With more business moving online, content marketing has changed in recent years. Website content, always an important aspect of marketing, has moved to the forefront.

Content, as the old saying goes, is king.

But having good content is just the first step. No one will see good content without a solid marketing plan to get it in front of not just many people, but the right people.

Content Marketing Defined

Simply put, content marketing involves developing a business plan to brainstorm, develop and market content that is useful to the demographic you are attempting to reach. Content can take many different forms, including articles, videos, lists and infographics.

The ultimate goal is to develop a strategic plan to develop content that is consistently good, valuable to the reader and relevant to their interests. This in turn should lead to driving profitable consumer actions. Those actions can vary depending on your goal, but typically include something straightforward like making a purchase or something that leads to future sales, such as signing up for an email newsletter.

The development of the content is the most important aspect. It’s critical to keep in mind that you want content which is relevant and valuable and that also will eventually change consumer behavior or encourage a decision the consumer has already made.

Why Content Marketing Is Important

The simple explanation for why content marketing is so important is this: the marketing world in the last decade has completely changed. A growing number of people have shut out the traditional forms of marketing.

For example, people DVR television shows and skip commercials. Those who still read print publications often ignore the advertising. And even online, most consumers at this point can visit everywhere they want to go on the Web without seeing banner or pop-up ads either through ad blocker programs or simply by ignoring them.

But with good content on your website, you can establish a relationship with consumers, providing them information they want about products or services they are considering. The key is that you are not trying to sell the consumer on something. Consumers today are too sophisticated and that approach will often turn them off.

Rather, you are giving your readers information that makes them more intelligent about a product or service. By doing so, consumers will eventually reward your efforts by giving you their business.

Important Content Marketing Factors to Keep in Mind

When preparing a strategic content marketing plan, it’s important to keep certain factors in mind. Here are some to consider.

Researching ideas. Many people dive right into content, and while this can work well if you already know the industry like the back of your hand, it also can lead to content that is not valuable. It’s important to take the time to research you industry well and find areas where content is in short supply on the Internet. Or, find a way to do popular content differently and better.

Validate your ideas. Your ideas may sound good to you, but are they really? It’s important to have an internal system in place to filter ideas. Some areas to keep in mind, according to SEO Moz, include ideas that are simple, unexpected, credible and emotional.

Production of content. This is very simple. If you are not a writer or a web designer, then find people who are experts in the field and outsource the work. A good writer can elevate your content while a good designer can create a website (and mobile-friendly pages) that will attract your readers.

Promoting your content. Think social media. A content strategy without a social media component in today’s world is going to miss the mark. Find ways to reach readers who are interested in your content, whether it’s through search engine optimization efforts, Twitter, Facebook or any of a number of other social media platforms. Consumers have moved into these areas, you need to make sure you content marketing plan has as well.

Content marketing is not just the future of marketing – it’s the present. Having great content, a solid group of creative talent to produce it and an intelligent marketing plan is key to sustaining a business. The good news is coming up with a content marketing plan is possible, but it will take effort on your part.

That effort, if done correctly, will lead to a content marketing plan that rewards you with great success.