Content marketing is something of a revolution in the online marketing world. Many have not yet heard of it, but for those who have, and have started implementing its principles, it has achieved often remarkable results.

What is content marketing? This form of online marketing has been defined by CM guru Joe Pulizzi as “the blend of content and the marketing of that content that enables customer behavior”. In other words, content marketing uses the power of informative and engaging content to increase sales for online businesses.

This is a departure from traditional marketing, which has been using interruptive methods for decades. Examples of interruptive marketing would be:

  • cold calls
  • direct mail
  • TV ads
  • print ads

These marketing methods are not solicited or sought out by consumers, hence their “interruptive” nature. Why are these methods becoming less effective? In the Internet age, consumers can simply turn off, throw away or tune out these methods. They get the information they need themselves, when they want it, on the Internet.

So, the Internet has become a primary source of information for consumers looking to make a purchasing decision. Enter content marketing. When people want information, and they go online to get it, what they are really looking for is the source that will solve their problem, answer their questions and offer solutions. What they don’t want is a sales pitch. Online content that informs and engages rather than hard sells is CM content. It draws people to it. It is the “pull” to the “push” of traditional marketing.

This is the power of content marketing, and what makes it an effective marketing tool. Sites across the Web are embracing the idea of populating their sites with engaging, high quality content. Examples of this type of content are:

  • blogs
  • social media
  • articles
  • white papers
  • ebooks
  • videos
  • e-newsletters

The growing popularity of these content vehicles is testament to the fact that businesses are starting to acknowledge what their customers want: useful content that demonstrates their authority, and thus makes them a good choice when it comes time to purchase.

Should you join the content marketing conversation? Consider your goals. Do you suffer from sluggish online sales? Do you want better exposure for your business? Are traditional marketing methods no longer bringing you the ROI you’re looking for? Well-written content that showcases your authority, answers your customer’s questions and engages them is content that encourages them to act.

People have many, many choices when it comes to making online purchases. Content marketing can make your business the one they come to when they’re ready to pull the trigger.