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Content marketing is a powerful tool. It can attract and retain customers, help identify prospects, educate consumers, get them excited about your product – the list goes on and on.

But, what is content marketing, really?

Content marketing defined

Content marketing is the creation and distribution of content that builds customer relationships and drives sales. It’s a long-term marketing strategy meant to attract and retain customers.

When most people think of content marketing, they think of blogging. Yes, consistent, interesting articles are a valuable part of a content marketing strategy, but there’s so much more to it than that.

Content comes in many forms beyond simple text. Content can be infographics, videos, interactive quizzes, educational calculators, social graphics – you name it.

A productive, well-rounded content marketing strategy deploys all of these content types across multiple channels.

Why use content marketing

How powerful is content marketing? Here’s a look at some impressive statistics that will convince you to invest in content ASAP:

• Content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less.
• Content marketing gets three times the leads per dollar spent compared to paid search methods.
• Small businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than those without.
• After reading blog content, 61% of consumers make a purchase.

The challenge of content marketing

Content marketing takes time. After working out a strategy, you have to generate content ideas, set up a content calendar, create the content, review it, distribute the content on various channels and watch your metrics to see what’s working.

For most small business owners, this kind of time investment isn’t feasible. That’s why a growing number of brands are outsourcing their content marketing.

What to look for in a content marketing company

When you’re ready to outsource your content marketing, here’s what you should look for:

    • Experience
You need an experienced content marketing team. Hiring a writer won’t cut it. You need a team that knows how to create engaging content that subtly sells a product or service.

Make sure the company has a portfolio that you can view online. Take some time to look through their work to make sure you’re working with professionals.

    • Amazing customer service
A content marketing company should provide excellent customer service. Look for a company that takes time to understand your brand, product and vision.

The company should also communicate their workflow, explaining how content is created and published. You want a company that’s willing to pitch ideas, conduct SEO research, create one-of-a-kind content, upload it into your blog or website and publish it for you.

    • Look for a team you can grow with
You might outsource a few blog posts to start, but in a few years you might want more. Look for a company that you can grow with; one that has capabilities that you’ll need in the future.

    • Expect visuals
Visual content is imperative. Look for a company with a visual focus. You want a company that can create infographics, videos and social cards. Even blog posts should contain at least two to three images to keep the reader engaged.

    • Affordability
Most small businesses don’t have an extensive marketing budget, let alone a budget specifically for content marketing. You need a content marketing company that offers affordable packages of content.

    • Accountability
A content marketing company can help you track your success and should meet with you on a regular basis to discuss what’s working and what’s not.

Wrap up
Content marketing offers a great ROI for small businesses looking to boost sales over time. If you’re looking for a content marketing company, visit the McEwen’s Media website to learn more about their affordable content packages.

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