Content Marketing and What It Can Do For You

Every business has a need to promote itself. That is the nature of the beast. Having a good service or product that no one knows about is useless and serves no purpose in helping that business to succeed or help the people it is designed to accommodate.

As the world has changed due to technology, businesses have stayed on the front line of those developments using them to devise many innovative and unique ways to advertise themselves.

When newspapers, radio and television came into being they were all used by businesses and professional people to advertise their goods and services as well as billboards which came about as the result of the invention of the automobile and the building of roads and highways.

When man learned to fly small airplanes with streaming banners behind them were used as a means to promote businesses. Everything that was technologically available was implemented in advertising campaigns and it is no different today.

In the late 20th century as home computers became prevalent bringing about the development of the world wide web business owners and professionals realized the great advertising potential offered by such a vehicle and seized upon the opportunity it offered to grow their business.

Today many businesses use blogs, online newsletters and social media like Facebook and Twitter to place themselves before a captive internet audience in order to reach a portion of billions of daily users. Everything from pop up ads to online billboards are used to attract and engage customers. With all that being said, one of the more popular and effective tools being used to market businesses online is content marketing.

What is content marketing? The Webster’s dictionary definition is: “the use of relevant, informative, valuable content to attract and retain a defined audience.” Many businesses use this form of internet marketing as a “soft sell” method of publicizing themselves in an effort to avoid the traditional advertising approach which is according to many advertising experts, a turn off to many web surfers.

Advertisers understand consumers have learned to tune out many of the traditional means of advertising like magazine ads and television commercials making it necessary to find alternate strategies to get their attention and it is no different on the internet.

Content marketing offers a method by which promotional advertising can be packaged within informative, educational content which is helpful to the reader while at the same time presenting a solution to a need without using what would be perceived more than likely as an aggressive sales pitch.

What makes content marketing different from traditional advertising is the fact that the content not promoting the business or product, is at the core of the message. By consistently providing valuable information a bond is formed between reader and content provider that the provider hopes will eventually lead the reader to patronize their business.

Content marketing allows a business to “get the ear” of a consumer and build a relationship with them that is built upon communication concerning a subject that is of mutual interest to them. Buying or selling is not a part of the equation. At the heart of the relationship is dissemination of valuable information. As trust and appreciation for that information grows within the reader a sense of loyalty develops that should, if all goes right, produce a new customer.

In today’s internet advertising world information is the driving force behind attracting consumer attention. According to Angela Hausman, a marketing professor at Howard University, 67% of marketers polled claimed they received increased leads from content marketing and 64% reported increased traffic.

Consistently producing quality content increases a business’ rating in online search engines (SEO-search engine optimization) thereby placing it in a higher position in search engine results which will drive more traffic to its site. More traffic translates into more potential customers which in turn will increase the ROI of that business.

Today any business marketing strategy should include internet marketing. And any internet marketing strategy should include content marketing (creating content). It is just that simple. In today’s competitive business world both are essential to survive and flourish in any and all industries. The traditional means of advertising are giving way to more sophisticated methods that have 21st century appeal and application.

Survey Says: Employers Feeling a Talent Shortage

The 2011 Talent Shortage Survey (1) results have been released, and news is mixed for job seekers. By being forced to reduce their workforce and find ways to “do more with less” during the recent recession, businesses have found that they can do great things if they have the right talent in place. What is interesting is that while companies are not planning to increase their staff back to the pre-recession levels, they are looking for the “right” people, and apparently having a difficult time finding them. So… the good news is that companies are hiring, the bad news is that it’s a very competitive job market and employers are looking for the right combination of specific skill sets and excellent soft skills or business experience.

A few more interesting findings from the survey:

• U.S. companies reported a dramatic increase in how difficult it is for them to find the people they are looking for-from 14% to 52%, a 38 percentage point increase.

• Why are employers having such a difficult time filling positions when there are clearly a lot of people looking for work? One in four of the employers surveyed stated environmental/market factors, they just can’t find anyone available in their area. Another 22% said applicants lack the technical competencies needed, and 15% of companies stated lack of business knowledge or formal qualifications as the main reason candidates did not qualify.

• Hoping to get trained by the company? Don’t count on it-three-quarters of employers globally cited candidates’ lack of experience, skills or knowledge as the reason they could not fill positions, but only one in five is concentrating on training and development to fill that gap.

Whether you are aggressively seeking a new position or just putting your feelers out there because you’ve heard that companies are starting to hire again, this information can provide a lot of insight into how to approach your search. Some tips to consider:

• Think about location. A lot of people don’t want to or can’t relocate, but if it’s an option for you, look outside your region. While your skill set may not be in demand in your particular area, perhaps it’s a fit with an employer in another city or region.

• Assess your technical competencies and compare them to the current standards for your field. Are your “hard” skills up-to-date with today’s standards? Is there anything you need to brush up on or new skills you need to learn to be competitive? The market is tough and employers want the perfect person, so make yourself as perfect as you can. Build up your skills through education, volunteer work or even taking a lower-level job than you really want to get particular on-the-job experience.

• Take a hard look at your “soft” skills. Having the right interpersonal and communication skills, values and mindset can be as important to a potential employer as your “hard” skills. Do some personality assessments, work with a career coach or have an honest discussion with a friend. Often a very skilled or talented person ultimately doesn’t get the job because of a poor fit in this area.

• Make sure employers can find you. Connect with recruiters, visit company career pages, stay active on LinkedIn and industry-specific social media sites, and make sure your any resumes you have posted online are current and well put-together.

Employers are seeking the right people to add to their team, so you need to do everything you can to be that right person for them.

1 Source: 2011 Talent Shortage Survey, study conducted by Manpower Group: http://manpowergroup.com/research/research.cfm

This article may be reprinted when the copyright and author bio are included.

©2011 Kristen Harris, Portfolio Creative, LLC.

The Story of Social Media Marketing and Why You Should Be Doing It

Today, a new ‘parallel’ world has surfaced right in-front of us. Knowingly or unknowingly, we all are a part of it – the internet. The internet has provided the lonely with company, and the socialite with a new set of even more friends!

The result? A parallel society in which we all bask, share and enjoy!

What started out as a simple communication channel, fast transformed itself into a space that is now known as the internet. Interestingly, the internet was not the same as this when it was conceived; the basic idea of ‘sharing’ has been kept intact but the forms and the resources have morphed and outnumbered the number of users even!

Some analysts put the number of pages at more than the number of people in the world! Quite naturally when you have such a resource at hand, you need to think in terms of business and that is where the importance of social media marketing comes into play.

Plan your Business Growth

It was not very long ago when the internet was new to many, and people would use it to send mails. It was only the ‘soft’ power companies which would then advertise on sites and e-mail programs for upgrades and stuff – and that too in very small numbers. With the introduction of Google, the scenario completely changed and a similar model was adopted by many to cash-in on and from Google’s success story.

Soon after, launching a business meant market surveys, promotional activities and aggressive marketing. Companies were trying to rope in the number of internet users for their brand promotion; still there was not enough ‘aggression’ in aggressive promotion.

Then came the new kids on the block – Social Media.

It changed the whole concept of socializing and communicating. Chartbuster social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Orkut amongst others created a rat race wherein every company, individual and person was trying to earn a few bucks off the internet.

That was the beginning of Social Media Marketing – it is in use since then. Though critics might prefer to call its growth stage to be in the ‘nascent’ zone, growth figures and turnovers suggest otherwise. True, newer technologies and better algorithms keep appearing every now and then, but it is the growth that is booming even more and shows no signs of stopping or even pausing for a moment.

Big corporate houses realized the potential of social media marketing, zeroed in and converged their efforts and brains to optimise this and make use of it. After all, internet is where the most activity is – today.

From news to socializing, social media has taken new proportions with this marketing model for it. Free advertising and brand exposure has lead individuals and organizations to tap into this in a better manner and exploit this fully.

If you want to run your business successfully, you need to realise that a simple ‘real-world’ marketing strategy won’t do.

An online presence on one or all of the social media networks today, is as important as proper infusion of finance into the business.