ve heard time and again that content marketing is the most important part of your marketing strategy; but what is it? Google’s online dictionary sums it up as:

“A type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.”

Okay; so what is content marketing? It is more than just telling people what they need, how they should dress or what to buy, it is about engaging a target audience and developing a relationship that leads to profitable consumer action.

So how do you generate content that will increase sales, reduce costs and build customer loyalty? First, you need to know who your customer is and what they want.

For example, current trends among younger people on the Internet show a desire to be more environmentally friendly, but a lack of interest in actively participating in change. (

Studies show that people ‘feel good’ when they can participate in environmentally friendly acts (, but motivating people to make changes for themselves is harder.

As part of your content marketing strategy, you can make this easier. Appealing to people who want this feel-good easy way of contributing is as simple as writing blogs that affirm their beliefs. For example, if your business provides a service, sharing blogs about how to reduce water waste in the home might not seem relevant to your accounting firm, but when shared on social media as something that your business holds as a core value, (environmentalism) you have made connections with people and built trust.

A diverse approach to content marketing is the key to attracting the right audience. More than just writing blogs, providing images and video content can connect the right people with your business. Using influencers on Instagram is ‘the’ thing this year. However, it is a strategy that should be approached with caution. Trusting your image to someone who is not invested in the success of your business might backfire.

However, why not create your own influencer campaign. While content marketing is focused on ‘organic’ growth, you can still create content that you control and find the right audience. Visuals that include people who we can ‘relate’ to or ‘aspire’ to be like are powerful. Diversity in your marketing campaign is important, as is understanding who you are reaching out to. If you want the attention of 35-year-old married professionals, images of teenagers partying on the beach are not as likely to appeal to your demographic. Try to create content that is about your business and values, and those of your customers, and don’t follow trends online, which usually pass in days and often do not lead to profitable consumer action.

Finally, ensure that you stay connected with your content. While having a backlog of blogs on your site can be useful, it is also good to archive them regularly, or even remove them altogether. Your website is not a library; don’t leave articles online that are outdated. People who are committed to following your business want to know that you are engaged with your business and content too. Update your blog at least weekly, and post on social media a few times a week. Try not to overload your audience, but do keep in touch. If your content team are taking time to create a new strategy, let your audience know that you have exciting updates on the way.

Try and keep your audience informed too. Remember when they replaced the actor on The Bold and the Beautiful with that new actor and you were bamboozled by who they were supposed to be except that Ridge, Taylor and Stephanie would say their name 15 times a scene until you got it? Yeah, don’t do that. Tell your audience when you are changing tact or introducing a new model (be it a person, product or brand style.)

Content is king, and your content strategy should aim to build relationships with your customers. If you don’t have content, it is time to start, right now!